What is Different About a Thai Massage?

massage therapist providing a Thai massage

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist? Wondering what is different about a Thai massage? For those looking for a dynamic and innovative career allowing job flexibility, potential for growth, and the ability to change lives in a meaningful way, they should consider becoming a massage therapist. The field of massage therapy will continue to grow as physicians continue to prescribe massage as part of their patient’s treatment plans and as more people enjoy the benefits of massage. Join the allied health workers that are helping their clients with massage therapy each day.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Massage therapists are trained professionals who utilize the power of touch and purposeful movements to alleviate their client’s symptoms. Massage therapists conduct in-depth interviews with clients to gather information on their health history, and to decide which techniques or treatments will best meet their needs. Massage therapists will also perform a physical evaluation to locate areas on the body which may need attention.

Through purposeful manipulation, a massage therapist conducts their session utilizing one of the different massage techniques proven to be safe and effective. Massage therapists build rapport with their clients and learn how to address their needs as they change and evolve. They provide clients with education to find relief while at home, by showing them how to perform a variety of stretching techniques and exercises, along with guided meditative techniques. Massage therapists keep records of progress and changes in the client’s symptoms to enhance their sessions or try a different approach if necessary. Massage therapists often work in conjunction with physicians, therapists, and other health professionals to best address their client’s individual needs.

What Massage Techniques Do I Learn During a Diploma Program?

One of the many positive benefits of enrolling in a massage diploma program at a vocational school, is that you will gain extensive knowledge, as well as hands-on experience, on a variety of massage therapy techniques. No two clients are ever the same, and each brings their own unique set of heath challenges and issues. Because of this, it is important for you to be knowledgeable in how to perform a variety of techniques, as well as what technique is best utilized for. Following, is a brief description of the most commonly utilized massage techniques learned during a massage therapy diploma program.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is a widely recognized massage therapy technique. Swedish massage therapy is great for clients who need to manage chronic or acute pain, heal from injury, need to destress, or look to increase flexibility. Swedish massage uses slow, long, gliding strokes across a client’s body towards the direction of the heart. Swedish massage uses five specific techniques: effleurage (slow circular motions), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (using hands in a rhythmic “chopping” motion), friction (to break down scar tissue), and vibration (gentle shaking). Swedish massage is incredibly relaxing and is great for clients who benefit from increased blood circulation, as well as stress relief and pain reduction.

Deep Tissue Massage

Many people deal with chronic pain and extreme muscle soreness. These symptoms can be attributed to injury. However, it could also be due to chronic stress. Too much tension and stress can present in the form of muscular aches and pains. Clients who express concern over these symptoms may benefit from deep tissue massage. Deep tissues massage is a deeper form of Swedish massage, as it uses a more forceful technique which utilizes a greater amount of pressure to target tension located deep within the muscles. While some clients may find this type of technique too intense, many others will benefit from it. Deep tissue massage is a good choice for clients recovering from sports related injuries, as well as those with chronic back pain.

Chair Massage

While most massage therapy techniques are performed when a client is lying in a face downward position, some clients may be able to sit up during a massage. Chair massage is performed with the client sitting comfortably in a chair facing backward allowing you to access their head, neck, shoulders and back. You use your hands to deliver a series of circular movements and kneading techniques to target tension and tightness built up within the back, shoulders, and arms. Chair massage is great for those who work in positions which require them to sit or stand for extended periods of time. Chair massage is beneficial in workplace settings, as it is portable, and can be performed without undressing, or using oils on the skin.

Prenatal Massage

While pregnancy is a beautiful time in any woman’s life, it can also be inherently stressful and come with its own set of aches and pains. One of the best ways an expecting mother can relieve her stress while addressing her pains is through prenatal massage therapy. During a session, the client will lie on their side as opposed to being face down. Pillows or padding can be added between the client’s knees or thighs to better align their spine. You will use gentle, gliding strokes along the back, and the pressure is not as intense as a deep massage therapy session. However, it is effective in loosening up any trigger points or trapped tension within the client’s back and body. Prenatal massage is often very tailored to the client’s specific needs to achieve relaxation and relief.

Hot Stone Massage

Often used in spa settings, hot stone massage has become one of the most requested massage therapy techniques by clients who are looking to enhance their mental health and ease insomnia. It is also beneficial for those suffering from symptoms related to cancer and certain autoimmune conditions. During a hot stone massage, you will use similar techniques as those found in Swedish massage, as well as incorporate basalt stones into the session. You will immerse the stones in hot water and place them on various areas of the body, including the back, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet. Hot stone massage is a great way for clients to alleviate symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.

Sports Massage

An athlete’s most important asset is their body, which is why sports massage is a specialized technique specifically geared towards athletic clients and those who may be quite active in their everyday lives. Sports massage helps active individuals avoid injury and enhance athletic performance. When you enroll in a massage therapy program, you will learn how to perform a sports massage effectively and efficiently to address your client’s specified needs.

Myofascial Massage

A myofascial massage is unique to many other methods of massage therapy, in that it facilitates a series of movements called shearing, stripping, and rolling. During a myofascial massage sustained pressure targets a variety of conditions which may cause muscle pain and restrict movement.

You use sustained pressure to deliver effective pain relief by using your palms to strategically stretch the skin to loosen up the muscles (also known as shearing). You also use a technique known as “stripping,” which is performed by gliding the hands slowly and purposely along the skin, maintaining pressure along the way. The final technique used is “rolling,” and is performed by gently pulling the skin up from the underlying tissues to encourage flexibility and reduce restriction. Myofascial massage is great for those who experience knots and trigger point pain, as well as those who may experience soreness due to exercise or exertion.

What is Different about a Thai Massage?

Future clients may not be familiar with this ancient, yet highly effective, massage therapy technique. Following, is a brief explanation of the Thai massage technique, how it is performed, how it can benefit clients, as well as how it differs from the other massage techniques like Swedish massage.

What is Thai Massage?

Initially created in Thailand, Thai massage is a specific type of massage technique which helps to redirect energy flow throughout the body in a beneficial manner by purposefully manipulating the client’s body into a series of positions. The client is an active participant throughout the session, as they are repositioned during stretches to lengthen the muscles throughout the body. A Thai massage generally lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. While some clients may be initially apprehensive about this technique, it is one of the most beneficial massage techniques in practice today.

What are the Benefits of a Thai Massage?

One of the most beneficial aspects of a Thai massage, is that the technique provides many benefits for many people. Thai massage can improve energy levels, alleviate chronic migraines, and tension headaches, encourages proper blood flow and circulation throughout the body, and improves flexibility.

How is Thai Massage Different from Swedish Massage?

While both massage techniques enhance the health and well-being of clients, these two massage techniques have a few differences. Swedish massage is performed with clients lying face down throughout the session, while with Thai massage, a client is a dynamic participant and interacts with you throughout the session to facilitate positions and stretches. During Swedish massage, you utilize the five classic techniques (effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, vibration, and friction), while during a Thai you will not only use your hands throughout the session, but will also use your feet, legs, or even your knees to deliver the Thai massage technique effectively. Though quite different from Swedish massage, Thai massage is just as beneficial and effective for a variety of clients you may work with.

Final Thoughts

The art of massage therapy is expansive and continues to grow as popularity and demand increases. So, learn more about the massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, consider applying to a massage therapy program and enjoy a lasting career in improving the quality of lives of others.

Massage Therapy Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

Are Massage Therapists Medical Professionals?

Classroom with a massage therapist training students

Medicine is a team sport. Talented caregivers from doctors to dietitians collaborate to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. Anyone with something to contribute is welcomed, no one sits on the bench. Massage therapists are one of many allied health professionals making a difference. You may be asking are massage therapists medical professionals?

What Is an Allied Healthcare Worker?

Healthcare has evolved. Doctors still lead the charge, but if many hands make light work, many minds ensure patients get the best care possible. Physicians are no longer expected to do it all.

Up to 60 percent of healthcare workers in the United States are classified as allied health professionals, according to the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions. Some are also clinical professionals while others are experts in a unique field. Allied health workers include:

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists
  • Paramedics
  • Nutritionists
  • Audiologists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurse midwives
  • Billing specialists
  • Medical coders
  • Office managers
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Pharmacists
  • Phlebotomists
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Chaplains
  • Psychologists
  • Behavioral counselors
  • EKG and ultrasound technicians
  • Medical assistants
  • Radiologists
  • Healthcare administrators
  • Massage therapists

Is a Massage Therapist a Medical Professional?

As part of the allied healthcare field, massage therapists are medical professionals. While some offer bodywork strictly for relaxation, others work with doctors independently or in medical facilities directly to improve patient health.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

The body has 700 muscles that work in tandem to keep us in motion, it’s a delicate balance that’s prone to injury. Massage therapists work with clients to alleviate pain, heal injuries and reduce tension by manipulating soft tissue. Bodywork is proven to improve both physical and mental well-being. It’s a millennia-old practice. Types of massage include:

  • Swedish
  • Shiatsu
  • Trigger point
  • Deep tissue
  • Hot stone
  • Aromatherapy
  • Sports
  • Reflexology
  • Thai
  • Neuromuscular
  • Prenatal

Each offers unique health benefits that enhance conventional medical treatment, such as:

  • Less stress
  • Improved peripheral circulation
  • A stronger immune system
  • Pain relief
  • Flexibility
  • Better mobility
  • Enhanced athletic performance
  • Deeper sleep
  • A brighter mood

Research suggests that massage helps patients better manage chronic conditions like depression, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

How is What Massage Therapists Do Similar to What Other Medical Professionals Do?

What differentiates professionals from paraprofessionals in the healthcare field is their knowledge and ability to independently assess what patients need. Massage therapists don’t diagnose disease or dispense medical advice, but they troubleshoot how muscles respond to illness and determine how massage can help. Like other healthcare professionals, massage therapists:

Practice Autonomously

Massage therapists govern their own practice and make their own treatment decisions. When working with doctors and physical therapists, they collaborate but make their own treatment decisions.

Create Plans of Care

Massage therapists evaluate their clients and create customized treatment plans to meet their needs. Like doctors, they listen to patients and consider a wide range of factors including conditions for which patients may have been referred. The goal is to approach each patient holistically, as an individual, to provide the best quality care.

Explain Treatment Options

Many aspects of a patient’s life are touched by illness or injury. A persistent sprain is not only painful, but it also impacts mobility and mood and makes simple tasks more difficult. There are usually options for treatment depending on the patient’s preferences. Like doctors, massage therapists review options but let the patients make the decisions.

Do No Harm

As independent professionals, massage therapists are obliged to do no harm. If an exam reveals contraindications to massage or practitioners believe bodywork won’t be beneficial, they put the brakes on treatment.

Collaborate with Other Medical Professionals

No medical professional is an island. Patients benefit most when they have a team of experts contributing to their care. Of the massage therapists who work in medical offices, most collaborate with a broad range of healthcare providers to optimize interventions.

Which Medical Professionals Do Massage Therapists Work with Most?

Clients are free to seek massages without a referral from a doctor, yet mainstream medicine is increasingly embracing bodywork as a drug-free alternative treatment for many disorders. Massage therapists routinely work with:

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists help people adapt to changes in their physical condition, teaching them new or better ways to perform activities of daily living after an illness or injury. The goal is for patients to develop safe self-care skills and live independently.

Some of an occupational therapist’s patients have suffered accidents or have chronic medical conditions that lead to musculoskeletal dysfunction. Massage therapists work to relieve muscle aches and reduce inflammation, so patients are more responsive to exercise.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists help the ill or injured improve their mobility and manage pain through conditioning and flexibility. Massage therapists contribute by relaxing stiff muscles, improving circulation and enhancing flexibility. Together, physical therapy and massage can often restore lost range of motion.

General Practitioners

Most health complaints may be stress related. When diagnostics have ruled out serious medical conditions, many general practitioners prescribe massage to relieve tension. Pain-related disorders are often the result of tight muscles. Massage improves circulation and speeds healing to affected areas.

Orthopedists

When we’re injured, we find ways to adapt. Someone with an ankle sprain, for example, may limp or hobble, putting unexpected pressure on the unaffected ankle until both are sore and limit mobility. By the time an injured person seeks care, the pain has often become complex and challenging to treat.

Massage therapy can not only control edema and reduce pain in injured joints, but it can ease discomfort in compensatory muscles, so patients are prepared to get the most out of their physical or occupational therapy. Keeping opposing muscle groups limber and the musculature strong reduces pain.

Surgeons

Post-surgical discomfort delays healing. Physical therapy and analgesics help, but lingering aches and medication side effects can set back recovery. As a complementary therapy, massage reduces post-operative stiffness, bolsters participation in activities of daily living and gets patients back on their feet faster.

Pain Specialists

Analgesics are controversial therapies for pain. They’re effective, but adverse effects, including the potential for chemical dependency, can be significant. Opioid medications, once the gold standard for relieving chronic pain, are responsible addictions nationwide and are now rarely prescribed. Over-the-counter options are an alternative, but they come with risks from gastrointestinal irritation to heart attacks.

Analgesics can be part of a safe pain management plan, but as awareness of their unwanted effects grows, specialists are turning to non-pharmacological interventions, including massage. Among chronic pain patients who take analgesics daily, the majority report that regular massage reduces the number of doses they need and boosts results.

Why Become a Massage Therapist?

Careers in healthcare are attractive, but being a nurse or doctor isn’t for everyone. If you prefer a less conventional, more holistic approach to wellness, massage therapy is a satisfying field. Massage therapists practice autonomously, enjoying professional freedom with few limitations. Respected by the medical community, career opportunities continue to grow.

How to Become a Massage Therapist

All it takes to become a massage therapist is a passion for wellness. Most therapists don’t have a college degree. Instead, they have a vocational school diploma or certificate.

Soft skills are also helpful. Massage therapists work with the public daily, so being a people person is a plus. As a medical professional, empathy, compassion, and good communication skills are critical.

The job isn’t grueling, but it can be physically demanding, most of the day is spent standing or walking. Upper body strength and manual dexterity are required to massage stiff muscles. The ability to twist and bend around obstacles, such as beds or medical equipment, is essential for massage therapists working in healthcare settings.

Why Attend a Diploma Program?

Vocational school massage therapy programs give you the knowledge and skills you need in under a year, attending full-time. You are prepared to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB).

Graduates qualify for membership in professional organizations that promote the massage industry and offer continuing education opportunities. The two largest are the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Final Thoughts

Massage is embraced globally as both a mainstream and alternative treatment. As medical professionals in their own right, massage therapists offer valuable and research-proven services that bring better health to people suffering from stress and chronic pain. Millions of Americans enjoy massages every year, and many more could benefit from bodywork if services were more readily accessible services. Now is the time to get involved.

Massage Therapy Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What are Some Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

client receiving a deep tissue massage

Do you have an interest in becoming a massage therapist? Massage therapy is a fantastic, holistic based modality, focusing on healing a client’s body, mind, and spirit. And, this industry is projected to grow 32 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Massage therapists utilize a variety of massage techniques to alleviate their client’s aches and pains, as well as promote healing and spiritual restoration. So, what are some of the techniques you learn during a massage therapy program? We first look at one of the most requested techniques for those suffering from painful disorders and chronic pain, deep tissue massage.

What are Some Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

Deep tissue massage has evolved from Swedish massage. Swedish massage therapy is widely considered to be one of the most effective and popular therapeutic techniques. Many clients book an appointment for a deep tissue massage for a variety of reasons. These massage techniques were initially developed to address sports injuries, strains, and repetitive motion injuries. Deep tissue massage techniques are intended to restore health and encourage healing, as well as promote a client’s overall wellness through methodically applying pressure and movement to target a client’s connective tissues and muscles.

While it sounds concise, Swedish massage therapy requires purposeful movement throughout the session, and has some unique differences from a regular deep tissue massage. Massage therapists utilize a series of techniques during Swedish massage, including effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction and vibration to help the client achieve relief and relaxation.

Technique #1: Effleurage

Effleurage consists of long, gliding motions across the client’s body, with purposeful strokes varying in intensity and pressure. These movements help to elongate the muscle, therefore reducing muscle tension and providing relief from aches and pains.

Technique #2: Petrissage

Petrissage consists of applying deep pressure in the form of kneading and wringing the client’s skin to effectively target the affected area. This technique relies on a massage therapist utilizing the palms of their hands to deliver the intended pressure.

Technique #3: Tapotement

Tapotement is another essential component of delivering an effective Swedish massage. This is the technical term for the rhythmic and repeated striking of the hands onto the body of the client and is performed to relax and loosen stiff muscles, “awaken” the body, and loosen trapped lymphatic build up within the back. This movement is a primary component of an effective Swedish massage therapy session and is dependent upon maintaining momentum and speed.

Technique #4: Friction

Another important component of the Swedish massage technique is friction. Friction is achieved by using the thumb and fingers to apply deep pressure in circular movements, helping to promote relaxation and loosen any built-up tension within the muscles.

Technique #5: Vibration

Vibration is the final component of a well performed Swedish massage and is achieved by applying trembling or rocking motions throughout the client’s body. This movement is thought to be effective in breaking up any trapped holding patterns in the muscles which may be detrimental to the client’s posture or mobility. Vibration is also an effective way to loosen any trapped tension or negative energy within the client’s body.

Other Techniques Utilized in Deep Tissue Massage

While the Swedish technique is one of the most often requested techniques during a therapy session, massage therapists may choose to utilize a deeper tissue technique featuring a variety of other purposeful movements and manipulations, such as cross fiber friction, active release technique, trigger point therapy and myofascial release.

Technique #6: Cross Fiber Friction

This deep tissue massage therapy technique is often used for clients who are healing from serious injuries. While scar tissue is necessary to repair the fibers and muscles around the site of injury, it can become tough and restrict movement and functionality, if it is not pliable. Cross fiber friction works towards reducing fibrosis and promoting pliability and flexibility. This technique is performed by administering a non-oiled stroke across the site of injury to create friction against the muscle, tendon, or ligament.

Technique #7: Active Release Technique

This manually performed therapeutic technique is another effective way to promote the healing of rigid or restrictive scar tissue through the application of deep pressure onto the site of tenderness, while the muscles repeatedly loosen and constrict at the site of injury. This technique is great for those who have sustained repetitive muscle injuries, as well as cumulative injuries.

Technique #8: Trigger Point Therapy

Manually applied trigger point therapeutic techniques are another feature of deep tissue massage. This is achieved by first locating the spot of tension or tightness through manual manipulation, and then using one’s fingers to press firmly into the targeted area. By repeating this movement several times, the tightened muscle becomes loose and less rigid, relieving pain and releasing any built-up tension.

Technique #9: Myofascial Massage

Often thought of as one of the most effective deep massage therapy techniques, myofascial massage involves the use of knuckles and closed fists to cause tension to release from various points in the body. While this technique may cause some soreness immediately after, myofascial massage is one of the most effective ways to combat long term pain and bothersome symptoms associated with traumatic injuries.

How Do You Learn the Different Massage Techniques?

Those interested in learning more about massage techniques and starting a career as a professional massage therapists can enroll in a massage therapy program and work towards earning a diploma. This program will provide the training and education needed to enjoy a career in this field.

What are the Benefits of a Massage Therapy Diploma Program?

While enrolled in a massage therapy program, students will receive hands-on training and instruction in a student run massage spa setting, which is overseen by knowledgeable professionals with meaningful and relevant career experience. Students will also learn a variety of massage techniques in addition to Swedish and deep tissue. They will have time to learn all the skills necessary to work in a variety of professional settings and will form meaningful bonds and friendships with other likeminded professionals.

Final Thoughts

Those who are considering a new career path should consider training for a career in the massage therapy industry. Professional massage therapists enjoy a dynamic workplace environment, flexible work hours, the opportunity to open their own practice, engage in meaningful networking with other professionals, and a fulfilling career in making a positive difference in the lives of their clients. Take the first step and learn more about the massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Start your journey toward a rewarding career in massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Many Days a Week Do Massage Therapists Work?

Massage Therapist training in a classroom

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will inform you about everything you need to know to start a career in massage therapy. Learning about massage will give you the opportunity to take advantage of one of the fastest growing professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for massage therapists to grow by 32 percent through 2030.

Working as a massage therapist allows you to provide hands-on rehabilitation and relaxation to a variety of clients. A massage therapist has flexible hours and diverse career opportunities that allow them to shape their work environment. While traditional careers have you stationed in an office or at a desk all day, massage therapists can work in spas, hotels, resorts, clinics, medical centers or even run their own practices.

Why Does Someone Become a Massage Therapist?

When researching any potential career, it is important to know what the job entails. But really knowing whether working as a massage therapist is right for you goes deeper than daily responsibilities. Your duties are only a part of your work; when asking if being a massage therapist is worth it, it’s helpful to tap into the deeper values and interests of people who become massage therapists.

Enjoy Helping Others

A good massage therapist enjoys helping others and has an interest in physiology. They realize that massage therapy is more than a spa treatment; it helps people feel better mentally and physically, reduce stress, increase relaxation, and feel more grounded in their bodies. It can be generalized to induce relaxation and help people unwind, or it can be personalized to suit someone’s recovery or promote wellness during pregnancy. The options are as diverse as the people themselves.

Many clients also turn to massage therapy for their mental health. Touch is a very human, powerful tool; it’s one of the simplest, most natural ways we connect. By being a massage therapist, you will have the ability to help people ease tension in both their bodies and minds through your practice.

Curious By Nature

Massage therapists are also fascinated by the human body and its processes. They want to know how different massage techniques impact the muscles and physiological systems; they’ll also be interested in working an active, hands-on profession that keeps them focused and engaged in what they’re doing.

How to Become a Massage Therapist

All massage therapists must first complete high school and hold a diploma or GED. From there, you can enroll in a massage therapy school near you. Although a license is not required in the state of Minnesota, having a massage therapy license will set you apart from your competition and instill confidence in your massage services. Different employers will also make their own standards for their massage therapists, including their educational backgrounds and work experience.

In school, you can expect to spend hundreds of hours practicing before you can earn your certificate. The exact number of hours varies depending on the curriculum and any specializations you may pursue in addition to your standard education.

Throughout your training, you will have both classroom lectures in anatomy and physiology as well as hands-on practice with your peers. The ability to work closely with your fellow students allows you to give and receive more honest feedback; you are also supervised and guided by your experienced instructors. These instructors have worked in the field for years and can provide you with expert insight and tips on how to improve your practice.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Just as your workplace varies, so do the responsibilities among massage therapists. As a massage therapist, you must be skilled not only in what you do but also in customer service and communication. Someone who starts their own practice will need to perform all the administrative duties and marketing to build a name for themself and attract clients.

Some of the general tasks a massage therapist does at work include:

  • Perform various types of therapeutic massages for clients.
  • Prepare, clean, and maintain treatment rooms.
  • Monitor and ensure appropriate temperature and safety of water and sauna facilities.
  • Routinely take inventory and replenish stocks of massage therapy materials, like essential oils, lotions, and creams.
  • Consult with clients to determine the best type of treatment for their bodies.
  • Assist with general cleaning and presentation of the facility they work in.
  • Fill out documents and paperwork, including filing client information and managing appointments.
  • Ensure their conduct and work environment are always in compliance with regulations and standards.

How Many Days a Week Do Massage Therapists Work?

Massage therapists have highly flexible careers, which makes their profession appealing to a wide range of people. Men, women, and individuals of all backgrounds pursue massage therapy diplomas so they can craft their career to suit their ideal lifestyle. If you work in a spa or beauty center, you may work a standard 9-to-5 day. However, you could also work part-time, weekends or choose to work in the evenings.

Hotels, resorts, private practitioners’ offices, and clinics also employ massage therapists. You may decide to build your own practices, so you have complete control over your workload, clientele, and pricing. The options are endless, especially if you are interested in starting your own business and combining your massage therapy education with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Where Can a Massage Therapist Work?

You can find massage therapists anywhere, including traditional locations like spas and less conventional places like malls and retail stores. Some massage therapists work out of their own homes while others make house calls. You can decide what work environment appeals to you and go from there.

Depending on your career ambitions, you may pursue specializations such as:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Swedish massage
  • Hot stone massage
  • Prenatal massage therapy
  • Sports massage therapy
  • Reflexology

During your classes in massage therapy school, you are introduced to diverse types of massage therapy and the respective techniques. From there, you may decide to further your education by becoming a specialist in a particular type of massage therapy. This allows you to focus on building specific skills and knowledge that will prepare you to work with your ideal type of clientele.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why being a massage therapist is a good idea. The flexibility of schedule gives you much greater control over your life. You can decide to work in a spa, resort, or run your own business. If you are interested in building you own practice from the ground up, you can earn a massage therapy certification and additional beauty credentials as well. This allows you to provide a wider range of high-quality treatments to your clients.

Now that you know more about what a massage therapist does and how many days they work per week, ready to learn more?

Massage Therapy Training Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

The Importance of Sales Training as a Massage Therapist

Massage therapist selling product to a customer

Are you a natural at working with people? Want to help others relieve pain, stress, and discomfort? If this sounds like you then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you. In addition to learning the many massage techniques, you also gain many soft skills like sales training and customer relations management. Why is this important for someone who gives massages? Because sales and customer service are what drive business to a massage therapist in the first place, especially if you want to offer your services independently or run your own business.

If you want to become a massage therapist, there are a variety of skills you’ll need to master. By studying both technical and practical skills, you can increase your career opportunities and boost customer satisfaction. Whether you want to become a spa specialist or open your own massage therapy practice, a massage therapy program at a vocational school will help you learn about sales training and other important skills for massage therapy.

Some of the Most Important Skills for a Massage Therapist

While you’ll need technical skills to give massages and treat clients, there are many other skills massage therapists need as well. You’ll often see these non-technical skills referred to as “soft skills,” but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important. In fact, soft skills are essential abilities that help you work well with others regardless of your line of work. In addition to massage techniques and an understanding of physiology and anatomy, a massage therapist must be good at communication, have an attention to detail, impeccable time management and good customer service.

Communication

Communicating with your clients ensures they’re always comfortable and relaxed on the massage table. Open communication builds trust, which helps clients speak up if they ever feel pain during treatment or would like a different type of massage. Communication also helps you clearly identify a client’s needs and apply the right type of massage for their body and health. Good communication promotes the utmost relaxation during a session.

Attention to Detail & Time Management

Attention to detail and time management are necessary for easily getting through daily tasks. This includes booking and managing appointments, keeping your workspace clean and planning ahead for any supplies you’ll need for a massage. In is important to not leave clients waiting. The longer they wait, the less likely they will return.

Customer Service and Sales Management

Customer service and sales management are crucial because they allow you to provide the best level of care for your clients. Although you shouldn’t become a massage therapist just for the money, you also aren’t there to work for free. Sales training allows you to earn money by advertising your services to the right clients, upgrading their packages, getting them to buy accessories or add-ons and so on. If you work in a spa setting, you may be encouraged by your supervisor to promote specific products to your clients as well.

How Important Is Sales Training as a Massage Therapist?

As a professional massage therapist, you need to master the art of soft selling. This allows you to promote services and products while maintaining the level of comfort, empathy and understanding your clients expect and deserve. Instead of feeling as though they’re being forced to buy something, the soft sale helps clients recognize the benefits in making additional purchases to enhance their experiences.

Sales plays a larger role than you may think in massage therapy. As you operate your own business or work for a spa or clinic, you end up promoting different products and services. Essential oils, accessories and even extended sessions can be offered to clients. You may also build custom massage packages that help treat injuries or support ongoing wellness. Products like natural soaps and massage oils, relaxation music or guided meditations, chiropractic pillows and eye masks can all be sold as an extension of your services.

In addition to retail, you must also know how to sell your services and skills. This ensures you can get clients to book appointments with you, encourage repeat appointments and build your business.

What Are Some Sales Tips a Massage Therapist Can Use?

There are several strategies massage therapists can use in their practice to earn more and attract new clients. Part of your education in massage therapy school will be understanding sales training and mastering the best approaches for you; sales are most effective when you use your real personality and build an authentic connection with the customer. Below are a few tips that you can keep in mind to improve your sales.

Tip #1: Practice Good Communication

Sales is not one-sided. As a massage therapist, you should engage your clients in conversation, ask open-ended questions to learn about them and listen intently. People who feel heard and respected are more likely to listen to others. This creates more opportunities for you to understand what your clients truly need and give them better recommendations.

Tip #2: Know the Products

As a massage therapist, you should know everything you are selling inside and out. You should understand the pros and cons and how those could affect individual clients differently; during a sales exchange, it’s common for customers to ask questions, and it looks unprofessional if you don’t know something. Full understanding of products and services display passion, professionalism, and dedication to the field. This, in turn, makes clients feel comfortable and well-supported.

Tip #3: Marketing Tools and Social Media

The Internet is a fantastic place for you to boost your sales and build relationships with potential clients. You can give viewers an inside look at your work and put your passion on full display. Social media also allows you to get creative and show off your unique personality. This can help you connect with your ideal clients more effectively.

Additional marketing tools include building a good website, optimizing it with SEO and running a blog. Massage therapists who run their own business should register for a Google Business and Yelp page to optimize for local search engine queries.

Set Goals and Build Campaigns

General sales may become a part of your work, but you can benefit from establishing sales objectives as well. You may want to earn a particular amount per month or acquire a certain number of new clients before a deadline. This makes it easier to frame marketing efforts and target prospective customers.

Some employers may require you to sell products they carry; in this case, being well-versed in the stock will make it easier for you to meet your quotas.

Consider the Buyer’s Experience

When someone makes a purchase, it usually isn’t a one-time action. There is often a lot of build-up and research before someone decides to book an appointment with you, and sales training teaches you to recognize the entire buyer’s journey. From the minute someone decides to look for a massage therapist until they book their next session, marketing and sales are there every step of the way.

The buyer’s experience is shaped by many factors, including your location, budget, age, and education. Two vastly different clients may choose the same massage therapists for very different reasons; when you recognize your clients’ unique experiences, you can tailor your marketing to fit what they need.

What Do You Need to Start a Massage Therapy Business?

The flexibility of being a massage therapist draws many to the field. You have the flexibility to set your own hours as you build your practice. Running your own massage therapy business from your client’s location or a rented office can take some time to achieve. First, you’ll have to complete your high school diploma or earn your GED. Then, you must graduate from a massage therapy training program at a vocational school.

Your training will be the most important part of your business development. Here, you will learn about the different types of massages, human anatomy and physiology, reflexology and more. Techniques are taught by experienced instructors who have worked in the field for years.

Once you’ve completed your mandatory training, you can apply for a massage therapist’s license in Minnesota. Then, you will have to purchase the appropriate level of insurance coverage. The next steps are similar to that of setting up any other business. You must decide on a name, buy the supplies and equipment, and start advertising. Your sales training will be one of your greatest assets as you set out to make a name for yourself as a massage therapist

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the importance of sales training in massage, ready to learn more about the massage therapy program at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology? In as little as 12 months, you can become a licensed massage therapist and start helping others in the process. Start a great career and help others at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Massage Therapy Training Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?

massage therapist assisting a client

Massage therapy is one of the most effective ways to deal with a variety of ailments and physical conditions. Curious what body systems are most affected by massage? Annually, millions of people seek physical and emotional relief through the use of a qualified massage therapist. Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most effective ways of addressing issues within all twelve systems of the body. Massage therapy is a critical component of one’s overall health and should be part of a regular health regimen.

Pursuing a career in massage therapy is both gratifying and intrinsically rewarding. There is nothing better than knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives and wellbeing of others.

What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?

Some body systems are more affected by massage than others, however all body systems must work together to keep humans healthy and happy. Each body system has its part to play, and massage can help improve these body system’s performance.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is one of the most important parts of the body. The purpose of circulation is to continuously pump fresh blood throughout the body, as well as its tissues and organs. Sometimes the circulatory system does not adequately pump blood throughout the body. Improper blood flow can lead to long term chronic health conditions, and even permanent disability. Effective and proper massage therapy techniques can increase blood flow and enhance the circulatory system’s ability to provide blood throughout the body.

Muscular System

One of the first areas in which chronic stress and tension tend to appear is through the muscular system. Not only are muscles responsible for all of our daily movements and activities, but they are also incredibly vital to the proper functioning of the rest of the body. Massage decreases the amount of tension and stress that is stored within the muscles and can also improve this system’s overall functionality and efficiency. Massage can increase proper blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen, and is an important part of the proper upkeep and care of a well-functioning muscular system.

Endocrine System

The endocrine system is responsible for producing and distributing all the various hormones within the body. At times, this system can become out of balance, which causes a variety of ailments and conditions, such as anxiety, depression, obesity, insomnia, and even diabetes. Massage can have a significant benefit in this area, and can help restore the proper balance of oxytocin, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine and other important hormones.

Central Nervous System

Most notable for its role in processing and receiving information, the central nervous system is comprised of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord. Massage techniques promote intense relaxation, as well as the production of a variety of “feel good hormones” in the brain. Massage relieves the nervous system, and benefits it by decreasing the body’s heart rate, promoting an enhanced mood, and lowering blood pressure.

Peripheral Nervous System

The peripheral nervous system (or PNS) is comprised of the nerves and nerve cells within our body. These nerves and nerve cells are the roadway for the rest of the organs, muscles, blood vessels, and glands. The PNS is the main way in which every other system sends and receives information throughout the body. Professional massage techniques can help the PNS by increasing blood flow, heightening the senses, promoting efficient digestion, and helping to regulate core body temperature and perspiration.

Skeletal System

The skeletal system is responsible for keeping a person’s vital organs and tissues in place. This system is comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and bone marrow. Some of the most important parts of the skeletal system are the ribs and skull. The ribs protect the heart and lungs, while the skull protects the brain. Massage therapy provides a multitude of benefits for the skeletal system, including improving one’s posture, relieving stiff joints, alleviating symptoms of arthritis, and improving flexibility. Furthermore, massage also helps bones retain the vitamins and minerals necessary to increase the body’s strength and durability. This is an important point, especially with older adults who experience the loss of bone density as they age.

Gastrointestinal (Digestive) System

Many people are surprised to find that massage therapy offers numerous benefits for the digestive system. Digestion plays a critical role when it comes to the proper overall functioning of the body. Digestion is the way the body receives and processes vital nutrients from food and beverages. An efficient digestive system facilitates the distribution of nutrients to the rest of the body, to keep it functioning optimally. There is nothing worse than a sluggish digestive tract. When digestion is compromised, other chronic issues can occur, such as constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Proper massage techniques can relieve these issues and help restore the digestive tract in a therapeutic and noninvasive manner.

Reproductive System

It may seem odd to think that massage therapy can benefit the reproductive system, however, massage therapy can increase one’s chances of successfully conceiving a child. Successful conception is dependent on a variety of factors, including the appropriate regulation of hormones. Massage has a positive impact on the reproductive system, by increasing feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. In turn, this can increase the chances of conceiving a successfully fertilized zygote. It must be noted that some elements of massage are not recommended for pregnant women.

Integumentary System

This system primarily consists of one’s skin, hair, and nails. The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects every single part of our bodies. It is also considered the body’s first line of defense in one’s ability to maintain good health. Because it’s the largest organ in the human body, the rest of our body is often affected whenever the integumentary system is not performing optimally. Massage techniques conducted by a massage therapist can have a positive impact on this important part of the body, including promoting positive stimulation of the skin, improving texture and elasticity, as well as enhancing tissue repair.

Respiratory System

The respiratory system is responsible for the proper delivery of oxygen into the lungs, as well as the disposal of harmful carbon dioxide through the process of exhaling. The respiratory system depends on an adequate supply of blood to perform optimally. Massage therapy can enhance and improve the respiratory system by increasing lung capacity, promoting the function of the pulmonary system, improving the function of the diaphragm, slowing and deepening the breathing pattern, decreasing congestion and promoting overall relaxation.

Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is an extremely vital component of our immune system. This system includes various tissue, nodules, and other components which are used to transport and carry various bodily fluids throughout the body. When an individual becomes sick, it’s often due to an inadequately functioning lymphatic system. Professional massage therapists can enhance and improve the lymphatic system by alleviating any swelling and inflammation that is present. Furthermore, massage can decrease sinus congestion, reduce and soften scar tissue, promote blood circulation and decrease swelling in and around the lymph nodes.

Urinary System

For the human body to perform optimally, it is important to have a healthy, functioning urinary tract system. Waste material and other byproducts that are not necessary for the functioning of the human body are expelled through the process of urination. Urea, which is a byproduct of blood production, must be expelled to prevent blood toxicity. The urinary tract is connected to the kidneys, where the urea must first be filtered out and removed. Massage therapy plays a vital role in a properly functioning urinary tract. Massage can engage the urinary tract and helps increase urinary output. In addition, massage therapy can reduce fluid retention, which is vital in maintaining a healthy heart. Massage also promotes liver and kidney health, and aids muscles in releasing built up toxins and lactic acid.

Immune System

A person’s overall health and wellbeing is heavily dependent upon an adequately functioning and strong immune system. The immune system helps protect individuals from contracting viruses and a variety of other contagious conditions. When a person contracts a virus or other illness, the immune system goes to work and attacks the virus by sending out lymphocytes. These lymphocytes work to attack virus cells, eliminating them until the body is free from illness. If a person has an inadequate immune system, they are left completely vulnerable to contracting a contagious virus and may even be at risk of premature death. Massage therapy enhances the immune system primarily by reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone,” has been known to have a negative impact on the body’s immune system. If a person experiences chronic stress, their chances of getting sick increases significantly. Massage therapy decreases cortisol levels, therefore strengthening the immune system, and enhancing the body’s overall health and wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

A career in massage therapy is both fulfilling and rewarding. Massage therapists play a vital role in decreasing a person’s stress levels, relieving pain and tension, reducing anxiety, and promoting good health. They are in high demand, with the field expected to grow throughout the next ten years. With massage therapy, you can enjoy a flexible schedule, choose to work in a variety of environments and specialties, and enjoy the satisfaction of helping people feel better. Not only can a career in massage therapy increase other people’s quality of life, but it can also increase your own personal happiness and satisfaction knowing that you have made a positive difference in other’s lives.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What are the Benefits of a Part Time Massage Program?

woman learning massage therapy

If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist but are unable to attend classes during their normal schedule, you are in luck. Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers part-time massage classes during the evenings. You will attend classes for 10.5 to 17.5 hours per week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 9:30pm and every other Saturday 9am to 4:30p. You can take up to 55 weeks to complete the massage therapy program.

Even though you will be attending part-time, you will still gain invaluable training in everything that you learn during a full-time schedule like massage techniques, rehabilitation and introduction to spa techniques. Further, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology and medical terminology to better prepare your massage plans, better understanding how body mechanics work together. You will learn about business practices if you want to work at a franchise massage business or start your own massage service offering. The best part about the part-time massage therapy program is the extended time putting theory and classroom lecture to work during clinical labs. Practice makes perfect, and you get a lot of practice during this part-time massage therapy program.

Benefit #1: A More flexible Schedule

Some of us still need to work during the day to pay the bills while we work toward our new career. The ability to attend a massage therapy program part-time will allow you to stay employed while you achieve your career aspirations.

Also, if you have other responsibilities during the day like taking care of family members, the part-time massage program can still help you transition to the growing industry of massage while attending part-time. Take the time to complete a massage therapy program and start a secure and growing career field for you and your family.

Benefit #2: Learn Relevant Skills

Even if it takes a little longer to graduate from a part-time massage program, you will still learn everything you need to be a successful massage therapist. These skills include physical stamina, dexterity, communication, time management, as well as problem-solving skills.

Physical Stamina – a full massage can take 60 to 90 minutes to administer, and a massage therapist is on their feet for most of the time. During a massage therapy program, you will learn the proper stance (like the Warrior Stance) to manage this time on your feet. Another way you will learn to mitigate the strain of standing for extended periods of time is with stretching and aerobic exercise.

Dexterity – during a massage therapy session, you will use your fingers, hands and elbows to help put pressure on trigger points and manipulate soft tissue. These techniques take dexterity in your fingers and hands. You will learn different ways to improve dexterity including hand stretching exercises that will help keep you from cramping up during a massage session.

Communication – much of what you will be doing is working with clients, offering them massage. You will be communicating with both clients and colleagues. You will also be writing up reports and taking notes about client’s performance. Communication is a key component in being a successful massage therapist.

Not only will you need to hear what a client is saying to you but also understand the client’s body language. Are they wincing due to pain? Are you applying too much pressure? Part of good communication is active listening and monitoring body language. Listen to your client and they will tell you volumes of information.

Time Management – the only way to make a good income from massage is to work with multiple clients. However, it is important to keep appointments, not to be late or stack appointments one on top of another. Clients do not like to be kept waiting. This is the biggest complaint of most clients, and this can cause a client to go to another massage therapist.

You also may only have as little as 15 minutes to perform a chair massage. Making sure you massage all the important parts of the client’s body is important, especially if you are offering a short session. Longer sessions offer a better opportunity to manage time and focus on trigger points and knots that the client may have, without missing out on the other parts of the client’s body.

Problem Solving Skills – do you have a client that is late for an appointment? Ran out of clean towels? There are always going to be problems that arise, it is how you solve those problems that will let your clients know you are a good problem solver. The best scenario is that the client doesn’t even know you have a problem, because you fixed it before they even noticed.

Massage Techniques You Learn During a Part-Time Program

During a part-time massage therapy program, you still learn all the massage techniques you will need to succeed. From Swedish and deep tissue to chair, Thai, hot stone, sports, prenatal and reflexology. Each technique has a different use case, and the right combination can help you help your clients with pain, stress, poor circulation and other bodily issues.

Swedish Massage – the most common and most requested massage techniques. It is the foundation for many other techniques like deep tissue, chair massage and sports massage. The massage technique uses smooth, gliding strokes (effleurage), squeezing, rolling and kneading (petrissage), deep, circular movements (friction) and short, alternating taps (tapotement).

Deep Tissue Massage – uses slow strokes to focus pressure on muscles, tendons and deep tissues under the skin.

Chair Massage – a mobile way for you to offer a Swedish massage to the upper body. You will massage the client’s neck, shoulders, back, hands, and arms to reduce tension and improve blood circulation.

Thai Massage – an active version of massage, where the client participates in stretching and yoga like possess in tandem with you, the massage therapist.

Hot Stone Massage – massage that uses hot stones placed on specific points of the client’s body to enhance massage and relax muscles. Using the stones while offering massage allows you to apply deeper pressure without causing discomfort.

Sports Massage – a form of Swedish massage that focuses on one area of the body. Whether overexerted from excessive movement or injury, sports massage can help overused and stressed muscles relax and rejuvenate. Sports massage can also be good for athletes during warm up and cool down sessions.

Prenatal/Post-Natal Massage – massage can help mothers-to-be during prenatal and post-natal periods of childbirth. This massage can help a woman that is pregnant or just given birth manage the stress, pain and discomfort that comes with excessive weight in the stomach and on the back.

Reflexology – uses your hands, thumbs, and fingers to stimulate the client’s hands and feet. The theory of reflexology is that there are pressure points on the hands and feet that correspond to different parts of the body. Pressure on these points can help promote relaxation, increase circulation and support the functions of the entire body.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to become a massage therapist? Taking a part-time massage program is a great way to keep your daily responsibilities in check and continue your journey to a new career as a massage therapist. If you are ready to work in a growing industry and help others at the same time, then becoming a massage therapist may be the best career path for you.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Do You Become a Medical Massage Therapist?

medical massage therapist helping a client

Massage therapy is embraced by mainstream medicine as an effective, drug-free way to reduce stiffness, ease pain and heal injuries. It’s a benefit for patients and an exciting career opportunity for people with a passion for health. But there’s a difference between medical massage and the typical bodywork practiced in the community. Both are wellness-driven, but medical massage is a doctor-ordered intervention designed to complement an existing treatment plan for a health condition, it requires additional skills. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a medical massage therapist.

What’s the Difference Between a Massage Therapist and Medical Massage Therapist?

Massage therapists work in a wide range of settings using bodywork to relieve stress. The techniques are similar and given that stress contributes to many health conditions, regular massage can improve a patient’s general well-being, but it’s not geared to treat a specific ailment.

Medical massage therapists partner with doctors, hospitals, and clinics to provide medically focused massage. Designed to improve function by relieving pain, healing injuries, and enhancing circulation, it complements other therapies from meditation to surgery and, in most cases, is covered by the patient’s insurer.

What Does a Medical Massage Therapist Do?

Medical massage therapists are trained, licensed massage therapists who treat physician-diagnosed conditions. Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating discomfort and associated symptoms related to other health conditions. Massage therapy, like physical therapy, is just one more treatment option a doctor can offer.

Combining traditional and complementary medicine is long overdue. This so-called integrative approach is more holistic, and it works. More doctors are emphasizing alternative treatments, like medical massage, and insurers are covering the costs. As a medical massage therapist, you’ll help patients heal by:

Improving Circulation

Good circulation is essential for healing, and massage enhances it in several ways, depending on the problem and the treatment goal. Kneading techniques, for example, can push nutrient-dense blood to injured tissue, providing it with the vitamins, minerals, and oxygen it needs.

But it can also reduce persistent fluid buildup caused by injury. When soft tissue is damaged, the localized inflammatory reaction is beneficial in the early stages of healing, but if it lasts too long, it causes pain and impairs further recovery. Pushing fluid away from an injury site can alleviate discomfort and restore normal range of motion, so patients can then exercise and regain their usual function. People with lymphatic drainage disorders also benefit from improved circulation. Excessive lymph fluid in limbs causes pain, immobility and skin ulcers that can lead to infections.

Since movement is the natural way to keep blood and lymph circulating freely, any treatment that eases discomfort and encourages exercise helps restore physical function. Many fibromyalgia patients who get massages report significant relief of muscle pain and better exercise tolerance.

Preventing Compensatory Injury

People with injuries often compensate for them by changing the way they move. A patient who’s had a hip replacement, for example, may develop pain in the lower back and opposite hip as they use those muscles more to avoid pain on the healing side. In combination with physical therapy, massage can ease discomfort in both hips. By intervening with massage soon after a procedure, patients are less likely to overuse, or under-use affected muscles in a way that impairs their range of motion or puts stress on other parts of their bodies. Quick management speeds the healing process.

Breaking Up Scar Tissue

Scar tissue at an injury site can cause pain by impinging on surrounding nerves and muscles. Collagen fibers form thick bundles, creating lumps that can be felt just beneath the skin’s surface. Medical massage can break up those fibers, relieving discomfort. Performed soon after surgery, it may minimize the formation of scar tissue.

Relieving Muscle Tension

Muscle tension can be debilitating for office workers. Sitting for long hours, their shoulders tend to hunch over, resulting in neck and shoulder pain. Medical massage not only relieves the discomfort, but it also makes relearning proper posture easier by loosening up the muscles used to sit up straight.

A medical massage therapist can use the same principles to treat performance athletes referred by sport’s doctors. A minor injury or overexercise can set a training schedule back for months, ruining the athlete’s ability to compete.

Managing Trigger Points

Trigger points are tiny tears in soft tissue caused by muscle injuries or repetitive stress. If they don’t heal in a timely manner, the muscle fibers form knots, known as trigger points, can impair circulation and cause pain. Muscles don’t relax as they should, impairing recovery from exercise. Painful trigger points may also compromise the delicate balance between opposing muscle groups, causing compensatory injuries and joint disorders.

Reducing Inflammation

How well we heal is partially genetic. Whether it’s after exercise or post-surgery, genes help control how quickly we recover. Massage may trigger an improvement in the genetic response, reducing inflammation and promoting healing at the cellular level. It’s proof-positive that as a complementary therapy, medical massage is effective.

Fighting Pain with the Brain

Our bodies manage pain naturally with endorphins, narcotic-like chemicals produced in the brain in response to physical and emotional stress. Medical massage has a similar effect, increasing endorphin production. Other hormones associated with pain, such as serotonin and dopamine, rise more during a massage. These substances not only affect how we perceive pain, but they also help muscles relax.

How Do You Become a Medical Massage Therapist?

With dedication and experience, any licensed massage therapist can enter the medical massage field by following these simple steps:

Step #1: Graduate from an Accredited Massage Therapy Program

The first step is to complete a vocational school massage therapy program. You can aim for a degree, but a certificate or diploma program will get you out of the classroom and into the field faster with the same qualifications. The diploma program will qualify you to take the MBLEx exam, used by almost all states for licensing applicants.

Step #2: Pass the MBLEx Exam

Most states require a license to practice massage therapy. It wasn’t always that way, but it’s a responsible way to protect the public. In response to complaints about unreliable operators with no qualifications, dozens of states met with leaders in the field to find ways to assess massage therapists’ skills. In 2005, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards was formed and the MBLEx, the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, was created.

Vocational school programs prepare students for the MBLEx. Once you’ve satisfied the education requirements, you’ll apply to take the test, so you can get your license. The exam covers seven key areas:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution and Special Populations
  • Patient Assessment, Reassessment and Treatment Planning
  • Benefits and Physiological Effects of Soft Tissue Manipulation Techniques
  • Ethic, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice

It assesses your understanding of what you learned in school, while no demonstration is required. Although the test doesn’t certify you as a “medical” massage therapist, it evaluates what you know about anatomy, pathology and other health concerns that will ultimately impact your future practice.

Step #3: Gain Experience

Most states don’t make a distinction between regular and medical massage therapists, the skills are the same, only their application differs. With a background in healthcare, even a new graduate could get into the field without much experience. But practically speaking, doctors expect a certain level of knowledge and skill before they’ll refer patients, something that’s proven only through experience.

Graduates with an interest in medical massage should look for jobs that provide a wide range of experiences and build soft skills. Medical massage therapists need to be as people oriented as nurses.

Not all experience has to be compensated. Connect with massage therapists in the field and ask about job shadow opportunities or volunteer to work with an interested physician, hospices always welcome help. Gaining a single patient can secure your future. Until you do, the most effective way to grow your career is to seek new experiences and never stop learning.

Step 4: Continue Your Education

Graduating from a vocational school is just the first step toward beginning a medical massage career. You’ll need to learn more about the conditions you want to help doctors treat. If you’re interested in sports medicine, enroll in seminars that teach those skills.

Each class contributes your general knowledge base and gives you a closer look at specialties you may be interested in. They also support you in the final step toward becoming a medical massage therapist, becoming certified.

Step #5: Become Certified by the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA)

The American Medical Massage Association offers a first-of-its-kind certification exam for medical massage therapy. Passing it demonstrates you have the knowledge to practice safely in a medical environment. It’s the culmination of all the hard work you’ve done to hone your skills. It’s the pat on the back you deserve and just what your resume needs to get your first job in the field.

Final Thoughts

The majority of visits to the doctor’s office in the US are for pain. Medical massage is an important complementary treatment that alleviates discomfort and promotes healing. It’s a growing industry that doctors and insurers are lining up to support because it works. It’s a ground-floor opportunity for wellness enthusiasts to train for a rewarding career.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Fastest Way to Become a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist providing services for their client

Interested in quickly becoming a massage therapist? This profession offers flexibility, low stress and job satisfaction. Massage therapists can also choose their workplace, with options at resorts, massage franchises, salons, from home and at office buildings. If you are interested in this fast-growing profession, the first and fastest step to becoming a massage therapist is getting a formal education at a vocational school.

Although there are many different specialties, most massage therapists specialize in one area. With full-time attendance, the massage therapy program can be completed in just 12 months. You will be able to decide your specialization after learning the different massage techniques in a vocational program.

What Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist must have a high school diploma in addition to a certificate from a vocational school. A licensure examination is administered twice per year. There are often city requirements to legally conduct business as a massage therapist and some municipalities work under licenses. To receive a license, certification must be taken to Officials or the City Clerk for certification verification.

A background check is required for licensing, and the applicant must pay a fee. Once this process is complete, the applicant is licensed to perform massages in that city. Once licensed, specific obligations, professional accountability, disciplinary actions, investigations and client bills of rights must be reported. It is important to find a school that offers curriculum that meets the standards of the National Standard for Massage Therapy. This ensures that you are eligible to take a national exam called the MBLEX.

MBLEx is an appreciation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. This is a standard exam created to test the critical knowledge required to practice massage. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers this test and has received recognition as a United States professional organization.

The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions. Each student has two hours to complete the exam at an authorized testing center. The sections included on the exam are:

  • Special Populations, Areas of Caution, Contraindications and Pathology
  • Treatment Planning, Reassessment and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice
  • Physiological Effects and Benefits of Techniques Manipulating Soft Tissue
  • Kinesiology
  • Regulations, Laws, Boundaries and Ethics

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

The courses taught at a vocational school study the human body, how the mechanics of the body work and the location of tissues, muscles and organs. Typical courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Labs
  • Business Practices
  • Medical terminology
  • Body mechanics
  • Massage ethics

A massage therapist also learns multiple techniques including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Sport therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Hot stone massages

All of this knowledge is necessary to succeed in a career as a massage therapist and manage the pain and stress of others. In addition to the essentials required to work as a massage therapist, courses including business management and ethics are just as important. Not only does a massage therapist need to understand the basics to help clients, but they also need to establish good relationships. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client must be professional and consist of both commitment and trust.

Hands-on Training

Vocational school teaches you the best way to build relationships, the value of ethics, how to run a business and dealing with clients on an intimate basis. Hands-on training is the backbone of massage therapy education. Every student receives hands-on training. You will learn how to perform massage on real people, classmates and at student run massage clinics. In the end, you learn what is necessary to become a successful and happy massage therapist. Ensuring the comfort of clients, proper hygiene and the importance of kindness.

Proper Hygiene

Vocational schools teach the importance of hygiene for all materials used including tables and hands. This is when you develop good bedside manners for clients and classmates. Learning how to listen and communicate is an extremely important skill for a massage therapist because it promotes a feeling of relaxation resulting in fluid and calming sessions for clients. To become a successful massage therapist, certain skills must be mastered. The good news is you will enjoy learning and practicing theses skills while mastering them in a massage therapy program.

Communication and Camaraderie

One of the most delightful yet unexpected things you will learn while attending school is camaraderie. As the months pass, strong bonds, close relationships and amazing friendships will form with other students. You will learn and grow together. You simply know you are never alone, there is always a connection and students in your massage classes often start to feel like family.

Proper Massage Technique

Once you become a massage therapist, the self-care techniques taught become standard practice and invaluable. When you are massaging a client, your body mechanics, movement and breath must be consistent. Remaining hydrated and consuming a healthy diet will help. Many massage therapists remain calm, connected and in a mindful state when working with clients by practicing quiet meditation. When you are not working with a client, try physical exercise, receiving regular massages and meditation to help preserve your focus and enthusiasm.

How Do You Find a Job After Graduation?

There are numerous ways to find a good job once your graduate. The vocational school offers career services and there are job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn that offer networking. It is also important to talk to spa managers within the community. Employers in different environments hire massage therapists including hospitals and retirement facilities. You can work for someone else or establish a small business. Attracting a steady client base is dependent on professionalism and friendliness.

The best part of becoming a massage therapist is the ability to make clients feel better while earning a living. The demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase 21 percent between 2019 and 2029. Once you decide whether to open a practice, work for a business or work alone, your career will begin in this growing industry.

Start a Small Massage Business?

Running a small business offers benefits including flexibility and freedom. You decide the type of space to work in, which hours and days you will be available and determine your own scheduling and fees. All of the revenue earned is yours. If you enjoy working alone, you perform every job and decide whether an assistant or any employees are necessary.

Running a small business is expensive and involves handling all costs associated with the business such as licenses, rent, equipment and advertising. A sole practitioner does not receive the same benefits as a massage therapist working for an employer. Working for an employer means a specific schedule must be maintained including availability, hours and treatments.

Work for a Franchisee Massage Employer?

Certain employers will require you to perform additional administrative duties in addition to massage. The benefit of working for a franchise massage employer is a career offering a wide variety of choices and responsibilities. One of the most important considerations is equipment. Establishing a business as a massage therapist includes purchasing all of the necessary equipment as opposed to having everything provided by an employer.

Some employers pay for continuing education and training. Whether you decide to work for yourself or as part of a team, becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career. Prior to deciding which course is right for your individual needs, consider your personality, preferences, the option best suited to your temperament and how to provide clients with the best possible experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to open a business by yourself, with a team or work for someone else is an important decision. However, the first step you need to take is deciding whether a career as a massage therapist is right for your needs. Once you enroll in vocational school, you’re on the fastest path to your dream career.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Difference Between a Swedish Massage and a Regular Massage?

Massage therapist helping a client

Did you know that you can become a massage therapist in as little as 12 months, attending full-time? Interested in learning the difference between Swedish massage and regular massages? There are many different types of massage that you will learn during a massage therapy program at a vocational school, from Swedish massage to Himalayan hot stone and everything in between. Many massages derive their technique from Swedish massage, but each has a different technique and use. No one type of massage is better than another, but their goals vary. As a massage therapist, you should choose the type of massage that best suits the clients’ unique needs. Whether it is deep tissue massage that offers more pressure or chair massage that uses Swedish massage on the upper body, it is important to learn about the different types of massage so you can create a unique massage plan for your clients.

Swedish Massage History

Swedish massage was invented by Pehr Henrik Ling, in the 19th century. Injured himself, Pehr created a unique massage technique based on an early form of massage using percussion strokes. The massage technique originated in Sweden was brought back to the US in the mid-19th century. The traditional version of Swedish massage included five massage strokes: vibration, petrissage, friction, effleurage and tapotement.

Vibration – as a massage therapist, you will use the palm of your hand to massage in a back-and-forth motion to loosen muscles with vigorous vibration.

Petrissage – a deeper stroke to knead muscles. Using the knuckles and thumbs, you dig deep to prepare the muscles for further massage.

Friction – you use a rubbing action with your hands to produce heat and then place the heat on the muscles to warm them.

Effleurage – use of long gliding strokes to reduce tension in the muscles.

Tapotement – a fast tapping or patting of the muscles with a hand, soft fist and fingertips.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapy?

During your massage therapy program, you will learn about Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, and Himalayan hot stone. It is important to learn many different types of massage in order to tailor a unique plan for each individual client. They will have unique ailments and pain thresholds that will require different types of massage. The main massage type and one that many massage techniques derive from is Swedish massage.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage, also known Western Massage is the basis of most massage therapy performed in America today. It is the most common form of massage found in spas, health clubs, and private practices. Swedish massage techniques aid in the circulation of blood and lymph, relaxing muscles, improving joint mobility, and inducing general relaxation. Some Swedish techniques include; effleurage: sliding or gliding over the skin with a smooth continues motion, Petrissage: lifting wringing or squeezing soft tissues in a kneading motion, Friction: rubbing one surface over another repeatedly to create heat and stimulate the skin, Tapotement: a series of brisk rhythmic percussive movements that have a stimulating effect, Vibration: oscillating, quivering, or trembling motion used to stimulate digestion or bring greater circulation to a muscle to help it relax. Each massage technique produces a different effect that aids in the decrease of muscle tension and increase relaxation. 

Deep Tissue Massage

The massage techniques used in deep tissue massage mirror that of Swedish massage. However, deep tissue massage also involves the use of deeper pressure and trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy involves the identification and deactivation of painful fibrous nodules in muscles and connective tissue called trigger points. Trigger points can be felt as taut bands of tissue that elicit pain if pressed and that refer pain to other areas of the body. The deactivation of trigger points allows muscle tension to decrease and allows more blood flow to the muscle. Deep tissue therapy, although more intense than Swedish massage, can be extremely beneficial to a person’s overall health and well-being.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is the application of massage and related techniques to maintain the health of an athlete to enhance athletic performance. Sports massage is based on traditional western massage techniques. Most of the principals of sports massage are applicable to anyone engaged in physical fitness activities. Sports massage helps care for the wear and tear and minor injuries sustained in the performance of any strenuous physical activity. Some techniques are used more than others, depending on the situation and desired results. Techniques are applied very specifically to certain muscles and tendons; therefore, sports massage specialists have well developed palpation skills and knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy.  

Chair Massage

Derived from Swedish massage, chair massage focuses on the upper part of the body. The client sits in a chair designed for massage. As a massage therapist, you massage the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands to relieve stress and tension. Many offices will bring in a massage therapist to perform chair massage on employees that sit for extended periods of the day and need relief from stiffness and repetitive motions. Chair massages are also common in malls, casinos, and other open environments for clients that are on their feet or sitting for extended periods of time.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a form of Swedish massage that is performed on mothers-to-be when they are pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around a baby for up to nine months. The main purpose of prenatal massage is to relieve back and neck pain. While a client may lie face down during a Swedish massage, a prenatal massage has the client lay with special cushioning to help them lie down properly without putting pression on blood vessels that can disrupt blood flow to the baby. It is important for you to have your client get permission from their doctor before engaging in prenatal massage as the doctor will know about the contraindicators of massage for that specific client. Prenatal massage has been considered safe after the first trimester and also can be used for post-partum depression after the baby is born.

Prenatal massage is used to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension, according to the American Pregnancy Organization. Prenatal massage can also be used to decrease the symptoms of depression, improve labor outcomes as well as improve newborn health.

Himalayan Hot Stone

A hot stone massage uses hot or cold stones to induce relaxation and relieve pain. The most common type of stone used today is basalt, smooth, flat volcanic rocks that retain heat and are thought to channel healing energies. Himalayan hot stone massage uses hot stones with minerals to exfoliate the skin, softening the client’s skin. Himalayan hot stones give off negative ions to balance out the positive ions that cause inflammation in the body. Himalayan hot stone massage helps reduce stress, offering a calm and warm atmosphere.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do Day-to-Day?

A massage therapist’s job is to relieve the stress and tension of a client’s body by manipulating muscles and soft tissue with different types of massage therapy techniques. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a massage therapist will communicate with clients to understand their symptoms, medical histories and massage goals. They will evaluate the client’s body to better understand which massage technique will help relieved muscle pain and restore range of motion. The massage therapist will help educate clients in between appointments to stretch, strengthen and relax their bodies and improve posture. They will also document the client’s condition and record the progress of the massage therapy treatment.

A massage therapist may work in a spa or resort, open up their own business location or travel to client’s residence and commercial buildings to offer massage to their clients. After graduating from an accredited vocational school that offers a massage therapy program, the massage therapist will work to pass the licensing exam. Once the massage therapist is licensed, they may start seeing clients for massage therapy sessions.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between Swedish massage and regular massage, are you interested in learning more about massage therapy? Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career and allows you to help others that are experiencing acute or chronic pain. You work with all types of clients, from office workers to pregnant mothers-to-be. If you are interested in starting a satisfying career, then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for massage therapist is expected to grow 21 percent in the coming decade. In the face of technology and outsourcing, a massage therapist will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.