Why Does a Massage Therapist Need to Know Anatomy?

Are you thinking about pursuing a career as a massage therapist? A professional massage therapist works with clients to relieve their aches and pains through a series of massage therapy techniques. Massage therapists play a vital role in the personal service industry, and enjoy a fulfilling career of helping people relax, unwind, and improve their sense of wellbeing. However, before we talk about the role of anatomy in massage therapy, what exactly does a massage therapist do?

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

A massage therapist provides relief to their clients using their hands, fingers, elbows and arms to apply purposeful pressure to the affected areas of the client’s body. Massage can play a vital role in improving a person’s mental health. Massage therapists often perform these skills in conjunction with their client’s treatment plan.

Massage therapists learn great communication skills to provide their clients with the proper pressure and relief from pain. Massage therapists are also well versed in many massage therapy techniques. These techniques have all been created to facilitate healing and provide symptom relief, as well as to enhance a client’s mental health and promote relaxation.

How Can You Become a Massage Therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist can be achieved by enrolling in a vocational school and successfully completing the program. Most massage therapy programs can be completed in under a year, teaching you the many massage techniques and allowing you to practice your technique on real clients in a student run salon. When you complete the massage therapy program you will be ready to take on real clients of your own.

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

While enrolled in a massage therapy program, you will gain insight and knowledge to perform many massage techniques and understand how the body works. Following are a few of the main subjects you will cover while enrolled in vocational school.

Massage Techniques

You will become proficient in performing many massage and bodywork techniques. During your training you will learn how to perform several of the most common massage techniques in the industry. These techniques include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, and many others. By learning several different techniques, you will increase your marketability, be able to create a unique plan for each client, as well as the number of people you are able to help.


Kinesiology is the study of the human body moves. Kinesiology focuses on three specific movements. These movements are isometric, isotonic, and isokinetic movements. During your program you will study kinesiology to fully understand how to work with each muscle group to promote effective pain relief and increase a client’s overall well-being.


As a massage therapist, you will work with unique clientele. Some may be looking for an hour of deep relaxation after a particularly busy work week. Others may be seeking symptom relief from a serious or progressive disease. As a massage therapist, it is important for you to know how disease progresses within the human body, as well as how a disease manifests itself in the form of pain or other serious symptoms. During this course you will learn how to work with a client who may have a serious medical condition, as well as what precautions you should take before, during, and after the massage therapy session.

Professional Business Practices

Working as a professional massage therapist has its fair share of rewards. For this reason, it is important to be business savvy in this industry. During this course, you will learn how to run a professional massage therapy business, advertise your business, and budget wisely. This course will deepen your understanding of the massage therapy industry, as well as help you develop proficient business skills so that you are able to build a successful enterprise.

Medical Terminology

It is important for a massage therapist to understand medical terminology. Not only will this enable you to understand your coursework but understanding medical terminology will also allow you to develop an effective treatment plan for each client. During this course you will deepen your understanding of common medical terminology for massage therapy, as well as learn how to apply this terminology within the work setting.

Anatomy & Physiology

Massage therapists are trained to deliver effective therapeutic techniques to address a client’s aches and pains. Because of this, they must demonstrate a deep understanding of the anatomy of the body, as well as how each body system works together and affects the overall wellbeing of the client. During this course you will learn about the different body systems and how they interact and affect the body as a whole.

Why Does a Massage Therapist Need to Know Anatomy?

The very nature of massage therapy involves working closely with a client’s body. By providing massage services for clients, a massage therapist can have a huge impact on their client’s mental wellbeing as well as their physical health. By developing a thorough working knowledge of the human anatomy, you will enhance your understanding of the intricacies of various body systems as well as how they can cause pain or enhance relaxation.

11 Body Systems

The body is made up of 11 unique body systems, from muscular, skeletal and nervous system to the all-important immune systems. Learning how these body systems work will allow you to perform massage to improve the wellbeing of a client. Not only relieving stress but improving blood circulation, removing toxins, and boosting the immune system. Each body system has a role to play in the body and understanding this will allow you to better help clients with massage.

Understand the Effects of Massage

Each massage technique is used for a unique reason. As a massage therapist, you will create unique massage plans for each client based on their symptoms and concerns. Understanding how massage effects the body will dictate the technique. Some clients will want the benefits of deep tissue massage while others may need massage in a unique muscle from a sports injury. Understanding the effects of massage on the body can give you a roadmap to help your clients.

Prenatal Massage

During a pregnancy, it is important not to massage the client’s legs because it can cause blood clots. This is an important issue to remember when offering prenatal massage. Pregnancy can cause aches and pains from overused muscles, but massage can help relieve the pain of all the extra weigh that the baby places on the shoulders and back. Anatomy helps you understand the contraindicators of massage therapy.

What are the Benefits of a Vocational School?

Are you interested in learning more about the massage therapy industry? As a massage therapist, you will enjoy a highly rewarding career that allows you to make a positive difference in the lives of your clients every day. You will enjoy steady work, gainful employment, and a flexible job schedule. Start your journey towards this exciting career field by enrolling in a vocational school for massage therapists today.

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 13 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.

Why Is It Important to Study Anatomy in Cosmetology?

Cosmetologist cutting hair

The world of cosmetology is diverse, and there are many skills cosmetology students learn that help them build successful careers including anatomy. You may dream about working at your community salon, opening your own salon, or working at a luxurious spa. It all begins with a vocational school program in cosmetology that teaches you skills you need to serve clients as well as grow as a professional in the beauty world.

Why Does Someone Become a Cosmetologist?

Future licensed cosmetologists begin their journey at school, following a passion for beauty in its many art forms. You may enjoy a job as a cosmetologist if:

  • Passionate about hair, nails, makeup, and fashion.
  • Value beauty in wellness and want to help people look and feel their best.
  • Already love helping friends and family with their style.
  • Makeup and beauty are your favorite hobbies, and you could easily see yourself focusing on them full-time.

A cosmetologist can be anyone, and one of the reasons so many are drawn to the field is that they recognize beauty as a celebration of self-expression and individuality. By learning fundamental and advanced techniques from leading teaching professionals in the field, you become equipped to uplift others through your own talents.

What Do You Learn in Cosmetology School?

A cosmetology program covers all the fundamental areas of the field, which include hair cutting, coloring & styling, nail care, manicures & pedicures, all types of makeup as well as anatomy and physiology.

In addition to learning how to shampoo, color, cut and style hair in a variety of ways, you also learn about different makeup styles, including everyday looks, runway makeup and special event makeup. Every skill is supported by a larger education, and the two most important fields you will learn are anatomy and physiology.

Why Is It Important to Study Anatomy in Cosmetology?

Anatomy is the study of the body’s structure while physiology is the study of the body’s interactive systems and processes. You may think such scientific fields aren’t necessary for a cosmetologist, but this is far from the truth.

Learning about anatomy teaches you how the hair and nails grow, how skin is affected by different products and the best way to prevent the spread of infection and disease. You also learn how the body’s immune system responds to different pathogens, including signs of allergic reactions to various types of beauty and makeup components.

Anatomy and physiology for cosmetologists study the body’s 12 systems to learn about skin health and care, hair growth, nail disorders and diseases, hair removal and more. The interaction between the body and beauty services impacts the way a cosmetologist performs their jobs.

Beauty Is Skin Deep

True beauty lies within a person, but for a cosmetologist, skin matters. The appearance of someone’s skin, including its type and texture, play a large role in the care they take when suggesting products and applying makeup on a client. Some clients may suffer from burns, rosacea, cystic acne, eczema, and other conditions that impact what type of products they can use.

During an anatomy course, you learn that the skin contains three layers. The epidermis is the top layer, which we physically see. This is the layer that you apply makeup and facials to. It acts as a waterproof barrier, protecting the body from all the different types of bacteria it encounters. The epidermis protects the dermis, which is directly underneath and holds sweat glands, hair follicles and connective tissue. Finally, there is the hypodermis, which is made of fat and more connective tissues.

A cosmetologist understands that what is visible is only part of the picture. The top layer of skin is affected by what is occurring beneath the surface. This knowledge helps them recognize potential reactions to different chemicals that may negatively affect the skin.

Identifying signs of an allergic reaction and knowing how to respond also comes from an understanding of the skin system and its role in cosmetology. A strong understanding of anatomy and physiology, from a beauty perspective, gives you the ability to protect your clients’ health and bring them a sense of safety in your presence.

Hair Growth, Loss and Removal

Knowing how to cut hair is not simply about learning techniques. Hair cutting & styling is also influenced by an understanding of hair structure, the growth cycle, and different types of hair loss.

Hair structure is one of the earliest subjects cosmetology students learn. Every hair you see on someone’s head grows from its own individual place called a follicle. These follicles are highly sensitive, and there is a bulb in each one that contains the growth cells for each strand of hair.

During an anatomy course, you will learn that there are three layers to the hair shaft, the hair that emerges from the scalp. It is made of the same material as nails, a strong protein called keratin. Keratin production is heavily impacted by a person’s diet. Protein, biotin, and vitamin A are the most essential nutrients for healthy hair and nails.

Hair Loss and Removal

Hair loss can be caused by high levels of stress, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, or an autoimmune disorder such as alopecia areata. Hair loss affects both men and women, and many people suffering from hair loss turn to a cosmetologist for help. By understanding how different products affect hair health, you can make suggestions on better shampoos and conditioners, hair loss treatments and volumizing products.

Hair removal procedures vary. You should not only understand a person’s skin type but also how their hair grows. This ensures you can make removal treatments most effective and minimize discomfort and irritation.

Nail Structure and Care

Manicures & pedicures focus as much on health as aesthetics. In fact, for the trained cosmetologist, applying the right care to a nail is the first step in any service. Like skin and hair, every nail on the human body is made of three layers. You learn during an anatomy course that the dorsal layer is the uppermost layer, similar to the epidermis of the skin. It contains the oldest layers of cells, which are buffed and removed during filing. The intermediate layer of the nail is the thickest, and the ventral layer is underneath. All three layers are composed of keratin, water and an organic compound called lipid.

By understanding how nails grow and what impacts their health, a cosmetologist can apply the right techniques, products and care to each client based on their own needs. You will discover that in cosmetology, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach.

Why Cosmetology Is a Personal Science

Students who want to become a licensed cosmetologist will discover, what you see on the outside of the body reflects what is going on inside the body. Likewise, what you apply to the body can have a big impact on a client’s health and wellness. Beauty experts are not merely people who know how to cut hair or apply makeup; they are professionals who recognize the beauty in the body itself.

On a superficial level, anatomy plays a large role in how a person looks after different services. The skilled cosmetologist does not pick a look and apply it based on preference. They study a person’s bone structure, skin texture and complexion to choose the right application techniques, colors, and styles. This ensures that every look enhances a person’s natural beauty and accentuates their best features. In some cases, makeup applications also help minimize or disguise certain characteristics.

How Do You Become a Cosmetologist?

Every cosmetology professional’s journey starts at a cosmetology school. By enrolling in an accredited program, you can start your path toward a career in hair, nails and/or makeup. Throughout your training, you will study under professionals with years of real experience, discover your talents and build on your potential. When you graduate, you will be prepared to move toward your license as a cosmetologist and even pursue a specialization. The sky is the limit.

Want to Learn More?

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments, and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.