Friday, May 29, 2009

A Closer Look At Massage Therapy Training

By Bart Icles

Thinking of massage therapy training? Here's another look at the career as a profession, some background, the nature of work, employment opportunities and the training that you need to undergo.

According to the Department of Labor, there is an increasing trend on employment for this type of job, and projections up to year 2016 have been pegged at 20% increase for over a decade. One of the cited factors would be people realizing the benefits of massage therapy to their wellness. You also need to know that many states require formal training and national certification in order to practice.

Massage therapy has been around hundreds, even thousands of years. With different countries, its history has different origins, but they are all spawned from the idea of using touch as a healing method. Different ancient civilizations found that it can help heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent some illnesses. Some people thought it began as a sacred system of healing.

Massage therapy training does not only focus on knowing the applications in touch therapy. It depends whether people would need a massage for medical or for relaxation purposes. A massage therapist can specialize in over 80 types of massage called modalities. Some examples of modalities include Swedish massage, Acupressure, sports massage, aromatherapy, acrosage, Balinese, and hydrotherapy. Different materials are used for the wide array of modalities: oils, lotions, and creams to name a few. Some therapists even supply their own materials like sheets, pillows, and other customized materials depending on their specialization.

Massage therapists can work in both public and private settings. It can be in offices, gyms, spa and fitness centers or the homes of clients. The usual amenities employed are those which would help the client relax and be comfortable. An example setting for such would be in a somewhat dim environment with lighted scented candles and soft music playing. However, for some modalities, it can be just for 15-30 minutes, would not really require those amenities, and can be done in an office setting, even in malls and airports.

There are over a thousand schools offering post-secondary massage therapy. A wide range of training programs are available for those who are interested in massage therapy training. They even cover subjects about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and of course, hands-on practice of massage. After completing the training, many would take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Many states require this licensure exam in order for them to practice massage therapy. This credential must be renewed and they must have performed at least 200 hours of therapeutic massage and complete continuing education requirements.

Having good communication skills and a friendly, emphatic personality is a plus in your career as a massage therapist. Being able to make clients feel comfortable about the therapy and in you being the therapist is a very important ability.

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