‘I have been working for straight 12 hours trying to revise my paper on use of ICT in mathematics teaching. My back aches, and my arms, feet and body as well are tired. When I went home, I asked my daughter to massage my back, arms and hands. I resorted to an age-old solution to my body’s pains and aches’.
Archeologists have found ancient Egyptian paintings of people having massage 3,000 years before Christ (A Brief History of Massage Therapy, 2006). People, through the centuries, have used various forms of massage therapy to heal their bodies and ease their pains. Ancient Greeks and Romans used massage in their homes and in their bathhouses. However, its popularity declined after the fall of the Roman Empire. It regained its popularity when Dr. Per Henrik Ling, in 19th century developed the Swedish massage. Since then, the use of massage therapy has become part and parcel of everyday life all over the world.
The American Massage Therapy Association claims that consumers interested in alternative health care choose massage therapy approximately 80 percent of the time. Statistics in 2000 reported that nearly one in every five Americans received a professional massage, which translate to a combined US$ 5 billion spent for these visits (Massage Therapy Statistics, 2006). Instead of a pill or two to ease the pain, a consumer is seeking natural alternatives to health care and massage therapy is one of them.
Massage Therapy: Definition, Advantages/Benefits and Types
According to Cambridge Family YMCA, Massage Therapy is an age-old form of healing that helps the body in many different ways (n.d.) Massage has been used by all people of all cultures since long ago to improve one’s general health and vitality. According to Holistic Massage Therapy (2002), therapeutic massage relieves muscle tension and soreness; increases blood circulation; enhances deep relation; relieves stress and anxiety and thus improve immune function; increases mobility and flexibility; improves digestion; increases mental clarity; improves sleep; releases unexpressed emotions and heightens one’ awareness of mind-body connection.
People of all ages can benefit from massage therapy, including infants, children and senior citizens. Individuals going through stressful situation, athletes, pregnant women, people who sit or stand for long periods of time as well as anyone desiring to improve health and well being can benefit from massage therapy (Holistic Massage Therapy, 2002).
According to Massage Therapy Schools (2006), there are more than one hundred different types of massage and body work styles. It enumerated 11 of the predominant styles used in the majority of American clinics. These are acupressure, aromatherapy, deep tissue massage, healing touch, myofascial release massage, Qi Gong massage, reflexology, Shiatsu massage, Swedish massage, Thai massage and zero balancing massage. Moreover, sports massage, infant massage, prenatal massage (Moore, 2006) and neuromuscular therapy (Castello & Castello) are gaining fast ground.
Acupressure originated from ancient China. It uses the same specific points in acupuncture which are called the meridians. Pressure is applied on these points using the palms, fingers or thumbs. The result is restoration of energy flow, thereby relieving discomfort and lessening the ailment.
Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils in massage. Through the correct blending of aromatic and therapeutic oils, a massage therapist can affect an individual’s physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
Deep Tissue Massage is an advanced form of Swedish massage that uses the same basic strokes but with heavier pressure applied slowly and transversely across the deep layers of the muscle tissues. Not a relaxation massage, it is aimed at treating muscle injuries involving tendons and ligaments.
Healing Touch Massage employs gentle contact to expedite wound healing, encourage relaxation and prevents illness. This is often practiced by registered nurses.
Myofascial Massage Therapy loosens the fascia, the connective tissues which surround the muscles. This result to increased blood supply and stretched fascial tissues which in turn will increase motion and lessen discomfort.
Qi Gong Masasge is a form of Chinese massage which affects the Qi body of energy, as well as the muscles and circulatory system of the physical body. It is used to recover from stress, relieve many ailment and maintain health.
Reflexology Massage Therapy, with roots from ancient Egypt and China but developed by the Americans in the early 1990’s, uses specific massage techniques of the feet which have corresponding physical reaction on specific areas of the body. It is often used to reduce stress, maintain health and treat successfully arthritis, insomnia, headaches, fertility, digestive disorders and back pains.
Shiatsu Massage, developed in Japan and practiced in the West for about 25 years, is a modified acupressure. It incorporated current knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage therapy in America today. It has a specific sequence of movements which include stroking, kneading, rubbing, shaking, tapping, bending and stretching.
Thai massage started 2,500 years ago. It is a combination of Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicine preserved by Buddhist monks. It is performed in a mat placed on the floor, and involved a series of supported stretches similar to yoga position wherein the therapist uses many parts of his/her body and rhythmically pulls, massage and extend the patient’s body. It is intended to stimulate the pressure of the meridian of the energy so that energy may one again flow freely.
Zero balancing massage combines the Western knowledge of anatomy with the Eastern understanding of body energy. It involves hand and finger contact with mostly bony structures creating a sense of calm and wellness when the session is finished.
Sports massage is gaining popularity among athletes. It uses specific massage techniques such as petrissage, frictions and effleurage. Petrissage is kneading of deep tissue and is used to relax and stretch muscles. Frictions, a painful procedure, separate muscle fibers, breaking down lesions and recent scar tissues. Effleurage uses stroking movements, which stimulate blood flow while relaxing the client. It is not advisable when athletes suffer acute trauma, especially sprained ligaments and muscle tears and infectious skin diseases (Join the active world of sports massage, 2006).
Infant massage provides a baby that certain touch that helps in their physiological and emotional development. With loving light strokes or comforting firm pressure, a series of massage techniques is done to baby’s feet, legs, tummy, chest, arms, face and back. These massage strokes allow a parent to communicate to their child in his or her first language that is touch (Tucker, 2002)
Prenatal massage is not advised during the first trimester of pregnancy, and should be done only with the go signal of her obstetrician. The practice of prenatal massage considers the ever changing body of the pregnant woman and adjusts techniques, positioning and intensity according to her needs. It is recommended once a week during the second trimester and twice a week at the third trimester. Julie More (2006) says of prenatal massage, “It is a truly significant experience for massage therapists who enjoy being a part of this amazing time in a woman’s life” Colorado Athletic Club Monaco (n.d.) described pre-natal massage as a light soothing massage for pregnant women to help relieve the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy. The mother is placed on her side with many pillows for comfort.
Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) is a very specific form of clinical therapeutic massage that treats the cause of muscle related conditions. It is considered the signature course of the Rising Spirit Institute (Castello & Castello, n.d.).
Massage Therapy as a Career
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the massage therapy industry would expand faster than most health care professionals (Massage Therapy Statistics, 2006). Furthermore, the National Certification and Board of Therapeutic Massage and Body Work reported that certification of therapists have increased by 25 percent every year since 1996. Despite the approximately 300,000 full-time and part-time massage therapists in the United States, there is an increasing demand for quality massage therapists (Massage Therapy Job Outlook, 2006).
According to the Association of Body Work and Massage Professionals, full-time massage therapists earned from $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Majority of practitioners, however, work substantially less than 40 hours a week and still earn close to $20,000 annually. Rates vary, from $25 to $110 an hour massage, depending on the region and the setting. Typical rates range from $50 to $60 an hour. Oftentimes, massage therapists charge clients more than $60 per hour. Based on a 30-hour work per week, some experienced therapists can still net more than $90,000 annually (Massage Therapy Career Statistics, 2006).
A fringe benefit a massage therapist would welcome is the luxury of travel. He or she can work on site or off-site. According to Massage Therapy Career Statistics (2006), majority of massage therapists travel to client’s location and nearly a third practice outside of their homes. Fourteen percent of Fortune 200 companies include massage as part of their employee’s benefit program. Massage can relieve stress in the workplace. Data mentioned by Four Lives Massage Center (n.d.) reveal that stress in the workplace costs employers an estimated $200 billion a year, in terms of reduced productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, higher health insurance costs and workman’s compensation claims.
In a rapidly growing and expanding field of massage therapy, an aspiring massage therapist should have a bare minimum of education essentials or more than enough to master the discipline. Ashley (2005) said that about half of the states in the United States have licensing laws, and many cities and localities have their own specific version of licensing laws. The minimum education set by legal requirements in a particular state or city wherein the massage therapist will practice her/his profession. This ranges from 330 to 100 contact hours, which can be earned between a few weeks to two years of training or schooling.
After earning the education essentials, he or she must pass the licensing tests to get the required certification to practice. Practitioners registered with the American Massage Therapy Association are 84 percent females, and more than half (57 percent) are 35 to 51 years old. Nearly half of the members of the association are bachelor degree holders (Massage Therapy Career Statistics, 2006).
Aside from the expertise, a massage therapist should aim to acquire certain traits that make her or him successful. According to Epps, these traits are nurturing and caring attitude, great dedication on the job, an extra miler (informing clients an update on massage therapy and the like), outgoing, smiling countenance, an appreciative and welcoming attitude and a passion for work. He or she should be able to make a connection with the client so there will be repeat services.
Massage Therapy as a Viable Enterprise
After graduation from a Massage Therapy school, the massage therapist has two main options. The first option is to work in various establishments, among them are chiropractor clinic, a medical clinic, rehabilitative therapy centers, salons, nursing homes, cruise ships, retirement centers, athletic/sports teams, corporate offices and community centers.
The second option is to engage in private practice. It could be a simple massage clinic or an upscale spa complex. Whatever it is, this is definitely opening a new business or enterprise. This involves certain risks as in any other business, but the income and growth potentials are better than just being employees. There is a need to raise capital to cover initial expenses such as space rental, equipment and marketing. The latter is an essential component of any business, particularly in the massage therapy industry, to be able to build up a client base. Marketing can be done by word of mouth from satisfied clients, print materials, advertisements in community newsletters and other materials and a website.
When asked “How long will it take for me to gain a thriving practice?”, Ashley (2005) has this to say: “This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Most successful practitioners reach a good practice level within two years, though some take longer. The answer will depend on your ambition and energy level, your local reputation, if any, the effectiveness of your marketing and networking efforts, the quality of your work, your personality, and the receptivity of the county you are practicing in”.
The Center for Health Studies reported that massage therapists were nearly three times as likely as conventional physicians to establish their own practice (Massage Therapy Career Statistics, 2006).
The need for massage therapists increases every year as people continually seek alternative strategies to relieve stress, aches and pains, as well as maintain good health and well-being. Be it a career or a practice, massage therapy can be financially, emotionally and socially rewarding.
The need for massage therapists increases every year as people seek alternative strategies to relieve stress, aches and pains as well as maintain good health and well-being. As a career and a practice, the massage therapy would be financially, emotionally, and socially rewarding. The pay would depend on one’s expertise and whether work is on full-time or part-time basis.
More than 36 states in the US have massage therapy schools. This is a reflection of the need for this kind of service. Massage therapy could be career for a person just starting out to work, or to a person needing a change in work or simply burn out with their jobs and wanted to explore an entirely new field, or a retiree who wanted to still work at his/her own page and wanted to be with people. Basically, a massage therapy is a work that brings out the social skills in a person.
Ashley, M. (2005). Massage Therapists Q & A. Natural Healers website
http://www.naturalhealers.com/qo/massagecareers.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Cambridge Family YMCA. (n.d.). Massage Therapy and Energy Healing… What’s it all about?
http://www.cambridgeymca.org/youngadult_masasge.html Retrieved May 19, 2006.
Castello, M and Castello, B. (n.d.). From the Director. Rising Spirit Institute of Natural Health School of Massage. http://www.risingspiritinstitute.com Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Colorado Athletic Club Monaco. (n.d.) Massage Services Available.
http://www.coloradoac.com/monaco/services.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Epps, Laurie. (2006). Personality Traits of a Successful Massage Therapist. Massage Therapy Schoolss http://www.massage-therapy-chools.us/massagetherapistpersonality.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Four Lives Massage Center (n.d.). http://www.fourlivesmassage.com/143396.html Retrieved
18 May 2006.
Massage Therapy Schools. (2006). Types of Massage Therapy.
http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/types.htm. Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Moore, J. (2006). Prenatal Massage: Helpful for Moms and Babies. http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/prenatalmassagearticle.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Tucker, S. (2002). See, hear, touch, taste, smell. An article printed in Take 5 Magazine, St. Louis, MO, May 2002. http://www.bcoh.org/Pages/Infant%20Massage.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
Research Paper Outline on Massage Therapy
I. Introduction: a brief history of massage therapy, as well as interesting statistics
II. Massage Therapy: its definition, benefits/advantages and types
III. Message Therapy as a Career : working conditions, job description, salary and compensation, career opportunities and requirements of the job
IV. Message Therapy as a Viable Enterprise
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URL (http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us). 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006, May 18). Massage Therapy Career Statistics. [WWW document]
URL (http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/carreerstats.html) 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). A Brief History of Massage Therapy Career Statistics. Massage Therapy Schools website. http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/carreerstats.html Retrieved 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). Massage Therapy and Related Careers. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/carreers.html 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006, May 18). Massage Therapy Career Information. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massaage-therapy-schools.us/careerinfo.html 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006, May 18). Holistic Medicine. [WWW document].
http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/holisticmedicine.html 18 May 2006.
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URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/physicaltherapy.html 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006, May 18). Chiropractors. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/chiropractor.html 18 May 2006.
No Author (2006, May 18). Should you start your own Massage Therapy Practice? [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/practicearticle.html 18 May 2006.
No Author (2006, May 18). Resources for Landing the Job: How do I market Myself after Massage
Therapy School? [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/jobopportunities.html 18 May 2006.
Epps, Laurie. (2006, May 18). Personality Traits of A Successful Massage Therapist. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/massagetherapistpersonality.html 18 May 2006.
Moore, Julie. (2006, May 18). Choosing the Perfect Massage Oil. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/massageoilarticle.html 18 May 2006.
No Author (2006, May 18). Types of Massage Therapy. [WWW document]
URL http://www.massage-therapy-schools.us/types.html 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). Rising Spirit Institute of Natural Health. [WWW document]
URL http://www.risingspiritinstitute.com 18 May 2006.
No Author (2006). Brentwood Center of Health. [WWW document]
URL http://www.bcoh.org 18 May 2006.
Tucker, Suzanne. (2002 May). See, hear, touch, smell. An article on Infant Masage as printed in Take 5 Magazine,
St. Louis, MO. URL http://www.bcoh.org/Pages/Infant%20Massage.html 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). Holistic Massage Therapy. [WWW document]
URL http://www.holisticmasagetherapy.com 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). Four Lives Massage Center. [WWW document]
URL http://www.fourlivesmassage.com 18 May 2006.
No Author. (2006). Massage Therapy and Energy Healing… What’s it all about? [WWW document]
URL http://www.cambridgeymca.org/youngadult_massage.html 18 May 2006.
18 May 2006.