The Hands-on Massage Therapist

December 2, 2012 in Medical Careers

massage therapist

The healthcare field has many fascinating and rewarding career opportunities available for every type of person.  One career would be that of a Massage Therapist.  If you enjoy helping others and working with your hands, it just may be the perfect job for you.

A massage therapist methodically applies focused, hands-on techniques to promote relaxation and increase circulation in the body’s soft tissues including muscles, tendons and connective tissue.  They do not work directly with bone structure within the skeleton, but all around it.

Massage therapist have many choices when it comes to their practice.  Many choose to practice independently, but a certified massage therapist can also work as part of a healthcare team including physicians, physical therapists, rehabilitation counselors, chiropractors and others.  Massage therapy is known to be a highly effective complementary and alternative medical therapy.

Therapeutic massage is used throughout the healthcare system.  It is employed in hospitals, long-term care facilities and private clinics for infant to elderly patients.  Massage is also frequently offered in wellness centers, drug treatment programs and pain clinics.

Almost all massage therapists in the U.S. are trained in Swedish and deep tissue techniques and may choose to specialize in other methods and adjunct modalities.  Some of these modalities include:  acupressure connective tissue massage, infant massage, Lomi-Lomi (Hawaiian massage), shiatsu, sports massage, Tui Na (Traditional Chinese Medical massage), and many others.

Education Needed

In order to become a massage therapist, you must graduate from an established program where you provide at least 500 hours of in-class, supervised instruction.  Some programs require up to 800 hours.  There are over 80 schools with accreditation from the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) and other massage training programs that are accredited by other organizations.

Many states are now requiring that massage therapists have a bachelor’s degree.  The standard massage curriculum contains coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, ethics, and business as well as practical, hands-on work in both basic and specialized massage techniques.

After graduation, you will need to become licensed by the state you intend to practice in.  There is also an optional national certification that is recommended because it increases both professional credibility and the likelihood of having your services covered by some health insurance providers.  The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) provides this certification if the massage therapist graduated from a state-licensed massage program with at least 500 hours of formal training and they have to pass the NCBTMB national exam.

For more information on becoming a massage therapist look into the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *