What is Massage Therapy
Learn About Massage Therapy and How To Become Qualified To Run Your Own Practice
When people first decide they want to learn more about massage therapy, they will usually look at the qualification process for becoming certified and be very quickly put off. Getting a certificate, degree or diploma is not the same thing as becoming a fully certified massage therapist. You can get a certificate in massage therapy quite easily, usually by completing a set number of hours training in a single focussed area of massage therapy. While this will help towards your certification there will still be things about massage therapy that you need to learn before you will become certified.
The base qualification for a massage therapist is set by the National Certification Board For Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and includes no less than 500 hours of training at a school approved by the US department of Education, or by the State the candidate is based in. Candidates don't get the chance to specialize at this point, and must learn all about massage therapy, including a set number of hours of studying anatomy, body systems, kinetics, pathology and physiology. There is also a component of business and ethics in the training, and over 200 hours of practical bodywork and massage, as well as proper assessment. Once the internal course is complete the candidate must demonstrate what they learned about massage therapy by passing the NCBTMB exam(which includes both questions on the theory of massage therapy and a hands on assessment of the candidates practical skills).
The NCBTMB is a very thorough process, but in most states the requirements to practice also require a license. Some states will also require you to take ongoing training to ensure you know about massage therapy advances or new ideas. Our understanding of how the body works and interrelates is constantly evolving, so regardless of whether your state requires this from you, it's a good idea to stay up to date, and also presents a great opportunity to network with your colleagues and talk about massage therapy with others who practice it. The rules for running a massage therapy practice do vary from state to state and it's always a good idea to ensure you know exactly what is required of you before setting up a practice, especially as these rules an regulations do change from time to time.
Once you are certified you will know a huge amount about massage therapy. You will be able to improve clients muscle flexibility and show them how to maintain it, how to improve their circulation, improve stress levels and release muscle tension, and reduce hormone levels and calm nervous systems. Massage also improves the bodies natural immunity system and helps the body more efficiently eliminate toxins and waste products. Massage can reduce swelling in injuries and soften scars. The more you learn about massage therapy the more you will come to see it as a complete form of natural healing.
The benefits of learning about massage therapy and going on to start your own practice are immense. Not only will you have a business that will support you, you will also be working with real people and helping them with their problems. It is extremely rewarding to be able to help a person with an injury or ache, but when you finish learning about massage therapy and are fully trained you can help with so much more than just tension and stress. Qualified massage therapists can assist with headaches, musculoskeletal pain, constipation, whiplash and sports injuries. Generally a massage therapist will work with a more holistic view of the body that other therapists and this can benefit the client in more ways than they intended when they first made an inquiry.
The other thing about massage therapy is that it is a skill for life. Massage Therapists are not bound to a single workplace by their career. There are a number of options open to them, including beginning their own practice, working in a family or clinic practice, or branching out to include cosmetology, oriental or alternative medicine and acupuncture into their services. There is also demand for massage therapists in hospitals, and an increasing tendency in the workplace to offer workplace massage services.
But whichever path you see yourself taking, it all starts with learning about massage therapy, practicing and gaining the correct qualifications.
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