Can you believe it? Some people still believe that doctors and massage therapists are at odds and that massage is “only for those who don’t believe in modern medicine”. The reality is, these ideas are simply not true. We know the truth about massage therapy, and we want to dispel the top 7 myths that we encounter about our craft.
1. Massage is for Relaxation ONLY
While massage therapy can be used for relaxation, it is not the only purpose. I bet you can think of a few sports teams that have an on-call massage therapist. Sports massage therapists can help athletes with pain relief and injury recovery. Massage therapy can also be used before or after games, meets, and matches to help create focus or to calm pre-game jitters.
2. You Can't Have a Massage if You're Pregnant
This myth is more than busted; there are several massage therapy techniques dedicated to helping those who are pregnant. Prenatal massage can help mom relax and rid her body of the aches that are often associated with carrying a child. Massage therapists can specialize in prenatal massage to better help their clients hone the power of massage therapy.
3. Massage Therapy Doesn't Work for Babies or Children
If you haven’t caught on by now, you might be surprised to learn that massage is for everyone. Babies and children can see positive side effects to massage much like an adult. Massage can aid in sleeping, digestion, circulation, and pain relief. Like prenatal massage, therapists can specialize in infant massage.
4. The Effects of Massage Therapy Are Temporary
Regular massages can help long-term. Much like chiropractic work, massage can be preventative or it can help treat aches and pains that already exist. Muscle memory is a common term used to describe repetitive movement. You can undo uncomfortable movement by “teaching” your muscles the right way to move with massage therapy.
5. All Types of Massage Are the Same
Shiatsu, Deep Tissue, Swedish, these are all different types of massage. Depending on what effects you’re looking for, different techniques and types of massage can help you in various ways. Like each type of massage is different, each therapist is different. Specializations are common in this field, so find someone who caters to what you are looking for.
6. Massage Therapists Are Only Women
Anyone of any age, gender, or socioeconomic status can feel the benefits of a massage, and the fact of the matter is, anyone can be a massage therapist. You are not limited! If you’re interested in helping people feel better, consider massage.
7. It Takes a Long Time to Become a Massage Therapist
At Higher Ground School of Therapeutic Massage, it can take as little as 10 months to learn massage therapy. . If you’re interested in becoming a part of this fruitful industry, check out our Massage Program, and contact us for more information!
You have worked hard. You have spent years coding, or building new technology, or sitting in boardrooms and creating the next “big-thing”. Whatever career path you have found yourself on you might now be wondering if you want to keep going down this road for the next twenty, thirty, or forty more years.
Do not fret, you are not alone.
According to a survey from Life Reimagined, over 25% of individuals aged 30 and over are contemplating a career change. Much of this change is fueled by a desire to give back, to have less stress, and more flexibility in their life and work.
Don’t fall into the over 30 age range? That’s okay, you’re in good company with over 40% percent of individuals aged 25-30 changing careers and life focuses, often because they feel undervalued, overworked, and generally unhappy.
What is unique about these career changers is that they are often moving into service and health related fields, ready and eager to help, give back, and bolster their communities. That doesn’t even begin to mention that the growth rate in these types of fields outstrips many other industries.
If you have been considering making a change in your career path and leaving behind the stress of the rat race for an atmosphere of health and caring, then here are just a few reasons why transitioning to massage therapy might be the perfect fit for you.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are considering a career change, if you are one of them contact us for a tour and consider a field that will feed your soul.
Many cancer centers offer massage, and knowledge of massage for cancer survivors and patients is growing.
In June, the American Society of Clinical Oncology endorsed an evidence-based guideline created by the Society for Integrative Oncology that recommends complementary therapies, including massage therapy, for cancer patients.
However, a recent study found a lack of integration when it comes to massage therapy and outpatient cancer care.
The Society for Oncology Massage lists more than 130 “Hospitals Incorporating Oncology Massage.” This is just one self-reporting list, meaning that in the U.S. there could be many more clinical settings that incorporate oncology massage.
The study was originally published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork; MASSAGE Magazine obtained the original study from its authors for this report.
The study, titled, “Integration of massage therapy in outpatient cancer care,” focused on 62 cancer centers associated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). According to the study’s authors, “NCI-designated comprehensive and clinical Cancer Centers are considered to be cutting-edge, progressive institutions at the forefront of patient care.”
The researchers used a combination of content analysis and telephone surveys to gather data on the integration of massage for outpatients at these NCI-designated cancer centers. The study’s authors systematically searched each cancer center’s website for any information related to massage, then conducted telephone surveys to compile additional data.
With ratings ranging from zero for “not at all” to five for “very high,” the researchers honed in on five factors pertaining to massage for outpatient cancer care:
These five variables served as the basis of an algorithm developed to measure the extent to which massage had been integrated into each center’s outpatient cancer care.
Results of the analysis showed 11 of the 62 cancer centers, or about 18 percent, scored very high in terms of the integration of massage for outpatients.
Close to one-third of the cancer centers assessed, or 22 of the 62 programs, had no integration of massage at all, “not even provision of information about massage to patients through the center website.”
“This indicates an opportunity for further dissemination of information about massage research to health care providers and administrators working in cancer care,” the study’s authors conclude.
Among the 62 cancer programs assessed, 34 offered massage for cancer patients. Ten of these programs required physician referral for oncology massage, and another eight requested but did not require physician referral. At the remainder of the 34 of cancer centers where massage was offered, scheduling a session was the responsibility of the patient and the massage practitioner.
This article appears in Massage Magazine www.massagemag.com/massage-for-cancer-patients-109590/
If you’re on the lookout for a new career, we encourage you to take a look at massage therapy. Massage therapy can offer several job opportunities, flexible schedules, and personal reward. We hope that you decide to explore this wonderful career, but before you take the first step, you must know what a massage therapist does, the career opportunities, and how you can go about becoming one.
Depending on where they work, massage therapists may perform a variety of bodywork treatments. They can learn techniques from sports injury treatments to Swedish massage for relaxation. During our program, students can learn massage fundamentals, Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage, body mechanics, and much more. We even cover client retention and communication, in addition to laws and ethics.
Where Does a Massage Therapist Work?
A massage therapist can work in places like:
How Do I Become One?
To become a certified massage therapist, attend a reputable massage therapy school. Our Massage Therapist Program is 750 hours, and you can be finished in under 1 year! It takes just a few minutes to contact us and find out what we can offer to you!
Bonus: we provide free job placement assistance to graduates in addition to our diverse curriculum. We can help you fine-tune your resume and look for job opportunities. The potential can be limitless! To find out more about how to get started, contact us! Give us a call 256-
Assisted Stretching—also sometimes called Assisted Myofascial Neuromuscular Therapy or Assisted Myofascial Stretch Therapy—is a bodywork modality that allows a trained therapist to apply range-of-motion movements to the body on a massage table, with the spine in a safe and supported position.
The therapist is able to move the body into positions that break through hard fascia barriers that may have resulted from injury or a sedentary lifestyle, to gain flexibility and range of motion that would be impossible without expert intervention.
Stretching as a healing technique is certainly not a new concept, as most people will agree it is good for the body to stretch—whether to avoid injury as an athlete, or to retain mobility as we age.
Stretch therapy allows a trained professional to identify each unique body’s limitations in a safe and relaxed position, and work on strengthening problem areas to ensure movement that happens off the table—be it yoga, running, walking or picking up a grandchild—can be done without causing further damage or pain.
There are several techniques therapists can use during an assisted stretching session:
• Resistance Stretching. Developed in the 1980s by Bob Cooley, this is an excellent option for joint rehabilitation, children experiencing growth spurts, and inactive or elderly clients. Since it is geared toward less supple tissue, it is critical to support unstable joints by keeping them contracted during each movement. This technique requires the client to resist up to 10 to 50 percent throughout the back-and-forth stretching motion, which is applied deeper each time.
• Active Stretching, developed by Charles Sherrington in 1904,requires the muscle opposite the one being stretched be contracted throughout the stretch. For example, if the hamstring is being stretched, the client would contract his or her quadriceps as the leg is guided upward. This greatly benefits an individual with an area that is tight due to an imbalance in the opposing muscles. Essentially, when a muscle has stopped firing and is not working with the antagonist muscle, causing pain, this technique wakes up the non-functioning area and relieves the imbalance and pain.
• Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), also called Passive/Contract, developed by Herman Kabat in the 1940s, involves both the stretching and contraction of the targeted muscle. This combination allows the body to gain mobility without forcing a stretch beyond the level of comfort. To apply this method, a client presses back into the therapist to stretch the area, holding the stretch for up to 10 to 30 seconds, thus safely elongating the tissue without injury.
• Passive Stretching is exactly as it sounds; the body is relaxed while being stretched. While most effective when done by a trained therapist, a yawning, full-body stretch done first thing in the morning as we awaken is a form of passive stretching, and in any scenario this type of stretching releases endorphins and relaxes the mind and body.
Which Type of Assisted Stretching Should You Use?
Each body is different, as is each person’s therapeutic goal. For this reason, every stretching style and modality is valuable, and any combination of techniques may be appropriate for each individual session.
A client may have sustained injuries in the past, and be dealing with hard fascial tissue, scar tissue. This person would certainly benefit from an active resistance stretch with added hard fascial release tools. A ballet dancer with exceptional mobility might be faced with unstable joints, so both active and full-range resistant stretching would increase strength without pulling on vulnerable joints, aiding in stronger and more fluid movement.
When applied correctly and in the right areas, all forms of assisted stretching will improve mobility, while also decreasing pain.
Studies have shown that most body pain is associated with muscle imbalance. Having the expertise to assess which muscles are tight versus weak, and focusing on the correct body part is critical to being an effective stretch and massage therapist.
As a person who personally experienced excruciating pain due to bulging discs, I was faced with medication and surgery as my only options. Being professionally stretched, however, relieved my pain naturally, and gave me my life back.
By offering assisted stretching to my clients, I quickly tripled my income. As with massage, consistent treatment is the most effective, and the results of this modality keep them coming back regularly. Adding stretching to the treatment plan enhances massage therapists’ ability to offer a highly effective, individualized approach that sets them apart from other practitioners.
Stretching as We Age
Essentially, aging muscle tissue takes on a beef-jerky consistency, which leads to a slew of issues. As the functionality of joints and muscles is directly linked to the condition of the fascia, when they become inflamed more hard fascia results and tugs on other body parts. Each area of tightness restricts motion, blood flow and oxygen to the healthy tissue, thus causing systemic alignment issues.
By stretching, healthy blood and oxygen floods back to hardened tissue and allows it to become fluid, hydrated and mobile again. This benefits every part of the body and cannot be achieved by exercise alone. Common complaints as we age, such as stiff joints, tight muscles and body aches can be reversed or avoided when stretching is done consistently.
Assisted Stretching and Sedentary Lifestyles
In addition to symptoms associated with aging, we are faced today with primarily sedentary lifestyles, and surrounded by technology that has the body in a constant state of misalignment, whether we are hunched over a laptop computer, a smartphone or a tablet. Even when we relax, we tend to be staring down at a screen.
In fact, a research report by International Data Corporation and Facebook, “Always Connected,” reports 79 percent of people ages 18 to 44 have cellphones with them almost all the time—with only two hours of the waking day spent without it. This has led doctors to coin the term “text neck” for patients presenting with pain due to technology overuse.
With so many factors working against keeping our bodies aligned and flexible, it’s no wonder the demand for stretching has increased.
Benefits of Assisted Stretching
Stretching is often effective for pain, both in muscle and its surrounding fascia, and also improves posture and mobility. With people living and working longer, there is a need for treatment options outside the typical approach of medication and surgery.
By encouraging stretch therapy, massage therapists can play a proactive role in keeping clients feeling youthful and enjoying quality of life. With the right interventions, lack of mobility, body pain and decreased range of motion don’t have to be part of aging.
This article appears in Massage Magazine www.massagemag.com/assisted-stretching-115803/
is a licensed massage therapist and instructor through the Alabama State Board of Massage Therapy. She has been a licensed therapist since 2008 and is a former program director of the therapeutic massage program at Virginia College in Huntsville until July 2017. She is a 2006 graduate of communications from Jacksonville State University and a 2008 graduate of Gadsden State Community College Massage Therapy. Bethany loves teaching therapeutic massage to future therapists and stays up to date on varieties of modalities and techniques.