4 Ways to Keep Yourself Strong and Healthy as a Massage Therapist

Massage therapy is something that can benefit people of all backgrounds and professions. Whether a person works in a physical demanding job, such as construction – or an office job that involves a lot of sitting and stored up of tension in the body – a regular massage therapy session can make a huge difference in the way that person feels. The many health benefits of massage therapy have been extensively studied and documented by leading health organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic and many others.

But what if you’re on the other side of the equation? For massage therapists, the day-to-day practice can be very tiring, and can leave you with a lot of soreness of your own. That’s just the nature of using your own hands and strength to provide healing therapy for someone else. In fact, massage therapy patients often wonder if (and how often) their massage therapist is on the receiving end of a massage. For a lot of professionals, the answer is: Not often enough!

As a massage therapist working in the field, it’s important to respect the physical demands of your job, and to be proactive about your own health and wellbeing. After all, a massage therapist who is hurting and sore all the time will not be able to perform their job at a high professional level. So what can therapists do to keep themselves strong, healthy, flexible and loose?

1. Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful restorative practice for any professional that involves a lot of standing and physical work. Our instinct is often to lay on the couch and relax – and of course there are wonderful benefits to this too, in moderation – but a 30 or 60 minute yoga session can really set us up for a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep. Yoga helps not only the muscles, but the internal organs and circulatory system as well.

2. Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is important for any professional – all the more so with massage therapy. When you’re well rested, your movements are steadier and your mind is clearer – both important to delivering great massage therapy services.

3. Diet

Massage therapy is a professional that requires a lot of self-care across the board. Maintaining a clean diet is one of the pillars of self-care. It leads to better overall health and better performance in a job as physically demanding as massage therapy.

4. Massage!

The same benefits of massage therapy that we bring to other people every day are also there for us! Massage therapists need to schedule time for their own massage therapy in order to experience the benefits and remind themselves what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a good therapeutic massage.

Choose the right massage therapy school

Some of you reading this might actually be looking to get into the world of massage therapy. If so, it’s worth mentioning that the school you choose can have long-term effects on how healthy you’ll be out in the field. The most reputable massage therapy schools out there put extra thought and care into teaching their students effective self-care methods, and how to deal with the physical rigors of treating clients regularly.

What’s the Most Popular Type of Massage?

We live in a world of ever-increasing choices, and massage is no exception. Depending on what type of spa or massage clinic you visit, there might be a long list of options on the menu. Typical massage offerings include Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, hot oil massage, shiatsu, hot stone therapy, Thai massage, myofascial release, and so on. You’ll also find many places that combine different types of massage, sometimes incorporating aromatherapy for a deeper sense of relaxation.

Patients and massage therapy students alike might be asking themselves which among these different types of massage is the most popular. If you’re working independently as a massage therapist – or if you’re visiting a massage therapy center and want to make sure you get the most out of your experience – it helps to know what the most popular options actually are.

While there are no “hard and fast” statistics on what type of massage therapy is most commonly chosen by patients, Swedish massage is usually the answer that people will give. It’s often seen as the “standard” massage technique, and is very often administered in spas and clinics, as well as gyms and “wellness salons.”

So what exactly is Swedish massage and why is it so popular?

Swedish massage is formulated on more of a Western understanding of the body, which means that rhythmic kneading and stoking techniques are used to loosen and relax the muscles – often using oil or massage lotion in order to facilitate deeper release of muscular tension. Many other types of massage, such as shiatsu or Thai massage, are of course based on Eastern understandings of physiology, which incorporate a more “energy-based” perspective.

In Swedish massage, the practitioner generally begins with long strokes on the back, arms, legs and neck. The next stage is to use shorter, deeper strokes to release muscular tension in specific areas of the body.

People who are in training to become massage therapists will learn that there are five different “strokes” used in Swedish massage. Long and smooth movements are known as effleurage. Movements that use kneading and rolling are commonly known as petrissage. Smaller motions that are often circular are known as friction. Tapping or “drumming” movements are called tapotement. Movements that involve shaking, or rocking back and forth, are known as vibration movements.

Terminology is one thing, and it’s important for students to learn these categorizations backwards and forwards if they are to become reputable professionals. But it really comes down to results, and the experience of the patient.

Is it advantageous for practitioners to learn more than just Swedish massage?

The answer is clearly yes – today’s massage therapy industry is more multi-dimensional and multi-disciplined than ever. It’s important for new massage therapy students to be well-versed in all of the popular types of massage: including Swedish, hot stone, neuromuscular, Thai, reflexology, deep tissue, and others – including specific massage techniques for pregnant women, and for individuals with other specific medical conditions. Students who enter the industry with a full set of skills from a reputable institution are much more likely to succeed long-term in the world of professional therapeutic massage.

How Do You Know Your Massage Therapy Program is Legit?

Every advertisement and every web page out there is trying to tell you that you should capitalize on this opportunity. This is your chance to get ahead, to do something for yourself. Whether it’s a product or an education program, this message of opportunity is constantly reaching our ears.

It’s even more noticeable when we hear about educational opportunities, because these are the things that really speak to our hopes and dreams. Maybe it’s the goal of making a better income, or maybe it’s the desire to do something we’ve always wanted to do. In a perfect scenario, it’s both at the same time. The opportunity to make a great living doing something you love is a noble thing to pursue, and educational institutions all over the world are trying to tell you that they’ll do just that.

This is especially true in the world of professional massage therapy. Why? Because it’s one of those professionals that so many people want to do, but for some reason are afraid to embark on this new career. There are a lot of different massage schools out there, all of them vying for new students.

As a prospective massage therapist, the question you really need to ask is this: Which massage therapy school will actually prepare me for success in the real world? Which school will give me a full set of skills – technical, interpersonal, and administrative – to succeed as a professional massage therapist?

The answer may not seem visible right away ­– but if you do a little digging, it will become apparent.

The better schools have glowing recommendations coming from former students and others in the industry. That’s because they’ve instilled a full set of skills into their students, and haven’t cut any corners during training. Some massage therapy schools just want as many enrollments as they can get – they’re not really focused on creating successful massage therapists who thrive financially and love their careers. They’re only looking at a short-term profit. Obviously, these are the kinds of schools you want to avoid.

But how do you know which massage therapists are legit? Again, reviews and recommendations are a big one. But that’s not the only thing you should be paying attention to. A school’s web site and physical offices/classrooms are another important aspect. Case in point: You should never enroll in a massage therapy school without visiting the classroom, talking to the instructions, asking questions, and seeing for yourself how the curriculum is handled. This is how you get a real sense of the school, its students, and the level of professional success that the school expects of those students.

Finding a great massage therapy school may take some digging, and you might have to visit several schools in your area to find the right one. But when you do, it will pay off in the long run. You’ll be enrolled in a legitimate school that gives you the real-world tools you need to live your dream as a successful massage therapist.

3 Rookie Mistakes Made By Massage Therapists

Experience is perhaps the single most valuable asset in any profession. Talent is worth a lot, as is luck and determination. But really, it’s experience that sets the true professionals apart from the rest. Massage therapy is no exception – the more experienced massage therapists have worked on every different body type, and have worked to address countless different physical ailments in people. All of this experience adds up to better instincts, more reliable techniques, and better results overall.

That’s not to say that you can’t receive an excellent treatment from a less experience massage therapist – especially if they’ve graduated from a reputable massage therapy school. Therapists who are still in the early phases of their career are often eager to put their skills to the test, and if they’ve had the right instruction, they can deliver highly professional treatments with good consistency.

But there are mistakes that are commonly made by less experienced therapists, and as a potential massage therapist (or as a patient), it’s important to know about these mistakes. That’s how you get better at avoiding common pitfalls in your own practice.

Here are 3 rookie mistakes often made by massage therapists today:

1. Not adjusting pressure

The level of pressure is a notoriously difficult thing to get right. Every patient has their own preferred level of pressure, and sometimes firmer or softer pressure is the right therapeutic choice. A good therapist will encourage the patient to get to know their own comfort levels, and to be vocal about whether they want more or less pressure. For whatever reason, many patients don’t speak up when they’d like a pressure change, so experienced therapists will often ask to make sure.

2. Talking or other distractions

When a patient lays down on the massage table, they expect the full attention and care of the practitioner. Rookie therapists (or badly-trained ones) will often answer phone calls, step out of the room for a bathroom break, or be distracted any other number of ways. If you’re trying to build a reputation of happy clients who recommend your services to people they know, this certainly is not the best course of action. Being attentive and present throughout the entire treatment is one of the hallmarks of an experienced practitioner – and if something does come up, you make sure to add the extra time at the end.

3. Not keeping the room and supplies in excellent condition

A patient should feel like the room is fresh and new when they walk inside. Many therapists are overwhelmed at first, and they forget to create that professional, orderly atmosphere that sets the stage for a productive therapeutic massage.

How to establish solid fundamentals in massage therapy

If you’re in the early phases if your journey in the field of massage therapy, you might be wondering where to turn for reliable instruction and training. There are a lot of massage therapy schools out there, and many of them are very good – you will receive excellent instruction rooted in real world practice and solid theoretical understanding. But there are also schools out there that don’t equip their graduates with a full range of skills. Looking for the massage therapy school in your area with the best overall reputation in the community is one good place to start.

The Massage Industry is Booming: Here’s Why

The idea that you can choose to embark on a new career at any point in your life, and completely reinvent what you do for a living, is one of the most exciting prospects out there. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have been in a position where we didn’t love our current job. And although making a switch can be scary, the rewards are often worth it.

When you think about moving to a new career and a new lifestyle, what industry comes to mind? For an increasing number of people, massage therapy is high on the list. It’s a dynamic career, you have the opportunity to help people every day, and there’s no limit to how successful you can be.

There’s also the fact that the massage therapy industry is booming. It’s constantly popping up on lists of the “hottest” careers, and the opportunities seem virtually boundless. Why is this? Are there specific reasons why the massage industry is booming?

Besides being an incredibly rewarding career for those who dedicate themselves, there are a few concrete reasons for the sharp increase in massage therapy students and schools. One is that people are generally more concerned about wellness these days, and massage therapy is a wonderful addition to any wellness plan. Not only does it have great physical benefits (circulation, detoxification, stress reduction, to name a few); it also has amazing psychological and even emotional effects. People who regularly go for massage therapy have been proven to be more relaxed, more peaceful, and more mentally clear.

The other reason is that people are busier and more stressed than ever. The pressures of work, family, and other important obligations – along with the constant stream of information today – makes it all the more important for people to wind down and take time for themselves.

Basically, people are busier and more stressed – and the benefits of massage therapy are becoming clearer to people as a result. This trend doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon, and the opportunities for a career in massage therapy are growing every day.

This is an interesting situation for people who are interested in becoming therapists. It means that now more than ever, it’s important to choose the right massage therapy school and the right educational program. There are plenty of reputable schools out there who focus on giving students a comprehensive knowledge – not only of massage therapy techniques, but the business side of things as well. On the other hand, there are schools out there that are more concerned about signing you up and collecting tuition than they are about preparing you for a successful transition into the world of professional massage therapy.

How do you find the right school? Talking to past students, or at least reading their reviews online, is a great place to start. If you can find thriving massage therapists in your community who attended a given school – and can vouch for the program – you’ll be on the right track to becoming the next successful practitioner in this exciting field!

What are the Most Popular Types of Massage?

If you’ve been to a massage therapy studio or “spa” lately, you’ve probably noticed there’s more than one type of massage on the menu. That’s one of the great things about massage therapy, both from the perspective of the patient and the practitioner. There’s always something new to learn, and there is no end to the ways in which different massage techniques can be blended and used for therapeutic purposes.

The drawback is that people are sometimes confused by the different types of massage therapy being offered, whether they’re going for a treatment or thinking about becoming a practitioner. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular types of massage, and what they bring to the table.

1. Swedish massage

Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage the world over – in so small part because many people also consider it to be the most pleasurable. Relaxation is the main objective of most Swedish massage work, and practitioners aim for a deep state of relaxation in the patient. Long, firm and gliding movements are used to massage the muscles in the direction of the heart, in order to facilitate better circulation and the elimination of toxins. Swedish massage is often a full-body treatment, but it’s also common to see treatments that focus on certain areas, such as the back or shoulders.

2. Hot stone massage

During hot stone massage, smooth stones are heated in water and then placed on strategic points along the patient’s body. This source of heat provides deep relaxation of the muscle tissues. It’s pleasurable and therapeutic in its own right, but it also opens the way for the therapist to be more effective with other massage techniques. Usually the therapist will begin by massaging the patient with a warm stone in hand, replacing it when cold. At one or more points during the treatment, stones may be left along the spine or torso in order to more deeply relax certain areas.

3. Prenatal massage

You might not have expected this one to make the list, but the reality is that prenatal massage is a very distinct form of massage therapy – and it’s in very high demand. The ability to safely and effectively treat pregnant women is a huge advantage for any practitioner, and the treatment itself can be highly beneficial to expecting mothers. Depending on how far long the woman may be, and her individual comfort levels, side positions with special cushions may be used to relieve pressure and tension during the treatment. The massage itself focuses on relieving common pains and symptoms associated with pregnancy, including back aches and leg cramps, amongst others.

How to learn the right techniques

If you’ve been curious about a possible career in massage therapy, it’s important to find a reputable school that gives you a complete repertoire of therapeutic options, including (but not limited to) the three types of massage mentioned above. Look for a school that offers comprehensive training in a whole array of therapies, as well as a solid grounding in the real-world business of being a professional massage therapist. Your patients will feel the difference!

What’s the Difference Between “Clinical” and “Spa” Massage?

Massages can be a great way to relax, relieve stress, and loosen up those muscles. These are common reasons for people to head to their neighborhood spa for a massage. At the same time, there are growing numbers of people who seek massage therapy as part of a clinical or overall wellness treatment. Such practitioners usually work in more clinical settings, such as a physical therapy office or chiropractor’s office.

So what’s the difference between clinical and spa massages? If you’re interested in a career in massage therapy, it’s important to be able to answer these questions clearly and accurately.

1. Purpose

In general, the purpose of spa massage therapy is to satisfy the client. While the same types of massage may be implemented as in a clinical setting, extra steps may be taken in a spa setting to provide a relaxing and peaceful environment, ensuring a positive and pleasurable experience. In the case of clinical massage therapy, the main focus is on functional outcomes with measurable results. Sessions are likely shorter but more frequent — with measurable treatment goals in mind.

2. Training and credentials

Performing massage in a spa versus a clinical setting will often require different levels of training. General massage education usually includes around 500 hours of training, which will allow you to work in a spa setting but not as a clinical massage therapist. In most clinical settings, additional specialized training and credentials are required. This can include anything from courses in kinesiology or physical therapy to continuing education in nursing. Before getting into a massage therapy school or course, it’s important to know exactly what you will learn and what kind of professional settings your certification will qualify you for.

3. Patients

Due to the differing purposes and techniques of relaxation massages and clinical massages, you are likely to interact with patients in different ways in each of the two settings. While in a spa it is not uncommon for a client to book a massage, come in once and not return, a clinical setting often generates patients that come to see you on a regular, consistent basis. In either case, one of the benefits of being a massage therapists is the chance to develop a relationship with patients and be able to see their progress over time.

Choosing the Best Massage Therapy School

If you’re interested in massage therapy school but don’t know where to start, there are a number of factors to consider. For starters, in the state of New Jersey be sure to be choose a school that is recognized and accredited by the New Jersey Department of Education and also the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworkers (“NCBTMB.”)

In looking at different options near you, collect information about requirements, time commitment, cost, and duration. Also consider your overall goals for a career in massage therapy, as some schools and programs may be more specialized than others. Finally, schedule a visit, attend an orientation, or meet with current students to get a first-hand glimpse at the program. Taking the time to conduct your research will make it much more likely that you have an exceptional learning experience — and a better beginning to your career in the growing field of massage therapy!

April Appointments Available With Our Awesome Student Massage Therapists!

Saturday and Sunday, April 1st & 2nd Student Clinic Massage Appointments Available

$30 for a one hour massage or $40 for ninety-minute massage.
No additional charge for deep tissue massage by our students.
Our Awesome Student Massage Therapists will help you feel wonderful.

Appointments are available:

  • Saturday & Sunday, April 1 & 2
  • Thursday, April 6th
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 29 & 30

Call 732-608-7781 to make your appointment.