Massage therapists typically complete a postsecondary education that combines study and experience, although standards and requirements vary by state. Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification.
Massage therapists typically complete a postsecondary education program that combines study and experience, although standards and requirements vary by state. Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification.
Applicants to massage therapy programs typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. The curriculum generally includes both classroom study and hands-on practice of massage techniques. Required coursework includes sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology, as well as subjects such as business and ethics.
Massage therapists typically need a state-issued license or must register with the state. Requirements vary but typically include graduation from an approved massage therapy program and passing an exam. The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) licensing exam is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.
Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new jobs for massage therapists. As more people recognize massage therapy as a way to treat pain and to improve overall wellness, demand for massage therapists is expected to increase.
Be sure to discuss rates and payment expectations with your client during your initial phone contact. Getting things in order before their initial visit makes good sense in order to avoid time-consuming issues later on. Be sure to ask your client to find out whether massage therapy is a coverable service under their specific insurance and plan. If it is, they may want to check if massage is coverable by a (massage therapist). Some plans require that massage be performed by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, chiropractor or other. Just because an insurance company offers massage as a plan benefit does not necessarily mean they allow massage therapists to provide the service.
State laws and individual insurance plan policies control whether massage therapists can bill for their services. Massage therapists should fully understand the scope of practice in their state to make sure they are billing health insurance only for services within the state scope of practice law. (Find more information about your state.) As mentioned above, it is critical that you ensure that massage therapy services, provided by a state licensed massage therapist, is a covered benefit in your client's insurance plan.
The titles masseuse and masseur became common in the 1880s, referring to manual therapists trained in the soft tissue manipulations developed by a European medical doctor named Johann Mezger. Mezger outlined the classic categories of massage techniques: effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement. Vibration was added later. Medical gymnasts soon integrated massage into their overall approach, a combination sometimes referred to as mechanotherapy.
Massage became linked with magnetism and magnetic healing in the latter 1800s. Magnetism was thought to be a divine healing force transmitted to an ailing patient through touch and motion. Magnetic healers would either pass their hands over the body without contact, or in some cases use light touch and stroking to stimulate vital energy. Magnetic masseurs combined this early form of energywork with standard massage. The idea that massage could impart a vital power reinforced its holistic nature, and expanded the notion of massage to include energy therapy. By the 1900s, the concept of magnetism had largely disappeared from massage textbooks.
Massage and hydrotherapy were often combined in comprehensive treatments for a variety of illnesses and injuries, and masseuses and masseurs were employed to give them. Independent massage practitioners began to include forms of hydrotherapy in their services, particularly different types of baths. Health reformers in the 1890s advocated for such natural approaches to promote good health, and as alternatives to conventional medicine.
Swedish massage had evolved by the 1930s. This was not what we call Swedish massage today, but a whole system of physiotherapy. Swedish masseuses and masseurs utilized soft tissue manipulation, movements, hydrotherapy and electrotherapy for applications ranging from general health promotion to treating diseases to rehabbing injuries. They worked as physiotherapists in conventional medicine (prior to physical therapy licensing in the 1950s), and in YMCAs, public baths and spas, and beauty parlors. Many opened private practices in their neighborhoods in the form of health clinics and reducing salons.
The terms massage therapy and massage therapist began to replace former designations for the profession in the 1960s. By that time, the titles masseuse and masseur had fallen into disrepute, and massage parlor, once an innocent label for a massage business, alluded to a house of prostitution.
The field of massage therapy went through a period of transformation between 1970 and 2000. The counterculture movement of the 1960s spawned a generation looking for greater meaning in their lives, and revived an interest in natural healing.
The term bodywork was coined to encompass the diversity of manual therapies that surfaced in this period. The wellness movement, fitness boom, concern about unhealthy stress, and growth of alternative medicine all contributed to a rising public interest in massage therapy, which expanded its scope to include diverse massage modalities.
This regulation, among other things, like more rigorous research and increased consumer awareness, has worked to further legitimate the massage therapy profession within the health and wellness arena.
The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand). These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage, or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation, or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
Present this quick, effective method for assessing and managing common medical conditions! The central tool of this text is the decision tree, a simple flowchart that helps students quickly determine the optimal massage therapy approach for specific medical conditions. A Decision Tree is included for each of the more than 50 conditions discussed in the book, with massage considerations listed for numerous additional conditions in brief. Also unique to this text are questions therapists can ask clients during the interview process to help the therapist understand not just the medical condition, but how it presents in a particular client.
In a comprehensive review of the use of CAM for perinatal depression, Deligiannidis and Freeman (29) suggested that a growing body of literature supports the use of antenatal massage therapy either in combination with psychotherapy or as a monotherapy to treat pregnant women with mild depressive symptomatology. Poland and colleagues (30) published results of a randomized, parallel-group, open-label controlled trial of massage versus light touch and wait-list control for the treatment of major depressive disorder in individuals infected with HIV. They reported that twice-weekly massage therapy was effective in decreasing depressive symptoms as measured by both the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory, beginning at week 4 and continuing throughout the eight-week trial period.
In contrast, Sherman and colleagues (35) compared and contrasted therapeutic massage with thermal therapy and relaxing room therapy for 10 sessions over a 12-week period. They reported that all three treatments were equally as effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety. The patients in this study were allowed to be medicated and the treatment protocols were flexible in terms of the 10 intervention sessions. McPherson and McGraw (36) reported results of a multimodule intervention with 25 individuals with generalized anxiety disorder and comorbid disorders. In this multimodule therapy that included partner-assisted massage, they found significant reductions on the GAD-7, decreased anxiolytic medication use, and decreased pain scale ratings. In a randomized, single blind comparison of massage and light touch for patients with generalized anxiety disorder, Rapaport and colleagues found that the group randomized to twice-weekly Swedish massage therapy had significant improvements in both clinician and self-report ratings of anxiety (37). They further observed significant improvement in both clinician and self-report ratings of depression. There currently are no published studies evaluating massage as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder.
Communication is key to facilitating collaboration and ensuring that the patient is given consistent messages. Collaboration between psychiatrists and massage therapists can yield an integra