What a Massage Therapist Does
The massage therapist doesn't have to memorize all of the 650 muscles and 200 bones of the body, but he or she has to be familiar with a great many of them.
Add to that the knowledge
of physiology required - not just the names of the parts themselves,
but how they work and interact - and you have a formidable hurdle to
overcome on the way to becoming a massage therapist. As if
that weren't enough, the massage therapist has to understand and detect
directly with the hands, arms and feet what is happening with a
particular client in a particular session.
The therapist has to go beyond even this when specializing.
There are a dozen different forms of massage - Swedish,
Tissue and others. There are also combinations of
styles, such as sports
massage, which draws from many different techniques.
Proper stance, pressure,
alignment and much more is required in order to deliver a quality
massage. To achieve that the massage therapist has to recognize which
muscles are affected by what kind of activity. He or she has
to know how to work them to remove knots, achieve relaxation, improve
circulation and more.
A knowledge of possible
injury during the session is necessary, as is recognizing when not to
massage. Deep tissue techniques in particular can cause more
problems than they solve. A client who comes in with pain may
be just suffering from the usual ache that prompted the desire for a
session in the first place. On the other hand, they may have
a medical condition that means no session should be performed.
To do this sort of work
hour after hour, day after day, without injuring his or her own body is
also a perpetual challenge of the therapist. A therapist's
body can also become sore from effort - the effort involved in the
practice. Techniques are taught in massage schools to
preserve thumbs, ease hands, shelter the back and knees - all parts
easily stressed by an active therapy practice.
Then there is the proper
Sometimes a simple mat, or even a towel-covered floor is enough.
Other styles require a table that has to be judged properly.
or corporate massage requires a specially designed and built chair for
clients. Recognizing quality is important, both for client safety and
to avoid losing money on bad investments.
All those aren't simply
business decisions for the therapist, since they affect the
effectiveness of the massage delivered. Poor equipment, lack
of knowledge, poor technique can all make even the most skilled massage
artisan a less than complete success.
That sums up to a
considerable amount of theory and practical knowledge, and experience
needed to be an effective massage therapist.
And you thought, perhaps, that all they did was rub oil around?
Are you wondering how to become a massage therapist? Learn more about Massage Therapy Careers.
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