Saturday, October 6, 2007

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy a rewarding career, who would have thought? Massage therapy has come a long way and is one of the top career choices for high school graduates. Massage therapy provides interesting, challenging, and satisfying work both professionally and personally.
This educational adventure of wanting to help others can lead to personal growth and development for massage therapist as they develop their own awareness as they interact with their clients. Many of us intuitively rub our stiff neck or a sore muscle to find relief from discomfort, and today, people are utilizing massage therapy as an option to find relief and just take time for themselves.

The benefits of massage therapy are many. Those who are successful in this career are those who have a sincere desire to help others and wish to advance the art and science of massage through safe and ethical touch and have the commitment, time, and energy to train for the position.

Education does matter. At present in Pennsylvania, there is no legislation regarding the practice of massage therapy. It is up to the individual student to establish their own standards, which is facilitated by choice of school. There are many massage programs available to students. So when deciding on a school, look at their credentials. Is your school choice licensed through the Department of Private Schools in Pennsylvania and a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA)? Some other major accrediting agencies are COMTA, IMSTAC, ACCET, and ACCSCT. If you have plans to move to another state in the future, check with the individual state on their licensing requirements and find out if the education you received in Pennsylvania will be accepted in that state. Know if your school’s program will prepare you to sit for the National Certification Exam, which has been in existence for over a decade and used by some states as their written licensing exam.

Entry-level education should require 600 hours of instruction, including the study of massage theory and techniques, anatomy, physiology, pathology, hydrotherapy, sports massage, business ethics, first aid and CPR, and a clinic internship. Some schools offer full-time programs so that you can totally immerse yourself in education, or part-time options with flexible schedules. A qualified education can be found at a school that is accredited by the American Massage Therapy Association Commission on Massage Training Accreditation (AMTA/COMTA).

The average price of a massage is between $50.00-$75.00 per hour. Employment settings are vast: clinicals, with physicians, chiropractors, hospitals or wellness centers. Massage therapists also work in spas and salons, gyms and fitness centers, on cruise ships, with sports teams, at geriatric centers, and in the corporate workplace. As an entry-level employee, a therapist can expect to earn approximately 50% of the charging rate. Many therapists choose to establish their own business and be a sole proprietor. Whatever your choices, a commitment to high standards and a good work ethic are necessary to establish a practice and build a clientele.

Massage therapy provides benefits on a physical, mental and emotional level, reducing stress; and relieving muscle tension and stiffness. The demand for qualified massage therapist is great. Massage has expanded into many different forms or specialties, so recognizing the need for continuing education will help you remain competitive. Some advanced training could include: sports, orthopedic, medical, neuromuscular therapy and Pfrimmer deep muscle therapy, therapeutic touch and polarity, and shiatsu. Today some schools are now able to offer an Associates Degree for their students.

Since many schools offer different things, it would be a good idea to visit different schools before making a final decision, get a feel for the school and its environment, and find out the history of your school. Remember that the effort you put into it now will bring great rewards for you and your clients.

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