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Research & statistics show that massage is now the modality most sought out by consumers for self-care outside of traditional medicine. Whether for relaxation, stress management, chronic pain or sports massage, finding a massage therapist, can be challenging. There are many different types of massage & how do you know which one is right for you.
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There are questions you should ask before you schedule a session with a massage therapist.
Are they licensed?
Are they Nationally certified?
Are they a member of the American Massage Therapy Association?
What can you expect from your massage therapy session?
The Massachusetts Chapter of The American Massage Therapy Association would like to make the process of finding a Massage Therapist a little easier for you. Our "Find a Qualified Massage Therapist National Locator Service" link will help you find a Massage Therapist in your area who is appropriately credentialed & the link below will provide tips for the consumer in choosing the professional who is right for you. Click here for more consumer information from the AMTA
From the National AMTA website:
The following is a compilation of data gathered from U.S. government statistics, surveys of consumers and massage therapists and recent clinical studies on the efficacy of massage. These data provide an overview of the current state of the massage therapy profession, public and medical acceptance of the value of massage and increasing consumer usage of massage therapy.
In 2005, massage therapy was projected to be a $6 to $11 billion a year industry.
It is estimated that there are 265,000 to 300,000 massage therapists and massage school students in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. Between August 2006 and June 2007, almost a quarter of adult Americans (24 percent) had a massage at least once in the last 12 months.
Click here to download the 2009 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet
10 Tips from the AMTA to Get the Most From Your Massage
Be as receptive and open to the massage process as possible.
Donít eat just before a massage session. Let your body digest your meal first.
Be on time. If you arrive in a frenzied, rushed state, it may take longer to relax.
Take off only as much clothing as you are comfortable removing. If you donít want to remove your clothing, wear clothing that will be comfortable during the massage and will allow the massage therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you expect will need to be massaged.
Privacy - The therapist will either leave the room or otherwise provide privacy while you undress. A sheet or towel is provided for draping during the massage and the therapist will uncover only the part of your body being massaged, ensuring that modesty is respected at all times. After the massage is finished, you will be provided with privacy while dressing.
Communicate with your massage therapist
Before the session, give accurate health information and let the massage therapist know your expectations and reasons for the massage.
Allergies to Oils, Lotions, Powders Ė The therapist may use oil, lotion or powders to reduce friction on your skin. If you are allergic to any oils, lotions or powders, tell your massage therapist, who can choose a substitute.
Some massage therapists play recorded music during the massage session. Others find music distracting. If itís provided, let your massage therapist know if you have any music preferences or if you would prefer they turn off the music.
Some people like to talk during a massage, while others remain silent. Tell your massage therapist what you prefer.
During the massage session, report any discomfort, whether itís from the massage or due to any problems or distractions related to the environment, e.g., room temperature, music volume, lighting, etc.
Give feedback to the massage therapist during the massage on the amount of pressure, speed of hand movement, etc. If anything happens that you dislike or seems improper, you have the right to ask the massage therapist to stop. If necessary, you also have the right to end the session.
Donít be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. Itís important that you be as comfortable as possible during your massage. Your massage therapist is a professional dedicated to do his or her best to help you feel at ease.
Remember to breathe normally. Breathing helps facilitate relaxation. People often stop or limit their breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged.
Relax your muscles and your mind. Tightening up by contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive. Let your massage therapist know this is happening. They may need to adjust the massage technique they use and may also be able to help you relax the affected area. If you find your thoughts are racing during the massage, one way to be more body-centered and to quiet your mind is to follow the hands of the massage therapist and focus on how the touch feels.
Drink extra water after your massage.
Donít get up too quickly and do allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session. If youíre dizzy or light headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast. It also may take a little time to integrate or absorb the results of the massage session.
Be prepared to schedule several massage sessions. Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond. From one session to the next, relaxation deepens as the chronic patterns of stress in the body are affected and released. If youíre getting massage to address chronic muscular tension or recovery from a soft tissue injury, more than one session is usually needed.
International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice
The Massage Therapy Foundation is pleased to provide the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice (IJTMB).
The IJTMB is an online, peer-reviewed, open access scientific journal for the therapeutic massage and bodywork profession, and is available free of subscription fees and contributing author charges. It's an indispensable resource for members of the massage and bodywork profession as well as for related health-care professionals. The IJTMB takes an open access approach to scholarly publishing, thereby allowing reader access to articles online. This approach provides for the dissemination of scientific findings not only to professionals in the massage and bodywork field but also to colleagues in associated disciplines and professions.