It's National Massage Therapy Awareness Week!

Oct 25, 2010

Did you know that there are more than 80 forms of massage? Since it's National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, why not take a little time to learn more about this increasingly popular practice for wellness. Read on to learn how massage can improve your health - and how you might become a massage therapist.

female masseuse massage therapist therapy

An Evolving Understanding of Massage

National Massage Therapy Awareness Week is an initiative designed to bring more attention to the healing power of touch - and the skilled professionals who use it to help improve the health of millions of Americans. An important part of this information campaign is to help people realize that massage therapy is a bone fide treatment for wellness.

In the past, some health professionals questioned how effective massage could really be. Many of the skeptics were medical personnel trained in Western medicine practices who failed to understand how therapies applied to the exterior of the body could have any positive effect on overall health. Since then, studies have shown that massage is, in fact, a viable therapy for migraines, arthritis, back pain, anxiety, high blood pressure and many other conditions.

male masseuse massage therapist therapy

A Popular Career Option

There are more than 120,000 practicing massage therapists in the United States, and opportunities are only on the rise. With confirmation of the efficacy of massage has come greater interest and demand for the therapy.

Medical professionals from wide-ranging disciplines now frequently refer patients to massage therapists for all kinds of ailments. There are also many clients for whom massage is part of a regular stress-reduction regiment.

Many people choose to practice massage out of a desire to help others feel better. Massage therapists can have a profound impact on overall wellness, whether a patient is affected by physical or emotional pain. Another reason many pursue massage therapy: It compensates well enough that professionals can earn a lucrative living - some even while working only part time.

massage education school options

Massage Therapy Education

The number of students looking to become massage therapists is on the rise. It is a high-demand field after all, a fact that can't be overlooked in a stagnant economy. But is a massage therapy program right for you?

The answer to this question will likely depend upon a variety of factors. One consideration is whether you're ready to truly commit to the rigor of the program. Massage therapies are applied to the body's outside, but they require intensive knowledge of the internal organs and systems. Many students underestimate the level of study required.

If you're still on board, you might start looking into programs. A good first step is to find out what your state's requirements are for massage therapists. You want to be sure to know what kind of licensing or certification you'll need so that you can choose a properly accredited program that provides adequate preparation.

Programs for massage therapy are typically available at community colleges and technical schools. They might range in length from a few months to a couple of years. With more than 80 different forms of massage therapy to choose from, be sure to select a program that features a discipline you're interested in.

Interested in learning more about massage therapy programs? Check in tomorrow for an interview with Paula Jilanis, an associate professor in the therapeutic massage program at Allegany College of Maryland.

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