The word massage, derived possibly from the French "friction or kneading" or Arabic massa "to touch, feel, handle" or from Latin massa "dough, mass", is a practise and treatment of manipulation of the soft body tissues with physical, mechanical, functional, and medical targets.
Of course, the only people allowed to perform such treatments are massage therapists. A massage therapist offers a wide range of treatments, including back, facial, or foot massage, as well as full body massage. Massage treatments usually involve an initial consultation to establish the client's requirements and to identify any contraindications that may prevent the therapist from giving the treatment. Massage therapists work in a range of settings, both private and public: hotels, private offices, studios, hospitals, fitness centres, and shopping malls, for example. Some massage therapists also travel to clients’ homes or offices to provide massages.
The kinds of massage treatments a massage therapist can offer will depend upon training and experience. They may vary from a simple relaxing massage treatment, to specialised techniques such as remedial and sports massage and lymphatic drainage. Many massage therapists also offer other treatments such as reflexology, aromatherapy, and beauty therapy. Most massage therapists give massages in a relaxing setting. The use of candles or incense is not uncommon. Soothing music is often played. The idea is to put clients at ease. On the other hand, when visiting a client’s office, a massage therapist may not have those amenities. The working surroundings depend greatly on a therapist’s location and what the client wants.
Because massage is physically demanding, massage therapists can succumb to injury if the proper technique is not used. Repetitive motion problems and fatigue from standing for extended periods of time are most common. This risk can be limited by the use of good technique, proper spacing between sessions, exercise, and, in many cases, by the therapists themselves receiving a massage on a regular basis. Because of the bodily nature of the work and the time needed in between sessions, massage therapists typically give massages anywhere from 15 to 30 hours per week and usually believe themselves to be full-time workers.
Massage therapists may use their hands, elbows, or even feet to knead and manipulate soft body tissue. Massage can be used to:
There are so many options when it comes to massaging. You can choose among full body massages, deep tissue, kneading, rolling, tapping, hot stones, with oils or without, creams, essential oils—it all depends on what you need the massage for and how you would like to feel after the therapy: relaxed, revived, renewed, balanced, or de-stressed. Talking over your problems with the massage therapist will let them know how exactly to help you achieve the relief you need.
There are many types of massage, including:
Therapists will usually start a session by taking a detailed medical history and asking the client about their health and lifestyle. During treatment, they apply pressure to specific areas to ease tension and help restore the body’s natural equilibrium. Sometimes they use essential oils for greater results. Following treatment, they give the client further guidance about how to preserve and build upon their general well-being.
To work as a professional massage therapist, you need to enrol on a complete course that includes a minimum of 100/150 hours of academic study, as well as practical treatments observed by an evaluator or tutor, case studies, and a practical exam.
An in-depth massage course will usually cover areas such as:
Author: Ben Pianese
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