Many schools may not include the “softer” side of the profession in their curriculum and study material, but as a serious student of massage and aspiring successful massage therapist, you must understand the role of physical conditioning in your career.
Body conditioning is critical. It will make or break your career as a massage practitioner. Think about it, in a profession that is as physically demanding as massage therapy where you utilize your entire body in giving care, how will you manage to deliver benefits to your patients if you yourself are not in the best shape possible?
Massage therapy requires force and thus strength in your arms, good posture and a strong core due to the amount of bending you are involved in as well as a strong endurance and stamina to be able to stand on your feet and consistently deliver quality care throughout the day and week.
It is no secret that the working life of a massage therapist is not very long, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Many therapists, like most people, tend to ignore their bodies when they get busy with their professions and obligations outside of work – whether that’s familial or social life.
When the body is ignored, it often gets weaker and deteriorates over time. When this happens, we don’t feel good. When we don’t feel good, we cannot make others feel good either.
The point here is that in order to deliver a high satisfaction level to your patients on a consistent basis, you must take good care of your body first and foremost.
Here are just a handful of tips we recommend you incorporate in your lifestyle to feel better and become a better professional.
Take frequent breaks: Don’t forget to take breaks in between massages. Introduce routine breaks in your work week as well. Working 7 days straight for 8 hours a day is likely going to wear you out quick.
Stretch often: In addition to stretching at the gym, in the morning when you wake up and before going to bed at night, stretch during the day in between massages when you are on your break.
Take in lots of fluids: Hydrate your body and replenish lost fluids. Just because you don’t physically sweat doesn’t mean your body is not losing electrolytes. Massage requires strength and exertion. Anytime you exert force, you are losing something from within.
Get massages: Even massage therapists need a massage. Listen to your body and get it taken care of as needed. Swap massages between other therapists in the workplace.
Sleep abundantly well: Get enough sleep to stay fresh and recover from a hard day’s work.
Maintain a good diet: Enough said here. You are what you eat. Make yourself a good one.
Exercise often: Incorporate regular exercise in your life, with a special focus on body parts that are more used in your profession such as your core, hands, legs and torso/lower back areas.
If you are contemplating becoming a massage therapist, get in the habit of incorporating as many of the action items above as possible in your regular routine. Habits take time to form, and once formed, these particular habits will serve you well in massage school and way beyond as you start establishing your career.