If you are a massage therapist, you may have considered whether you should be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR. If you are licensed in some US states, you are required to maintain a valid CPR certificate (Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).
Other states require CPR training, either as part of your massage school training or before applying for a massage license (Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington), but may not require you to maintain certification after your initial licensure. In other states, the choice of whether or not to obtain CPR training is an individual decision.
What Exactly is CPR?
CPR is an emergency procedure that uses chest compression and artificial breathing to maintain blood flow to the brain in a person who has experienced a cardiac arrest (their heart stopped). It is used to attempt to keep providing oxygen to the brain until medical personnel can administer treatment to get the heart re-started.
You may need to use it on someone who is unresponsive and not breathing. According to the American Red cross, 90% of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside the hospital die if they do not get CPR.
With CPR initiated shortly after the arrest, the survival rate is increased two or three times, which means that 20-30% of people who get CPR may survive. Survival is highest when a defibrillator is used shortly after the cardiac arrest occurs.
Why Would a Massage Therapist Need to Know CPR?
In many massage practices, the clients are generally as healthy or relatively healthier than the general public, and the chances of you having to do CPR on a client is small. If you have this type of massage practice, your knowledge of CPR may not be needed on a professional level, but could be needed just as a general member of the public. However, if you have a client collapse in your clinic, you will know what to do and how to handle it.
If you work on post-surgical clients, elderly clients, or in a medical facility, there is a greater chance of your client having a medical problem that would require resuscitation. In these cases, CPR training becomes a more important tool to have in your toolkit, as you have a higher chance of witnessing a cardiac event.
What Does the Training Entail?
Many states consider massage therapists health-care providers and require CPR training on the level of basic health care employees. A Basic Life Support (BLS) class for health care providers takes about 4 hours and can cost from $25 to $65, depending on where you take it. If you work in a medical facility, training may be available at your place of work.
In a BLS class, you are trained to provide CPR alone or in a team situation. You also learn how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). You will have both lecture and hand-on training and will be required to take a test in order to obtain your certification. The certification is good for two years, and then you will need to take another class to re-certify.