Top Myths About Massage School and the Massage Industry

The demand for massage therapists has risen significantly in recent years. Massage therapy is practiced all over the world. Massage therapy schools are popping up all over the country with programs in place to get the would-be therapist educated, licensed, and practicing.

However, due to several reasons including the lack of information and the variety in massage therapy, there are also many myths surrounding massage therapy schools and the industry itself. Below are some of the top myths, followed by the truths behind them.

You can only become licensed if you attend an accredited schoolThe National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is the body responsible for certifying massage therapists and works with schools to maintain a standard in the education process. This has nothing to do with the school itself being accredited.

You can become licensed even without attending an accredited school as  long as you pass the required exams to become certified. In some cases, you may have to attend an accredited school to become licensed if the state you’re practicing in requires it. The NCBTMB has guidelines in place for accredited schools and non-accredited schools.

You won’t get many clients as therapy is expensive – Not true! If you do price comparisons, you’ll find that most massage therapists charge roughly $60-$80 an hour for massage. Some may charge more, some less. Massage therapists set their own rates but try to stay competitive in order to get business. Exorbitantly high rates will likely mean fewer clients, so it’s recommended to be reasonable, but keep in mind that you’re running a business and have to cover your expenses.

You can’t do massages for cancer patients- At one time; this was believed to be true. However, research has shown that cancer will not spread because of increased blood flow. Cancer cells do not spread in this way. In fact, studies are now showing that massage is quite beneficial for cancer patients, especially in the area of pain management.

Everything that’s learned in massage school is valid – While anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology are at the core of massage school programs, some massage schools teach courses in Eastern beliefs and techniques such as acupressure and shiatsu.

Some of these schools also teach about healing energies, toxin removal, and other things that have not yet been proven as claimed. Do understand and pay attention to application of massage and the main courses, but keep in mind that these other teachings are still in the belief stage and not fact. Until there’s proof, don’t make claims that cannot be backed by evidence.

Massage therapy isn’t covered by insurance – This is a common misconception. Massage therapy has gained legitimacy and some insurance companies do cover this type of therapy in whole or in part. This just depends on the insurance company’s policy. Read this article for more details.

Deep tissue massage is only effective if pain is produced – This is way out of line. Massage isn’t supposed to be painful, but relaxing. Some pain may be experienced during massage if the muscles of the client are very tight. Besides, the pressure of deep tissue massage will vary depending on the client.

For some clients, the pressure required would be no greater than squeezing a balloon while others would require the kind of pressure needed to dent a tennis ball. Regardless of the client, massage should not be painful. Your experience as well as your client will indicate if the massage is painful or not.

The client must be nude to give an effective massage – This is patently false. Although skin to skin contact is most effective, it is up to an agreement between you and the client in terms of what the dress code should be. If you or the client is not comfortable with removing the clothing, it’s not the end of the massage. If the client is comfortable with being undressed, then so be it. Just maintain your professionalism.

Also remind the client if need be that just because they are undressed, do not confuse you with workers at massage parlors, who often may engage in prostitution; you know, the “happy ending”. Clients who are clothed can benefit from massage therapy, but again effectiveness is increased when clothing is not present. As long as the private areas are covered and the client is comfortable, there won’t be any issues.

  • Massage has only physical benefits – This has shown to be untrue. Of course massage has physical benefits. When done properly, massage therapy loosens the muscles and relaxes the body. However, psychological benefits have been shown as well. For example, someone who is angry or depressed can end up happy or at least less stressed than they were before getting a massage. Massage is very relaxing and if you’re skilled, you can work wonders on a client’s body and overall state of mind. This is often accompanied with environment, so creating a relaxing atmosphere only adds to what you do.
  • You can’t give massages to pregnant women during their first 3 months – This is a common rumor. Pregnant women can benefit from massages without danger to them as long as you, the therapist, know what you’re doing. Pregnant women are often under a lot of stress mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Massage can relax the mother-to-be in all of these ways, and a stress-free mom is one up on a mother who is tensed up. In fact, stress is bad for a baby, so you can be helping both baby and mother.
  • Massage detoxifies the body and gets rid of cellulite – Don’t fool your clients and yourself by spouting this off. While massage is quite beneficial, it has not been proven to detoxify the body. Cellulite is fat and has nothing to do with massage. Massage may reduce the appearance of cellulite, but not the amount.

There you go – now you know the truth behind some of the top myths of massage schools and the industry. Work hard, study hard, and you will become a licensed massage therapist who can bring some much-needed relief to the people who walk through your door

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Career Considerations, Massage Therapy Schools

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