Massage therapy is the therapeutic use of touch by
hands, elbows or feet on the body. There are many
different systems of massage but it is commonly used to
help physical or emotional problems. Many massage
therapists prefer to use a holistic approach, as they
believe that emotional or personal problems lead to
physical conditions such as stiffness or tension.
A common type of massage is body massage (also known as Swedish massage) which covers the whole body, especially the limbs and back. There are many specialised branches of massage including Indian head massage, this involves using particular oils and techniques to relax the neck, shoulders, head and face; sports massage, this area includes the treatment of sprains, torn ligament and broken limbs; and baby massage, this form of massage can bring benefits to both parent and baby, calming and possibly strengthening the immune system of the infant.
To start with, the therapist will take a detailed medical history, asking their client about their health and lifestyle to assess any possible problems or conditions. They apply pressure to specific spots in gentle movements to ease tension, clear blockages, improve circulation and help restore the body’s natural balance. Sometimes essential oils may be used.
There are no set working hours. Unsocial hours may be
required to accommodate the clients. Part-time work is
Massage therapists can work in a variety of environments including beauty salons, health spas and fitness centres. It is also possible to work in a healthcare environment such as a hospice or complementary medical centre. Some offer a service in clients’ homes or workplaces, so a driving licence would be needed. It is also possible to work from home.
Sessions usually last from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the client's needs. Most work takes place in a quiet room with a massage table. Massage therapists spend a lot of time on their feet bending over clients, and have gentle music playing while they work to help clients relax.
To work as a massage therapist you should:
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