Our guide to massage
Kristina K

Our guide to massage

First published date August 23 2013 Amended date August 20 2014

There are few things more relaxing than a massage – whether you’re hoping to untie those knots in your back, help your body through your feet with a reflexology session or de-stress from the top down with an Indian head massage. It’s one treatment that appeals to a huge cross section of the public and as such, people are flocking to study massage and learn more about what it can do.


Massage for leisure

If you’re a devoted massage patron and love giving friends and family massages, then you should probably consider taking up a short or part time massage course. After all, you don’t want to be thinking you’re doing someone a favour and then actually end up making their aches worse! Learn to give effective back massages, pick up a 10-minute massage routine, explore the ancient form of healing through Thai yoga massage, or follow Shiatsu for a Japanese approach to the art of healing. Classes run from a day to a couple of weeks and you can even do some of these courses with your partner so you have someone to practise on.


Become a qualified massage therapist

If you’re hoping to take things a bit more seriously, there are loads of courses available that will lead to a career as a trained massage therapist. Some qualifications will take your career to the next level so it’s worth looking out for these. Therapeutic massages are fast becoming popular, not only for when people feel like a little stress relief after a hard day’s work, but they’re also increasingly being promoted by healthcare providers to patients. From pregnancy and aromatherapy massages to sports and deep tissue massages, you’ve got a wide range of areas to specialise in.


Improve your massage skills

For those who are already working as professional massage therapists, there are courses designed for you to gain additional skills and knowledge required at a higher level. They’re more comprehensive with advanced assessment techniques, practical assessments, oral questioning, final practical exams, theories and long contact hours. You’ll draw upon personal expertise and engage in supervised clinical practice through vocational experiences.


Korean hand massage anyone?

Yes – the Korean hand massage technique actually exists!  There are plenty of different types of massage and you’re in for a surprise if you think that it’s just all about Thai massages. There’s the therapeutic Indian head massage; the Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage, that’s been passed down through generations by the Polynesian shamans through secret initiations and training; hands free massage techniques using feet and elbows; chair-based massage; and the Chinese Tuina massage which works with Chi and acupressure points. Plus, if you’ve got a screaming baby who keeps you up all night, learn some baby massage techniques. This helps to strengthen your new bond, gives your baby a longer peaceful sleep, and allows you to enjoy your much needed rest.



Awards & certifications

Whilst most courses will give you a certificate of attendance upon completion, there are also courses that are run by renowned examination board and awarding bodies. For instance, the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) develops and provides international career pathways in complementary therapies, ensuring students receive training so that they’re work-ready upon their course completion. Other qualifications are the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) and City & Guilds. Some undergraduate and postgraduate massage courses are awarded by the universities themselves.


Our favourite massage

So, we spoke to the Hotcourses team and many of us have had the privilege of enjoying some of the best massages all over the country. Our favourite was one of the Hotcourses team member’s massage at the Gajah Mina Beach Resort where the massage room looks out to one of the most beautiful, unspoilt beaches in the west coast of Bali, Indonesia.

‘The floor to ceiling glass doors give a panoramic view of the Balinese surf sport on one side and the deserted Mejan beach on the other. During the hour long hot stone massage, you can hear the sound of waves and feel the cool gentle sea breeze. The massage therapist was very professional and her magic hands worked all the knots away in my shoulders and problem areas. The mixture of scented oil, warm stones and deep penetrating massaging left me feeling rejuvenated.’



Massage dos & don’ts

Don’t get put off by the term massage or the idea of making it a career. As opposed to stereotypical views, giving people massages as a career is a very respectable and rewarding job. You’ll not be working in dingy little rooms or dealing with unsolicited requests (people know better these days!). It’s not every day we get happy customers who give us hugs, praises or even endless ‘thank yous’, but being a licensed massage therapist will ensure your customers walk away with a bounce in their step, leaving you with bags of confidence!

Do take up courses to become a trained massage therapist. You can specialise in different areas; from Indian head massage and full body Swedish massage to pregnancy and sports massage. Even if you’re not interested in doing it as a career, why not pick up some massage skills to spice things up with your partner or get a full night’s sleep after giving your newborn a baby massage!

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