Among the many illness and conditions a person can be affected with, neuromuscular diseases are often the most frightening to people. Fortunately though, modern treatments and therapies have allowed countless people to live a higher quality of life with neuromuscular illness.
So what exactly is a neuromuscular disease? Basically, it’s a disease that involves the body’s nerves and muscles, and how they interact with the brain. There are many different neuromuscular diseases, from moderate to severe. Symptoms are wide-ranging, and can include anything from a chronic feeling of weakness in a certain part o the body to severe and sustained tremors.
Anyone who has been affected by neuromuscular disease – whether it’s yourself, a friend or a family member – knows just how frustrating it can be. The search for answers and affective treatments can be exhaustive.
But there is a therapeutic treatment that a lot of people don’t consider: Neuromuscular massage therapy. It certainly won’t cure a serious neuromuscular condition, but it can boost quality of life and help to minimize symptoms.
Let’s look at what neuromuscular therapy actually is. Essentially, it’s a type of deep tissue massage – but it’s distinct from ordinary deep tissue massage in a number of ways. In neuromuscular therapy, strained areas known as trigger points are worked on using specific types of pressure. These trigger points are often linked directly to painful or bothersome symptoms. By locating and working on those trigger points, symptoms can be relieved.
So what are these trigger points, specifically? When a neuromuscular disorder is present, certain areas of certain muscles can become hypersensitive, and the muscle tissue in those areas becomes tight and knotted. The problem makes itself worse over time, as the stiffness and pain prevent essential blood and nutrients from reaching that area of the muscle. Many different symptoms can result, but weakness and tiredness are the most common.
People with neuromuscular disorders also often experience something called ‘referred pain,’ where a trigger point causes symptoms in other parts of the body. Migraines, sciatica, and carpal tunnel are all examples that can help people understand what referred pain is.
Finding new treatment options
Depending on the disorder a person has been diagnosed with, the treatment plan will often include pharmaceutic drugs, Botox injections, and/or surgery. All of these treatments have their place, but it’s always a good idea to have natural, non-invasive treatment options in your toolbox as well.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to be diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder to benefit from this type of therapy. This type of trigger-point therapy can be used to help anyone who has muscular symptoms, pain, cramping, fasciitis, headaches, sciatica, and a long list of other symptoms. Just make sure you find a reputable clinic that specifically offers neuromuscular therapy, and has experienced staff who can perform this type of therapy to a very high standard.
When was the last time you booked a massage therapy treatment to help address specific problems? A lot of people visit a therapist just to unwind or relax, but there are serious and legitimate benefits (both mental and physical) that come along with regular visits to the massage table. Here are three of the biggest.
Lower stress levels
We live in a world where stress is at an all-time high. People are working longer hours, have more activities outside of work, and are processing more information than ever before. All of this can lead to chronic stress, and a buildup of tension in the muscles. Regular massage therapy can and does help relieve stress for countless people around around the world. Living day-by-day with chronic stress affects people in ways that often don’t even realize. It’s often the case that people don’t fully grasp how much stress is affecting them until they begin to experience life without so much stress. And of course, alleviating stress can result in a long list of other benefits, both psychological and physical.
Another big challenge these days is getting enough sleep. According to a lot of the current research, Americans in particular are not getting the sleep they need – which dramatically affects quality of life. There is a large body of research to show that insufficient or poor-quality sleep leads to many serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and many others – plus, there’s a definite effect on day-to-day quality of life when people don’t sleep enough. Massage therapy can get deep into the muscular tissues where stresses and worries are often physically manifested. Sometimes these tight and sore areas are the result of bad posture or unhealthy habits. Overall, the sense of restoration and relaxation that comes with a quality massage therapy treatment will help patients achieve a deeper level of physical and mental relaxation, which helps them sleep better at night.
Aches and pains are a part of life, but many of us go through our daily and weekly routines with attitude that we’ll just put up with the chronic pains we have. In many cases, people aren’t familiar with the pain-relieving effects of therapeutic massage. Going in for a professional massage therapy treatment is often seen as something we do to relax or celebrate – but there’s a reason why many insurance and treatment plans actually include regular therapeutic massage. The straightening and cleansing of muscle tissue in areas of chronic pain can and does lead to long-term pain relieving benefits, especially when other lifestyle changes are put into place.
Get the most out of every session
To reap the full benefits of massage therapy, it’s important to choose your therapist wisely. Because massage therapy has become so popular, there are newly-trained therapists entering the market all the time. Make sure to find someone who trained at a reputable massage therapy school. Experience also helps – but finding a good therapist is also about finding a person that you trust and feel comfortable around. Overall, the health benefits of massage therapy are the best reason to book your next session sooner rather than later.
There are a lot of different types of massage out there, but the majority of people are only familiar with one or two. By far, the most popular style of massage therapy would be Swedish or deep-tissue massage. These styles involve the signature “kneading” of muscles that people find so therapeutic and enjoyable. There’s a good reason for this, as the benefits of Swedish massage have been clearly shown.
But there are other massage therapy techniques that bring their own unique benefits, and are worth looking into as both a therapist and a patient. Thai massage is one of those systems – it’s not for everybody, but many patients actually come to prefer Thai massage, and feel it’s the most beneficial for them.
So how does this type of massage therapy actually work, and is it effective for everyone?
Thai massage originates, of course, in Thailand, where it has been in use for thousands of years. You’ll be fully-clothed during a Thai massage, but you’ll wear special clothing that is loose-fitting and easily permits stretching.
You’ll lie down on a floormat, or sometimes on a table that is heavy and wide enough for the therapist as well as the patient. From here, the treatment will begin. Essentially, your therapist will manipulate your body into a series of stretches that work all of the different muscles. The therapist will use his or her knees, elbows, and arms to push and pull the patient in order to achieve a deep, relaxing stretch. In addition to these movements, pressure-point therapy is used in order to achieve deep release in the musculature.
Some people find Thai massage unusual and strange at first, as they’re used to a certain type of massage therapy (e.g. Swedish). But Thai massage is highly effective in many situations, and it works by creating a better balance in the body, loosening and strengthening the joints, and relaxing the muscles through specific stretching and direct pressure. Many people report feeling highly invigorated and balanced after a quality Thai massage therapy session.
It’s important to maintain good communication with your therapist through a Thai massage session, as feedback will be very important. Everyone is different in terms of flexibility and strength, so the intensity of the movements has to be carefully tailored to each patient. Your therapist should be happy to talk about the therapy session before you start, and to answer any lingering questions you may have. Communication should also continue as necessary throughout the treatment, especially if this is the patient’s first time receiving Thai massage therapy.
Getting Thai massage right
Thai massage is a delicate type of massage therapy that absolutely requires the proper training and preparation. If you’re a patient, it helps to know what to expect. People who practice yoga often find it easy and enjoyable to receive a Thai massage therapy treatment, as many of the positions and movements are similar to yoga postures. One thing is for sure – if you book a Thai massage therapy session, it’s crucial to find a therapist who is properly trained and experienced in this this type of massage therapy.
The booming industry of massage therapy means that there are lot of new schools and institutions looking for students. This is a great time to begin a career in massage therapy, but there have never been more schools to choose from, and not all of them will deliver the same level of training and preparation to enter the industry successfully.
A school’s reputation is the number one indicator of where they stand in relation to other massage therapy schools, and whether you should seriously consider going there. There are a number of different ways to get a sense of a school’s reputation, from looking at review scores to asking around on forums where established massage therapists exchange information.
Another important asset for finding the best school is reading student testimonials. This will give you a direct window into the student experience. Are the instructors helpful, positive, and effective at transferring knowledge? Are the facilities modern and clean? There are many important questions that can be answered by carefully reading the first-hand accounts of past students.
Every state has their own rules when it comes to the number of hours that are necessary in order to receive certification as a massage therapist. It helps to be aware of your state’s minimum requirements – and to compare those requirements to the number of hours offered by a given program. Generally, it’s good to find schools that go above and beyond the minimum. It’s not just about receiving a certification – it’s about succeeding in the real world of massage therapy.
The best massage therapy training is not must about books and lectures. It’s absolutely necessary to get going as soon as possible with hands-on training. Some schools put more emphasis on this than others. When you’re in the process of looking for a school, pay attention to the number of hours of hands-on training that are involved in the course. Institutions that give their students a greater number of hours for hands-on training almost always produce better results.
It may not be the single most important factor in your decision, but the location of the school will have an impact on your daily and weekly routine as you go through the coursework. If the clinic is too far away from home, the commute could make it impossible to get there in time after work. You might not have any other options, and driving a long way to a massage therapy school might be the only way to get that certification – but it’s all the better if you can find a school that is conveniently located.
What’s the right choice for me?
Making a personal visit to a massage therapy school, and having a face-to-face conversation with the instructors there, is another great way to get a sense of that institution, and whether or not it could be the right one for you. The good news is, there are many schools out there that check all the right boxes. It might take a little digging to find the right one, but the result will be worth it.
Massage therapy is a booming business, and for good reason. The health benefits are well-documented (both physical and mental), and a good therapy session is a deeply restorative experience. But the popularity of massage therapy these days means that you, the patient, have a lot of different options for your next treatment. An hour long therapy session costs a reasonable amount of money in most areas, so you want to make sure you choose wisely and the most out of your budget.
That’s why it helps to know about some of the basic characteristics of outstanding massage therapy clinics. When you know what to look for (and what to avoid), you maximize your chances of receiving the quality treatment you need and deserve.
1. The right training
You might think that all massage therapist received the same level of training, but the reality is actually quite different. Depending on where you live, there might be dozens of massage therapy schools and courses available. Each state has its own minimum requirements for certification as a massage therapist, but the better schools will always go above and beyond these minimum requirements. Knowing where your massage therapist has trained, and whether or not they are committed to continuing education, is a good indicator of what level of treatment you can expect. Outstanding massage therapy clinics always
2. Good personality
Of course, it’s not all about training and technical ability. If a massage therapy clinic doesn’t have people with great personality, it simply can’t be an outstanding clinic. A big part of massage therapy is communication, as well as the personal connection you feel with your therapist. That’s why the best clinics always retain therapists with warm personalities and good communication skills. You can have all the training in the world, but personality is worth a lot in the world of massage therapy.
3. Pleasant and professional surroundings
If you’ve had massage therapy treatments at several different clinics, you’re aware of the differences in terms of the ambiance and setting. Obviously, you’d rather have a really skilled therapist working on you than a clean and modern office – but it’s always better when you can have both. Pleasant surroundings increase feelings relaxation, and build confidence in the expertise and professionalism of the clinic. Outstanding clinics always pay close attention to the cleanliness and overall ambiance of reception, treatment rooms, and restrooms.
You have a choice!
Unfortunately, there are cases in which a massage therapy treatment falls short of the client’s expectations. Often times, this is because the client simply did not choose an outstanding clinic. But with the popularity of massage therapy these days, and with all the different choices available, there’s no reason to settle. And if you do have a therapy session that isn’t everything you hoped for, don’t give up – there are better options out there. When you find a clinic that puts together all the elements of a great treatment, you’ll know it – and you’re much more likely to book another treatment for all the health and relaxation benefits it provides.
We live in an age where more and more people work at computers – and while this has many advantages, fitness is generally not one of them. Working at a desk for eight hours a day can take a physical toll, and people often have to work harder during their private time in order to stay fit and healthy. There are also unique physical injuries that can occur due to office work – back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome are two common examples.
Of course, people who have more physical jobs run the risk of other types of injuries. In general, though, a lot of people enjoy working more physical jobs, as it keeps them active and healthy throughout the day.
So what about massage therapy? There are many great advantages to this career, but is fitness one of them?
The answer is certainly ‘yes’ – delivering massage therapy treatments for hours every day will definitely help many aspects of your physical fitness. That said, it doesn’t provide all of the exercise you need. Because the job of massage therapy is physically demanding, professionals in the field need to stay on top of their fitness and maintain good physical conditioning in order to perform at the top of their game.
Here are some areas that massage therapists, or prospective therapists, should think about when it comes to massage therapy.
Flexibility, strength, and tone of muscles
Strong and balanced feet
Healthy, strong and flexible hands and wrists
Consistent and deep breathing in order to stay oxygenated
Good cardiovascular fitness for stamina and consistency during longer treatments
When you think about the rigors of delivering several 60-minute treatments in a day, you can imagine the soreness and fatigue that can potentially develop. Strength-training and cardiovascular exercises are vital for massage therapy professionals, as they keep the product (i.e. massage therapy treatments) strong and consistent for each client.
For many people, an added benefit of working in massage therapy is the overall focus on fitness and wellness. Many therapists who thrive in the field feel that it drives them to stay healthy and make better lifestyle decisions on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Learning massage therapy the right way
One of the signs of a top-notch massage therapy school is that students are given a comprehensive set of skills to help them succeed in the industry. Mastering all of the key elements of massage therapy treatment is obviously a top priority, but there are other areas that need to be addressed – such as the business administration side of being a massage therapist, and self-care practices that keep therapists healthy and productive. Physical fitness is a huge part of that, and any reputable massage therapy school will give you the practical insights and training you need to maintain peak fitness over the long-term. When a massage therapist feels healthy and strong, the quality of treatment is elevated. That means more clients, a better reputation, and more long-term success! Putting together the total package is what good massage therapy training is all about.
Body in Mind Massage Institute looks forward to helping people on their healing journey and is humbled to help David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation meet the needs of families during their health challenge.
Body in Mind Massage Institute is honored to partner with David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation to bring Massage for Cancer Recovery to our community. Cancer does not have to define us or our lives. The healing power of touch can help us take control of the “dis-ease.”
The benefits of touch can facilitate the healing process. Massage for relief from cancer symptoms requires medical clearance, is gentle, no deep work will be done, and is offered only by Licensed Massage Therapists specifically trained, and at least 48 hours after chemotherapy treatments. Cancer Massage provides relaxation, stress reduction, comfort, and helps begin the healing process. It improves quality of life, minimizes chemotherapy and radiation side effects, relieves pain and edema, restores vital energy, helps reduce fatigue, promotes removal of toxins, increases oxygen/blood flow/circulation, boosts the immune system, reduces scar tissue, increases range or motion and mobility.
Massage designed for oncology and cancer patients stimulates all the body systems towards healing, helps improve body image and overall confidence in the healing process, provides a safe space to relax, let go and re-balance. The healing power of compassionate touch reaches more than the physical body. It is a sharing of “life force” energy — a vehicle for rejuvenation, which serves to reconnect body, mind and spirit.
David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds to provide financial assistance, services and HOPE to families primarily in New Jersey, affected by a cancer diagnosis. With forty new grant applications this month, would you be so kind as to DONATE now directly or you may apply for assistance and consideration for a grant…learn more at www.davidsdreamandbelieve.org
Choosing a career is an exciting process – but it can also be nerve wracking. Most people go down a few different career paths before they find the right one for them. Even then, many people change careers one or more times during the course of life. This is a good thing – it means that you can always discover a new passion and begin a fresh chapter in life.
When people decide what career they want to pursue, one of the main things that goes into this decision is the amount of time (and money) that goes into being trained or certified for that particular career. For instance, everybody knows that becoming a medical doctor takes long years of dedication and hard effort – not to mention the sizable expenses of medical school. Various trade schools and degree programs have their own requirements, and people often choose a career that they’re not only excited about, but which seems feasible in terms of time and finances.
So let’s cut to the chase – how long does it take to become a skilled massage therapist? It’s a career that more and more people are interested in these days. It offers the chance to help people directly, contribute to the wellness of the community, and be more health-conscious yourself. There are a lot of reasons to consider a career in this booming field, but how quickly can you get certified and be out there working?
When you consider what a strong career choice massage therapy certification is for a lot of people, the time it takes to become certified as a professional is fairly short. Depending on the length and intensity of the program, most students can be out in the field, working a professional therapist, within a year after starting the program. Different states have different requirements for massage therapy certification, in terms of the number of classroom hours that are needed. For example, our massage therapy certification program requires 600 hours of learning, which exceeds the minimum set by the state of New Jersey. Most students complete the program in around six months. Other programs are longer or shorter, depending on the state requirements and how many days a week class is held.
Putting it all together
Become a skilled massage therapist requires dedication and training, but the rewards are great. With less than a year of hard work, you can be in a position to embark on a truly fulfilling and personally rewarding career. One of the most unique and wonderful things about massage therapy is that you can work anywhere you want. Many people actually offer professional massage therapy services while they are traveling, allowing them to fund a more mobile lifestyle. Others prefer to be embedded in a community and develop a lasting rapport with local clients.
There are so many great things about professional massage therapy, but it’s important to take the education side of things very seriously. As you decide where to receive your training, remember that you are preparing to enter a field in with the demands placed on professionals are equal to the rewards offered. In other words, you get out what you put in.
It seems like there new types of massage and wellness therapy popping up all the time. Part of the reason for this is that people are much more interested in natural ways of staying healthy. There are so many different types of drugs and surgery out there, and although they often deliver positive results, there is always a price to be paid in terms of health. Natural therapies and medicines, on the other hand, can sometimes offer meaningful and even life-changing results without damaging the body in other ways.
Massage therapy is a great example. It’s something we often think of as a “splurge” or a reward for a job well-done, and these are good reasons to have a massage – but it’s also an incredibly useful tool for maintaining a higher level of health from day to day and week to week. It’s becoming more common for people to include regular visits to the massage therapist in their overall wellness routine.
Another interesting practice that many massage therapists offer is reflexology. This may sound like a hip new trend, but it’s actually been around a long time.
But does it work? Aside from its long history, has reflexology proven itself to be a worthwhile and effective type of treatment?
Reflexology dates back to ancient Egypt and China, and is still widely used today. It’s based on the idea that stimulating pressure points in the hands and feet will cause certain areas of the body to be stimulated – this is why you see those reflexology “maps” out there, showing the different areas of the feet that connect to various bodily systems.
The idea is that illnesses of many different kinds can be addressed – and overall health can be improved – by applying pressure to these pressure points in a specific way. Many massage therapists are also trained in reflexology and offer it is a regular service to many different clients.
Of course, people are often more comfortable with a simplified explanation of how reflexology works – namely that the feet and hands can hold a lot of tension, and that skillfully applied pressure can have a profoundly relaxing and rejuvenating effect on health and wellbeing. Sometimes a skillful foot massage, whether or not principles of reflexology are actively being used, is the perfect thing to release built-up stress and feel better. A professional therapist can help with this.
Seeking a skilled reflexologist
As mentioned earlier, you will often find reflexology on the menu of services at a professional massage therapist’s office; but it’s important not to take the quality of this service for granted. Reflexology requires dedicated practice and strong theoretical underpinnings – in other words, your therapist should have trained extensively in reflexology before providing you with this type of service. It never hurts to ask your therapist about their training in reflexology and their approach to delivering effective treatments. A few simple steps will connect you with a skilled reflexologist in your area, and you’ll be well on your way to receiving the benefits of this time-tested practice.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who include therapeutic massage in their weekly or monthly routines, you’re probably already aware of some of the benefits. It’s not just hearsay, either – the world’s most respected medical organizations have been very clear about the potential benefits of therapeutic massage. They help us sleep better, give us a deeper sense of relaxation, improve posture and flexibility, bring high blood pressure down, promote healing for specific injuries, and so on down the line. There are many established benefits, and as more Americans catch on to this, more people are exploring massage therapy as valuable addition to their fitness and wellness regimen.
But there’s a common question that arises amongst people who are just “dipping their toe in the water” and don’t have much experience with massage therapy services: “Is there anything I should do to prepare for my next massage?”
The answer is a definite yes – if you want to get the best results out of your next massage therapy session (and who doesn’t?), there are a few basic things you should do to prepare.
First off, it’s good to avoid a big meal before your massage. Many people find it useful to actually skip a meal before the massage – or at least to keep it light. This can allow the therapist to work on a deeper level, and can make you a lot more comfortable and relaxed throughout the treatment session.
Alcohol is another important point – it’s best to avoid these things on the day of a massage, or at least wait until after the treatment to partake. Since massage therapy is a powerful detox, having alcohol in your system will reduce the level of healing and therapy that actually takes place during the session.
A much better thing to drink on the day of the massage – or any day, for that matter – is plenty of water! Staying hydrated will prepare your body for the deep, healing work of massage therapy. It will make sure that your tissues and internal systems are well-hydrated and ready to receive a high-quality treatment.
In general, it’s good to focus on getting plenty of sleep, eating light, avoiding alcohol and junk food, and maybe even doing some light stretching or yoga before your massage therapy. Taking these steps can really elevate your experience and give a deeper level of therapy.
Healing, relaxing and productive
Of course, one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your next massage is to find a great therapist! This means looking for someone who has proven their skill and professionalism with many previous customers. Experience is worth a lot in the massage therapy business, and although newcomers can often be a great choice, it’s always worthwhile to consider how much experience and training and given therapist has. You might also want to look for certain types of massage therapy that interest you, such as hot stones or Shiatsu. Overall, finding a good therapist and making a few basic preparations before your massage should really give you a healing, relaxing, and productive massage therapy experience.