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Clinical Massage Therapy
Being a Male Therapist
Many occupational hazards of adult life will be greatly alleviated by
aching back and shoulder after a long office stint
exhaustion or overstrained muscles from physical labor or
circulatory problems from too little exercise by sedentary
Basics of Massage
Massage Therapy Benefits
Customer Management Tip
Creating Customer Loyalty
End user Training
What is Involved in
a Massage Session?
one schedules a message session, it is best to know what is involved. You might
be asking questions like… What really happens in a session? What types or
lubricants are used? Oils? Lotion? Do I have to get undressed? Completely?
Will I be covered at all? How much better will it make me feel?
let's start at the beginning. Once you've made the decision to have a massage
session, selected a therapist, and made an appointment, you're ready for some
relaxation and healing. The first suggestion is to show up for your appointment
about 10 minutes early as there will probably be some forms to fill out.
clinical massage therapists (CMTs) keep client records, which include contact
information, health information, and session notes. Because some people have
health conditions that could pop up at any time (asthma, heart conditions),
basic contact information including an emergency contact is kept. This includes
a client's birth date as (whether we like to admit it or not) age does have some
bearing on what we can receive in massage movements and pressure.
there is a form that is filled out, or questions asked by the therapist, health
information is something that is necessary for the therapist to have. There are
many health problems that could change what the therapist is allowed to do
(rashes, fibromyalgia, swelling). There are some health problems that could
make it so that the therapist would not be able to work at all (bronchitis,
cancer). Problems with the body that can be made better with massage movements
can be referred to as 'Indications'. This means that 'massage is indicated' as
a means to help relieve the problem. Problems with the body that are made worse
with massage movements -and this can be sometimes determined by what stage an
injury is in- are referred to as 'Contraindications'. This means that
massage is 'contraindicated' as it can make the problem worse. Something else
to be concerned with is if you have anything contagious, like a cold, or fungus
spot. In this case, the therapist can not work on you as they could become
ill. Once that happens, they could then pass it on to others. It is necessary
to be completely open and honest when giving health information as this protects
you, the client, and in some cases the therapist.
point, you're ready for your bodywork. Now remember, this is a professional
session with a licensed massage therapist. It is completely about healthcare
purpose of the session, the therapist will ask you to get undressed and get on
the massage table. At this point, they will leave the room and come back a few
minutes later. Once the therapist has left, you should get undressed to your
comfort level. This varies from person to person. Many people feel comfortable
removing everything. This is what usually works best for the therapist as it
allows them to reach all muscle groups easily and treat the body as a whole
unit. For those that are not comfortable, they usually leave their underwear
on. Some women will leave their bra on, but that needs to be unhooked and
worked around to properly massage the back. Massage can be given to a
completely clothed person, but it is hard on the therapist's hands, and they can
not do the quality work most people need while working through clothes. If the
client is having problems with their lower back, the therapist will have to work
in that area to address the problem. That may require the client to be
completely undressed so the therapist can work deep into the low back and
buttocks (the gluteal muscles, or glutes). (In truth, the back includes the
buttocks, and often this area needs to be worked as it connects many muscle
groups. A therapist can work through underwear by doing compression movements
only, but this is never as good as direct hands-on movements.)
you have undressed to whatever level you decide on, you should get on the
massage table in whatever position the therapist wants you in (either face up or
face down). There will be either a sheet or towel to cover with. If you are
asked to lay face down, the drape (the towel or sheet that was left for you to
cover yourself with) should be covering (at least minimally) your backside. If
you have a full sheet, then completely cover yourself.
states have laws against a therapist massaging a nude, uncovered subject. Most
therapists are uncomfortable with this anyway, which is why there are proper
draping techniques. With proper draping, a therapist will uncover each area
they work on as they come to it, and a subject's genitals are never exposed. If
the subject is a woman, her breasts are never exposed except in rare
circumstances. (There are legitimate breast massage techniques that are used
when actual need requires them and usually the therapist will ask for a doctor’s
note.) The buttocks are exposed one cheek at a time as they are worked. The
entire backside is never undraped.
session the therapist will use some sort of lubricant, usually an oil or lotion
specifically developed for massage. It will probably have some type of scent to
help the subject relax. This is where you need to have been completely honest
on the medical information form. Some people are allergic to different scents.
Scents can range from floral to citrus to herbal. Make sure you ask the
therapist what scent they are using to make sure you won't have an allergic
reaction. Some therapists will have a selection of scents to choose from. Some
will also have unscented oil and lotion in case none of the scents will work.
the most common lubricant that is used, however lotion may be available for
those that are allergic to, or dislike oils. Creams are available too, but not
used or offered as often as oil or lotion. Lotion is made by combining oil with
water, and then mixing in other ingredients (cocoa butter, essential oils for
scent, vitamins). Some that are allergic to oil, may find that some lotions
still cause them to have a reaction. There are specific brands of
hypoallergenic lotions available. If you have problems with oil, you might want
to discuss this with the therapist when making the appointment. (There are
types of massage that do not use lubricant like Shiatsu or advanced Lomi Lomi.
Some of these may be effective with your current problems, but some may not.
Again, ask the therapist.)
the session, the therapist will work the body, bending, pushing, pulling, and
manipulating the skin and muscles to correct problems and make one feel better.
This will include long strokes, short strokes, medium pressure, light pressure,
heavy pressure. The therapist can use their hands, forearms, and elbows to
deliver the necessary strokes. Generally, in a session, the entire back side of
the body is worked. The front side is worked with the exception of the
genitals, or (women only) the breasts.
the session, as a client, you have certain rights. If there is something you
are uncomfortable with, you should mention it. If the pressure is too hard, you
need to let the therapist know. If the pressure is too light, you should let
the therapist know. By all means if you are being hurt, you need to let them
same time, understand that depending on the problem, you may require deep work,
and this may hurt. The therapist may be able to ease off, but you may not get
the healing you need, and it may take longer to heal. If it hurts too much,
then you need to tell them to go easy.
may be legitimate moves that make you feel uncomfortable. If this is the case,
you should let the therapist know. You should then discuss it with them, and if
you are not comfortable with these moves, the therapist will change to something
is that you have total control over what happens in a session. Don't ever
has progressed as it should, at the end of the session you should feel better.
Depending on how deeply the work was done, you may be sore from the original
injury or you may be sore from the work. In a perfect world, you would have a
session and come away feeling great, and that does happen a good deal of the
time. But with injuries, it may not feel good afterwards. But no matter how
you feel, the session will make you better, and help speed up recovery.
case of massage for relaxation only, you will go away feeling relaxed and
de-stressed. You will always feel better after a session.
- It's a great way to give someone an experience of being totally taken care
of and free of any responsibilities.
- It's good for your body. Any book on therapeutic massage will list a
number of positive, documented effects that massage has on the body and
- It feels good.
- Effleurage: A smooth, gliding stroke during which the whole hand is
in contact with the body, following the body's contours. Effleurage is a
great way to begin and end massage on a particular area.
- Petrissage: A kneading, lifting stroke. Try to keep the palm of the
hand in contact with the body along with the fingers. Be rhythmic, and
- Friction: A direct, focused, compressing stroke. Thumbs, possibly
braced, work well for this stroke. Be careful not to exert pressure with
your fingernails if you have long fingernails. Circular motions work well.
This stroke should be preceded by effleurage and/or petrissage.
- In massage schools, four other types of strokes are taught: Vibration
consists of shaking and/or vibrating motions, Gymnastics consist of
moving body parts (such as arms) through their ranges of motion,
consists of rhythmic and soft "pounding" strokes, and Nerve Strokes are
light strokes over a part of the body which precede leaving it for another
HOW TO STAY COMFORTABLE WHILE GIVING A MASSAGE
- If you're using a table, don't lean over it - keeping your back relatively
upright is best.
- Lean into the person you're massaging for deep strokes, rather than
depending on upper arm strength.
- Keep your shoulders down.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and fluid for long gliding strokes.
BASIC MASSAGE TECHNIQUES
- Maintain contact with your partner and take your time.
- Be sure the room is warm enough for the person you're massaging.
- Put oils/lotions in your hand first, to be sure they are warm.
- Start with light and general strokes before doing deep and direct work on
any given area.
- Repeated, slow strokes are relaxing. Fast, light strokes can be
- Deep, draining strokes on arms and legs should be done towards the heart
rather than away from it.
- Offer the receiving partner a glass of water afterwards. For a variety of
reasons, water is especially valuable to the body after a massage.
- Massaging severely vericose veins deeply and directly is probably a bad
idea. With other conditions use common sense, getting a doctor's opinion if
• Intro to Massage • Massage Modalities • Massage School Notes • Ethics • Anatomy & Kinesiology • The Muscles • Massage Sequences • Aromatherapy • Acupressure • Swedish Massage • Deep Tissue Massage • Alignment Therapy • Pathology • Reflexology Massage • TriggerPoint Therapy • Trigger Charts •