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Stress Relief is on Its Way: Nothing Beats a Great Massage

Published on May 10, 2013 by Karen Newmeyer

Stress is inevitable (unless you are dead, and even then you probably won’t escape it entirely). In my opinion, the two biggest stress relievers are laughter and a good massage. I say a good massage because not all massages—or massage therapists—are created equal.

So, what does it take to become a good massage therapist?

massage therapy career

ReAhna Dobson, Massage Student

A lack of talent can be overcome, to a certain extent, by the second two. After all, not all of us were born with a magic set of hands.

Instruction is the easy part, especially when your instructor is a talented massage therapist like Vicki Bant, Broadview University-Orem’s massage therapy program chair.

Practice is the third essential quality that all good massage therapists require—lots of practice. In fact, massage students are expected to spend a significant amount of  time outside of the classroom practicing their skills. In addition, as part of their program, they are required to participate in clinics held on campus.

This quarter, Broadview-Orem is offering three clinics:

Sports Massage

Gaining popularity nationwide, this massage technique is mostly targeted toward athletes but is also good for anyone who may suffer from muscle overuse or constant repetitive movements. It includes stretches, targeting muscle-tendon junctions, and working on a client’s range of motion. Athletes who are anticipating an upcoming event may ask for this massage as part of their preparations in order to maximize their performance, increase flexibility and endurance, and reduce fatigue. After the event, this massage can also help with recovery and sore muscles.

massage therapy career

Cliff Hunsaker, Massage Student

Broadview massage students are currently providing pre-game and post-game sports massages to the Utah Blaze football players

Prenatal Massage

This massage is part of a broader category of massages or “special populations” massages. Examples of special populations would include geriatric massage, child and infant massage, and even animal massage. A prenatal massage is, as the name suggests, a massage for expecting women. It is a great way to relieve some of the discomforts of pregnancy, such as the “knife” in the back sensation, the Charlie horse that attacks in the middle of the night, and the uncomfortable swelling of the ankles and feet.

I used to think the expression “barefoot and pregnant” referred to the economic concerns of pregnancy. I later found, through personal experiences, that it refers to a woman’s feet being so swollen during pregnancy that her shoes no longer fit. What better reason for a pregnant woman to get the prenatal massage than to help her to be able to slip back into her favorite shoes?

The most obvious obstacle of the prenatal massage is the client’s inability to lie in a “prone position,” which is the term used to describe a client lying face down on the massage table. Not to worry! Massage therapists have already figured this one out. Lying in a sideways position with proper supporting pillows and cushions, the pregnant woman can enjoy a comfortable massage designed to relieve tension, anxiety, as well as many of the physical discomforts common to pregnancy while promoting emotional wellness.

Swedish Massage

This massage is generally designed for relaxation. It can be combined with deep tissue massage which employs deeper pressure and focuses on the deepest layers of muscle tissue. It is most beneficial when dealing with long term muscle tension. As the joke goes, how can the massage therapist determine if the pressure is okay? If the client is seeing dead relatives beckoning them toward a bright light, that may be an indication that the pressure is too much. The amount of pressure used is determined by both the therapist and the client. Special care is always taken to provide a therapeutic massage with minimal discomfort.

As instructor Vicki Bant puts it, after working a particularly painful muscle group, you have to “make nice afterwards.”

Our massage clinics are open to staff, students and the general public. Massages are free (although donations for the massage club are appreciated and encouraged). Feedback is provided to the massage students so that they can further hone their skills.

By Karen Newmeyer, Lawyer, Librarian, and Aspiring Massage Therapist

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