cclohisy, Author at Broadview University

Is Massage Therapy a Good Second Job?

Massage therapist at providing a client with a massage

Have you cut your expenses as far as they will go? Looking for a second job to supplement your income? Many of us are having a hard time making ends meet in today’s economy. Some of us can put food on the table and pay the rent, but others of us need to take a second or even third job to pay the bills. Are you looking for a second job that is flexible, offers independence and on demand? Massage therapy is a good second job for those that can travel, have time to learn a new trade and have the dexterity to give massages.

What Does A Massage Therapist Do?

For those considering a second job as a massage therapist, you will manipulate a person’s muscles and soft tissue to relieve their pain and stress. Massage helps relieve pain and stress, heal injuries, improve circulation, remove waste, increase relaxation, improve sleep and even helps athletes perform better. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics massage therapists typically do the following:

  • Talk with clients about ailments, symptoms, and medical history
  • Evaluate clients before and after massage
  • Identify the massage modality to best suit a client’s needs
  • Manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body
  • Educate clients on proper stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve posture
  • Document clients’ conditions and progress

Part of what a massage therapist does can be completed as a gig. These gigs are short-term, temporary positions focused on a specific short task to supplement full-time employment. Ready to join the gig economy and start working as a massage therapist?

What is the Gig Economy?

There are many different gigs available. Gigs are flexible, allow supplemental income, and can be on-demand. You can become an Uber driver, pick up groceries, pet-sit, babysit, deliver food for GrubHub or deliver packages for Amazon. You may even choose to become a massage therapist. Unlike many of the jobs listed above, massage therapists need to become certified. It only takes less than a year to complete a massage therapy program and prepare for an exam to become certified. Good news is you will be certified and have an advantage over the everyday gig worker. Along with massage therapy and other gigs, there are some benefits.

Benefits of a Second Job in Massage Therapy

There are many benefits to a second job in massage therapy. Whether you are starting a new massage business or taking a few gigs on the side, massage therapy is a great way to make supplemental income. You can start earning quickly, enjoy flexibility and independence, and work on-demand.

Start Earning Quickly

The program to become a massage therapist takes less than one year and includes hands-on experience in a clinical lab. You will learn all of the massage modalities, and take classes on anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathology. There is also coursework on the business side of becoming a massage therapist. Those looking to massage therapy as a second job should learn how to run a business and get customers. Once you complete a massage therapy program, you are prepared to take an exam to become certified.

Flexibility

As a massage therapist, you have the ability to set your own hours as long as your clients are available. You can work during the day at an office or do evening appointments at client’s homes. There are also some part time jobs at spas, resorts and fitness centers. If you are caring for a family or elderly parent, becoming a massage therapy will allow you to work around your schedule. Being a massage therapist as a first or second job offers you the ability to take care of your responsibilities and schedule clients when you are available.

Independence

Some of us don’t like to answer to a boss or work a 9 to 5 job. Some freelancers choose to work independently outside of the traditional office hours. As a massage therapist, you can answer to yourself and choose when you want to work. You can even choose who you work with or what specialties you offer. Some massage therapists focus on hot stone massage and others specialize in sports massage. Regardless of when you want to work and what kind of massage you specialize in, starting a second job as a massage therapist is a great way to supplement your income.

Supplemental Income

If you need a second job to supplement your income, becoming a massage therapist can be a good solution.  Do you want to set aside a nest egg for a rainy day? Do you have high interest rate debts and want to pay them off? Regardless of your situation, a second job can help pay down debts and give you some security from a financial pandemic.

In addition to supplemental income, a second job will diversify your current income stream. For example, you have the freedom to quit your first job, knowing that you have a second job in reserve.

On-Demand

Although you will have regular clients as a massage therapist, you have the choice of when to work and whom to work with. When using gig platforms, you have the choice of when to be available to pick up a gig. You can also decide not to work. The choice is yours.

What are the Different Types of Massage?

There are a few different types of massage that you will learn during a massage therapy program. The most common massage therapies are Swedish and Deep Tissue. There are also Hot Stone Massage, Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, Shiatsu Massage and Trigger Point Massage.

For those looking to massage as a second job, you may want to keep the supplies to a minimum. It can be costly to buy the massage table, pillows and supplies in order to be a self-employed massage therapist. If you are on a budget, you can either perform specialized chair massages or massage clients in their own business chairs. Spas and resorts that hire part-time massage therapists will also have the supplies on hand that you need to perform a massage.

Is Financial Aid Assistance Available?

Vocational schools offer financial aid assistant to those that qualify. Make sure that the vocational school you attend is properly accredited so you can apply for federal financial aid. Only those schools that are properly accredited can offer federal financial aid options to their students. Broadview University will help you fill out the necessary paperwork, like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and talk with you about your financial aid options. Broadview University helps students apply for grants, military discounts and employee tuition reimbursement benefits. Mark your calendar for important deadlines for financial aid and learn about all the scholarships offered to students that qualify.

How Do You Get Customers?

Again, if you are on a budget, start with your friends and family. Let them know that you are a new massage therapist looking for clients. They can spread the word to their contacts, and you can pick up a few clients that way. Social media is another great way to get the word out. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are all communities that help you inform the masses. Create a community, start groups and interact with friends to share your new abilities as a massage therapist. There are also start-ups that are looking for a gig massage therapist to sign up, for example Thervo.com and iHireTherapy.com.

Final Thoughts

Whether you opt to make massage therapy your first or second job, there are many different benefits of becoming a massage therapist. Not looking for a second job and just want to work one job? There are also opportunities to work full-time in spas, resorts, casinos, fitness centers or cruise ships. Either way, you can be earning in less than one year and making that additional money you need to pay the bills.

Did learning about a job in massage therapy interest you? Want to learn more about a massage therapy program? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

What is Myofascial Release Massage?

If you’re interested in a career as a massage therapist, one of the common massage techniques you will learn during a massage therapy program is myofascial release massage. During a massage therapy program, you will gain the knowledge about anatomy and kinesiology that you need to successfully perform myofascial release massage. With this technique, you can help clients reduce pain and live a happier life.

Massage therapist providing a myofascial release massage to a client

What Is Fascia?

Fascia is an expanse or band of connective tissue that’s predominantly composed of collagen. The fascia is underneath the surface of the skin and encloses an internal organ or muscle. The fascia is a tightly woven, dense covering. This specialized system of the body covers:

  • Arteries
  • Bones
  • Internal Organs
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Veins

The fascia is continuous, from head to foot. Surgery, inflammation, and trauma can exert pressure on muscles that may not be evident on CAT scans, myelograms, or X-rays. A lack of motion, inflammation, or pain may be due to undiagnosed pressure on the muscles.

Fascia plays a significant role in the function of the body. When it’s in the normal state, the fascia has a wavy appearance. When emotional or physical trauma, inflammation, or scarring are present, the fascia becomes tense and restricted. Among the causes of tightness in the fascia are:

  • Bad posture
  • Repeated stress injuries
  • Trauma from injury or surgery

What Is Myofascial Release Massage?

Myofascial release massage is a technique that focuses on pain that originates in the myofascial tissue or membranes that connects and wraps around the muscles throughout the body. Myofascial pain differs from other types of pain treated by massage therapists because the pain originates in trigger points.

The primary difference between traditional massage techniques like Swedish massage and myofascial is that traditional massage focuses on the muscles and soft tissue. Myofascial release massage is concentrated on the fascia or connective tissue. The myofascial release technique uses a sustained pressure to lengthen and stretch the connective tissue. Pressure may be applied for several minutes to soften the fascia and properly align it.

Another significant difference between the two types of massage is that traditional massage uses lotions or oils to prevent friction on the client’s body. If any oil or lotion is used in myofascial release massage, it can prevent the practitioner from finding the trigger point that’s causing the pain or discomfort.

What Are the Benefits of Myofascial Release Massage?

There are many different benefits of myofascial release massage. They include reduced pain, release of trigger points, improvement in movement and flexibility, improved muscle function, enhanced circulation, reduced soreness, help correcting posture alignment issues, strengthening the immune system, improved tissue recovery, reduced scar tissue and stress reduction.

Benefit #1: Reduced Pain

Rather than using light pressure to relieve sore muscles, the massage therapist must locate the trigger points that cause the pain. They use manual and stretching techniques that loosen up restricted movement in joints and muscles and relieves the pain.

Benefit #2: Release Trigger Points

Using this technique over a broad area of the body can identify the trigger points that cause pain, by releasing and lengthening the muscles. The technique uses sustained pressure and may be done several times until the tension is released.

Benefit #3: Improved Movement and Flexibility

Myofascial release massage has been effective in reducing shoulder pain and relieving pain in women recovering from breast cancer surgery. Clients with neck and arm pain can improve faster with myofascial release massage than by using electrical nerve stimulation, strengthening exercises, or moist, warm packs.

Benefit #4: Improved Muscle Function

Trainers and sports team professionals are discovering the benefits of myofascial release therapy when treating athletes with sore and injured muscles. Applying pressure to sore muscles for extended periods has been shown to improve muscle function and provide a faster recovery.

Benefit #5: Enhanced Circulation

Myofascial release massage is an excellent way to improve blood circulation throughout the body. The pressure on the trigger points encourages the flow of oxygen and helps to improve blood circulation.

Benefit #6: Reduced Soreness

Blood flow is restricted in areas that are tight. The increased pressure on trigger points allows the blood to flow freely and reduce inflammation, so pain and soreness are reduced.

Benefit #7: Correction of Posture Alignment Issues

When muscles are tight and there’s poor circulation, muscles can get dehydrated. If there’s an injury, scar tissue may form, and fascia attaches to it. Painful adhesions make movement painful. As adhesions become solid, they can restrict movement and cause poor posture. Myofascial release massage helps address poor posture.

Benefit #8: Strengthens Immune System

Massage helps to improve physical and emotional health. Myofascial release massage rids the body of stressors. When the body and mind are strengthened, the immune system works more efficiently.

Benefit #9: Improved Tissue Recovery

Myofascial release massage helps to ease tissue that’s constricted. When scar tissue is present, the massage therapist works along the scar tissue to soften it. When the tissue becomes soft and more pliable, it heals faster.

Benefit #10: Reduced Scar Tissue

Scar tissue that isn’t treated can eventually harden, causing more pain and mobility issues. Myofascial release massage is one of the most effective ways to reduce scar tissue. As the massage therapist continues to massage the area, the scar tissue will soften, and adhesions can be eliminated.

Benefit #11: Stress Reduction

When the fascia is constricted due to stress, injury, or aging, it can cause stress and tension. Myofascial release massage is one of the most effective techniques to stretch tissue and relieve tightness. When the fascia is in a healthy state, there’s less stress throughout the body. The treatment is effective in alleviating the feelings that are associated with chronic stress.

What Ailments are Myofascial Release Massage Used For?

Myofascial release massage helps those suffering from disorders that cause pain. These disorders include fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle spasms, whiplash injuries, bulging discs, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia pain comes from fascia that is stuck and inflamed. When the fascia gets restricted, it becomes almost glue-like and dehydrated. The gentle pressure that’s applied during the myofascial release massage can relieve the pain caused by fibromyalgia.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain and swelling in the body’s joints and soft tissue. The pressure exerted in myofascial massage can alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Muscle Spasms

One theory about muscle spasms is that they may be caused by repeated trauma to a muscle that creates a trigger point. Myofascial release massage is geared towards trigger points and alleviating pain in other parts of the body.

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, arm or neck pain, dizziness, and memory loss. People who suffer from pain associated with whiplash injuries can experience improvement after a few sessions of myofascial release massage treatment.

Bulging Disc

Myofascial release massage treatments to decompress a bulging disc combined with techniques to improve mobility can reduce the chronic pain associated with disc injuries and prevent the disc from degenerating further.

Sciatica

Acupressure and pain medications are often prescribed for sciatica pain, but myofascial release massage is the most effective treatment in alleviating the pain. Massage treatments help to decrease the tension in the muscles. When the muscle loosens up, the inflammation in the muscle decreases.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Myofascial release massage is one of the most effective treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome. The massage therapist uses a kneading motion to massage the wrist joint. The repeated movement can break down adhesions in the tendons and help to reduce the level of pain.

What are the Myofascial Release Massage Skills?

There are many skills a massage therapist will need to be successful at myofascial release massage. They include stamina, dexterity, communication, active listening, and body language interpretation.

Skill #1: Stamina

A massage therapist may spend most of their workday on their feet, and it can be exhausting at the end of the day. Physical stamina is a necessity for a massage therapist who must be able to provide treatment for several clients each day, with sessions possibly lasting as long as an hour.

Skill #2: Dexterity

A massage therapist must have manual dexterity to perform all the maneuvers needed for a rigorous myofascial release massage treatment. Repeated application of pressure on trigger points may be necessary to loosen tight muscles and restore mobility.

Skill #3: Communication

A massage therapist needs as much information as possible to provide the most effective treatments for their clients. Excellent interpersonal skills help to make a client feel comfortable. The massage therapist should explain what they’re doing and why, to put the client at ease.

Skill #4: Active Listening

A massage therapist should always practice active listening. When a client is explaining their pain or symptoms, they should be allowed to finish before the massage therapist asks questions.

Skill #5: Body Language Interpretation

Observing a client’s body language can help to interpret what they’re feeling. Responding in an appropriate manner can help to build a rapport between massage therapist and client.

Final Thoughts

Do you enjoy helping others? Have the stamina and dexterity to perform myofascial release massage? If so, a career as a massage therapist will allow you to help others and keep them living a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Did learning about myofascial release massage interest you? Want to learn more about a massage therapy program? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

How to Take Care of a Parrot: An Avian Vet Tech’s Guide

Avian vet tech with a parrot on her shoulder

Why Does Someone Become an Avian Vet Tech?

A lot of people become avian vet tech because they want the opportunity to help animals and they love birds. Some people find the field exciting when they hear about birds being rescued and working in wildlife sanctuaries. It’s rewarding to help heal a sick or injured bird when you love animals. Another reason that many people choose a career in avian veterinary technology is that they derive a lot of joy from educating other bird owners about providing the best care for their pets.

What Are the Common Types of Pet Parrots?

Parrots are among the world’s most popular pets following dogs and cats. Hundreds of species of parrots live in various areas of the world. Parrots are social, intelligent, and have stunning plumage. A lot of people who love birds choose parrots as pets because of their ability to talk. Here are some of the species that learn to talk quickly.

African Grey Parrot

The African Grey Parrot has the ability to speak clearly, has a distinctive accent, and the ability to learn a vast vocabulary.

Alexandrian Parrot

Alexandrian Parrots are larger versions of the Ring-Neck species. They have beautiful green plumage with touches of pink. The male has a distinctive ring around its neck. Alexandrians have the ability to learn to talk very easily.

Amazon Parrot

Amazon Parrots are very chatty and can repeat what they’ve just heard. Amazons can mimic the voices of those speaking around them, in the exact accent. There are several sub-types of Amazons and they can all learn to speak well, especially the Blue Fronted, the Yellow Crowned, and the Yellow-Naped Amazons.

Budgerigar Parrot

The male Budgerigar can speak fluently if the owner takes the time to train them. However, they’re more difficult than other parrots to train.

Cockatoo

The Cockatoo is a very affectionate bird and entertaining to watch. Cockatoos seem to love the sound of their voices and are enjoyable to be around. They can learn to speak quickly and, if trained, can repeat entire sentences.

Eclectus Parrot

The plumage on the Eclectus Parrot is vibrant and colorful. They can speak clearly when their owner takes the time to teach them.

Macaw

Macaws are the largest variety of parrot and are sometimes referred to as King Parrots. They can mimic the speech of humans, household noises, and like to whistle. The Blue and Gold Macaw have the ability to put phrases together more quickly than some other types of parrots.

The Lifespan of Parrots

If you’ve considered a parrot as a pet, you should be aware that some of them have incredibly long life spans. You should only consider one of these beautiful birds if you’re willing to make a lifetime commitment. The lifespan of a parrot depends on whether it’s bred in captivity or born in the wild, and the environment in which the bird lives. Here are some of the popular parrot species and their average lifespan.

  • Macaws – 50 to 100 years
  • Cockatoos – 40 to 60 years
  • Amazon Parrots – 70 years
  • African Grey Parrots – 60 years
  • Eclectus species – 65 to 85 years
  • Senegal Parrots – 50 years
  • Caique and Conure Parrots – 30 years
  • Small species like Lories and Lorikeets – 13 to 25 years
  • Cockatiels – 20 years
  • Lovebirds – 15 to 25 years
  • Parakeets – 8 to 12 years

How Does Someone Take Care of a Parrot?

Parrots are brilliant and make wonderful family pets. They aren’t domesticated like dogs and cats, so they retain the characteristics of parrots in the wild. An important point to consider is that there are many different parrot species, and each has distinct qualities.

Diet and Nutrition

Parrots like variation in their diet. Seeds and pellets should be the base of their diet but it should be mixed with other foods. Most parrots like green beans, carrots, cooked squash, and peas. Fruits include apples, grapes, bananas, and berries. Fruit should be in limited amounts due to the sugar content. Some parrots like to take the meat out of nutshells. Make sure your parrot has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. The ideal container should be large enough for bathing.

Never give a parrot alcohol, caffeine, onions, or avocado. Avocado is lethal to parrots. Toxic foods to avoid are salty sugary or greasy foods, dill, cabbage, rhubarb, honey, and eggplant. Raw or dry beans should also be avoided.

Cage Size and Cleaning

Rectangular or square cages are best for parrots. These birds feel uncomfortable in cages that are round and don’t have corners. The cage should be large enough for the parrot to move around and climb in. The cage should be large enough for food and water bowls, perches, toys to play with, and comfortable places to rest. Large birds should have a cage at least 5 feet wide, 6 feet high, and three and a half feet deep.

Smaller birds can live comfortably in a cage that is 3 feet high, wide, and deep. Every two days, the droppings from the bottom of the cage should be removed, and a fresh liner should be placed in the cage. Spot cleaning on perches and other areas should be done at least once a day.

Interaction with the Family

Parrots are very social and love the interaction with their flock in the wild. In captivity, their family is their flock. The parrot’s cage should be placed in a room to hang out and participate in family activities. Parrots that are isolated can develop separation anxiety. They should be a part of family life.

Nail Trimming

A parrot’s nails can grow quickly, they should be trimmed approximately every two months. If a bird is having perching problems or trouble getting around, it’s time for a trim.

Toys to Play with

Fun toys keep parrots from getting bored and offer mental stimulation. Toys with a variety of sounds, colors, and textures are best. Small birds love mirrors. Larger species like to chew, so tougher toys keep them happy. Make sure to rotate toys every few days and throw away any that are damaged or have rough edges.

Annual Wellness Exams

A lot of parrots live a long life without any serious health complications. However, annual wellness exams should be part of a parrot’s life as it is with all family members. Most of the time, serious complications can be avoided with preventative care.

Time Out of the Cage

Small species of parrots can be taken out of their cage for about two hours a day. Large species need more time for exercise and should have three hours outside the cage each day. Parrots need time to experience the sounds, smells, and sights of their environment.

Nighttime Sleep

Most parrots thrive on a sunrise to sunset schedule and require 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Room-darkening curtains or a cage cover will allow a parrot to get the rest they need each night.

Companion or Solo Parrot?

It’s a matter of personal preference. The reason most people only have one parrot is that they’re such affectionate birds and see themselves and their owner as the flock. However, a parrot does get lonely if they are left on their own too often.

Common Health Issues and Diseases to Be Aware of

Each species of bird has different health issues and diseases. A parrot owner should talk with their avian vet tech to understand more about the common health issues and diseases of their parrots. The most common symptoms of sickness or disease in pet birds are:

  • Ruffled feathers
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Changes in vocalizing
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Reduced appetite
  • Unusual droppings

If a parrot shows one or more of these symptoms, it’s a sign that something isn’t right, and the bird should get to the vet as soon as possible. Birds have delicate immune systems, and an early diagnosis could save the life of the parrot. Some of the most common diseases in parrots are parrot fever of psittacosis and PBFD.

Parrot Fever of Psittacosis – symptoms of Parrot Fever are weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, eye discharge, and depression. This is a life-threatening disease and must be treated immediately.

PBFD – a virus that can affect the liver, brain, and immune system. The common symptoms include pneumonia, rapid loss of weight, premature shedding of feathers, a beak that becomes elongated, and diarrhea. This is a severe disease but can be treated with antibiotics and excellent care.

Avian Vet Tech Education and Job Requirements

Vet techs complete an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree. Most students can complete their coursework in less than two years. Vet tech programs offer a course in exotic animals including birds. To become an avian vet tech, graduates must compile a specified amount of work experience and pass an exam for avian vet tech certification.

General Duties of An Avian Vet Tech

Many avian vet techs can work in big cities or small rural towns. The higher the population, the more avian veterinary services are needed. An avian vet tech has the following day-to-day responsibilities that include:

  • Handling and restraining birds for examinations
  • Assisting with radiographs
  • Catheter replacement and venipuncture
  • Processing lab samples
  • Prepping birds for surgery and monitoring vital signs
  • Scheduling patients and following up with post-op instructions
  • Communicating with pet owners, staff, and suppliers
  • Checking in/discharging patients
  • Caring for and maintaining equipment
  • Managing inventory, cleaning, and stocking

The duties of an avian vet tech may vary considerably, depending on the state in which they practice. In some states, an avian vet tech may be able to assess the injury of a bird and determine the cause behind it. The avian vet tech may also assist the veterinarian in the care of a broken wing that must be wrapped tightly to the animal’s body to prevent further injury.

Career Opportunities for Avian Vet Techs

The latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job growth rate for veterinary technicians is exceeding that of many other professions. The growth rate of 19 percent is higher than average and expected to continue through 2028. Although the growth rate is general and not for specific veterinary technology fields, see below for a list of several reasons for the increase:

  • Advances in veterinary medicine require vet techs with more skilled training
  • More Americans include pets as family members
  • Vet techs that are trained to take on additional responsibilities allow veterinarians to handle more critical cases.

Final Thoughts

Once you have graduated from a vet tech program and passed the VTNE, you may join the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Many certifications for avian vet tech involve a specific amount of job experience and certification in avian vet tech. If you love birds and want to be a part of a team that cares for them, becoming an avian vet tech is the right career path for you.

Do you have birds of your own? Do you want to educate pet parents about the right ways to care for birds? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

What Happens During a Prenatal Massage?

Woman who appears in pain and would benefit from a prenatal massage

Are you interested in learning about what happens during a prenatal massage? Want to become a massage therapist yourself? Those who want to earn a certificate to practice in under a year and work in a career helping people with an excellent job outlook, may want to look into massage therapy. Massage therapy is invaluable to clients suffering from stress, experiencing pain, or recovering from an injury.

Massage therapy is becoming accepted as an alternative form of healing. The field is expected to grow 22 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can complete a degree or certificate program in less than a year and have hundreds of hours practicing various techniques. One of the many massage techniques you will learn is prenatal massage.

What is Prenatal Massage?

All pregnancies are different and expectant mothers may experience some unusual sensations or pain during their pregnancy. Prenatal massage is designed to relieve some of the discomfort that a mother-to-be experiences. When an expectant mother experiences fewer aches and pains, it’s easier to stay healthy. Prenatal massages can help to relieve anxiety, depression, and tension.

What Makes Prenatal Massage Different?

Prenatal massage shouldn’t be confused with other massage therapy techniques. Many people choose massage treatment as a way to relax, relieve tension, and alleviate pain. Pregnant women have issues that differ from non-pregnant women. Many of the problems mothers-to-be face can be reduced with massage.

  • Lower back and hip pain are common problems during pregnancy due to the increased weight carried in front of the body.
  • The organs in the abdominal cavity are more crowded together and can cause issues with breathing.
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper back are common due to larger breast size during pregnancy.
  • A lot of pregnant women find that they have difficulty with movement due to their weight gain.

Prenatal massage is an excellent way to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. This form of massage is similar to traditional massage treatment with a few changes.

After the woman has passed the first trimester, you will no longer work with the client in the face down or prone position. This avoids putting unnecessary pressure on the ligaments in the uterus and the abdomen. During the pregnancy and depending on what week the mother’s pregnancy is in, you may work with the client lying on her back shifted slightly to the left. Later in the pregnancy, you may position the client in a semi-reclined position for prenatal massage treatment.

When the client is semi-reclined, it avoids compressing the vena cava, that can decrease circulation to the mother and baby, and cause low blood pressure in the mother. You will factor in any special instructions or concerns of the OBGYN, so the prenatal massage treatment is most effective.

A significant portion of the massage treatments for expectant mothers is done with the client on her side and propped up with many pillows. This position allows for the maximum amount of comfort and safety for the mother and baby. Some women continue to sleep in this position after the baby is born because it’s so comfortable and relaxing.

Avoiding Areas of Pressure During Prenatal Massage

There are areas of the body which you should avoid putting pointed or deep pressure on, during prenatal massage. These areas include the shiatsu points used to induce contractions of the uterus, the inside portion of the legs, and the abdomen.

A client has the right to choose or deny any type of massage therapy treatment. Although some women choose not to include the abdomen in a prenatal massage, most agree that it’s very soothing. The abdomen may be massaged in a very gentle way that produces relaxation and reduces stress.

Why Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage helps reduce swelling, caused by muscle and joint pain. The gentle touch of massage can also reduce anxiety and stress. Prenatal massage treatment can improve digestion and strengthen the mother’s immune system.

Prenatal massage has more significant benefits in addition to offering the mother relief from pain, stress, and anxiety. Mothers-to-be that undergo prenatal massage experience fewer sleep problems and reduced pain, have fewer complications during delivery, and newborn babies have fewer post-natal complications.

How Does A Massage Therapist Perform Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage usually lasts about an hour. You will position the client on a massage table, specially designed for pregnant women. In some cases, you may have the client positioned slightly to one side supported by pillows. The pillow method is especially useful during the later stages of pregnancy.

Swedish massage is a technique commonly used in prenatal massage. This type of massage is the treatment most recommended for pregnant women. Swedish massage addresses many of the common problems pregnant women experience in the circulatory and skeletal systems. These changes are brought about by changes in hormone levels. The treatment is designed to decrease tension in the muscles, improve blood flow, and aid the lymphatic system.

What Are the Discomforts of Pregnancy?

Mothers-to-be have some discomforts that prenatal massage can alleviate. They include anemia, backaches, edema, constipation, headaches, leg cramps, and nausea.

Anemia

Anemia in pregnancy occurs when a woman lacks healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissue throughout the body. This typically is a concern because it can affect a mothers’ mortality rates, cause premature births, and low birth weights.

Backaches

Backaches are common in pregnant women due to the baby’s additional weight pressing on the lower back. The pain may be a general feeling of achiness, sharp pain, or a dull ache. After the first trimester, prenatal massage can alleviate the discomfort and help a client relax and sleep.

Edema

Edema is one of the most common problems that pregnant women experience. Almost all pregnant women experience some form of edema at one time or another during pregnancy. The swelling is most common in the legs, ankles, and feet. You can advise your clients to eat high potassium foods, avoid standing for long periods, and minimize time spent outdoors when the weather is hot, to help alleviate swelling.

Constipation

The most common reason that many pregnant women experience constipation is an increase in the hormone known as progesterone that relaxes the smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. The relaxation of the muscles allows food to pass through the intestinal tract at a slower rate.

Headaches

Most headaches during pregnancy are known as primary headaches, meaning a secondary problem doesn’t cause them. The types of headaches that are common during pregnancy are cluster, tension, and migraines. Women who commonly suffer from migraines seem to have fewer incidences during pregnancy. Common symptoms of pregnancy headaches include sharp pain behind one or both eyes, a pulsating or throbbing pain, or a dull ache.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps can be painful, especially during pregnancy. Changes in circulation usually cause cramps in the legs during pregnancy. The baby’s position may also cause pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that lead to the legs. Stretching exercises, sitting with the feet elevated, warm compresses, and massage can alleviate the discomfort. You should be careful with leg massage as some pregnant women suffer from blood clots in the legs. These blood clots can get dislodged during massage and travel to vital organs in the body, causing complications.

Nausea

This is a common symptom, especially during the first trimester.Nausea and vomiting during the first trimester may be linked to the hormone HCG or suggest viable placenta tissue. Even though it isn’t necessarily indicative of a problem, nausea can be very unpleasant. Prenatal massage can help alleviate nausea during pregnancy.

What Are the Other Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage offers many benefits for the mother and the baby. Some of the benefits of prenatal massage include stress relief, hormone level regulation, decrease in morning sickness, improved blood circulation, reduced swelling, and less nerve pain.

Benefit #1: Stress Relief

Prenatal massage can help relieve stress, a common problem during pregnancy. It can also help to alleviate pain, especially in the lower back.

Benefit #2: Regulate Hormone Levels

Prenatal massage helps stimulate blood flow and regulate hormone levels. The hormones associated with stress levels and relaxation are altered when prenatal massages are part of the health regimen. Cortisol and norepinephrine, the hormones commonly related to stress, can be reduced after five weeks of bi-weekly prenatal massages.

Low levels of dopamine and serotonin can cause depression. Pregnant women who include prenatal massages as part of their routine can see increased dopamine and serotonin levels, offering less depression. When prenatal massages are a regular part of prenatal care, there may be fewer complications with the birth, resulting in healthier babies.

Benefit #3: Decrease in Morning Sickness

Morning sickness may seem like an inconvenience, but it can cause serious side effects, including dehydration. After the first trimester, if a woman is still experiencing morning sickness, prenatal massage can reduce the incidence of nausea and vomiting. Prenatal massage also improves the circulation of blood flow and relaxes the muscles. When the muscles begin to relax, hormones release into the body to alleviate nausea.

Benefit #4: Improved Blood Circulation

Prenatal massage can aid the circulatory system and improve the blood flow to the organs, tissues, and muscles. Since massage reduces stress, the release of the chemicals that reduce tension can help keep blood pressure at a healthy level.

Benefit #5: Reduced Swelling

Decreased circulation and increased pressure on the blood vessels can cause swelling. Prenatal massage stimulates soft tissue and reduces the amount of fluid that can build up in swollen joints. Prenatal massage can also help to remove waste tissue from the lymphatic system. A reduction of swelling from prenatal massage can reduce pain and discomfort.

Benefit #6: Reduced Nerve Pain

Improvement in nerve pain is another benefit of prenatal massage. During the late stages of pregnancy, many women experience sciatic nerve pain because the uterus is resting on the pelvic and lower back muscles. The pressure of the uterus causes tension in the upper and lower leg muscles, causing swelling. Prenatal massage helps release the tension in the muscles.

What are the Skills Needed to Offer Prenatal Massage?

In addition to the technical abilities that you must possess as a massage therapist, soft skills are also essential. These soft skills include communication, active listening, body language interpretation, and continued education.

Skill #1: Communication

Excellent communication is vital to creating a relaxing environment during prenatal massage. You must have the ability to listen to your client, ask questions, and alleviate any concerns the client may have. The client also must know what is involved in the treatment before the prenatal massage begins.

Skill #2: Active Listening

It’s essential for you to focus entirely on the client, Listen and offer viable solutions when they are describing any issues regarding pain, stress, or anxiety. The client’s well-being should always come first.

Skill #3: Body Language Interpretation

It’s vital to “read” your clients body language. Different factors may include cultural differences and drawing out clients who find it difficult to discuss what’s troubling them. The more conscious you are of the client’s body language, the more you’ll be able to help your clients.

Skill #4: Continued Education

The techniques used in massage are as different as the clients you’ll treat. The more you learn about the various massage techniques, the more effective the treatment will be. You will have more positive outcomes by using the most appropriate methods learned during continued education.

Final Thoughts

You can help your clients with prenatal massage, with the right training and understanding of the kind of practical, safe, and appropriate treatments for the mother and baby. You should be knowledgeable about pregnancy and the anatomy of a pregnant woman’s body. These will be learned during a massage therapy program at your local vocational school.

If you desire a career helping people, want to earn a certificate in under a year, and work in a field with an excellent job outlook, then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you.

Are you interested in learning more about prenatal massage? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

The Definitive Guide to Large Animal Vet Techs

Large animal vet tech caring for a baby goat

Do you have a passion for animals? Want to learn more about becoming a large animal vet tech? Large animal vet techs work under veterinarian supervision and care for several species of large animals. Students who wish to pursue careers as large animal vet techs can earn an associate’s degree from a vocational school.

What a Vet Tech Learns in Large Animal Vet Class

Vet tech students work with automated, analytical lab equipment and use manual techniques. Students learn the appropriate methods of restraining large animals, how to administer medication and collect samples for various species of animals, including cattle and horses. Students learn the functions of the blood cells along with behavior, husbandry, nutrition, and medicine relating to production animals and horses. Emphasis is placed on drug withdrawal times, preventative medicine, and herd management. Vet techs also learn the constraints involved in the settings for ambulatory care, especially in reproductive and emergency treatments.

Why Does Someone Become a Large Animal Vet Tech?

A genuine love for different species of animals is an excellent reason to become a large animal vet tech. Many students choose a career caring for animals because they may have owned pigs or goats, rode horses frequently, or may have had experiences with animals on a farm. Working as a large animal vet tech is even more rewarding for an animal lover because this field is in high demand. In some cases, vet tech students may have been involved in 4H events as kids or competed in equestrian competitions. Anyone who develops a lifelong love for animals is an ideal fit to work as a large animal vet tech.

The Different Large Animals in Veterinary Medicine

Large animal vet techs provide the same services for their clients as vet techs in a small animal practice. The difference is that the large animal vet tech accompanies the veterinarian to treat the animals on the farm or ranch. Performing diagnostic tests, administering vaccines, and caring for wounds are some of the duties that vet techs assist with on farms and ranches.

Cows

Large animal vet techs can educate farmers about their cows. When caring for cattle, farmers and ranchers should keep an abundant supply of feed, especially when they’re out in the pasture. Dairy cows should have feed high in phosphorus, protein, and calcium. Cows need a habitat that’s always clean and sanitary since disease can spread through a herd quickly. The barn or shelter that cows stay in needs to keep them warm during the coldest months.

Goats

Goats need nutritious food that includes grain, hay, minerals, and supplemental feed. A vet tech can advise farmers about the healthiest diet for their goats based on their life stage and the type of goat. Goats should always have access to fresh, clean water and a salt lick. Goat feeders should be elevated to prevent the herd from developing diseases.

Pigs

Pigs may be raised on farms or as family pets. They are more sensitive to changing weather conditions than some other animals, especially heat and cold. Pigs must have a pool to submerge in during the hottest summer months and a warm barn to sleep in during the winter. Straw makes excellent bedding for pigs and should be piled at least 16 to 18 inches high so the pig can burrow into it.

Horses

Large animal vet techs may assist equine veterinarians in caring for horses on farms and ranches. In many areas, the job may require a significant amount of travel. Vet techs assist veterinarians with routine wellness exams, emergency care, and surgery.

How to Care for Large Animals

Large animal vet techs assist veterinarians with a variety of duties including:

  • Taking blood, urine, and stool samples
  • Taking temperatures
  • Monitoring the behavior of an animal
  • Helping to administer lab tests
  • Assisting in the treatment of illnesses or injuries by cleaning wounds and administering medications

Large animal vet techs may assist in prepping animals for surgery and monitoring vital signs during surgical procedures. These vet techs are responsible for maintaining patient records, taking and developing x-rays, and providing compassionate, nursing care for their patients. Large animal vet techs travel to farms and ranches with veterinarians to care for their patients.

Nutrition

Whether a farm has a large number of animals or just a few that provide milk and eggs for the family, all farm animals deserve the best nutrition. Each animal on a farm has different nutritional needs, but they should all have healthy food. An animal’s temperament improves when they’re getting fed a nutritious diet on a regular schedule.

Reproduction is much easier when animals are fed healthy food and the necessary dietary supplements at breeding time. More farmers are practicing sustainable farming. When pastures are rotated for cattle, depleted grasses grow back with more nutrients, which will, in turn, increase profits for the farm.

Diet

Some farmers have relied on available sources to feed their animals. However, a lot of traditional foods that farmers have used provide too many or not enough nutrients. An improper balance of nutrients can affect growth rates, the health of the animals, and reproduction.

Hygiene

Farm vets and large animal vet techs must be aware of zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals. To reduce the risk of exposure to severe illnesses, proper sanitation and hygiene should always be practiced. Animals should be assessed at regular intervals to ensure their good health.

Annual Exams

Basic wellness exams are important for large farm animals, including beef and dairy cattle, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, and in some cases, alpacas and ostriches. Diagnostic tests may be recommended to determine if any illness is present. Large animal vets recommend monthly herd health exams to ensure the herd is healthy and to inspect for pregnancies.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are a cost-effective way to prevent animals from contracting serious diseases and spreading them to other animals on a farm or ranch. Vaccines also help the local economy. The round of vaccinations for animals on a ranch or farm depends on the herd’s medical history, location of the ranch or farm, and the management system.

Teeth Cleaning

Large animal vet techs assist veterinarians with teeth cleaning and dental procedures for animals on ranches and farms to ensure optimum health. The large animal vet tech may perform different dental tests on animals and interpret the results to determine the most effective treatment. Dental procedures on farm animals may include radiology and providing basic oral care for horses, pigs, goats, sheep, and other animals. Large animal vet techs may assist veterinarians in using nerve blocking and pain management techniques. The best defense against dental and gum problems for farm animals is regular teeth cleaning.

Baby Animal Delivery

Large animal vet techs work in the same capacity as nurses to assist veterinarians with the birth of baby farm animals. In some cases, deliveries may occur outdoors in adverse weather conditions, so vet techs must be prepared for every contingency. The large animal vet tech may administer anesthetic and assist with difficult births. One of the most critical aspects of delivering baby animals is to ensure the area is clean, warm, and sterilized.

Large Animal Vet Tech Skills

There are many skills needed by a large animal vet tech to properly take care of animals and educate owners on proper care. A large animal vet tech must have compassion for animals, the ability to keep large animals calm, the strength to handle large animals, problem solving skills, and an ability to travel.

Compassion for Animals

Compassion for animals is a necessity for a large animal vet tech. When an animal is sick or injured, its stress level is elevated. Animals don’t understand that the medical treatment they’re getting will help them. A large animal vet tech who is compassionate helps to make the animals they’re treating feel relaxed. However, empathy and compassion can’t be learned. These qualities are part of a caring person. All animals should be treated with kindness, patience, and perseverance.

Ability to Keep Large Animals Calm

Animals that are docile and easy-going can become aggressive very quickly when they’re sick or injured. In these situations, the animal and those caring for it can be put in a precarious position. A vet tech must be able to remain calm in a variety of situations, especially when working with large animals. When handling large animals, vet techs should approach them cautiously. Vet techs need to reduce stress levels because animals can sense when humans are stressed.

Strength to Handle Large Animals

Making the decision to be a vet tech allows you to care for a variety of species. If you choose to be a large animal vet tech, you must be prepared to handle horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and other farm animals. Keeping fit and healthy is the key to handling large animals. Trips to the gym, taking a fitness class and getting out to walk help keep a body healthy. In addition to having sufficient strength to handle large animals, it’s essential to stay mentally fit. Eating a healthy diet and getting the proper amount of sleep goes a long way toward doing the job effectively.

Problem Solving

One of the most critical skills of a successful, large animal vet tech is the ability to use problem-solving skills. On a farm or ranch, the vet tech can be the first person to have interaction with the animal and its owner, and must evaluate the situation quickly. Problem-solving skills are essential in determining injuries or illnesses when there are no apparent clues as to the problem. Being able to identify an injury or illness means getting the animal treated as quickly as possible.

Ability to Travel to Locations to Treat Large Animals

Working in a private practice or clinic means you arrive for your shift and work in the same environment each day. If you have aspirations to be a large animal vet tech, there are other considerations to keep in mind. Many farms and ranches are in rural areas. Veterinarians and vet techs often have to schedule visits in one area on a monthly basis for wellness checks. However, when an emergency arises, the veterinarian and team members must be prepared to travel at a moment’s notice. When considering options as a large animal vet tech, be ready for a lot of travel.

Final Thoughts

Most of what a large animal vet tech does is preventative care, but the job is rewarding. If you have a passion for animals, have the ability to travel to rural areas and enjoy the challenge of large animals, becoming a large animal vet tech may be the right career path for you.

Do you have a passion for cows, pigs, goats, horses and other large animals? Do you want to educate farmers and ranchers about the right ways to care for large animals? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

Massage therapists providing clients with a deep tissue massage

One of the techniques you may seek to master is deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage is one of the many techniques learned during a massage therapy program at a vocational school.

Touch is a powerful healer. Even a gentle embrace can give people a sense of relief from their stress. As a massage therapist, you will be helping people overcome pain and injuries related to injuries, sports, or associated with medical conditions. You will come to understand how various massage techniques can assist with healing the innermost layers of muscle or connective tissue.

Becoming a massage therapist means using touch to assist clients with injury prevention and management, as well as rehabilitation. You will work directly with your clients to improve their overall well-being. You will also learn to assess someone’s physical condition, then provide them with therapeutic sessions that complement other treatments they may be receiving.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), massage therapy involves “manipulating the soft tissues of the body.” Such therapies have been utilized for thousands of years. This gives the modern-day massage therapist a variety of techniques and tools to relieve pain, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Shiatsu, myofascial release, and so on.

Deep tissue massage is like other forms of massage, but it is generally used for a single purpose: penetrating deep layers of skin, muscle, ligaments and tendons to break up scar tissue that has formed from an injury or surgery and to reduce tissue and muscle tension. This massage offers slower and firmer movements. The goal is to accelerate healing by reducing inflammation and increasing circulation to the affected area.

Because deep tissue massage requires the massage therapist to use a firm touch to reach the affected tissues, this technique is recommended for clients who are comfortable with more pressure.

Techniques Used During Deep Tissue Massage

Before understanding how deep tissue massage benefits the body, you need to understand the techniques involved. Most manipulations carry over from other forms of massage therapy and bodywork. Yet, as a massage therapist, you can adapt the techniques to suit your client’s needs or to match their individual preferences.

There are four techniques that are used during a deep tissue massage:

Stripping – the characteristic movements of the deep tissue massage include penetrating, gliding movements and applied pressure to the entire length of a muscle using the thumbs, knuckles, elbows, and forearms.

Friction – uses fingers, palms, and circular or transverse motion, the massage therapist rubs the muscles and connective tissues at various angles.

Myofascial release – a therapy that pinpoints the fasci, an elastic sheath that wraps around the muscle, with sustained pressure to increase circulation and reduce tension.

Cross-fiber work – sometimes referred to as transverse friction massage or cross friction massage, this technique uses two fingers to apply friction in a direction perpendicular to the muscle or scar tissue. It is similar to traditional friction techniques that work to breakdown certain fibers and accelerate healing.

Who Should Get a Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage helps repair minor muscular injury and relieve chronic pain. There are a few reasons a client will ask for a deep tissue massage.

Chronic Pain

Some of your clients will have a condition that exacerbates chronic pain. Deep tissue massage is an alternative medical treatment to medication, offering a more holistic approach to relieve chronic pain. There are also those that suffer from disorders like fibromyalgia, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow. Deep tissue massage is helpful to reduce the symptoms of these conditions.

Being an Athlete

Sports is rough on the body and works every muscle. As a serious athlete or weekend warrior, your client will need deep tissue massage to remove scarred tissue and rejuvenate muscles. This will either be an ongoing treatment, or for those that over do it every once in a while, a treatment as needed.

What Types of Issues Benefit from a Deep Tissue Massage?

The greatest benefit of deep tissue massage is the reduction of pain. Here are some of the issues that benefit from this form of massage:

  • Lower back pain
  • Repetitive strain injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle tension in the upper back, rhomboids, gluteals, IT band, calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings from exercise or sports
  • Postural issues, such as scoliosis
  • Recovery from injury (falls, whiplash, etc.)
  • Limited mobility
  • Sciatica
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neck pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Stress and anxiety

How Is Deep Tissue Massage Different from Swedish Massage?

Most people have experienced Swedish massage at least once, and it may even have inspired you to become a massage therapist. You should know that the Swedish style and deep tissue massage are not identical. In fact, while both forms of massage therapy did use many of the same strokes and techniques, they differ in purpose and the pressure used. Here are some the key differences between Swedish and deep tissue massage:

Intended Purpose

Swedish massage therapy is used for relaxation and relief from muscle tension caused by daily activities, such as extended commuting hours or slouching at the computer desk. A Swedish massage uses light pressure and gentle manipulations. Meanwhile, a deep tissue massage is meant to treat musculoskeletal and sports-related issues and chronic pain. This form of massage uses heavier pressure to dig into muscles and relieve chronic pain.

Area of Focus or Application

Swedish massage techniques target the superficial tissue and focuses on the places of tension in the body, neck, back, and shoulders. Deep tissue bodywork, on the other hand, goes deeper, aiming for the adhesions within muscles, myofascial, and the joints, thereby relieving stiffness and inflexibility.

Pressure

While both types of massage therapy utilize knuckles, fingers, and palms to perform the manipulations, a massage therapist may also use their elbows and forearms to apply even more pressure to the body.

What a Deep Tissue Massage Session Is Like

As a deep tissue massage therapist, you are going to work with many people with various aches, pains and medical conditions. Many clients will walk through the door not knowing what to expect, and some of them may be confused about the differences between a Swedish massage and deep tissue massage.

If this is their first session, you can expect to review their medical history, as well as some questions about how they currently feel or what they have recently experienced. You can then explain what you are going to do, what techniques you use, and how those manipulations will help them with their pain, stress, spinal alignment, and even their general wellness.

Be certain to listen for any contraindications. For instance, as a deep tissue massage therapist, you will have to understand the potential risk of such a massage therapy. Those individuals with a risk of deep vein thrombosis or who have skin conditions or rashes, infected skin, abdominal hernias, cancerous or benign tumors, fractures or fragile bones, pregnant, or blood conditions like hematoma should first receive clearance from their primary care physician before receiving deep tissue massage.

Once you have reviewed deep tissue massage with the client, the session can begin. First, you will work through the superficial layers of muscle, as if giving a Swedish massage. This is the only way the deeper tissues can be reached effectively. Should you neglect this important step, the client will most likely experience more pain during the massage.

Gradually, the pressure increases to prevent against “muscle guarding,” a natural reaction of the body against pain. During your massage therapist courses, you will learn how to read body language to understand how a client is feeling during a deep tissue massage. There are also numerous techniques that assist you in distracting the client from the force of pressure being applied.

Final Thoughts

Helping others can be both challenging and rewarding. Becoming a massage therapist will allow you to help those with chronic pain live happier and healthier lives. Take the first step to a rewarding career and learn more about massage therapy at Broadview University.

Did learning about what a deep tissue massage is interest you? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

Business Opportunities for Massage Therapists

Massage Therapist providing a client with a chair massage at her business.

Massage therapy has a long history as an effective healing practice with many cultures around the world, that dates back thousands of years. References to this type of healing have been found in the writings of the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, and Egyptian cultures. With a little bit of experience, you can share this ancient healing practice by starting your own massage therapy business. Starting a business is challenging but there are many different business opportunities for massage therapists.

Why Start A Massage Therapy Business?

One of the more challenging opportunities is to start your own massage therapy business. Those that are motivated and self-sufficient are ideal candidates to be business owners.

Being an entrepreneur opens up a world of opportunities. Although it may be intimidating for you if you are just starting your career, there are however many opportunities for anyone willing to take the plunge. Some of the benefits of starting a massage therapy business include being your own boss, following your passion, becoming an expert, and improving massage therapy.

You’re the Boss

You are the person in charge of the business. You’re responsible for setting hours of operation and creating a list of clients. As a business owner, you make the decisions about the products and services you choose to offer. Ultimately, you have the challenge of starting a business and enjoying the rewards of success.

Follow Your Passion

If you don’t want to get stuck in a 9 to 5 and you have a passion for starting a business, massage is a business opportunity with low barriers to entry. If you want to help others and have an entrepreneurial spirit, massage therapy can help you meet your life goals and support you financially.

Become an Expert

Clients will rely on you for a variety of conditions. As you treat more clients, you will learn more about massage therapy. Over time, you can offer a unique experience that will give you a competitive advantage. You can also work with clients’ primary care physicians in developing treatment plans that are unique to their situation.

Improve Massage Therapy

You can work with mentors that have the experience and insight to improve treatments. You can even become a mentor yourself. Sharing new ideas with your peers and clients to aid in the healing process is important. Be open to innovations in the field and continuing education.

How to Start a Business?

There are many different steps to starting a business. You will need a business plan to get financing, business licenses, massage therapy equipment and supplies, a website, a good location, and tax help.

Business Plan

You should draw up a detailed business plan that outlines the objectives for the business and the plans to achieve them. When you’re applying for a loan, the lender must have a detailed plan to determine the loan amount. You will need to show a break-even analysis and explain the risks and barriers to entry. The more detailed the business plan, the easier it will be to get financing.

Financing

Learn about all the financing options available, including business loans from financial institutions, grants, and loans that are guaranteed by the government. You can also start a friends and family round of investing or save up enough to buy some equipment and go to a client’s house. A massage therapy business can start on a shoestring, but it can be important to create a client following before starting your own massage business.

Business License

Most businesses, even those that operate from home, need some type of business license. The type of license a business needs depends on the city, county and state in which it’s located, the type of products and services that are offered, and the industry that the business is in. There are also some restrictions for home-based businesses about marketing on the outside of the home and how many clients can frequent the business. Make sure to follow city, county and state guidelines so your business license is renewed each year.

Equipment and Supplies

The equipment and supplies for a massage therapy business include a massage table or massage chair. You’ll also need a supply of lotions and creams, massage and aromatherapy oils, essential oils, and towels. Additional supplies depend on the type of treatments you’ll offer clients.

Build a Website

Your massage business will need a central location for customers to go to understand more about your offerings, find contact information and allow them to interact with your business. Your website will also show up in local search results when a customer searches for massage therapy services on the Internet. The current customer is tech savvy and will take the time to visit your website and view your presence on social media before they decide to engage with your massage business.

Lease for Location

You can lease a commercial property for your business. It’s advisable to have an attorney go over the terms of the lease before you sign. This rule should apply whether you’re leasing an entire building or a room within a complex.

Tax Help

You will earn income that’s taxable. It’s essential to keep accurate records of all business transactions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Taxes must be paid whether you’re currently a business owner or a part-time employee in a business.

Transaction Services like PayPal or Square

A transaction service like Square or PayPal are a necessity for a new business. Funds are deducted from another source like a checking account to pay for necessary supplies and equipment. A lot of clients like the ease of using PayPal to pay for transactions. If you decide to accept cash payments, make sure to keep track for tax purposes.

Building A Customer Base

When you’re starting a new business, networking with family, friends, and business owners in similar businesses can attract new customers. All businesses should have a website so potential customers can sign up for newsletters and get contact information. One of the most effective ways to attract new business is to have a presence on social media. Facebook is an excellent way to get referrals. Hosting a grand opening with special offers for new customers is also a good way to promote your new massage business.

Nothing is better at creating loyal customers and generating friend referrals like good customer service. Repeat customers is the life blood of any massage practice. Make sure the experience each client receives is special and that they post social media reviews. Happy customers will help you build your client base.

Where Can A Massage Therapist Operate a Business?

If you decide to meet clients where they are instead of opening up an office or joining a co-op, you have many different options. They include a client’s office, convention centers, malls, fitness centers and gyms, casinos, cruise ships, and a client’s own home.

Business Offices

Some companies offer complimentary massage treatments to employees as one of their perks in high-stress environments. Getting a corporate contract is easier than asking each individual if they want a massage. Work with the building manager or company office manager to secure a corporate contract and set up a chair massage at the office for employees to take advantage of.

Convention Centers and Malls

You can set up a booth at a convention center to offer treatments to attendees. Shoppers and people who work on their feet all day can benefit from a relaxing massage. A mall is an excellent location to set up shop.

Fitness Centers and Gyms

Working out at a fitness center or gym means rigorous exercise, which can leave muscles tight. A massage following strenuous exercise can recondition the muscles. Some fitness centers and gyms have a massage therapist on staff. However, others may allow you to work in their facility on a freelance basis.

Casinos

You can work at casinos to offer guests complimentary neck massage when they’re at the gaming table for an extended time. Contact each casino and get permission to offer massage therapy to guests. Many poker players will sit for hours and request a massage if available.

Cruise Ships

You can work on a cruise ship that provides passengers with massages during their vacation. You will be responsible for keeping an inventory of all supplies, maintaining the treatment rooms, and spa equipment. One of the perks is that you can visit ports-of-call when you’re not working.

Client’s Homes

Working in client’s homes is the most common way you can start a massage business. When you provide home service, there is little overhead, and start-up costs are minimal.

How to Keep Your Clients Coming Back?

The most successful massage therapy businesses provide excellent service for their clients. Whether you’re working the business alone or have a staff working for you, it’s essential to provide each client with the best possible service.

One of the most effective ways to stay in contact with clients is with friendly reminders of their next appointment. Setting up a page on social media is another excellent way to keep in contact with regular clients and for potential customers to learn more about your massage business and the services you offer.

Final Thoughts

The first step in starting a massage business is to get certified as a massage therapist, which is a requirement in most states. You can graduate from a certificate program in less than a year. After passing the exam to be certified, you are ready to work as a massage therapist.

Are you looking for business opportunities in massage therapy? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

The Importance of Dexterity and Stamina for Massage Therapists

Group of massage therapists in good shape showcasing their dexterity and stamina for massage.

Do you consider your health holistically? Interested in working in alternative medicine and becoming a massage therapist? In less than a year, you can complete an accredited program and start as an entry-level massage therapist. As a massage therapist, you enjoy the satisfaction that you are contributing to a person’s health and well-being. It is important to note that being a massage therapist requires strength, dexterity, and stamina.  Not sure you have what it takes? Well, the good news is that there are ways you can build up your strength, stamina and dexterity to become a successful massage therapist.

Why Do People Become Massage Therapists?

In addition to the satisfaction of helping others, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for massage therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2018 to 2028. This figure is higher than the average rate for many other professions.

More people are recognizing the need for a healthier lifestyle, and that may include massage therapy as an alternative healing method. More and more, medical professionals are turning to alternative medicine as a complement to traditional medicine. Many doctors even prescribe massage therapy for their patients. As the demand for more qualified professionals grows, the job market will continue to expand.

Finally, massage therapy is an excellent career for anyone whose goal is to help other people. Therapeutic massage relaxes people and provides them with a sense of well-being, which has a positive impact. The abilities a successful massage therapist will need include dexterity and stamina.

What Is Dexterity?

Dexterity is the skill of performing a task, specifically with your hands and fingers. As a massage therapist, you must use acute, slight motions with the hands and fingers. This helps identify muscles that are tense, sore, or painful and allows you to apply the proper amount of pressure to relieve the muscles. You must have strong hands and fingers to manipulate soft tissue to alleviate any pain or discomfort.

What Is Stamina?

Stamina is the ability to withstand prolonged mental or physical activity. As a massage therapist, you must possess strength and energy. Treatments require you to stay on your feet for long periods, stand in place, reach and bend, and perform treatment for as long as an hour. Fortunately, stamina can be built up over time.

How Can A Massage Therapist Prepare for Stamina and Dexterity?

While working as a massage therapist, you may care for people all day. You will need stamina and dexterity to alleviate their stiff, sore muscles, so it’s crucial for you to keep yourself healthy. Staying fit is essential to physical as well as mental health. When you’re healthy physically and mentally, your outlook is more positive. Being healthy makes it easier to face daily challenges and stress. What can you do to increase your stamina and dexterity?

  • Go to the gym for a workout whenever possible. Exercise is a good way to stay physically fit.
  • Take regular breaks to stretch your muscles and get your blood flowing. Standing up and stretching a few times a day can help you avoid lower back pain.
  • Take an exercise class instead of going to the gym. An exercise class keeps your mind fit as you listen to instructions and remain focused. It’s often easier to make the extra effort when you’re exercising with a group.

What is the Proper Technique for Giving A Massage?

You must have the stamina and dexterity to give a client a massage treatment for an hour. To be effective as a massage therapist, you must:

  • Learn all the principles of practical body mechanics
  • Be able to assist elderly patients on and off the massage table
  • Keep from getting fatigued at the end of the day

Effective body mechanics includes making healthy choices about your diet and exercise after a long day. Healthy lifestyle choices have an impact on your body mechanics. The proper techniques for a massage therapist include stamina, strength, balance, breathing, foot stance, groundedness, and stability.

Technique #1: Stamina

One of the most effective ways for you to have enough endurance and stamina to treat clients throughout the day is to take care of yourself. The best way to increase stamina is cardiovascular training. It is important to keep your heart rate up for intervals of 30 minutes, a few times each week to increase stamina. A proper amount of sleep and hydration are also necessary. Drinking plenty of water and fluids keeps you hydrated and reduces fatigue.

To improve stamina, do a warm-up before you start a massage session to increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury. Take time for regular stretching of your whole body including hands and fingers. When you’re treating a client use the proper stance and positioning. When lifting a client, stay as close to the table as possible to avoid injury.

Technique #2: Strength

Strength training and proper nutrition can help you avoid fatigue. Massages require physical ability. Strength training builds muscle mass, making it easier to manipulate soft tissue. Resistance and weight training help to build your muscle mass offering additional stamina and dexterity.

Technique #3: Balance

Using a balanced posture during a massage therapy session reduces fatigue and energy loss. Exercise regimens that promote excellent balance are yoga and Tai Chi. Taking a class in either of these exercises teaches you the basic moves to increase stamina.

Technique #4: Breathing

Using the right breathing technique makes you more adept at pacing massage movements. Proper breathing helps send oxygen to your muscles, which reduces fatigue and makes you more relaxed and focused. Proper breathing technique also enhances physical and mental health.

Technique #5: Foot Stance

The way your feet are placed provides a stable base and influences the direction of your massage strokes. This also has a significant effect on the alignment of your body. The two standard foot stances used by massage therapists to provide stability and balance during the treatment include bow stance and warrior stance.

Bow Stance – used when you are standing at the head or the foot of the massage table and are applying strokes that proceed from one point on the body to the next. Your feet are positioned at a 30 to 50-degree angle. Your lead foot points forward with the other foot pointing to the side. Knees should be flexed, and the weight will shift from one foot to the other.

Using the Bow Stance allows you to maintain contact with the client while maintaining a consistent flow of therapeutic touch. It’s important to bend at the hips rather than the waist when using this stance to avoid any back injury. Bending at the hips also aids in keeping your balance.

Warrior Stance – used when performing short strokes that cause friction on the body, this helps you reach to the far side of the client while maintaining balance and stability. Using this stance allows you to face the opposite side of the massage table while keeping your feet approximately hips distance apart. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead, and back should be kept straight. Your hips should point toward the table to reduce the risk of injuries.

Technique #6: Groundedness

When you’re grounded, you have a strong connection between your mind and body. Being grounded is an essential principle emotionally, physically, and mentally. Taking the time to be grounded makes you more compassionate and better at providing healing. You can learn to be grounded by practicing yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation. This groundedness will greatly improve your stamina and dexterity.

Technique #7: Stability

Your feet are the foundation for all movement during massage sessions. Using the lower portion of your body during the procedure is more powerful. This provides more stability than moving the upper part of the body. Standing and applying an equal amount of weight to each foot and shifting a substantial amount of pressure to the lower portion of the body reduces the risk of injury.

Final Thoughts

Anyone who wants to enjoy an active lifestyle at work is an ideal candidate to work as a massage therapist. During a session, you will use your hands, arms, and feet for treatments. Not only do you help clients to heal, but the strenuous activity helps to keep you in excellent physical condition.

If you have the strength, stamina and dexterity to work as a massage therapist or need to improve your skills through proper techniques, becoming a massage therapist is a great career path. Not only will you be helping others, but you will work in a growing field that is only becoming more popular every day.

Do you have the stamina and dexterity to help others with massage therapy? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

Where Can I Work with a Vet Tech Degree?

Students practicing on a dog to earn their vet tech degree.

Do you love caring for and being around animals? Animal lovers who want to work with animals but don’t want the expense of veterinary school or spending seven or more years earning the necessary credentials to be a veterinarian should consider becoming a vet tech. A student can earn a degree at an accredited school in less than two years. A vet tech plays a crucial role in the care of animals. The duties of vet techs include:

  • Monitoring a pet’s vital signs
  • Assisting with wellness exams
  • Taking and processing laboratory samples
  • Handling diagnostic imaging
  • Assisting with surgical procedures
  • Working as a liaison between veterinarians and pet parents

Helping Pets and Their Owners

For anyone who loves animals, being a vet tech brings a lot of joy into their life. Veterinary technology is one of the most rewarding careers for anyone who wants to care for animals. Veterinary practices serve many pets parents and their pets, and vet techs are an integral part of a vet practice. One of the most gratifying aspects of working as a vet tech is knowing that an animal is feeling better, and that their owner is relieved.

While a career as a vet tech offers a lot of personal satisfaction, it has other benefits as well. Studies have shown that companion animals can reduce stress levels. Although working as a vet tech isn’t play, spending a lot of time around dogs, cats, and other animals is definitely a stress reliever.

Working with Others That Care About Animals

Working each day with other people that love animals has a positive effect on everyone in the workplace. When an animal is injured or sick, they can’t tell us where it hurts. Vet techs must use their problem-solving skills to assist in determining what’s causing the problem and what conclusions to draw to provide the treatment the animal needs.

Vet techs must draw on all the information available to them to diagnosis and treat the animal. Everyone in a veterinary hospital, clinic, or other setting that cares for animals all have the same goal, to heal the animals in their care. Vet techs must draw on all available resources to reach a conclusion, and that means getting the opinion of team members.

An environment in which everyone’s goal is to provide pets with compassionate care makes for a more relaxing environment for the veterinarians, vet techs, and office staff. Pet parents feel more comfortable when they know their pets are getting excellent care, and everyone is working together.

Where a Vet Tech Can Work with a Vet Tech Degree

Earning an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology opens up a world of possibilities for vet tech graduates. When enrolling in a vet tech degree program, students should think about the environment in which they wish to work after graduation. Thinking about their interests and which environment would be most compatible with their expectations of the position. Here are the settings in which vet techs most commonly work.

Vet Practice

The majority of vet techs work in private veterinary practices. The pet parents mainly own dogs and cats, but some practices may also care for small mammals and birds. In a veterinary practice, the vet tech is the first person that interacts with owners and their pets. The vet tech greets the owner and their pet and escorts them to an examining room where they take down the relevant information. For a wellness exam, the vet tech informs the pet parent about updating vaccines, asks if the pet owner has any questions, then assists the vet with the exam.

Animal Hospital

An animal hospital provides more services than the usual wellness, exams, vaccines, spay/neuter surgeries, and dental care. Animal hospitals require a lot more room since pets that are injured, or sick require hospitalization overnight or for several days. A full-service animal hospital has the capability to provide more treatment options and diagnostic services. Vet techs who work in full-service animal hospitals must have extensive training. Among the duties they perform are:

  • Inserting catheters
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Handling lab tests
  • Administering anesthesia
  • Assisting with surgery
  • Monitoring vital signs during surgery and in recovery

Emergency Animal Hospital

An emergency or critical care vet tech must earn an associate degree from an accredited vet tech school. The duties of critical care vet techs differ from vet techs that work in small animal practice. Certification to validate their expertise in caring for critical patients is required. To work in critical care facilities, a vet tech must have 5,700 hours of practical experience in treating critical care and emergency patients.

Kennel Technician

A vet tech that works in a kennel holds an associate degree in veterinary studies. The duties are different from vet techs that work in an animal hospital or clinic. Their responsibilities include basic tasks like feeding and walking animals and being responsible for administering primary medical treatment. Kennel technicians must have excellent organizational skills since they must feed animals according to a schedule. Kennel technicians are also responsible for mixing prescription foods and administering medications.

The kennel technician must clean and disinfect all the kennels. They are responsible for answering phone calls from pet parents, scheduling appointments, and observing animals for possible signs of illness. The kennel technician is also responsible for contacting the veterinarian if any animal is sick or injured.

ASPCA and Other Associations

When a student has earned an associate’s degree and passed the VTNE, there are a lot of opportunities to work closely with the ASPCA, Best Friends, and other organizations around the country that are dedicated to saving animals and preventing animal cruelty. The ASPCA works around the country to protect animals, especially after natural disasters. All these animals must be examined for illness or injury. Vet techs are needed to assist veterinarians in providing treatment for all these animals.

Best Friends operates an animal sanctuary that provides food, shelter, and medical care for animals, including dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, horses, rabbits, birds, and other animals. After being rehabilitated, many of the animals are adopted into forever homes. Those that aren’t adoptable live the remainder of their lives at the sanctuary. All of these animals need veterinary care and vet techs to assist veterinarians with treatments.

Specialties for Vet Techs

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America recognizes specialty areas that require additional education for vet techs to be certified after earning an associate’s degree. Among the specialty areas are Surgical Care, Internal Medicine, Nutrition, Animal Dentistry, Behavior, Zoological Medicine, and Equine Practice.

Knowledge and Skills Learned During a Degree Program

Vet techs work under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. They must possess extensive knowledge and a wide range of different skills to assist veterinarians in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of illnesses and injuries. The work is delicate and highly specialized. Here are some of the skills students must have a knowledge of in order to be a vet tech.

Medication and Education

A vet tech isn’t authorized to diagnose, prescribe medications, or perform surgery. However, they assist veterinarians by dispensing medications and providing pet owners with the information to care for their pets at home. It’s essential to have excellent communication skills. There’s no room to make mistakes. While students are enrolled in a vet tech degree program, they learn the nursing skills necessary to administer vaccines, medications, and treatments prescribed by veterinarians. Students must be able to recognize, prepare, measure, and dispense medications for different species of animals and take coursework in pharmacology skills as part of their degree program. They must also learn how to prep animals and instruments for surgical procedures.

Lab Skills

A vet tech must handle a variety of duties in a lab setting. Skills include knowing how to collect, blood, tissue, and urine samples precisely. Vet techs must also know how to correctly take and develop x-rays. Lab work involves a lot of precise calculations, so students should have a firm grasp of science and math skills.

Documentation

When the work in the lab is completed, all the information must be documented. Vet techs must have strong organizational and management skills. When a veterinarian diagnoses a patient, all the data must be accurately documented. Accurate records must be kept of each patient. Vet techs may have to handle filing, inventory, and keeping track of patient appointments. In some practices, vet techs may also assist veterinarians with research projects.

Good Observation

Veterinary technicians must be detail-oriented and have excellent observation skills. They must always remain focused on the situation at hand, whether they are caring for animals, discussing a case with the attending veterinarian, or assisting a co-worker. When a pet owner comes in with a pet that is sick or injured, the vet tech must focus on evaluating the animal’s condition and getting the necessary information to convey to the veterinarian.

Patient Management

Students learn the skills they need when they’re studying veterinary technology. However, certain attributes, like a calm and patient demeanor, can’t be learned in school. While the priority is always the care of a pet, it’s essential to remember that the dog, cat, or other pet is a family member. Owners get very upset, frustrated, or even angry when their pet isn’t well. Sometimes they take out their frustrations on the nearest person, who might be the one trying to help.

The most important aspect of a situation like this is to make sure the pet is as relaxed as possible. Speaking in a soothing voice and using a gentle touch can allay the fears of a pet that’s sick or in pain. Try to calm the pet parent by asking questions, to get as much information as possible. It also helps to try to reassure the owner that everything is being done to help their pet.

Final Thoughts

You have different options in where to work after obtaining a vet tech degree from a vocational school. Becoming a vet tech is challenging but rewarding. If you love animals and want to help them stay healthy, getting a vet tech degree may be the right choice for you.

Do you have a love for animals and are interested in a vet tech degree? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

What is the Right Way to Take Care of Your Pet?

Veterinary technician taking care of two puppies.

One of the best reasons to become a vet tech is to educate pet owners about how to provide compassionate care for their pets. Some pet owners think that all their pets need is food, water, and a place to sleep, but it goes much further. One of the responsibilities of a vet tech is to teach pet owners what they must do to ensure their pet has a happy life and optimum health.

What is the Right Way to Take Care of Your Pet?

In some ways, sharing your life with pets is similar to having children. Dogs, cats, and other pets are dependent on their pet parents for everything, including food and water. Although some animals survive in the wild without human interaction, domestic pets need care and human companionship. Scientific studies have proven that having pets is good for humans and the animals they care for.

Basic Necessities

Pets need basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. Animals don’t know what food is right for them or how much they should eat. It’s up to their pet parents to provide nutritious food that’s formulated for their pet’s species and breed. Pets need fresh, clean water to drink and a comfortable place to sleep.

Potty Breaks and Play Fighting

A pet owner must take care of their pets because pets need to be taught in the same way children do. Puppies need to be trained to go outside for potty breaks and not have accidents in the house. Kittens need to learn how to use a litter box. Both species have to learn how to play without scratching or biting.

Obedience Training

Puppies can learn negative behaviors very quickly if they don’t have obedience training. Puppies must know what their owner’s expectations are before there any problems arise from disobedience. There are benefits to both training at home and group classes. Some dog owners prefer to have private training while others like a group setting. Group classes can be helpful when a dog needs to focus even when there are distractions. Puppies need to be socialized while they’re young, and group training is a great place to begin. The main thing is to start early.

Foods and Nutrition

Dogs and sometimes cats will grab any food that they find left out, and some human foods aren’t safe for pets. It’s up to the pet parent to learn what food is the most nutritious and best suited to their puppy, kitten, or other pet. A veterinarian or vet tech can discuss various options for feeding and the type of food that’s best suited for a pet. Pet owners must also know what foods can be harmful to their pets. A vet tech can discuss what foods for humans are safe for pets and which ones to avoid.

Some Pets Are Pack Animals

Some animals are social and form communities or packs for the well-being and survival of the group. Pack hunters work together to bring down their prey. By hunting as a group, they can use sophisticated strategies that are more effective than if they hunted alone. Dogs originally lived in the wild in family groups with a pack leader and retained their primal instincts. Domestic dogs need the guidance of a strong, pack leader.

Domestic Dogs and Pack Leaders

It’s essential for a dog owner to be established as the pack leader, whether they have one or more dogs. By establishing themselves as the leader, they create a home environment that’s comfortable, relaxed, and stable. One old theory was that dogs could learn good behavior through punishment and dominance, which is no longer the case. Dogs are loving creatures who deserve compassionate treatment.

Dog Training

When training a dog, a lot of patience and repetition is involved. A pet owner should begin with short training sessions and simple commands. Reward the dog for responding in a positive way, and that dog will respect its owner and look forward to learning. A well-behaved dog has fewer issues with anxiety or stress. If a dog is starting to misbehave, one good suggestion is for the pet owner to think like a dog.

Dogs live in the present a lot more than humans do. Dogs love to learn new things and have different experiences, even if they’ve had problems in the past. If a dog whines for food or jumps, it’s because they don’t see the pet owner as the pack leader. Establish boundaries in a calm, relaxed way, and the dog will soon get the idea. It’s essential always to be patient and give rewards for positive outcomes.

Most Pets Want Their Owners Attention and Affection

Dogs have inherited many of their characteristics and traits from their ancestors, wolves. One of the strong characteristics of dogs is the pack mentality and a need to have social interaction with their owners. Since dogs became domesticated and don’t have interaction exclusively with other canines, they seek attention from their owners.

Some pet owners don’t realize how much their dogs and sometimes cats crave interaction from humans. When people are away all day, their pets are alone and are very happy to see them at the end of the day. It’s essential to provide pets with the affection they crave after being alone for a long time. It’s unhealthy for a pet to be shooed away or rejected and can cause anxiety.

A good rule is to observe a pet’s body language. Excessive pawing, rubbing, meowing, or barking could be an attention-getter. Behavior like this could also be a pet telling its owner they need to go out or have an empty food or water bowl refilled. Pet owners should always be proactive and watch for signs of any discomfort or unusual behavior. A pet owner should schedule regular exams with a vet, and give their pets lots of attention, so they live happier and healthier lives.

What Do We Need to Do to Take Care of Our Pets?

It is important to take care of a pet in the right way. Pet owners should take their pets to regular vet exams, get vaccinations, have surgery to spay or neuter, care for teeth to keep them healthy, feed a proper diet with nutrition, and administer medications for fleas and ticks.

Regular Vet Exams

Regular exams with the vet should be scheduled once a year. Most vets recommend exams every six months for older pets to check for potential health issues. During the exam, the vet will ask routine questions about a pet’s dietary and elimination habits, exercise, and lifestyle, if there are any breathing problems, and handle any lab tests they think may be necessary.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are essential for any pet but especially young kittens and puppies. A vet tech needs to educate a pet owner about the diseases that puppies and kittens can contract to prevent them from getting sick. Kittens can get sick from upper respiratory infections. Vet techs should explain about kitten diseases that are serious for young cats. The owner should have a copy of the kitten’s vaccination record, and the schedule for each vaccine should be explained. Puppies should be vaccinated against parvo, distemper, Canine Adenovirus, and Kennel Cough. Kittens and puppies need to be protected against rabies when they’re old enough.

Spay/Neuter Surgery

Between six and eight million pets enter shelters in the U.S. each year, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Most of them are the offspring of cats and dogs that weren’t spayed. With so many homeless pets, it’s difficult to find homes for them simply because pet owners didn’t care enough to have their pets spayed.

Teeth Cleanings

Teeth cleanings should be a part of a pet’s regular wellness exam. Dental cleanings can reduce the risk of gum disease in pets and prevent illness in other parts of the body. Urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal problems, and skin infections have been linked to infections in a pet’s mouth.

Regular Food Regime and Proper Diet

The feeding schedule for pets should include at least two meals per day, several hours apart. The type of food a pet eats should be discussed with a vet. Some pet owners choose to feed their dogs and cats dry food. However, many vets recommend wet food because of health issues. For example, some pets may be prone to urinary tract infections, and the higher moisture content is right for them.

Puppies and kittens should be fed a diet of food that has all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed by puppies and kittens. Adult dogs and cats should be fed according to their weight and activity level. Veterinarians may prescribe special diets for pets that have specific health concerns like digestive upsets or allergies to certain ingredients.

Medications for Fleas and Ticks

Topical medications and shampoos for fleas and ticks work moderately well. However, most veterinarians recommend that pet parents give their dogs and cats oral medications to prevent flea and tick infestation.

Why Pets Need A Safe Place to Sleep

Most pets sleep a lot longer than humans and need a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Pets don’t have any control over the environment in which they sleep, so it should be as comfortable as possible. A pet owner that has crate trained their pet should make sure the pet has warm bedding when the weather gets cold, especially if the pet is older and has mobility problems.

Cats will sleep wherever they please even if the owner has bought them a special bed. A cat or kitten should be allowed two or three different places to sleep, especially where they’re accustomed to sleeping at night. A pet owner should observe the areas in the home where a pet likes to sleep. If they prefer a warm spot, provide a cushy, blanket, or bed. If they prefer a cooler place, cooling materials are a better option.

Proper Training So Pets Don’t Get Hurt

Pets should be trained to come to their owners on command, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. A dog should always obey commands. Chasing after another animal or running into the street could have serious consequences. Pets should always be taught to leave food or anything else alone when they’re told. They will often pick up food, medicine, or anything else that’s left out, which could result in a trip to the vet.

Pets Need Compassion and Love

Training a pet to respond to commands is essential, but all pets need love and compassion from their owners. Pets are family and should be treated like any family member. They’re often happy to sit quietly with their owner, but also need to know that they’re safe, cared for and loved. Pets need emotional stimulation just as humans do. A pet parent should spend some time each day with their pet, whether it’s spending time in the yard, going for walks, or trips to the dog park.

Are you getting a pet and want to know the right way to care for them? Do you want to educate pet parents about the right ways to care for a pet? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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