There are many things that a Massage Therapist must learn to pass the various state licensing exams, but only 2 are absolutely necessary to do a good massage. In fact they are so important that if your Massage Therapist does not poses them, no matter how many years they have practiced, no matter how many classes they have taken, no matter what school they graduated from nor if they had the highest grades in their class, If they do not posses the knowledge that I will tell you shortly, then you should run, not walk as fast as you can, from them.
Do not give them a chance for you will surely be disappointed in what you have just spent your hard earned money for.
Before I tell you what those 2 things are, let me tell you why the others are not as important.
Is Knowledge of Anatomy Important?
You might have thought that anatomy would be important. After all, they are working on your body. They should know where the muscles are, what they do and how their technique can help you. However, the study of anatomy has only been required for Massage Therapist for only the past 40 of our 3,000 year old history. It may help us do our job better but it isnt absolutely necessary to give a good massage.
How About Physiology?
You probably think that Physiology is important also. This is the study of the bodys systems and how they work. Although it helps us to be a better health care professional, it is totally unnecessary for the practice of massage.
Is My Therapist Ethical?
Ethics are pretty important, and although this will help you to ensure that your therapist acts in the highest regards to your well being, it has nothing to do with giving a good massage. A definition of ethics cam also be variable. For one person, a Therapist who advertises a certain way is unethical, to another its just good business practice.
How my Muscles Work
How about Kinesiology? The study of the function of muscles seems mighty important. How would a Therapist know how to work on a muscle group if they didnt now how they work? The fact is, kinesiology is an even more recent study that Massage Therapists take. If it was all that necessary then we would have been studying it for the past 3,000 years also. But we haven't.
Is That Contraindicated?
Contraindications are pretty important, right? After all, you wouldn't want your Therapist doing something that might harm you. If you had a blood clot in your leg, you may not want a Massage Therapist to work it loose and send it to your heart, do you? Or how about causing a miscarriage if you are pregnant during your fist trimester? Fact is, neither of these conditions can be caused by massage. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association and the Birthing Doulas both recommend massage during all trimesters as it helps to ease the discomfort caused by tight muscles.
Not only that but, there has never been any evidence that massage can cause serious harm. You can get temporary bruising if the therapist is not careful enough, but the proper application of massage can not cause you to seek medical treatment. If you must seek treatment from the effects of massage...well then, it wasn't a massage, it was an assault. Over all, massage is considered so safe that the premiums for liability insurance for therapists have actually gone down, instead of up like other Health Professions. Our rate of injury is so low that it's expressed in millionths, that's right, 0.000025 %
All Those Germs
Thats the study of Pathology. Germs or bacteria and viruses can be dangerous. And there certainly are many of them to consider. But to engage in the study of them is totally unnecessary and is overkill. As long as your Therapist is practicing good hygiene, there is no more likelihood that you will contract anything worth worrying about. .
Ahh, Technique That has to be The One!
This must be the one, right? After all, what's a massage if the Therapist doesn't know the proper strokes and right kind of pressure applied to the correct location? Yes, this is important, but the present system of massage instruction does a very poor job of teaching us. In fact, we usually learn more after we graduate than we did in school, from other Massage Therapists and our clients.
The 2 Most Important Things Your Massage Therapist Needs to know
The 2 things that are absolutely necessary a Massage Therapist needs to know to give a good massage are good hands and a good heart. The good hands come from intent, not necessarily from technique. Some training helps to do that, but it's that unspoken desire to help coupled with love, love of the person, self and of the work that makes a Massage Therapist great.
So no matter how much training one has, how many certificates on the wall they have, or how many years they have in the business, if they don't have a loving intent in their hands and heart, then run as fast as you can away from them.
To find someone like that, you need to get a personal referral from someone who has received a massage from them. Barring that, it's best to contact them through a company that has done its due diligence and has conducted a thorough interview including an interview massage so they can determine if they in fact do possess those abilities.