The modern massage therapist, whether they realize it or not, is following one of the oldest paths of medical therapy in the world. Despite some five millennia of history, however, massage in the modern world is no mere collection of anecdotal tidbits. Today’s massage therapist is well-educated, trained, and often certified as a practitioner.
With the flood of medications flowing into our society from the doors of giant pharmaceutical corporations, it should some as no surprise that there is a growing trend of acceptance for traditional medicines and holistic healing. Massage therapy, like acupressure and acupuncture, ride the crest of this trend thanks, in no small part, to the fact that no foreign substances need to be introduced to the body in order for it to work. Instead, these practices rely on assisting the body to return to a natural state so that it can heal itself.
Every massage therapist has there own methodology, which may include one or more of the variety of traditional forms of massage. Some of these forms address particular issues, such as abdominal massage, myofascial release, or myoskeletal alignment. Other forms treat the body as a whole. Most massage techniques require the massage therapist to use only their hands, but a few benefit from the use of the forearms, the elbows, or even the feet.
In the past, massage parlors have been popular in some areas. Unfortunately, many of these places developed poor reputations when another, even older, profession crossed over into the world of massage therapy. Today, a few of these places still exist in the U.S., but most modern massage therapists practice in a holistic health center or a shop that supports alternative medicines. In addition, many massage therapists work on the go, traveling to meet their clients where they live and work in order to perform their service.
The tools of the modern massage therapist fit this trend toward house-calls well. Most practitioners carry a massage table with them. These tables, which can be fairly extravagant in some cases, generally fold up into the equivalent of a large suitcase. In addition, most massage therapists carry a smaller case with them that contains their oils, lotions, any tools or massage wands they may use, and possibly any music they use to set the mood. Alternatively, some massage therapists use a massage chair instead of a table, which allows the client to sit relatively upright. This facilitates the massage of the back and shoulders, which is where the stress of the modern world seems to settle.
Some massage therapists work along side modern medicine as well. Is it now common practice, in many hospitals in the United States, to employ one or more massage therapists to facilitate physical therapy after for patients who have suffered from severe injuries and/or extensive surgeries. This is even more true of sports medicine centers, where complete and rapid recovery from injuries is especially important to athletes. The value of massage as a restorative in physical therapy has become well-known.
Finally, some of today’s massage therapists work in health clubs and gymnasiums, especially in corporate America, where the modern power-professional has followed a trend toward excellent health.