Saturday, June 20, 2009

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Program Takes Shape

Well the votes are in and the staff of the massage school is proud to say that our Director, Susan G. Salvo, has been named one of eight members of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Task Force.

The task force, made up of subject matter experts in the field (practitioners, educators, and researchers), will define and develop a consistent set of national standards for the massage therapy industry.
As you know, the field of massage varies greatly, incorporating the hard sciences of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, with a huge spectrum of hands on techniques. These modalities range from traditional Swedish massage to Shiatsu to Reiki. They are based on diverse philosophies ranging from Western science to Oriental medicine to intuitive touch.

The task force of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge, which Salvo is now an appointed member, will help shape the future of the massage industry. Their task is to develop and adopt a common body of knowledge that embraces all segments of our profession. These guidelines will be used to set consistent national standards for education, research, teacher qualifications, and regulatory requirements.

The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Project consists of representatives from several national groups including the American Massage Therapy Association and AMTA Council of Schools, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, Massage Therapy Foundation, and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

For more information about the Project, log onto

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Discussion Board: Is Alcohol a Drug?

Some medical historians have said that if alcohol was discovered today, it would be classified as a schedule 2 drug.

Use your textbook Mosby's Pathology for Massage Therapists 2e and other reliable sources to research drug schedules as well as the side effects and abuse potential of alcohol. Include in your research legal alcohol consumption limits in your state.

Discussion Question: If you suspected that your client was intoxicated when he or she arrived for a massage, what treatment modifications would you employ, if any?

Be sure and support your position.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Educational YouTube Account

Recently, my fantastic daughter introduced me to the wonderful worlds of Facebook and YouTube.

Although I'm failing at Facebook, I have managed to set up a YouTube account with several videos already (with her wonderful help, of course). The original videos were all snippets of my teaching style. The newest ones are more practical and instructional and include Pregnancy Massage Tips, Hand Massage, Chair Massage, Polarity, Massage for Headaches, and Stretches and Joint Mobilizations. Let me know what you think- I'm open to constructive criticism.

Go check out the site! I will keep updating it in the future! New videos will include instructional aspects of massage therapy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Head Cold Case Study

Read the following case study and answer the questions. Submit your answers in the Comments section. (Click on "Comments" below the blog. Type in your answer under "Leave your Comments". Be sure to include your initials and student number as part of your text. Click on Anonymous under "Choose an Identity", and then click on "Publish your comments").

It’s about 11am on Wednesday morning. The phone rings. Betty White would like to schedule a massage. She’d love to get in this afternoon if you can squeeze her in as she feels “achy all over.” One pm is available – that time works for her.

Betty enters your office with a facial tissue in hand. When you question her about it, she says that she began sneezing and having a runny nose yesterday – it must be allergies, but she doesn’t have a history of allergies, so she is unsure.

Looking at Betty’s face, her eyes were watery and she is so congested that she is breathing through her mouth. Prone position is off the table; Betty is already having trouble breathing normally, so you elect to massage her in a semi-reclining supine and side lying positions.

You begin asking Betty about other symptoms and she mentions a sore throat. After getting permission to palpate her neck for swollen lymph nodes (which you must avoid), you place your hands just beneath her ears and slide them under her jaw.

Betty’s skin feels warm. You suspect a slight fever. After explaining to Betty that it in her best interest to postpone massage, she seems upset and irritated.

  1. Are there other modalities you can offer Betty rather that Swedish or therapeutic massage? If so, which ones?

  2. Why are some massage modalities more appropriate than others in these cases? Be specific.

  3. When is Betty safe to receive a Swedish massage?

  4. Should she be referred to her doctor in the meantime?

  5. What are some home care suggestions to help her address her achiness, if any?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Anatomy in Braille

"Focus on your client. Keep your strokes
fluid and consistent. Be present and in the moment."

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, throw in a couple distractions such as a room full of people, questions asked by a teacher, discussion between the giver and the receiver about pressure, and a fellow classmate walking to the rest room a student’s focus flies right out the window.

Bring in brightly colored bandanas and cashmere scarves, and we have the tools of the trade for today's massage therapy class. Blindfold Massage is on the agenda, and the students look, well..., let's say --- apprehensive. They attempt to hide this with nervous laughter, but don't be fooled. And then comes the questions... "Where will I put the massage cream?" "What if the cream falls to the floor?" "How will I know if I am draping properly?" The teacher calmly explains that these are all wonderful questions and they will be answered later -- after the experience. As the students picked their partners for the trade, the receivers gently, but firmly, blindfolded the givers. It was amusing to watch the blindfolded therapists with outstretched arms as if reaching out for help. As the blindfolded students took baby steps towards their massage tables (and their clients), I watched to see what would happen next.

The connection between therapist and client was immediate. These students were relying completely on touch. Visually, there were no distractions for them. Audible disruptions were ignored in favor of staying close to their massage table. As a result, their body mechanics were quickly evolving into textbook perfection right before my eyes. About 15 minutes into the massage, I walked in front of the room to observe the class as a whole. The therapists were fluidly performing massage without breaking contact with their client. The blindfolded student's hands were open and relaxed, giving firm and focused pressure. They were present and in the moment. By my observation, and their fellow student's feedback, it was their best massage to date.

The students on the massage table were eager to take their turn as the blindfolded therapists, and the mood of the class remained positive and energetic for the rest of that day. Some of you may laugh out loud at the photographs of these incredibly talented students performing massage with blinders on. To me, they've never looked better.

-Kristi Nelson

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Student's Perpective on Massage

Preamble: Students are required to give and receive massage both in and out of class. Here is one student's experience.

I have a friend who is a massage therapist. This therapist has a client diagnosed with Parkinson disease. She asked if I could practice on him. I jumped at the opportunity. How lucky I was to be asked. Unfamiliar with the disease, I did my research on how to massage a person with Parkinson disease and set off to his house.

What a beautiful house it was. His home was built in 1904 and had a 200 year old live oak tree in the front yard. Ironically, I have driven by this beautiful house many times and pointed it out to my family. I remember wishing I could meet who lived there and walk inside. Now, as fate would have it, I was standing at the doorway about to get my wish.

My client was a gentleman in his mid sixties stricken with a severe case of Parkinson disease. As I help him on my massage table, I began worrying… “Was I ready for this?” Perhaps sensing my apprehension, his wife joined us in the room. She told me about what my friend, the massage therapist, had done. This information was both interesting and valuable. The man’s speech was affected by his disease, so his wife translated so I could understand what he was saying.

I let my hands follow my heart and started the massage. I used a light to medium pressure and lots of long gliding strokes. Throughout the experience, I heard the voices of my instructors in my head. I am thankful for them and their wisdom. Many times they assured me and my classmates; they had faith in us -- we could do the work. My client drifted in and out of restful sleep as his wife and I chatted. She stayed with us for the entire massage, telling me stories about their family and their life together.

Turning over was a challenge. He was very stiff and did not move easily. It took a few minutes for him to become supine. But once there, all was good. I worked on his neck doing some light stretching and pressure points. He told me that he felt much better and that he enjoyed my touch. It was at that moment that I saw the look in his loving wife's eyes. That look of love she had for her husband - that deep, from her soul, with everything she had, kind of love. The experience blew me away.

He asked me how long I'd been married. “Only 19 years,” I said. With a small tear in his eye, he told me that next month he and his wife will celebrate 50 years of marriage. He reached out for her hand and she stood there and held it for the rest of the massage. The love, compassion, and gratitude I saw exchanged between them were amazing. They not only loved each other, but respected and honored each other unconditionally. One rarely witnesses this kind of love anymore. At that moment, I realized that was the luckiest person in the world; massage had allowed me to be there in that moment. To see such love was a gift.

I know that being a massage therapist will be more than just a job; it will be a way of life. Massage is a gift and it is an honor to be able to help people -- to share a client’s joy and pain – to help heal the body and spirit. I feel grateful for my life’s path and for this school. The knowledge, support, and confidence all the instructors have shown for me and my fellow students is unbelievable. It propels us to be better therapists and better people. I'm sure that massage therapy will open many doors for me.

To feel is to know…

to know is to be.

-Lisa B.