Sunday, October 23, 2011



Schools do a great job preparing students for a career in massage therapy. But many students need a little help and guidance to pass licensing exams.

Here is what I have found works BEST.

1) Use practice exams. Utilize practice exams when possible. Pen and paper is fine, but also have computerized exams available because this is the media used when students/graduates actually take the exam.

I use an exam with fewer questions first (50 items), gradually progressing to exams with more questions (75 items, 100 items, 125 items, 150 items). This reduces the "overwhelm" factor and also gives them confidence as scores improve with subsequent exams. Yes, scores improve over time.

MEMO: I have students record their scores along with the exam dates. Because practice exams begin before they graduate (90 days before), a score of 40-50% is not unusual. But each practice test yields higher scores. By graduation, scores are 80-90%. Ask students to focus on their progress, not early test scores.

2) Analysis results. Use individual scores to discover a particular student's content weakness.

3) Remediate. Once a student's weakness is revealed by test scores, suggest remediation strategies. For example, if Sally frequently marks kinesiology questions incorrectly, ask her to reread those chapters in her textbook, retake end-of-the-chapter assessments, and review videos online. Use all resources available.

Be sure to ask Sally what methods work best for her when suggesting remediation strategies.

Use this video when thinking about learning methods. It's a promotional video, but gives a great overview of what types of resources are available for most instructors.

4) Then retest and remediate. Repeat this process of retesting and remediating until the student's percentile score is over 80%.

Massage review programs (massage exam / massage prep) are good. There are more similarities than differences.

I have prepared free textbook resources. One of these resources is a question bank. This program features customizable formats, generates scores, and gives instructors AND students ALL the questions and answers in a PDF that can be viewed and printed.


Go to

If you have an account, log in.

Go straight to registering for Salvo resources and omit the steps in the box below.

If you don't have an account, click Join Evolve Communities! Follow the prompts.

Type "SALVO" in the top search bar - click SEARCH.

Under "Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice, 4th Edition," click +Register beneath Resources.

On the next screen, click Register> in the green box.

Follow the prompts.

Once you are registered, log out and log in again (or go to the home page and refresh the page).

On the right hand side of the page under "My Content", click +Resources.

A drop down menus will appear. Click on Salvo: Massage Therapy, 4th Edition.

On the Book Banner page, click on Resources.

Chapter folders will appear next. This book has 30 chapters.

Click on Chapter 02 - Therapeutic Relationships. However, any chapter folder will do.

Click on Student Resources. Instructors will have an additional "Instructor Resources" folder.

On the next screen, click on Prepare for Exams.

On the next screen, click on Practice Test for Certification and Licensing Examinations.

The next screen is the main menu for the practice exams. Select "10," "25," "50," or "100 Questions." Then click Start.

Take the test. These screens also have a button with Answer PDF. Clicking on this button will produce the entire exam with answers. There are 550 questions in this bank; 100 printed pages.

Have fun clicking on other folders. The folder entitled Additional Resources, contains the Body Spectrum Coloring Book. Lots of fun!!! This folder also contains Weblinks. Chapter 18 has lots of websites for anatomy and physiology websites. Activities: Flashcards are great, so are the Activities: Chapter Challenge.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Massage Therapy and BLOOD CLOTS

Surgery involves cutting into the body. Blood clots form as part of the healing process. Clots may also form in the veins of the pelvis and lower extremities as a result of blood stasis (stagnation). Blood stasis can occur because of inactivity and bed rest, both of which are common after surgery.

By definition, a blood clot, or thrombus, is attached to a vessel wall. When it becomes a floating mass in the intraluminal space, it is called a thromboembolus, or embolus. An embolus may circulates to the brain, and cause a stroke, to the heart and cause a heart attack, or to the lungs and become a pulmonary embolism, all of which are life threatening.

Thrombocytes, or platelets, are the blood cells used to form clots. Thrombocytes have a life span of about 10 days.

If your client has had surgery, avoid massage on lower extremities for 10 days starting from the time the client is ambulatory and no longer confined to bedrest.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Massage Therapy: Shared Decisions

Many decisions regarding treatment are shared between the client and the therapist. Once the treatment plan is formulated in accordance with the client's therapeutic goals, the therapist discloses all benefits and potential risks. The client, as informed entity, may modify the plan.

It is important to note that a drug side effect does not automatically preclude use of specific massage techniques. Especially techniques that would best fulfill client goals.

For example, a client taking an anticoagulant may experience the common side effect of easy bruising. This same client may have a need for deep-pressure massage to address troublesome trigger points in the back, neck, and shoulders. If the client, who has been informed of the likelihood of bruising from deep-pressure massage, still wishes to proceed and the therapist is comfortable doing so, these techniques are appropriate. Reevaluate the client (and the decision) during subsequent sessions, and modify the treatment plan as needed.

Additionally, a physician may order a deep-pressure massage or myofascial release for a client who is taking anticoagulants. Given that bruising is not a life-threatening condition, the physician may decide that the massage benefits outweigh the risks. In these cases, the client would be best served with deep-pressure massage. However, if the therapist is unwilling to comply with the physician’s order under these circumstances, the therapist should refer the client to another therapist.