Massage therapists often become experts in several massage modalities, all of which require unique techniques. These different modalities allow the massage therapists to attract more clients, customize therapy to clients' needs, and keep their day-to-day practice interesting.
Versatility also makes a therapist more attractive to employers. An increasing number of massage clinics, spas, and health care environments are looking for massage therapists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report and U.S. News and World Report, massage therapist was ranked #53 in "100 Best Jobs" and #21 in "Best Healthcare Jobs". Projected employment growth between 2010 and 2020 is 20.1 percent.
So, it pays to diversify.
There are about 80 massage therapy styles to choose among, offering relaxation, relief, or healing. According to an American Massage Therapy Association survey, massage therapists offer an average of seven modalities.
Here are some of the more popular modalities.
The most common type of massage, involving effleurage, petrissage, friction, and tapotement on the topmost layers of muscles. Swedish massage relieves muscle tension and is relaxing and energizing. Aesthetic VideoSource offers a beautifully filmed, instructional DVD on this modality: Essentials of Swedish Massage. This award-winning DVD features Meade Steadman, a Jumozy instructor.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage techniques apply pressure to deeper layers of muscle, tendons, and other tissues, to address chronically tense and contracted areas. The techniques are designed to release muscle and adhesions, increase range of motion, reset muscle memory, and reduce primary and secondary distortions. Aesthetic VideoSource has three comprehensive, instructional DVDs on this modality, for Deep Tissue Massage: Extremities, Pelvic Girdle, and Shoulder Girdle, all featuring Meade Steadman.
The portability of chair massage accounts for its popularity among therapists as well as clients who seek it out at malls or conferences for a moment's reprieve. Chair massage allows practitioners to reach people beyond the spa or simply to avoid fixed overhead costs. Therapists can also incorporate whatever modality they prefer. Jumozy offers a comprehensive course on this modality, Full Body Chair Massage, which includes sections on different chairs, tools and setup, dealing with business attire, and marketing.
Thai massage involves positioning the body into different therapeutic postures, stretching, compressing muscles, mobilizing joints, and acupressure. It addresses balance and structural corrections. Thai massage is a healing science that has been practiced thousands of years. The top recognized master of this modality outside of Thailand is Dr. Anthony James, CMT, ND, MDAM. His professional development and certification programs have set the standards in the U.S. He is also the instructor in the four-part The Ultimate Thai Massage Video instructional DVD series for the mat and table, produced by Aesthetic VideoSource.
With stone massage, smooth stones are incorporated into a massage or placed on the body to provide the benefits of their inherent healing properties, as well as to apply heat or cold. Incorporating stones as massage tools is also easier on the therapist. Stones minimize injury to the hands, wrists, and elbows, and make the work less exhausting. Stone massage is also good for the bottom line and a way to personalize a massage and to differentiate a therapist's offerings. Jumozy offers Full Body Stone Massage, a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of this modality.
Reflexology applies pressure to reflexes on the hands or feet that are connected to various parts of the body. This pressure stimulates those body parts, as well as improves lymphatic drainage and circulation in the hands/feet, relaxing muscles and stimulating nerve connections. Jumozy offers two comprehensive reflexology courses, Comprehensive Reflexology for the Foot and Comprehensive Reflexology for the Hand as well as seven shorter reflexology courses focused on specific health complaints.
Expectant moms experience unique physical and emotional changes that occur as a result of increased weight, shifting posture, and adjusting hormone levels. The soothing essence of massage can allow pregnant moms to unwind during this time. It can also alleviate the resulting discomfort and other pregnancy-related symptoms. In Aesthetic VideoSource's Nurturing Pregnancy Massage Techniques I and Nurturing Pregnancy Massage Techniques II, Meade Steadman demonstrates step-by-step how to provide therapeutic massage techniques that focus on the special needs of the mother to be as she goes through the different trimesters.