Massage therapy is often incorporated into traditional medicine, as well as chiropractic offices. It can provide a beneficial adjunct to a patient’s spinal manipulation and holistic care.
Types of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is widely considered to be an alternative medicine. There are many types of massage therapy. One type, Swedish Massage, is the most commonly used one in the United States. Therapists uses kneading, circular motions, and “long smooth strokes”, with lotion or oil, on “superficial layers of muscle”. Aromatherapy Massage includes essential scented plant oils to help the client feel energized or relaxed, or for balancing and stress-reduction. Hot Stone Massage incorporates the used of heated stones on certain body points. It is a lighter massage for muscle tension. When the therapist targets deep muscles with slower strokes and friction, that is considered Deep Tissue Massage. Shiatsu is a Japanese massage that uses “finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence”. Thai massage also “aligns the energies of the body” with pressure points, stretches, and compressions. The therapist in this type of massage stretches the client into a “sequence of postures…like yoga”. Pregnant women can also have a special type of massage, with modified positions and techniques. A type of foot massage is Reflexology, which involves pressure points that match up to organ systems in the body. Sports Massage is for any physically active person, and it includes faster strokes than Swedish massage and “facilitated stretching” to increase flexibility.1
Training for Massage Therapists
Training for therapists varies. 37 states have laws about massage licensing, and some cities have individual requirements. Legal minimum education “can range from 330 to 1000 contact hours”, and the education can require weeks to two years. It is important to note that in states that have no requirements, some practitioners of massage can have no training.2 Massage therapists can practice in public and private locations, including hospitals, offices, spas, and even shopping malls. Typically, they have a “postsecondary non-degree awared”.3 There are some rigorous training programs available to massage therapists. The National Holistic Institute, for example, has a “Core 900 Hour” curriculum and offers an “Advanced 450 Hour” program as well.4 Their program is nationally accredited. “The accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment as to the quality of …program(s) offered, and to encourage continual improvement.” Because of the various state requirements, some massage therapists may have significantly more training than others. Illinois, for example, requires 500 hours of training and an “approved certifying exam” with 24 hours of biennial maintenance.6
Massage in Chiropractic Offices
Some massage therapists opt to work in chiropractic offices. This provides a partnership that can benefit both types of practitioner, each helping the other to build clientele. Massage therapy can be an excellent complement to spinal manipulation therapy. Some chiropractic offices offer therapeutic and relaxation massage. Carson Chiropractic, in Illinois, has highly trained, licensed massage therapists in its practice, who focus on “trigger point, therapeutic and deep-tissue massage therapy…[and are] trained in pregnancy massage”. The practice believes “strongly in the positive benefits of massage therapy…when paired with chiropractic care”.7