Here at National University of Health Sciences, we are currently
seeing historic growth in research supporting the health benefits
of massage, and an increased incorporation of massage therapy in
integrative medical settings. But did you know that the massage
occupation dates back to colonial times?
Recently, Patricia J. Benjamin wrote a
great article for AMTA's Massage Therapy Journal titled "Brush
Up on the History of Your Profession." She explains how
"Rubbers" (what massage therapists were once called) worked as far
back as the 1700s, when they were even employed by surgeons to
assist with patient rehabilitation after surgery. "Rubber" was one
of the few occupations where women could make a living outside the
In the 1850's, you might receive bodywork from a "medical
gymnast" trained in a Swedish system developed by Pehr Henrich
Ling. Several training schools opened for Ling's system across the
The words masseuses or masseur became common later in the 1880s,
through a training system of manual manipulation developed by
physician Johann Mezger. Ohio was the first state to license
masseuses and masseurs in the late 1800s, with Agnes Bridget Forbes
being the first licensed masseuse in 1916.
At the turn of the 20th century, massage was often
used along with hydrotherapy and rest cures in sanitariums and
natural convalescence centers. It wasn't until 1930 when Swedish
massage became dominant on the massage scene - yet it was different
than today's Swedish massage, in that it encompassed an entire
wellness system of massage, movements, electrotherapy and
In 1960, the terms "massage therapy" and "massage therapists"
became the preferred term we still use today in the profession.
Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, a growing counter-culture brought in
more techniques and styles such as Rolfing and Esalen, while Asian
influences raised the popularity of Shiatsu and Ayurvedic
From the 1990s until today, more and more states began to
license massage therapy. There are now 45 states that license
more from this article and see why now is a great time in
history to start your career in massage therapy, then visit National University
to get started with the education you'll need!
Massage Therapy Awareness Week October
The AMTA has
declared October 25-31 as National Massage Therapy Awareness Week.
Massage therapists across the country use this week to promote the
benefits of massage therapy to their communities and encourage
people to incorporate massage into their personal wellness
At National University of Health Sciences, community education
is a year-round effort. Massage interns participate in community
outreach events as part of their graduation requirements.
Teams of students, accompanied by faculty supervisor, bring
portable tables or massage chairs to sports and charity events and
well as corporate and community wellness fairs.
There are a wide variety of community outreach events where NUHS
massage interns have provided free massage and massage education,
"Outreach events not only increase massage therapy awareness,"
Patricia Coe, massage supervisor at NUHS. "They provide
valuable massage practice experience for our interns and instill in
them in the importance of giving back to the communities we
Community service opportunities that share the "hands-on"
benefits of massage not only bring awareness to the value of
massage therapy, they are part of what makes the massage therapy program at
National University outstanding.
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has put together a list
of 25 evidence-based ways that massage therapy can improve health
and wellness and relieve symptoms of common health conditions.
Each item on the list below is linked to an AMTA article that in
turn links to research behind the benefit:
Manage low-back pain
Help fibromyalgia pain
Reduce muscle tension
Enhance exercise performance
Relieve tension headaches
Ease symptoms of depression
Improve cardiovascular health
pain of osteoarthritis
stress in cancer patients
Improve balance in older adults
rheumatoid arthritis pain
Temper effects of dementia
symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
chronic neck pain
joint replacement pain
Increase range of motion
Decrease migraine frequency
24. Improve quality
of life in hospice care
The AMTA is also offering the list as a
downloadable flyer that massage therapists can use in their
practice, or that massage enthusiasts can give to friends to
encourage them to get a massage.
If you've never received a professional massage, National
University of Health Sciences offers affordable massage therapy at
its on-campus integrative medical clinic - the NUHS Whole Health
At National University,
students in the massage
therapy program not only learn how to take care of future
clients, they also learn how to take care of themselves. Toward
this goal, the required curriculum includes a participation class
featuring Qi Gong.
Qi Gong is a Chinese system of breathing exercises, body
postures and movements, combined with mental concentration and
meditation. The techniques are used to maintain good health and
control the flow of vital energy, or "qi".
Students in the class learn Qi Gong relaxation techniques so
that they can recharge their own energy and maintain wellness
throughout their career. "I teach the MT students specific
techniques to keep their hands healthy, how to manage emotions,
keep themselves well," says John Robertson who owns Seven Stars
Martial Arts and has been teaching Tai Chi and Qi Gong at NUHS
"I tell my students that
Tai Chi and Qi Gong are the 401k plan for your health. It is what
you do today that allows you to have health and wellness in your
later years," says Robertson.
Massage therapists must maintain a level of fitness without
injury to continue thriving in this physically demanding
profession. It can also be very easy for a therapist to find
him or herself so invested in taking care of others, that they
forget to take good care of themselves. That's why it's
critical for massage therapists to develop self-care regimens such
as yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi - and even remembering to get a massage
You'll find John
Robertson and his MT students doing Qi Gong outside when the
weather is nice. Robertson also teaches at several local park
districts, assisted living centers and in Alzheimer's and dementia
outpatient care programs.
"I think its awesome that self-care is a requirement at National
University," says Robertson, who also teaches Taichi in the acupuncture and oriental medicine degree
programs. "It's part of the old physician's code 'heal thyself.' If
you're not well, then you're not able to work to the best of your
ability, or give your client the finest care."
Nothing is more important to your massage education than the
people who you will learn from. When you compare massage schools,
it's important to take a look at the faculty and their
For example, how many instructors are there at the school? Some
massage programs get by with only 3 or 4 instructors. However, a
small instruction staff can't provide the breadth of experience and
mentorship that is available with a larger staff. Learning from
more instructors allows you to benefit from a wider pool of
knowledge, more client case histories, and the ability to observe a
wider range of business and practice styles.
Secondly, examine the education and qualifications of the
faculty. For example, at National University, you'll study
health sciences under primary care physicians with advanced
degrees. That means you'll learn pathology from a doctor who has
actually managed patients with many of the diseases and conditions
you'll learn about. You'll study anatomy from a physician who
dissected cadavers in the same medical school lab you'll be
In the on-campus integrative medical clinic at National
University, you'll intern under clinicians with DC or ND
credentials. This can help you learn how to better manage clients
with medical conditions. Additionally, you'll learn how to better
interact with physicians, and understand what they will expect from
you in the future when they refer their patients to you for
Third, see if the school's faculty is active in the profession
outside of the school. Professionals who are passionate about
what they do are usually also actively involved in organizations
supporting that profession. The faculty at National University is a
great example: The
assistant dean of the program, Dr. Randy Swenson, is the former
chair of the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. One of
the university's research professors, Dr. Jerilyn Cambron, is
president of the
Massage Therapy Foundation, and she and another colleague
a practice-based research network.
When you join the massage
therapy program at National University, you'll be studying
under a strong
faculty that is committed to seeing you succeed. A little
research in comparing schools will give you confidence that you are
putting your education in good hands.
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• Why Choose NUHS for Massage Therapy?
• Leading Experts Make Better Massage Teachers
• Meet MT Program Graduate Ecktor
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