Bringing Massage to the Community

Massage Therapy Awareness Week October 25-31

2015-10-21_pic _stackThe 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 plans.

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, such as:

  • American Cancer Society "Relay for Life"
  • Village of Lombard Senior Citizen Health Fair
  • Illinois Hands and Voices "Moms Night Out"
  • Edward's Cancer Center Women's Retreat

"Outreach events not only increase massage therapy awareness," says Dr. 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 serve."

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.


AMTA Lists 25 Reasons to Get a Massage

Massage .smallThe 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:

1. Relieve stress

2. Boost immunity

3. Reduce anxiety

4. Manage low-back pain

5. Help fibromyalgia pain

6. Reduce muscle tension

7. Enhance exercise performance

8. Relieve tension headaches

9. Sleep better

10. Ease symptoms of depression

11. Improve cardiovascular health

12. Reduce pain of osteoarthritis

13. Decrease stress in cancer patients

14. Improve balance in older adults

15. Decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain

16. Temper effects of dementia

17. Promote relaxation

18. Lower blood pressure

19. Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

20. Help chronic neck pain

21. Lower joint replacement pain

22. Increase range of motion

23. Decrease migraine frequency

24. Improve quality of life in hospice care

25. Reduce chemotherapy-related nausea

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 Center-Lombard. 

Qi Gong for Self-Care: Part of a Massage Therapy Curriculum

QIGongAt 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 since 2005.       

Qi Gong2"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 themselves.

Qi Gong3You'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."

Comparing Massage Schools: A Strong Faculty

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 background.

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.

Dr Coe2

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 learning in.

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 massage.

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 founded, 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.

Massage Therapists Enjoy Expanding Opportunities

Current statistics show that the field of massage therapy continues to expand, offering solid career benefits for those seeking a rewarding career in health care.

In addition to private massage practices and spa settings, you'll now find massage therapists on cruise ships, in corporate wellness centers, at your local mall, employed by sports teams and fitness centers. Even more exciting is that massage therapy is now part of integrative care in leading hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic, in hospice care, in a variety of integrative care clinics, wellness centers and physicians' practices.

Today, Americans not only seek massage for relaxation, they increasingly look to it for therapeutic treatment of medical conditions. That's because research studies prove it can effectively help treat a wide variety of health issues such as high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and low back pain.

MT Infographics 

What is most exciting about massage therapy, is that the career field is relatively easy to enter. You'll need a high school diploma or GED, and attend approximately one year of evening classes at National University of Health Sciences. You'll then qualify to take state licensing exams. Once you're a certified MT, you'll enjoy flexible work hours, a wide variety of employment settings to choose from, good pay, and the satisfaction that comes with helping people in their health and wellness goals.

Visit National University to explore more about a career in massage therapy and whether it may be just the opportunity you've been waiting for.