(Note: This article also appears in the January issue of Modern Health & Living.)
The beginning of a new year often leaves us craving change and transformation, doesn’t it?
It’s a popular time for refocusing in ourselves, and especially our health. But what if this focus became a genuine reinvestment, dedicated to improving not only the health of ourselves but also of others?
For many, the desire to help others achieve this state of health draws them to the field of massage therapy.
Learning to use the power of therapeutic touch also makes massage therapy a rewarding career choice. It allows therapists to create meaningful change every day, which might help to explain the rapid, continuing growth of this industry.
As the fastest growing field in alternative healthcare, there are several major trends worth noting. What exactly are experts saying about these recent changes in the profession?
1.Increasing research and acceptance as a respected healthcare modality
Therapeutic massage has gained respect for its ability to address pain and boost well-being without the use of drugs, making it a vital component of the integrative care model. As a matter of fact, 75% of massage therapists now report that they receive referrals from many different types of healthcare providers.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a medical doctor and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine states, “I am a strong advocate of massage therapy and feel that it fits extremely well into the paradigm of integrative medicine. Much of my firm support for massage therapy stems from the existence of a compelling research base. It’s also one of the CAM therapies most readily accepted by conventional medical doctors and hospital administrators. I consider massage therapy to be a core component of the CAM therapies offered within integrative medicine.”
The use of massage for pain management is especially popular lately, especially as research continues to support its effectiveness for common ailments such as back and neck issues.
As Dr. Leena Guptha, current chair of the NCBTMB, states, “Massage is no longer just a stress-relief modality. People are seeking it as a preventative medicine for their health and for wellness.”
2.Unprecedented industry growth
Employment for massage therapists is projected to increase by a staggering 20% from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S.Department of Labor in 2012. This, of course, is faster than average for all occupations. And just a year earlier, “Massage Therapist” was named one of the top 10 careers of 2011 by Bloomberg Business Week.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA):
“The number of Americans receiving massages has more than doubled in the last decade (now over 114 million treatments per year), and more organizational managers are including massage as an employee benefit to help increase retention and to bolster employee morale.”
While employment figures are on the rise and the public’s use of therapeutic massage is steadily increasing, it’s easy to see what makes it such an attractive field for those seeking a new or first career.
3.Training programs that can be completed in under a year
With the ability to obtain a diploma and state licensure in under a year, massage therapy is a relatively accessible field to enter quickly. Stronger school curriculums often emphasize hands-on teaching methods to allow students to immediately grasp important concepts during class time.
Furthermore, some programs teach multiple modalities of massage and bodywork techniques, along with both full-time and part-time enrollment options for those with busy schedules.
Says Julia Tallard, a current massage therapy student, “When you know what you want from your future, you want that to start right away! Choosing massage therapy will allow me to begin making a difference in less than a year’s time. I’m excited to join this field as a professional and to contribute to making my community healthier and pain-free.”
Wondering just what to look for in a massage school? Please stay tuned for the following article, “The Four Things You Need from Your Massage School,” in an upcoming issue of Modern Health & Living.