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Techniques, Styles, Modalities, and Practitioners

..."Although the "Education" blog is educational, the articles are also a place to let your mind wander a bit and think about the many sides of massage therapy; the artistic side, the historical side, the philosophical side, the ethical side, and of course the energy side."

I will start off by saying hello and that I am very glad and humbled that you are here to read my content. I believe that I have said this before about my blogs; I love to write them. I love writing in general, but I never knew how much I actually loved to write until I DIDN'T have to write for a college class or some other entity that isn't actually owned by myself. It allows me the freedom to have gramatical (see anything yet?) errors which I will always tell you are on purpose because it reflects my artistic expression as a non-conformist. Ahem. Anyways...

That being said, some of these blogs will be more professionally written than others. The many medical references that I make from time to time when discussing physical ailments and specific treatment protocols, I take very seriously. Some of these blogs will read more like a discussion you might have with friends. This is my "Fun blog", and this is an open discussion. I am not looking to impress anyone with my writing skills - only my very impressive brain power and esteemed conscientiousness for all things big and small.

As previously mentioned in another post, there are MANY sides of massage therapy and today we will discuss the professional sides of the industry. How is this fun for me? It's fun because I get to educate you on some level. I get to also explain your options when it comes to getting a massage - and you do have many. There are many paths that you can take, and I am helping you get the most out of your massages. You're welcome. It won't be boring; it will be interesting. So, just sit there, grab some water, and leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

I will not speak for everyone, but I will speak for the people that are too afraid to admit that they do not know that there is a difference between the many massage practitioners out there. We (hopefully) all went to a massage school and learned how to "Massage" intelligently and uphold high and professional standards of practice at all times. Some work with Chiropractors, some at gyms, and some work at schmoozy high-end spas. Totally interchangeable, right? Wrong.

***Oh, by the way, if your massage person/people are not officially licensed and certified by a national or local governing system, you could be putting yourself at some serious risk... There are many contraindications for massage therapy, and I won't get into that right now, but you should care because it is for your health and safety.

This is the kind of stuff that I will dive into and there so many offshoots of topics, that I may or may not have time to cover it all in this one post. We will start with the basics.

Firstly, while you may refer to all massage people as a "Masseuse" (Female) or "Masseur" (Male), some massage therapists might wince a little by that word - like me. It's really not serious, and we (other massage therapists) cannot let it bother us too much because:

  1. How are you supposed to know as a non-massage therapist?

  2. We can't correct people without sounding pretentious.

  3. It really isn't a big deal anyways - just don't do it anymore...seriously.

So why does that word bother some of us massage people? And should it bother us? Here's a few things; if you peel back the layers, you will see that...

  1. There are negative connotations with the term "Masseuse". A lot of people are stuck in the past and the industry does not have the greatest reputation - let's be honest.

  2. "Masseuse" implies uneducated. We "Massage Therapists" went to college, got a degree, and are licensed and certified by the state to practice health care alongside doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and professional athletes.

So, should it bother us? I think so. If we paid for schooling, value our education, and have passion for our career - for sure! We should be proud!

An important thing to consider is the fact that not all countries have the same standards of professionalism and/or may not even require a formal education. Heck, states within our own country differ on standards of education. Do some research if you are curious.

So, whether you are on the beach in Costa Rica getting a massage under a palm tree or trying out some spa in Europe, you can rest assured knowing that you aren't going to get what you can expect in America. I am not saying that it could be a better or worse experience - just different, that's all.

If you are looking to get a massage in the future, you should ask yourself some questions: What do I need or want from a massage? What is important and what is not? Do I need hot towels on my feet, a cup of tea, and some soft music, or do I need some deep tissue on my upper back so I can turn my head and have a decent night's sleep?

That being said, you should not expect a chakra alignment by a massage therapist at a gym. And you should not expect a gait assessment (analysis of body mechanics) at a spa. Know what I mean?

Something else that you need to be keen on is your knowledge of massage types. When I say "type", I don't mean modality. Modality is a practice. Type is more in relation to the technique within all modalities (if applicable to that specific type).

For example: Relaxation Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Massage, Clinical Massage, Therapeutic Massage, Sports Massage...those are types of massage.

On top of those you have massage modalities.

For example: Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Rolfing, Hot Stones, Cupping, Prenatal, Craniosacral, Reflexology, Myofascial, Thai Massage, and name a few. There are actually a ton of modalities. Some are old, some are being developed as we speak. It's evolution.

The types and the modalities often overlap. It's really not that complicated - it's massage. If you are stressing out while teaching massage, giving a massage, or receiving a massage then you are missing the whole point. Just relax...and don't hold your breath.

Okay, let's move on. You are ready to start looking for a new massage therapist. So, where are all of the massage people working?

  • Spa's

  • Chiropractor's Office / Physical Therapist's Office

  • Some Airports

  • Some Offices will hire a person to come in to do chair massages

  • 5K, 10K, all the way up to full Marathons will have massage therapists

  • Malls often have semi-permanent places in the middle

  • Resorts, Hotels, Casino's

  • Gym's

I may be missing a location or two, but lastly, like myself - many massage people work for themselves and run their own business from a rented space or from home. Hey! Look what I found right on my phone... I bet that guy is really good!!! Pretty sure he is in Kansas City, Missouri - just north of Gladstone off Barry Rd. and North Oak Trafficway.

Do yourself a huge favor and try MANY different massage therapists. Men, women, spa's, private businesses, chain locations, and even try the person at your next office function with the massage chair. You will very soon realize the differences between all the practitioners. We are all very unique. Some are stronger. Some are really into aromatherapy. Some are very clinical. Some use a lot of stretching and range of motion movements. Some would honestly rather just do the same generic routine every time. You need to find this stuff out for yourself. Oh, and lastly, men are the vast minority when it comes to massage therapists, so give them a chance. Take care. See ya next post!

What did I not cover that you wanted me to? Any specific points of interest you'd like more elaboration on? A modality perhaps? Whatever it is, let me know. Leave a comment, send me a text, whatever...I'm easygoing.

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Agamani Sen
Agamani Sen
May 14, 2023

You write well and I have learnt a lot from your blogs. Some of them were indeed very thought provoking.

Tom Vogliardo
Tom Vogliardo
May 14, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for the nice comment!

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