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IT Band Syndrome

IT Band Syndrome

IT Band Syndrome & Massage Therapy

Did you know that engaging in activities that involve repetitive flexing and extending of knees can cause iliotibial band syndrome? Well, studies show that walking long distances, cycling and athletics, among others are some of the contributing factors. As a nurse, physical therapist, fitness coach or yoga instructor, you will always encounter clients with IT band injuries. According to experts, incorporating massage therapy with conventional treatment is one of the best approaches to manage IT band syndrome.

 

 

What Is IT Band Syndrome?

The IT band is a thick connective tissue that originates from the pelvic bone and extends laterally to the shinbone. The fibrous band works with hip muscles to stabilize lateral movements of the hip and knee. However, overworking the connective tissue with activities that require repetitive knee flexion and extension causes IT band syndrome. The overuse movements create friction between the band and the lateral femoral epicondyle, thus, causing discomfort when exercising, or moving. Signs and symptoms of IT band syndrome include:

  • Patient reports feeling an irritating pain along the lateral side of the hip and the femoral epicondyle during motion.
  • There is notable inflammation and swelling on the outer part of the knee.
  • Slight pain is felt at the beginning of an exercise and increases with intensity as the activity progresses.
  • Pain in the gluteal region caused by overstretching gluteus muscles.
  • Experiencing a popping pain that results from the rubbing of IT band against your knee during movement.
  • Tenderness on the lateral femoral and tibia epicondyles upon palpation

Diagnosing the IT Band Syndrome

Despite causing knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome is not the only cause of knee discomfort. Before making your diagnosis, ensure you take a history of the client’s complaints and their daily activities. Usually, the iliotibial band syndrome affects people who engage in activities that put a constant strain on the knees. A client who reports being a runner, bicyclist, hiker or athlete might be a candidate of iliotibial band syndrome.

After taking the history, the next essential step is to conduct a comprehensive physical assessment to determine the precise effected location. You can use some tests such as Noble’s test to assess for pain in the lateral femoral condyle. Additionally, using an Ober’s test will assist you in examining the IT band for tightness. A comprehensive physical examination will give you an insight on areas that need massage therapy; to determine the appropriate techniques for myofascial release.

Managing IT Band Contracture Syndrome with Massage Therapy

As a professional health worker, ensure that massage therapy is in your to-do interventions for iliotibial band syndrome. Offering a massage along with traditional treatment has proved to be effective in enhancing recovery from the IT band syndrome. Below are the benefits of massaging your patients:

  • Relieve Lateral Leg Pain

In most cases, it’s a nagging pain resulting from IT band overuse that forces patients to seek professional intervention. Performing myofascial release massage on the lateral side of the effected leg relaxes the fibrous band and muscles from tension — thus alleviating the pain.

  • Promote Healing

Nowadays, unique massage techniques aim to not only relieve pain but also to promote tissue healing. Addressing trigger points and hypertonicities of the leg muscles enhances blood circulation. Improved tissue perfusion allows delivery of oxygen and nutrients to enhance the healing of the injured tissues.

  • Restore flexibility and Improve Mobility

A patient who is suffering from IT band syndrome often complains of inability to move comfortably. Massage therapy resolves muscle stiffness and tenderness, therefore refining motion and flexibility. Therefore, after several sessions, your patient will be able to resume daily activities with ease.

  • Improve Posture

When the pain is intense, most people adopt bad postures in response to the discomfort. As a massage therapist, you are equipped with unique skills to resolve tension and inflammation of the effected regions. The relaxation and flexibility of the leg enable the patients to assume their normal and healthy posture.

  • Alleviate Stress and Anxiety

Besides enhancing physical fitness, massage treatment helps to relieve the body from stress. Reduced anxiety in patients with IT band syndrome promotes healing and improves their emotional well-being.

What is the prognosis of Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Typically, if you utilize the right treatment modalities, the prognosis of IT band friction syndrome is excellent. For optimum results, it is crucial to use a multifaceted approach when treating patients. Whether you are a nurse, physical therapist, or a fitness coach, integrating massage therapy with conventional treatment will yield a positive outcome.

Ultimately, adding massage therapy to your healthcare profession not only improves healthcare delivery to your clients but also makes you indispensable. Want to learn more about managing IT band syndrome with massage therapy? Contact our Seattle massage therapy schools today to discuss your massage career and educational options in Seattle, Tacoma, or Bellingham.

I addition you can also contact our partner massage therapy school; Seattle Clinical Massage School for information about a massage therapy career in Seattle, Washington.

Degenerative Disc Disease & Massage

Degenerative Disc Disease & Massage

Degenerative Disc Disease Massage Therapy

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a medical condition where one or more discs in the back lose strength. Despite the name, degenerative disc disease isn’t technically a disease but a progressive condition that worsens over time due to wear and tear, or injury.

The discs in your back are situated in between the vertebrae of the spine and act as cushions and shock absorbers. They help you stand up straight and move through everyday motions, such as bending over or twisting around. As people age, DDD can worsen and cause mild to extreme pain that can interfere with your everyday activities.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Some of the most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain that:

  • Primarily affects the lower back
  • Could extend to legs and buttocks
  • Stretches from neck to arms
  • Can be worse from sitting
  • Worsens after bending or twisting
  • Comes and goes in a few days or extends to several months

People with DDD might exhibit less pain after walking or exercise. Additionally, DDD can cause weakened leg muscles and numbness in your arms or legs.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

DDD is primarily caused by natural wear and tear of spinal discs. Over time, discs tend to dry out and lose their support and function, leading to pain and other symptoms. DDD can start developing in your 30s or 40s and progressively worsen as you age. However, the condition can also be caused by overuse from sports or repetitive activities, or injury. Once a disc is damaged, it can’t repair itself.

Risk Factors

Age is the major risk factor for degenerative disc disease. The discs in between the vertebrae often shrink down and lose their cushiony support as people age. Almost every adult above the age of 60 has some form of disc degeneration. However, not all cases cause pain.

Long-term repetitive activities that place a lot of pressure on certain discs can also increase your risk. Other risk factors include car accidents, overweight or obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Diagnosis of DDD

An MRI can help detect degenerative disc disease. Your doctor may recommend this type of imaging test based on a physical exam or an investigation into your symptoms and health history. Imaging tests can reveal damaged discs and help rule out other triggers of pain. When you receive a diagnosis of DDD, it does not mean that you’re disabled or headed for a downward spiral of spinal degeneration. In fact, DDD is often a part of the natural aging process that we all go through at some point in life. And the good news is that you can mitigate the associated pain through a variety of treatment solutions, including massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Treatment for DDD

From a Massage Therapy point of view, the approach in treating DDD is to strike a balance between reducing muscle tension and enhancing traction (decompressing the targeted vertebral segments). Finding a “green zone” of treatment is critical since the spasms that occur through the neck or low back happen because the body is trying to protect that area. By applying slow, repetitive, methodical massage between soft tissue and joint mobilization (spinal decompression), massage therapy can help relieve pain and allow you to move easier and execute strengthening exercises efficiently.

Massage therapy generally helps in these three ways:

  • Increasing Blood Flow and Circulation: Proper blood circulation ensures that critical nutrients flow back fully to the strained muscles and tissues. This makes the muscles/tissues stronger, helping relieve the strain coming from the degenerating discs.
  • Decreasing Tension: The muscles can become tense as they struggle to compensate for the weakening discs. When these muscles are manipulated during the massage, they become relaxed, which improves the range of motion and flexibility.
  • Increasing the “feel good” chemical: Massage therapy releases Endorphins, a mood-enhancing chemical that is released in the brain. This “feel good” chemical helps in reducing pain and enhancing recovery.

Prognosis Possibilities

Without treatment or therapy, DDD can gradually progress and cause more adverse symptoms. While surgery is a treatment option, other less invasive treatments such as massage therapy have been found to be just as helpful yet less costly. A clinical study involving a 66-year-old female patient with cervical degenerative disc disease in her lateral left facet joint recorded impressive outcomes. The patient was experiencing symptoms of severe neck pain accompanied by restricted cervical range of motion. She also exhibited radicular left shoulder and arm pain. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of therapeutic massage on the patient’s symptoms and impairments of cervical DDD.

After multiple treatment sessions, the patient’s symptoms had decreased and cervical ROM had moderately improved. There was also a reduction in reported pain and an improvement in functional daily activities. This is an indication that massage therapy is a favorable treatment intervention for DDD symptoms.

Bottom Line

Massage can help improve the symptoms associated with Degenerative Disc Disease for a prolonged duration of time as long as you continue to follow the maintenance schedule that your Massage Therapist lays out. Massage therapy typically reduces muscle strain, improves flexibility, and mitigates pain. However, you can achieve the best results by working in conjunction with other health care professionals. Keep open communication between your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure the best treatment.

To learn about becoming a massage therapist in Seattle contact one of the following local massage schools; Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts or Seattle Clinical Massage School

Massage and Scleroderma

Massage and Scleroderma

Scleroderma massage therapy seattle

Let’s talk about a difficult condition called scleroderma. Massage therapy might not be among the resources you’d think of in addressing the patient’s challenges with this condition, but you’d be surprised. For a wide variety of conditions, massage therapy becomes a versatile tool for healthcare professionals who add it to their repertoire.

When you study the body from a massage therapy perspective, you also gain insight and ideas for your work as a yoga instructor, fitness professional, or other roles where you’re concerned with your clients’ physical wellbeing. It’s both a whole-body and localized treatment. Here’s how it helps with scleroderma when carefully used.

Scleroderma and its Stages

Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition which, like many such conditions, affects women much more frequently than it does men. It causes hardening of the body’s tissues, either locally or throughout the body’s systems, producing a thick feeling to the skin and other stiffness and internal damage.

The progression of a client’s scleroderma is an important factor in considering massage treatment. As damage to the body continues, its surface hardens and loses vitality and eventually internal organs can be affected. Massage therapy may not be advisable or may be of limited use during later stages of the disease.

The Advantages of Skilled Massage Therapists

Multimodal treatment, mixing massage therapy with treatment by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers, can help a patient’s body to respond better to treatment in general. If you have one of these backgrounds, you can augment your clinical skills in a significant way by learning massage therapy. For example, it can help increase blood circulation and possibly delay the onset and worsening of symptoms.

Because there are many specialized massage techniques with varying effects on the body, a carefully designed massage program can be offered to clients to address medical concerns. Where deep tissue massage may help with some aspects of a condition, your skill and tactile sensitivity as a massage therapist can help you use a gentler approach, similar to that used for fibromyalgia.

Using the Unique Qualities of Massage to Help Scleroderma Patients

Medical guidance is essential when you are working with a client who is diagnosed with scleroderma. Depending on the type and extent of a client’s condition, deep tissue massage techniques may be somewhat useful, but attention to circulation and joint function, breath and relaxation may be more productive approaches.

You can provide gentle, repetitive touch to help capillary flow and relaxation, while breathwork and assisted joint movement can help the body stay resilient. Myofascial (muscle) techniques can conflict with the hardening of the body’s surfaces, and generally you should avoid this type of approach.

Patient Engagement Makes a Difference

Massage therapy training helps you understand the body from a client’s perspective. In addition to being a caring presence in each person’s life, you learn how to constructively use touch to assist bodies in healing from disease and maintaining health. The power of one human caring for another in a safe, structured setting allows one of the most basic human needs to be addressed — that of touch.

As an autoimmune disease, scleroderma is a complex condition and patients may feel at a loss in dealing with it. From nurses to fitness coaches, when people help us with our physical well being, it’s usually with a minimum of hands-on connection and mostly verbal. When you, as a massage therapist, address specific physical challenges which the client is experiencing, you also address the patient as a whole, helping her to develop an inner strength to deal with her life’s challenges.

To learn more about how massage therapy can be beneficial for Scleroderma contact our Seattle student massage clinic

Massage Therapy Job Outlook in Washington

Massage Therapy Job Outlook in Washington

Massage Therapy Job Outlook – A career in massage therapy gives you the power to relieve pain and promote health while earning a good income. Nationally, the field is expected to continue growing at an accelerate rate through the year 2024.

For massage therapy Seattle and its tech-heavy culture make a perfect match. If you are thinking about a career in massage therapy Seattle is one of the best places in the country.

Washington State Requirements

Massage therapists are regulated by the Washington State Department of Health, Board of Massage. To maintain an active license, therapists must meet the following requirements.

Applicants must complete an approved training program that includes:

  • 130 hours anatomy and physiology
  • 40 hours kinesiology instruction
  • 50 hours pathology
  • 265 hours theory and practice, including technique
  • 55 hours clinical and business practices
  • Red Cross first aid certification
  • CPR certification
  • 4 hours HIV/AIDS discussion

Those who received training out-of-state or who are licensed in another location may not meet Washington state education requirements. To verify previous experience, a verification form must be completed by the jurisdiction or school where your credentials were gained.

All applicants must successfully complete the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) or Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) examination.

After completing the training program and testing, therapists must submit all necessary paperwork to the Board of Massage, along with any applicable fees. Once your application information is verified, you will receive your Washington state massage therapy license.

Massage therapy licenses expire on the holder’s birthday every year. They can be renewed up to 90 days in advance.

Every two years, practitioners must complete 24 hours of continuing education credits. These must include:

  • 8+ hours direct massage skills training
  • 4+ hours professional ethics, communication, or review of state laws and regulations
  • 2 hours review of professional roles and boundaries

Massage Therapy Seattle Area Employment Outlook

For those practicing massage therapy Seattle has a variety of job opportunities in different industries.

  • Personal care services, such as in-home aid
  • Working with other health practitioners as part of a team
  • Amusement and recreation, such as spas and high-end hotels
  • Hospitals and long-term rehabilitation care

Massage Therapy Job Outlook for Washington is great in general. For a successful career in massage therapy Seattle is a great place to set up a freelance operation. For mobile massage therapy Seattle is the perfect place to create your own career by making office visits.

  • When it comes to pay for those practicing massage therapy Seattle is one of the best paying locations in the country. Seattle area therapists command an impressive hourly mean wage of $26.89, well above the national average of $19.17.
  • Washington has the 4th highest demand for massage therapists in the country. The state also consistently posts high employment rates for those in the field.
  • Massage therapy positions in Washington are expected to increase by 41.3% in the next 8 years. The demand for new massage talent will soon cause a shortage of qualified applicants. This could drive wages up in the future, making the area even more attractive for knowledgeable bodywork professionals.

When practicing massage therapy Seattle offers opportunity and variety. Enjoy a fulfilling and profitable career as a respected health professional. When it comes to massage therapy Seattle is the best place in the country to learn, practice, and live.

For questions relating to the Massage Therapy Job Outlook in Washington State contact our admission department today!

Scoliosis and Massage Therapy

Scoliosis and Massage Therapy

Scoliosis massage

Over 30% of the American population has some form of scoliosis. You may have already helped clients who suffer from this condition in your regular bodywork or therapy practice. While traditional treatments vary, massage therapy is a safe addition to any client’s treatment plan.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine. It causes the spine to curve left or right into a distinctive “S” or “C” shape. The spine compresses. This compression throws off the patient’s balance, and can contribute to a variety of health complications.

  • Sore, painful muscles
  • Difficult, stiff movement
  • Hunch back
  • Lung and heart problems
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

If left untreated, the spine will continue to curve. This can lead to nerve, joint, and ligaments damage, as well as permanent disability.

What Causes Scoliosis?

Most scoliosis cases are classified as idiopathic. That means there is no known cause.

For about 20% of cases, doctors can point to a definite root condition. These cases are classified as structural or non-structural.

Structural scoliosis causes the spine to bend into a rigid curve that cannot be corrected. It is caused by underlying conditions like

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Marfan’s or Down Syndrome, or similar genetic disorders

The spine of a patient suffering from non-structural scoliosis works normally. The characteristic curve is caused by injury, weakness, or illness of surrounding body parts. When the cause is treated, non-structural scoliosis generally disappears.

Scoliosis can also be developed while still in the womb. Congenital damage to growing vertebrae can cause the spine to curve, not divide properly, or not grow completely. Some patients with congenital scoliosis are not diagnosed until they are between the ages of 10 and 15. During this time, many children go through several growth spurts, which makes structural malformations more noticeable.

Degenerative scoliosis is caused by the wearing of joints and discs in adults. Their damaged joints cause the surrounding muscles to strain, which leads to a curved spine.

Massage Therapy for Scoliosis Patients

While scoliosis massage cannot correct curved or twisted bones, including the spine, it can help clients reduce pain and increase mobility.

  • Massage relaxes muscles that are pulled out of place by shifted bone structures, which can significantly calm tight, uncomfortable sensations.
  • Deep tissue techniques increase blood circulation and break up scar tissues, which makes it easier for patients to move freely.
  • Patients who receive massage prior to chiropractic or neuromuscular therapies report better results from these treatments.
  • Massage is known to soothe the mind as well as the body. A decrease in mental stress is linked to a better ability to deal with chronic pain issues.

Early and regular scoliosis massage therapy, in conjunction with standard medical treatments like exercise and the use of a brace, can help scoliosis patients avoid complicated surgeries.

There is no cure for scoliosis. However, it is highly manageable. The goal of treatment is to reduce the progression of spine curvature, reduce discomfort, and restore or improve mobility. Scoliosis Massage therapy can help your client achieve these goals more quickly than with standard treatments alone.

Kinesiology Taping in a Massage Practice

Kinesiology Taping in a Massage Practice

Kinesiology Tape and Massage Therapy

Since the 1970s, athletes have been using kinesiology taping to help them heal faster and build stronger muscles. Therapists have recently started using taping methods to bring those same benefits to their clients. Massage therapists can use taping to prolong relief and increase the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

What is Kinesiology Taping?

Kinesiology studies the body, and how it uses each part to move. Using knowledge of physiology, biomechanics, and psychology, the kinesiologist seeks to improve strength and muscle condition.

Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy fabric that adheres to the skin with acrylic adhesives. The adhesive itself is mild on the skin but very strong. The tape is waterproof and can stay in place up to five days. Usually made of brightly colored cotton, it has the same thickness and elasticity of healthy skin. It is designed to not cause any pinching, binding, or restrictions.

When applied to the skin, the tape gently lifts surrounding skin, allowing for a better flow of interstitial and lymph fluids. These fluids help remove dead cells and other waste caused by injury or a hard workout. They also deliver vital nutrients that cells need to repair themselves.

Interstitial fluids are also responsible for facilitating intercellular communication. When muscles cells are able to easily send and receive the electrical impulses that stimulate muscle movement, coordination and flexibility are dramatically increased.

Benefits of Taping

When applied around problematic joints and muscles, taping increases the healing and pain relieving properties gained from other therapy methods.

  • Reduce painful inflammation by allowing the removal of cellular waste.
  • Reduce pressure on nerve endings by lifting the skin away from pain receptors.
  • Relax hypertonic muscles that make proper movement and posture impossible.
  • Revive dying or inhibited muscles by restoring needed nutrients and fluids.

Taping allows the body to repair cell damage caused by injury. This allows muscles to restore or improve strength and proper function.

Kinesiology tape is a useful addition in the treatment of many common disorders.

  • Sprained or strained muscles and ligaments
  • Bruising
  • Joint realignment and instability
  • Rounded shoulders or spine
  • Recently healed fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia

Taping and Massage Therapy

Patients with chronic conditions benefit most from a combination of massage therapy and taping. When tape is applied after massage:

  • Muscles that have been stretched and warmed by massage will stay loose longer.
  • The body can remove lactic acid more easily, which decreases soreness after deep tissue techniques.
  • Softens scar tissue and fascial adhesions so future sessions can be more productive.
  • The natural pain relieving ability of massage will last longer.
  • Added stability will keep muscles from moving out of alignment.

Tape can be safely applied to any body part. Different application methods encourage pain relief, structural support, and other therapeutic goals.

Kinesiology taping is an effective addition to any physical therapy routine. It can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries in a noninvasive manner. When therapists add taping as a final touch to their therapy process, clients increase healing, flexibility, and muscles strength while reducing pain, swelling, and possible injury.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Massage Therapy

In our fast-paced, technology-addicted world, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common complaint. The stiff muscles and shooting pain sufferers experience can have a significantly negative impact on daily life. As a professional therapist or bodyworker, it’s likely you will work with a client who has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Understanding this increasingly common condition will allow you to help your clients achieve maximum relief.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when pressure is exerted on the median nerve that runs through the arm and wrist. This nerve controls motion and feeling in all digits except the little finger. When the nerve reaches the wrist, it runs through a narrow structure of bone and ligament called the carpal tunnel. Constant pressure on the nerve causes it to press against the bony parts of the structure. If left untreated, the nerve will sustain damage that can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Numbness
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Tingling
  • Pain in fingers, hand, or forearm
  • Many sufferers first notice their symptoms at night.

Getting a Diagnosis

As always, patients should seek an official diagnosis from their primary medical physician. The doctor will start with a medical history. People with arthritis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes are at higher risk of developing the condition. The doctor will ask about recent injuries or accidents affecting the head, shoulders, arms, or hands. They will also examine your daily routine. Those with jobs that require small, repetitive movements of the hands and wrists have a greater chance of their symptoms being caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The doctor then performs a physical examination. They will check muscle strength, sensation (the ability to feel), and the general appearance of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. Some specialists may order blood or nerve tests to verify results.

Traditional Treatment Methods

Depending on the severity of symptoms, conventional treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vary. Milder symptoms can often be treated effectively at home.

  • Stop any activities that may be causing symptoms. If that is not possible, try to rest your wrists and hands often.
  • Place an ice pack on wrists for 10-15 minutes at a time up to 2 times per hour to reduce discomfort.
  • N-SAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium, reduce painful swelling.
  • Wearing a wrist splint while sleeping can lessen pressure on the median nerve.

If symptoms are allowed to progress, more severe interventions may be necessary. Powerful anti-inflammatory medications, called corticosteroids, can be prescribed in pill form or injected directly into the wrist. While these medications can significantly reduce pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, they do not provide permanent relief. Surgery is an option for the most advanced cases.

Other Self-Treatment Options

There are some simple steps everyone can take to decrease the intensity of symptoms and frequency of attacks caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Regular Stretching 
  • Get treated for contributing conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.

In addition to lifestyle changes, sufferers should take measures to protect their wrists and hands.

  • Keep wrists elevated when using a keyboard.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and at the sides while typing or working.
  • Use the whole hand to grip items rather than just fingers.
  • Switch hands during repetitive motions.

Massage Therapy for Natural Pain Relief

Certain massage techniques have been proven to relax tight muscles and fascia in the arm and shoulder and reduce pressure on the median nerve. For clients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a muscle specific massage will help address holding patterns associated with repetitive use while also increasing blood flow to the affected region. Leaving your client feeling loose, refreshed, and hopefully pain-free.

Contact us today to learn more about how massage therapy can be an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

5 Important Questions to Ask Every New Massage Therapy Client

5 Important Questions to Ask Every New Massage Therapy Client

Successful massage therapy begins before your massage therapy client touches the table. A pretreatment client interview will help set expectations, increase the effectiveness of your treatment, and relieve any anxiety on the client’s part.

Interview Basics

  • When clients schedule a first appointment, let them know that you will be conducting a short interview before treatment begins. Ask them to make a list of any questions or concerns and bring it with them.
  • Provide a pre-interview questionnaire. Your questions should focus on general health conditions and medical history.
  • Have a private space to conduct interviews. Your massage client will be more willing to share personal information.
  • Be ready to probe for details. Some clients need to be encouraged to share information about their health.
  • Give the client some general information on your practice before you start asking questions. This is especially important for first time massage clients who don’t know what to expect.

Building Trust

A successful therapist-client relationship is based on trust. The client has to believe that you will relieve their pain. Build trust with your client by using active listening skills.

  • What is your experience with professional massage therapy? Find out if your client has ever visited a massage therapist. Ask what they liked and didn’t like about it. If they haven’t, ask them what made them decide to come see you. This is a great time to determine and manage expectations.
  • How does your pain affect your daily activities? While pain may be a deciding factor, many clients only seek treatment when their pain starts to limit their abilities. Find out what your massage therapy client wants to see happen in their bodies. Use that as a reference point throughout the treatment process.

Finding the Source

Pain or stress relief is the goal of most massage clients. People with long-term, chronic pain issues may have trouble pinpointing the source. Help them guide you with open-ended questions.

  • Where does it hurt? Ask the massage therapy client to physically point out problem areas on their bodies. Ask what it feels like. Do the muscles feel tight and sore? Is it more of a stabbing, radiating pain? Offer descriptive words (hot, sore, numb, tingling) to help the client express themselves.
  • What do you do for a living? Ask them about their job. Talk about how they sit, stand, or move. Do they take regular breaks? Do they have access to ergonomically correct seating or tools? Ask about sports and hobbies as well. Knowing what muscles they depend on regularly lets you know what major muscle groups to focus on.

Discovering Treatment Options

Every massage therapy client is different. Ask searching questions to tailor your techniques to their specific needs.

What do you do to address the pain? Ask about exercises, self-massage practices, use of heat or ice, or other methods they use for relief. This will help you develop a long-term treatment plan that corrects underlying structural issues. It will also help you decide what techniques you can use for maximum relief.

At the end of the interview, give your client some time to ask questions. Answer them thoroughly and truthfully.

The client interview is an essential part of creating customized treatment plans for your clients. It is also an ideal time to educate them. Asking the right questions before massage begins brings better results and more client satisfaction.

Bookkeeping & Taxes in Massage

Massage Therapy Bookkeeping

The dreams of owning your own business are layered with the benefits of doing so: making your own schedule, doing something you love, being your own boss, leaving the time clock and name badge to the annals of history. You may not, however, be prepared for the required work that must be done as owner or co-owner of a business.

If you purposely or accidentally neglect massage therapy bookkeeping requirements, you may have to pay for it later. It is better to be prepared, organized, and aligned with both state and federal requirements for entrepreneurs so that you can focus even more of your energies on the mission of your massage therapy business.

Tips for Massage Therapy Bookkeeping and Tax Requirements as an Independent Massage Therapist

  • Get educated, knowledgeable, and licensed in the field. There are great massage therapy programs available to you wherever you are located. To be in compliance in most states, you will have to provide licensure. A good massage therapy program will also give instruction about how to run a business, how to file with the state revenue departments and the IRS, and how to keep the paperwork under control.
  • Taxes – Taxes can be the bane of any business owner, yet they are mandatory. It is best to have a system that works for you. While some massage therapists may choose to do their own personal taxes or quarterly business taxes, many also contract with a licensed tax professional. There are books and online courses available for learning the process of taxation, but as other therapists therapists for advice.
  • Keep accurate and precise financial records – The key to efficiency in massage therapy bookkeeping is routine. Figure out a system that works for you on a daily basis and then keep it. Having accurate, precise records of your business expenses, appointments/sessions, and income will save you both time and money when the records are needed. Whether you are using a computer-based system, cloud-based system, or file folder system, keep it organized. Poor record keeping inevitably leads to lost time, and as a small business owner, time has financial value.
  • Keep thorough records – No one ever wants to be a part of a legal suit, but it can happen. Medical and health services professionals are often called as trusted witnesses for a variety of legal suits. When this happens, you want to have records that explains the specific reasons each patient was treated, the ailment or reason for their making the appointment, and the level of comfort after.
  • Estimate monthly expenses – One of the basic demands of owning a business is estimating your projected expenses so that you can create a reasonable, reliable budget. Many business owners estimate both monthly and annually, adjusting based upon need.
  • Familiarize yourself with accounting software – If you do decide to save on the cost of hiring a tax professional, you will need to look at various accounting software packages that keep your massage therapy bookkeeping accurate and documented. The good news is that you have many options. QuickBooks, Sage, and FreshBooks are three of the leaders, but there are others that may work best for you, depending on your need and level of detail.

You’re going into business, in part, for financial reasons. You want your own work to result in your own profit. To make this dream real, you have to be concerned with implementing organization and accuracy in your massage therapy bookkeeping from the first time you turn the sign in the window to say “We’re Open.”

Massage Therapy; Choosing a Lotion

massage therapy lotion seattleWhat natural ingredients help a massage therapy lotion glide with ease?

Some of the best natural ingredients you want to make sure your massage therapy lotion contains are jojoba, grapeseed, avocado or almond oil. These oils are light and airy, but are not heavy and greasy on the skin. Overtime as you are massaging, they will absorb into the skin, but they will not absorb so fast you have to stop to constantly grab more lotion to continue providing a nice gliding massage to your patient. After all, a massage therapy session is all about constant smooth flowing touch that provides healing to the body.

What massage therapy lotions are best for what skin types?

Choosing the right massage therapy lotions for the particular skin type is essential for giving a quality, yet beneficial massage therapy massage. For example, acne prone skin would benefit best from massage lotions that contain not only the oils of jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, or almond oil, but also tea tree oil since it contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Skin types that are sensitive and need nourishing during massage therapy to help relax the mind and body are ones that contain lavender, rosemary, rose absolute or chamomile. Skin types with stress marks, scars, signs of aging will benefit from massage lotions that contain mango, shea, or cocoa butter. Feel free to use massage therapy lotions that contain arnica in them, as it is a natural pain reliever.

What scented lotions are best to use during massage therapy sessions?

Picking out the right scented massage lotion before giving your patient a massage is important as well. Many patients are sensitive to scents and therefore we always provide an unscented lotion. However, sometimes your patients might be interested in the pleasant addition of a scented lotion. For patients that are feeling stressed, anxious, panicked or depressed lavender or patchouli scent lotions are best. Patients that want an uplifting massage might enjoy a therapy session with peppermint, or citrus could be beneficial. Picking a scented massage oil that is pleasing to your patient’s senses is beneficial for the outcome of their massage too. After all, you want their massage to feel healing and nurturing to them.

 

For information regarding lotion ingredients visit: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/

You can also contact Seattle Massage Schools