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Massage Therapy/Therapeutic Massage


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What to Expect

Massage therapy students' communication skills and knowledge of human anatomy will later be used during therapy to help clients deal with everything from muscle tension to mental stress.

Krista Nielsen is a graduate of the Utah College of Massage Therapy. She liked the hands-on learning.

"I didn't do all that well in high school, as I am a very hands-on learner and most high school classes aren't. But in massage school, I really excelled," she says.

"Even our anatomy class was more hands-on in that we went to the University of Utah and spent a lot of time in their cadaver lab. We didn't have to do the dissections, but we were able to get a...view of what happens."

Nielsen points out that even though she excelled, the classes weren't always easy. "Some people came into class thinking that it was going to be a breeze. For some people, it probably was. However, for most of us, it got really challenging at times. Anatomy was probably the hardest class that we had."

A typical day started with lectures. "And then we would trade massages for the next two hours," says Nielsen. "Then in the afternoon we would be on the same schedule except with a different class. We were taught different modalities at the same time, such as seated massage in the morning and reflexology in the afternoon."

There were a few surprises along the way. "For some reason, I didn't expect the professional development class that we had to take," Nielsen says. "This class was supposed to teach you how to run a massage business. I had never entertained the idea of running my own business and I had no desire to do so. So that was unexpected for me."

Fredrika Marie Strasser graduated from the Orlando Institute of Massage. Her program consisted of anatomy and physiology theory on Mondays and Wednesdays, massage theory on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and modalities and hydrotherapy on Fridays.

Strasser estimates that she had two to three hours of homework a night. "Homework consisted of reading and answering questions from the book and workbook after the assigned reading. Also, before graduating, the student has to get 25 to 50 massages."

How to Prepare

Take biology classes in high school.

You can also get some early training. "There are community colleges that do offer a course in basic massage," says Strasser. "If the student is unsure if this is the career they wish to be in, it is a wise idea if they take a course in basic massage."


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