A massage therapist is someone who treats patients by using touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. With their touch, massage therapists relieve pain, rehabilitate injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of their patients.
Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissue of the body in order to treat injuries and to promote general wellness. A massage can be as short as fifteen minutes or could last for more than an hour.
Massage therapists typically do the following:
- Talk with clients about symptoms, medical history, and desired results
- Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
- Manipulate muscles or other soft tissues of the body
- Provide clients with guidance on how to improve posture, stretching, strengthening, and overall relaxation
Massage therapists may use lotions and oils, massage tables or chairs, and medical heat lamps when treating a patient. They may offer patients information about additional relaxation techniques or exercises to practice between sessions.
Massage therapists can specialize in many different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage are just a few examples of modalities. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Usually, the type of massage given depends on the client’s needs and physical condition. For example, therapists may use a special technique for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes. Some forms of massage are given solely to one type of client; for example, prenatal massage is given to pregnant women.