Massage therapists knead muscles and other soft tissues of the body to provide treatment for injuries and to promote general wellness.
Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. With their touch, therapists relieve pain, help heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients.
Massage therapists typically do the following:
Talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history, and desired results
Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
Manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body
Provide clients with guidance on stretching, strengthening, overall relaxation, and how to improve their posture
Document clients’ conditions and progress
Massage therapists use touch to treat clients’ injuries and to promote the clients’ general wellness. They use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissues of the body.
Massage therapists may use lotions and oils, and massage tables or chairs, when treating a client. A massage can be as short as 5–10 minutes or could last more than an hour.
Massage therapists talk with clients about what they hope to achieve through massage. They may suggest personalized treatment plans for their clients, including information about additional relaxation techniques to practice between sessions.
Massage therapists can specialize in many different types of massage or modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage are just a few of the many modalities of massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques.
The type of massage given typically depends on the client’s needs and physical condition. For example, massage 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 only to pregnant women.