Adding Spa Therapy to Your Massage Practice - by admin@mcb on July 28 2016

Adding Spa Therapy to Your Massage Practice

Creating a Spa Massage Practice

Many massage therapists have built a lucrative practice by offering an array of spa therapy treatments. In addition to various styles of massage therapy, spa treatments can include adjunct therapies like hot and cold stone, exfoliations, mud or seaweed wraps, and reflexology treatments. Aromatherapy can play a role in each of these spa therapy sessions. Before adding any new treatments to your massage therapy practice, be sure to confirm that your massage license authorizes you to perform them.

When opening a massage and spa practice, begin by offering common and universal services such as massage and mud wraps. Avoid any expensive up front investments, such as saunas or tanning beds, when you first open. You can explore those options once your business has grown enough to warrant the expense.

Study the demographics of your community to determine what treatments are likely to be most popular. A small, rural community will not have the same mindset towards various treatments as an upwardly mobile professional community. For example, what works in Austin, TX may fall flat in communities 50 – 100 miles outside of Austin. What is an easy sell in Silicon Valley, CA may be far less in demand in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Marketing your Spa Massage Practice

When marketing your spa therapy treatments, focus on the physical benefits of your services instead of the pampering aspect of those same services. Yes, a massage and mud wrap is relaxing and makes your skin softer, but it also helps improve circulation, reduce pain and swelling, and rid the body of toxins. Stress long-term benefits, so your potential clients see your services as more than an hour or two of pampering. A high-stressed, white-collar professional might be swayed to lay out a hundred dollars for relaxation, but a physically laboring blue-collar worker may want more than relaxation for that same amount of money.

Some of the best advertising to a spa therapy practice is word-of-mouth, so don’t neglect to offer a referral program. You can also market gift certificates to your existing clients, as a way to bring new people through your door.

Expanding Your Spa Massage Practice

Once you are becoming established, you can consider expanding your services. You might want to consider bringing in other professionals, such as estheticians, electrolysis, hair stylists and make-up artists.

To learn more about popular spa therapy treatments, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a variety of courses. Click on any of the links below for more details:
Spa Therapy Techniques
Hot Stone Massage

Massage Certification Vs. License - by admin@mcb on July 20 2016

Massage Certification Vs. License

Massage Certification Vs. License

Students frequently ask us if taking a massage certification course from us gives them a license to work with clients in their state. This question confuses the legal terminology of “certified” and “licensed”. A certification is evidence that you have successfully completed a course of training and internship. A license is a legal permit granted by a governmental authority to perform a particular profession.

Right to Practice Massage

When you earn a certification with one of our courses (example: pregnancy massage certification or infant massage certification), you will be able to practice in any state where you are legally licensed to practice massage therapy. But we are not the ones who issue that license. We are not a state massage board, so we have no authority to give a license. You must go to your local massage therapy board to apply for your license to practice.

While you are welcome to take continuing education courses such as ours while you are still in massage school, especially if you want to “hit the ground running” in a particular specialty the moment you have your license in hand, no amount of training from any educational institution is going to override a governmental licensing requirement. If you take our class but do not get your state license, you are not legally entitled to practice.

If you are not yet licensed, it is up to you to determine if our massage therapy continuing education courses will be accepted by your state toward your initial license application. Institute of Somatic Therapy is not authorized to give legal advice on how to obtain your massage therapy license.

Continuing Education for Massage License Renewal

A different, but related, concept is if and when the continuing education hours (CEs) you earn from us are accepted for your state license renewal requirements.

In addition to enhancing your practice with new skills, our courses award continuing education hours. Institute of Somatic Therapy is an approved continuing education provider by the NCBTMB, Florida, Georgia, and New York. Most states and national agencies such as ABMP and AMTA accept our courses for CEs because we are approved by the NCBTMB. Please refer to our State Guidelines page to see the rules that apply in your state.

For license renewal, CEs have to be dated during the relicensure period, after the date that your license was issued and before it is due to be renewed. If you do not yet have your state license, you should delay completing the test with our courses until you have the license in your hand, so the date of your certificate from us will fall during the renewal period.

For a complete list of our courses, click here.
To see our State Guidelines page, click here.

To see a prior blog article explaining the difference between a course that awards a certificate versus a course that awards a certification title, click here.

Image courtesy of “3d Stamp Certified” by David Castillo Dominici

Benefits of a Doula - by admin@mcb on July 12 2016

Benefits of a Doula

Benefits of a Doula During Labor

The benefits of a doula are significant, and they are well established by scientific medical research. The most publicized statistics tend to deal with the labor itself – reduction of cesarean section by 50%, shorten length of labor by 25%, reduction of oxytocin (pitocin) use by 40%, reduction in pain medication by 30%, and reductions in epidurals by 60%. (Source: Marshall H. Klaus, M.D.; John H. Kennell, M.D.; Phyllis H. Klaus, M.Ed., C.S.W.)

Benefits of a Doula On Marriage and Relationships

But one lesser known benefit of a doula is the impact it can have on the relationship between the birthing mother and her partner.  W.L. Wolman wrote a Master’s thesis for the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) in 1991, titled Social Support During Childbirth: Psychological and Physiological Outcomes.  In this study, Wolman reported on women (some of whom had doulas, and some who did not) who were asked to rate the satisfaction with their partners both before the pregnancy, during the pregnancy, and after the baby was born.

Among women who did not have a doula, 63% reported satisfaction before the pregnancy, compared to 65% for the women who did have a doula. Both groups reported very similar numbers.

During the pregnancy, it dropped, but both were still very similar. The non-doula group reported a 48% satisfaction with their partner during the pregnancy, compared to 49% for the women who did have a doula.

But there was a highly significant difference in how both groups of women rated their satisfaction with their partners after the baby was born. The non-doula group stayed near the lower satisfaction rate of their pregnancy – 49%. The doula group, however, reported an astonishing 85% satisfaction rate with their partner after their births. Not only did they recover the drop that occurred during the pregnancy, but also gained an additional 20% over the pre-pregnancy rating.

When asked if the relationship was better after the birth, only 30% of the women in the non-doula group felt that it was, while 71% of the women in the doula group felt that their marriage/relationship was better after the birth.

While the study did not specify any reasoning for this, it has been suggested that some of the reasons might be that the women felt appreciative for the extra support. By hiring a doula, the partner demonstrated concern and love, as well as an acknowledgement of the enormity of the woman’s efforts during the pregnancy and labor. They may also have been less likely to place blame on the partner for any negative outcomes knowing that everything possible was done to make the birth as easy as possible.

Becoming a Massage Doula

If you are a massage therapist who wants to become trained as a doula, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a doula certification program, available here.

Finding a Massage Doula

If you are looking for a doula to support you or your partner during childbirth, the Institute of Somatic Therapy has a database of graduates where you can search for prenatal massage therapists, massage doulas, and infant massage instructors, available here.

Varicose Veins - by admin@mcb on July 05 2016

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins which has become enlarged. Veins become enlarged is due to failure of backflow valves, or as a result of veins walls losing their elasticity. When the blood doesn’t flow back to the heart as efficiently as it should, blood pools in the vein. The pooling then puts even greater pressure on the vein walls and distal backflow values. This pooling blood causes the distal veins to become enlarged. As more blood pools, the valves will take on a bulging, ropelike, blue appearance.

Primary varicose veins are due to valves that are weak from pregnancy or birth. They often occur during pregnancy, due to the weight of the uterus on the vena cava, coupled with the increased blood volume that occurs in the last two trimesters.

Secondary varicose veins are those that occur due to other causes, of which there are many. Veins can become weakened from overuse, such as standing for long periods of time, which can cause blood to pool in the veins when there is not sufficient muscle action to assist the venous blood return. Chronic high blood pressure can dilate veins so that the valves no longer form a proper seal. Tight clothing, obesity, poor diet, aging, blood clots, and lack of exercise can all be contributing factors.

Considerations for Massage

With severe cases, massage therapists should avoid the veins and all areas distal to them, with the possible exception of performing foot reflexology/foot massage. The foot work should be modified to ensure that there is no vigorous flexing or rotation of the feet which would impact on the veins.

With mild to moderate varicose veins, the therapist should adhere to touch that will be in the direction of lymphatic and venous blood flow. Additionally, the touch should be lighter and slower, so as not to overwhelm the already overtaxed veins. This applies not only to the area of the veins, but all areas distal to those veins as well. Gentle stretching of the muscles surrounding the veins can help naturally pump the blood. For example, if the lower leg has varicose veins, the foot can be alternately dorsiflexed and plantar flexed, or gently rotated through the full range of motion, to promote blood flow in the lower leg.

Avoid any vigorous techniques such as cross-fiber friction, tapotement or wringing type motions in the area of, or distal to, varicosities.

Continuing Education on Varicose Veins

Institute of Somatic Therapy offers two massage therapy continuing education courses that may be of interest to massage therapists working with clients with varicose veins:
Pathology – Varicose Veins is a 2 CE cognitive course that teaches about the condition in general.
Prenatal Massage – Since varicose veins are common in pregnant women, our prenatal massage certification series addresses how to handle mild, moderate, and severe cases in your pregnant clients.