Massage therapy is as ancient as medical treatment itself. But with modern medicine and its scientific and logical base, massage therapy also has come into its own as a distinct form of treatment. There are schools imparting the necessary knowledge and practice to thousands of health care professionals.
In massage therapy, the therapist manipulates the soft tissues of the body by stroking, kneading, squeezing and pressing. There are over 100 different types of massages, some general and some targeting specific problems. The therapy relaxes the soft tissues like muscles, skin, joints, tendons and ligament. It improves circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system and calms the nerves. The main benefit of the therapy is the easing of tension and stress in the body and mind.
To become a massage therapist the basic entry-level qualification is a high-school diploma. About 34 states have a licensing system for therapists. Some Counties and Cities set their own standards. Most states accept NCE (National Certification Examination) as a sufficient qualification for a therapist. Some states accept only COMTA (Commission on massage therapy Accreditation) certificates. There are five federally sanctioned accrediting boards: COMTA, ACCSCT, ACCET, ABHES and NACCAS.
The accredited schools prepare the students for the board examinations. Most schools have set a minimum attendance standard of about 500 hours of supervised classroom and hands-on instructions. The candidates with NCE, COMTA or other valid certificates are registered with the relevant professional association and get their registration numbers. They are then ready to join any organization or start their own practice.
There are three massage therapist associations who set a very high standard of ethics and competency. They are NCTMB (Nationally Certified Board for Therapeutic Massage and Boardwork), AMTA (American massage therapy Associations), and AMBP (Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals).
The tuition fee is about $10 per hour. You need about $5,000 to complete a certificate in an average school. There are loans and grants available for the students who enroll in federally accredited schools. There are other forms of financial assistance, as well. Veterans and disabled persons have their federally funded administration to help them.
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