An important part of every therapists daily routine should be self care. I came across an article in mens magazine that reminds us we need to take care of us as we are our most prized tool in our profession. Enjoy
The Elegance of Dermoneuromodulation
Touch rooted in modern neuroscience
Massage therapy emphasizes the power and practice of
touch. Most of what we do involves skin-to-skin contact.
In that simplicity, we interact with our clients’ deepest
complexity. From moment to moment, their bodies give us
palpable feedback. If we listen and respond well, the results
of a massage can be extraordinary. Dermoneuromodulation
is one way practitioners are making that happen.
By Jason Erickson
Toddler snot on your suit jacket, wrinkled pants from sitting in a car driving teens (and their friends) everywhere they need to go, sleep deprivation from the newborn. Moms of kids all ages have one thing in common: while taking care of everything and everybody else, they forget to practice critical self-care strategies that can keep the whole ship from sinking. Moms, hear this. Unite and put an end to the madness. This Mother's Day needs to be about you and your therapist, massage therapist that is.
Massage is not pampering--it's survival. You've heard the benefits of massage no doubt. It reduces stress, pain, and muscle tension for starters. Then there's improved circulation which makes the whole body run smoother, and keeps you more suited to run after those munchkins.
But best of all, you're alone. Just you and the therapist with soothing music for a delicious hour or 90 minutes, head face down in the cradle with one mission only-to let go. (As a mom, you know even finding bathroom time alone is a challenge. If it's not the kids pounding on the door or texting you or the doorbell ringing, it's the dog who wants to join you. Alone time is a rare mom commodity.)
You've decided! You're going to do it. You're writing massage on your Mother's Day list and posting it everywhere around the house and including in your child's lunchbox: "Mom's getting a massage for Mother's Day!" If they don't get the hint, you're buying one yourself. It's just the responsible thing to do.
Can you see them? The dim lights, the scent of spa that hits you as you open the oversize door, the iced lemon water, the iced wash cloths, your own robe and slippers. These all enhance the spa experience and relax you immediately. Let's face it. They make you want to pack your bags and move in. Face it. With all you do in your 24/7 job, it's time somebody takes care of you. We got this. Come visit us and we'll prove it.
Mother's Day is your day. Own it. Mandy Hale says, "It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary." Word up, Mandy. Just by practicing a little self-care on Mother's Day, you can don that super-mom cape the other 364 days of the year, and soar higher than you ever imagined.
I came across this earlier today and found it interesting. Take a look let me know what you think, Huffington Post
Recently, we were approached by Dr. Paul Thomas, about bringing his program, Certification in in (Functional) Neurology for Bodyworkers, which includes Massage Therapists and Acupuncturists, to the New York / New Jersey / Pennsylvania area, and having ITM be the host.
Being that we are frequently approached by different instructors and training organizations about using our facilities, we are very selective regarding who we say yes to, and scrutinize each offering closely for the value that it offers the current ITM students and our many graduates. We are very excited to bring this opportunity to the massage community at large, and want to tell everyone about this 1-year course, also known as 'Know The Brain'. It will present functional neurology for practitioners covering several topics relevant for preparation to practice functional neurological interventions and prepare them to sit for the AMMA Diplomate in Neurology for Massage Therapists certification exam.
Upon further talking to Dr. Thomas, and reading the materials he presented to us (he also flew out from Colorado to demonstrate his techniques to our faculty), functional neurology appears to be more systemic assessment tool than technique. When clients fail to progress or do not respond to your treatment methods, it could be caused by a functional imbalance in their nervous system, and a full functional neurological assessment will allow you to focus your treatment for their specific needs, and fine-tune your chosen technique for that individual. You will learn anatomy, normal and abnormal neurological function, and the delicate intricacies of the system's interconnectedness.. all within your scope of practice.
This program has two goals:
1) To train Massage Therapists and Acupuncturists on the brain's effect on the body, and more precisely, how to select therapies or perform treatments that can target the brain within their scope of practice.
2) To increase the skill level of therapists so that they may identify, refer to, collaborate with, inform, and ultimately work on a team with licensed clinicians in the fields of neurology and psychology.
Hear Testimonials Here: Testimonials
The program is approved and certified by the American Medical Massage Association and the American Manual Medicine Association, and the instructor is Dr. Paul Thomas, who received his post doctorate degree in neurology from the Carrick Institute of Graduate Studies, and his Diplomate in Chiropractic Neurology from the American Chiropractic Neurology Board in January of 2005. After he received his Diplomate, Dr. Thomas managed multiple chiropractic offices with a functional neurology emphasis. He worked closely with children that have learning disabilities, clients with non-organic mental health issues, and traditional patients with musculoskeletal issues until 2009. Since then, Dr. Thomas now lectures and consults with doctors and therapists all over the country.
A few of Dr. Thomas’ achievements include working closely with body workers and psychologists on the physiology behind their treatments, and conducting in-office neurological exams for doctors. He is also the senior instructor for KnowTheBrain and Fix the Brain - organizations dedicated to teaching the assessment of applied neurology for body workers and psychologists.
There is plenty of information provided in the continuing education section of the ITM website, and Dr Thomas has more extensive information available at his program website: http://bodywkrs.knowthebrain.com/. Lastly, there are 2 live webinars being offered, on December 15th, 2011, and January 3rd, 2012, so this is a great opportunity to hear more information, and also be able to ask questions. The schedule, and logins for the informational webinars are available at this website: http://www.knowthebrain.com/free-webinars.html
Many new classes are starting this fall at ITM and with the influx of students coming to the school, starting a career where they will be helping others, we thought to write a blog about how students can help themselves-self care 101 for the new massage therapist. The reason most massages therapists “burn out” is injury and fatigue.
Meditation is one of the oldest types of complementary therapies. We all know what meditation is (think: man with a beard sitting on a mountain top), but are you aware of all the benefits of meditation? www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070 lists many conditions that meditation can benefit; including allergies, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Getting started is easy: sit comfortably on the floor or a mat, close your eyes and then open them part way looking up towards your eye lids. Breathe. Count from one to ten and then start again. 1-10. If you feel yourself counting to 20 simply start at the beginning again. If you find yourself thinking of the worries or your day, start counting again. Sit in meditation for 10-20 minutes if possible. For more information, including guided meditations visit the website www.freemeditations.com
Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation. Yoga is a moving meditation, exercise combined with breath work (pranayama). Studies have shown that yoga helps alleviate stress, wrist and back pain, insomnia and much more. Don’t be intimidated by pictures of yogis holding what seem to be impossible asana (poses) for in definite periods of time; Yoga can be as simple as sitting and breathing. www.yogajournal.com is a good online resource for yoga education.
Regularly receiving massage and giving self massage is vital to maintaining a massage career. Over use of the muscles of the forearm and wrist lead to repetitive motion injuries, chronic inflammation and pain. Regular massage keeps the muscles that are most often strained in massage soft and stretched; leading to a decreased incidence of injury. Here are some tips for performing self massage to the hands from WebMD (from the website www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/massage-therapy-stress-relief-much-more).
Stretch your hands and fingers out. Rub each finger from the base to the tip, gently pulling and twisting each finger as you go.
Next, rest your left hand, palm upward, on your lap. Squeeze the fleshy part of your palm between your right thumb and index finger, moving from your wrist to the base of your thumb.
Now squeeze that web between your left index finger and thumb several times, looking for any tender points.
Then rub the entire palm with your right thumb, applying firm pressure and using gliding strokes from the wrist to the base of each finger.
Repeat this process on your right hand.
The article goes on to talk about care for several different areas of the body, and the internet is loaded with different techniques that are just a quick Google search away. Be well.
6 Months ago, Barbara Williams from The (Bergen County) Record, was kind enough to write about what the students at The Institute for Therapeutic Massage (ITM) are doing in our Oncology Massage Certification Program that runs at both our Haskell / Wanaque, NJ (Passaic County) school location as well as our Red Bank, NJ (Monmouth County) school location. This was more than an article about the program, but more so a treatise regarding how this type of therapy is utilized in the hospital / medical massage based setting. Barbara and her staff photographer, Leslie Barbaro went to Holy Name Hospital to observe our students working on patients and learn more about the benefits of massage therapy as it applies to this special population. Here are a few excerpts from the article 'Cancer Patients Get Free Massages at Holy Name Hospital':
'Just two decades ago, prevailing wisdom held that touching oncology patients was a no-no, for fear of hurting them. Today, people get massages as they sit in recliners receiving chemotherapy treatment. Cancer patients at Holy Name Medical Center are treated to free massages on Wednesdays by students from the Institute of Therapeutic Massage, which boasts of having the only accredited oncology massage program nationwide.
"The students are fantastic — the patients love getting the massages," said Janice Terlizzi, the hospital's administrative director of oncology services. "Many patients have a difficult diagnosis and it is very intense getting chemotherapy. This helps them relax."
Students enrolled in the nine-month oncology program at the school's main campus in Haskell / Wanaque take classes in anatomy, hospital-based massage and oncology so they can read patient charts and adapt the Swedish massage method to fit individual needs. Instead of the typical five strokes — gliding, vibration, hacking, friction and milking — students might use more compression movements, said Lisa Helbig, president of the institute.
"When someone has cancer, you might focus on the hands and feet, use slower movements, apply pressure rather than gliding," Helbig said. "It complements treatment, makes the patient feel more relaxed — they report sleeping better, and sometimes it helps with the nausea."
Emotional benefits - In general, massage increases circulation and promotes relaxation, providing emotional and psychological benefits. It can help alleviate stress, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, pain, fatigue and depression in cancer patients, experts say, but patients may suffer adverse effects from massages if they don't exercise caution, said Dr. Charles Vialotti, Holy Name's chief of radiation oncology. 'but the massage therapy we offer is so gentle — it would be hard to find a patient that wouldn't benefit from some form of massage."
Some patients do decline the offer, however, said Laura Machnik, a student at the institute, and others tell me they're so glad to see me and want me to get started right away while they're receiving treatment. Ten or 20 minutes can make a person's quality of life so much better."
Machnik is hoping to work with hospice patients once she graduates this spring. She remembers her dad battling leukemia before his death 13 years ago, when everyone was afraid to touch him because he seemed so frail. "I knew then I wanted to do something for cancer patients," Machnik said.
The program has become so popular that the school will offer it at its Red Bank location, and the students will work with cancer patients at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. They also work with patients at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, school officials said.
Julie Taw, Medical Director of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, expects to hire more massage therapists for its Center for Integrative Healing. She said that even with patients paying for their own massages, demand has been so high for the full-time therapist that the hospital is looking to add to the staff. "The feedback is amazing, patients are so appreciative," Taw said. "And our physicians feel we're a nice adjunct to the medical care." Patients don't always have to dig into their wallets for massages at hospitals. At times, insurance will cover the costs, said Barbara Cron, a spokeswoman for Holy Name.
"Massage therapy, when ordered by a physician and is medically necessary, is often a billable service that can be covered by insurance," Cron said. "For Holy Name hospice patients, massage is part of the inclusive, holistic care plan, so there is no charge to those patients."
To learn more, or read the article in its entirety, please go to this link: ITM Oncology Massage Certification Program Students At Holy Name Hospital
My Massage School Experience, By Rania Ismail - Taken From The National Federation of the Blind's Newsletter - 'The Sounding Board'
'Since I was 14 years old, I wanted to become a massage therapist. I had sustained a neck injury that had left me in chronic pain, and at the time, massage therapy was the only thing that gave me any relief. It was from then on that I knew I wanted to become a massage therapist. I could give others who lived with chronic pain the same kind of relief I was receiving myself.
After attending an 8-month program at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, I did some research on massage therapy schools. I found out that my local community college offered a massage therapy program. I decided to try it.
While I was researching whether the Commission for the Blind would assist me with funds, I faced a lot of discouragement. Some people didn’t believe that I could become a massage therapist, either due to my blindness or my learning disability. Some of them even tried to convince me to change my career choice, but I wouldn’t budge. I knew that becoming a massage therapist was something that I truly wanted.
Although the massage therapy program at the community college didn’t work out the way I hoped, I still learned a lot, and my journey didn’t stop. Some people continued trying to convince me not to go back to school and work toward my goal. Some people wanted me to gain work experience, instead of encouraging me to go back to school to finish what I had worked so hard to achieve. I pushed on despite the negativity, and didn’t let what they thought hinder my success.
I continued looking for massage schools and at last found the ITM - Institute for Therapeutic Massage in New Jersey, with hospital based programs, and an emphasis on medical massage. I called the school and spoke to an admissions counselor. I explained my experience at the community college, and I told the counselor that I wanted to achieve my goal of becoming a massage therapist. When I toured the campus, I could tell that everyone at the school - from the counselors in admissions, to the teachers I met - really wanted to help me complete this program! I could tell that everyone believed that I could make it and achieve my goal.
The people who believed in me and encouraged me to keep going are my mother, Terri Lucas, a longtime friend, Nicki Newton, my aide from middle school until I graduated from high school, Joe Ruffalo, who was one of my mentors in both the blindness field and one of my mentors in the field of massage therapy, Mary Ellen Ricks, who is a massage therapist, Jane Marron, another massage therapist, Jason Rivera, also a massage therapist, Alan Reynolds , a yoga instructor, and many more.
I started at ITM in September 2009 and graduated in July 2010 with my certificate in therapeutic massage and bodywork! It took me three years to achieve my goal. I will admit that it was a lot of hard work but it was worth it! After graduating, I applied for my New Jersey state certification, and I am now a New Jersey state certified massage therapist!
Yes the journey was long with many road blocks, but I did it! I made it because of my willingness and my determination to learn. My instructors were also willing to work with me until the very end of the program. Now I am on call at a local salon.
Joe taught me that when things don’t go the way you want them to but you have something that you really want, “it doesn’t matter how long you take to win the race, what matters is that you finish the race.” After thinking about that for a while, I came to realize that it was going to take me a little longer to achieve my goal but it was possible! That quote showed me that the only thing that matters in the end is that you finish what you started. Another quote that helped me keep going is this one from Christopher Reeve: ‘For everyone who thought I couldn't do it.. For everyone who thought I shouldn't do it.. For everyone who said, “It's impossible”.. See you at the finish line!'
A new continuing education class has been added at ITM, and we are very excited to make the announcement, for while it is an age old technique, it is just beginning to get the recognition it deserves here in the United States. The class is accredited for NCBTMB National CEU credits, and is good for therapists who have a New Jersey Certification, New York License, or practice in other states.
The poultice is a small, unique, handheld tool that combines heat and several different organic herbs that can be absorbed by the body & help reduce aches & pains, stimulate circulation, increase lymphatic drainage, detoxify & condition the skin. It is a great way for therapists to bring a spa oriented treatment into the home with ease and minimal cost, as well as helping to preserve your hands.
Dating back to 14th Century Thailand, and uses deep heat and medicinal herbs to treat tired, aching, injured muscles. Originally, hot packs were administered to soldiers of war returning from battle, and through a natural evolution over centuries, the basic concepts remain an integral part of Thai Medicine today.
The heat, when combined with several different organic herbs, combine to be absorbed by the body & help reduce aches & pains, stimulate circulation, increase lymphatic drainage, detoxify & condition the skin.
Not only used in Thailand, the tradition of using herbs to heal the body dates back centuries, and has roots in Indian Ayurvedic Healing Systems, as well as Chinese practices.
POULTICE - The Poultice itself comes with different herbal mixtures, designed for different uses, which include:
The "Original" Herbal Poultice - revitalizing /energizing. While the hot poultice opens the pores, a balancing fusion of lemongrass, bergamot, ginger, turmeric and camphor brings a deep medicinal heat to the muscles to release tension and revitalize the mind.
Calming Herbal Poultice - calming / balancing. Sweet Basil, Vetiver & Pikul Flower relax the mind, while Thai Ginger & Camphor ease away muscular tension.
Indigo Herbal Poultice - healing. Indigo grows wild & was used by the Native Americans for detoxifcation & healing. Indigo Leaf and Yaa Nang from tropical forest ease muscle tension while cinnamon and camphor stimulate blood circulation. Indigo, the color of Buddha of Medicine, also acts as chromotherapy on the body & leaves the body soothed & relaxed.
Coconut Poultice - soothing / conditioning. Coconut helps to combat dry skin, black sesame seeds are rich in mineral including calcium and iron and coconut also known as “Tree of Life” is filled with Vitamin E and K that prevents aging & deeply nourishes the skin.
Restorative Herbal Cushion & Cranial Herbal Poultice - head / neck recovery. Designed for the face, neck, shoulders and head, the Cranial Poultice releases a balancing and detoxifying fusion of Lemongrass, Bergamot, Ginger and Camphor to ease away tension where it manifests most and bring energy back to the body & mind.
Restorative Eye Poultice - reduce puffiness & dark circles. Specifically designed to revive and condition this Eye Poultice helps to combat puffiness, dark circles and fine lines of the delicate eye area. Java Apple contains 100x more Vitamin C than Orange; Patchouli and Geranium soothe irritated epidermis and rejuvenate aging skin, while Roselle smoothes fine lines and improves skin clarity.
Recently, US News & World Report listed their top 50 careers for 2011, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that 3 out of the 5 programs that we offer were mentioned. Here are a few highlights from the article:
'Personal / Athletic Trainers - The Rundown: As student-athletes train harder and compete younger, schools need more athletic trainers to keep them healthy. Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries, specifically muscle and bone injuries, not only for young athletes, but also for professional athletes and industrial workers. Athletic trainers guide the injured through recovery and aim to reduce future injury through exercises, therapy programs, and proper use of equipment. But don't make the mistake of confusing athletic trainers with fitness trainers or personal trainers, who help people become physically fit.
Outlook: Athletic trainers are increasingly in demand, particularly at high schools, while competition is stiffer for positions with professional and college sports teams. The number of jobs held is expected to climb 37 percent by 2018, far greater than the average increase for all professions, according to the Labor Department. Job seekers have the best chances of finding work where new positions are being created-in fitness centers, hospitals, and schools.
Massage Therapy - The Rundown: Massage therapists use touch to treat injuries, sooth tired or overworked muscles, reduce stress, and promote general health. Treatment comes in many varieties, including Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, and sports massage, and most therapists specialize in one or more.
Outlook: As massage therapy becomes more popular, employment is expected to grow faster than average (19 percent) between 2008 and 2018, with more spas and massage clinic franchises popping up to meet increased demand for massage services. Massage therapists held about 122,400 jobs in 2008, and more than half were self-employed. Many more practice massage therapy as a secondary source of income.
Stress Level: Low. The environments where massage therapists work are designed to sooth, with low lighting, candles, and calming music.'
Go to the US News & World Report Article
The article went on to offer advice from industry people regarding landing a job as a massage therapist, and overwhelmingly, when talking about learning how to become a massage therapist, be it in New York, New Jersey, or any other state in the country, they said to 'go to a quality school, one that is preferably accredited by an organization such as COMTA, and that you can find one at the American Massage Therapy Association's (AMTA) website.
It was also suggested that you think about what type of massage you'd like to specialize in and in which work environment, be it a spa, hospital, or sports center, for example, and then find a massage therapist near you and ask questions about the job.