Exploring a Career in Massage Therapy May Be Good for What Ails You Massage therapy is an ancient healing art, whose medical benefits were first documented in Western culture around 400 B.C. But as an occupation, it has surely managed to roll with the changing times. Today, massage therapy is focused on treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, and promoting general health. These days, more employers are offering massages to their employees not only as a perk, but also to increase their employees' productivity and morale. (1) The goal of most massage therapy training programs is to provide instruction in applying manual techniques and adjunctive therapies. In addition to teaching various techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and other modalities, massage therapy schools typically provide instruction in anatomy and physiology, hygiene and infection control, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, heliotherapy, and even CPR. An opportunity to practice learned skills in an internship should also be an integral part of any massage therapy training program. Also, a well-rounded programmay offer instruction in the business aspects of a massage therapy career, including coursework in computer applications, business practices, professional ethics, and the specific state laws governing massage therapy. Massage therapy certification and/or licensing requirements are usually specific to each state and involve passing either a state-specific or national licensing/certification exam. At the national level, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), founded in 1992, is an independent, private, nonprofit organization that certifies massage and bodywork practitioners. Its purpose has been to establish a certification program and continue to uphold a national standard of excellence. Today, this organization has certified more than 90,000 massage therapists and bodyworkers, who safely and competently serve millions of Americans each year. The NCBTMB is headquartered in Illinois. (2) A minimum of 500 in-class hours of supervised training are required to be eligible for the NCETM (National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage) or the NCETMB (National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork). (3) Another national organization, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), represents more than 58,000 massage therapists. The AMTA works to establish the practice of massage therapy as integral to the maintenance of good health and complementary to other therapeutic processes. It also aims to advance the profession through its participation in continuing education, professional publications, legislative efforts, ethics and standards, public education, and the development of its members. (4) (1) http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1613 (2) http://www.ncbtmb.org/about.php (3) http://www.ncbtmb.org/applicants_what_you_need_to_know.php (4) http://www.amtamassage.org/About-AMTA.html Employment not guaranteed for students or graduates.