OVCMT grads may encounter patients with misconceptions
Even though more and more patients are incorporating massage therapy into their lives – either as a complementary treatment or as part of their regular healthcare routine – there are still many misconceptions about massage that have persisted. Some patients still believe various popular myths about massage, even though studies have proven that they are not true. From thinking that massage therapy only treats sore muscles, to believing that massage therapy needs to hurt to be effective, many common myths about massage continue to shape public opinion, and in some cases may have even deterred people from going to their local massage therapist.
Read on to find out which five common massage myths have continued to persist, and why they are just that: myths.
While it’s true that many of our students are drawn to massage because they won’t have to be in school as long as a doctor, that doesn’t mean that massage therapists have little training. In fact, students complete two years of intensive training at massage college before they can become a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
During their massage therapist training, students complete courses in Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Pathology, Advanced Neuroanatomy, Neuromuscular Therapy, and Myofascial Release – among others. These advanced and demanding courses give RMTs a solid foundation of expertise on top of the hundreds of hours of practical hands-on experience knowledge they gain during their practicum.
We often think of massage therapy as an excellent treatment for sore muscles, but – while that’s true – massage therapy also offers patients many other benefits. Numerous studies have demonstrated that massage therapy works as an excellent complementary treatment for many other conditions.
Among several other benefits, massage therapy has shown to help boost immune function in HIV patients, reduce cortisol levels in PTSD patients, and promote relaxation in the general population.
Part of the reason why patients may still believe this popular myth is because massage therapies like deep tissue massage can sometimes feel uncomfortable. However, even during a deep tissue massage, more discomfort does not necessarily mean that the treatment is being more effective. Rather, deep tissue massage helps relax muscle tension and increase flexibility, which sometimes leads to discomfort.
Of course, deep tissue massage is not the only kind of massage therapy available to patients. Lighter massages like Swedish massage and lymphatic drainage are also taught during massage therapy training, and do not cause discomfort to patients.
The truth is that both children and infants experience stress, and that massage is a healthy, non-invasive way parents and massage therapists can help reduce that stress. Regular gentle massage can also help boost immune function and improve digestion for young infants who suffer from constipation. Older children are often very physically active and endure regular postural strain from sitting for long periods or carrying heavy backpacks around. Massage therapy can alleviate pain, improve circulation, reduce anxiety and hyperactivity, and enhance breathing for children with asthma.
The benefits of massage therapy have been proven by rigorous research, and continue to be investigated with new studies. Currently, studies have demonstrated that massage therapy reduces cortisol levels, boosts immune function, and has been proven to work as an effective complementary treatment for numerous conditions such as Parkinson’s and gastrointestinal disorders. Being aware of common misconceptions as a Registered Massage Therapist will help you to properly address your patients' concerns so you may deliver more effective treatment.
Which other massage myths have you encountered?