Massage Training: Practicing on Classmates

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Not all of your training will take place in the classroom.  In order to learn how to perform the massage techniques you’ll read about, you will need some hands-on experience.  Your fellow classmates will serve as the hands-on practice that you need.  You will take turns giving and receiving the massage therapy treatment.  While this is pretty standard, and doesn’t bother most students, what do you do if you know you have an injury?  How do you let your teacher and classmates know that you’re nervous about what can happen if pressure is applied to a sensitive area of your body?

If you don’t speak up, you might find that you cause yourself more stress than is necessary.  You should not put yourself in a situation where you are panicking about what’s going to happen during the next.  Having a preexisting injury can cause you to tense up, fearing that your classmate will rub too hard or apply too much pressure.  You should not feel bad about having an injury.  There is no reason to think you’ll be seen as wimping out if you want to set boundaries as to what is allowed and what isn’t.

For example, think about those who may have had an illness, such as cancer.  The removal of lymph nodes in certain parts of the body can make it painful to apply pressure, such as that seen with deep tissue massage.  Telling your class and teacher about this, and how you would prefer not to have that sort of massage performed on that area, will allow accommodations to be made.  This will also allow students to learn how to deal with injury and illness with their future clients.  Massage therapy training is not just about learning how to perform a massage.  It’s about learning how to work with different people and adjust based on the situation.

You might decide that it’s easier to make the announcement about your condition to the entire class.  This way, it’s out in the open and you only have to make the announcement once.  If you just tell the partner working on you, what happens when you get a new partner?  You’ll have to go through the entire scenario all over again.  In addition to letting your classmates know, you need to keep the instructor informed as well.  If you keep the instructor in the dark, and only tell your massage therapy partner, the teacher may wonder why the student is not performing certain massages.

There’s so much more to learn about in the bodywork and massage therapy industries.  You should read this article for additional resources about a massage therapy career.

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