Massage TherapyIn today’s stress filled environment many individuals find themselves with tight aching bodies.  Other individual’s work in careers that require repetitive movement.  Repetitive movement causes overuse injuries such as strains, sprains, and spasms to muscles and joints.  For both situations a massage therapist or a physical therapist assistant can help ease the stress and the pain of these injuries. 

Massage Therapists
Massage Therapists have grown in popularity.  They are used for both medicinal and relaxation or popular public consumption.  A massage therapist addresses tightness and other ailments in the muscles of the body.  The manipulation is meant to improve circulation in the injured area.  Generally the type of training is different depending on if you want to do medicinal massage therapy or relaxation massage therapy.  There are 80 different types of massage techniques examples include Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, neuro-muscular massage and many others.  The type of massage will vary the technique used during the massage.  

Generally whether a medical or relaxation massage therapist the work environment is a dimly lit room with candles and or music and anything else that will create a relaxing environment. 

Training to become a massage therapist and licensing requirements vary by state.  Generally students attend massage schools.  There they learn anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, business, ethics, and receive hands on practice.  Many take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work (NCETMB).  This must be renewed every four years.  There is also a continuing education requirement.  According to the Bureau Labor Statistics the employment outlook is expected to grow 20%.  This is especially true as more people learn and understand the benefits of massage therapy.  In 2009 the median wage was $17.06 per hour. 

Physical Therapy Assistant
A physical therapy assistant helps a physical therapist provide treatment to help improve a person’s mobility and relieve pain. 

Physical therapy assistants perform many tasks raging from clerical work to helping with the actual physical therapy session.  Some physical therapy assistants under the supervision of a physical therapist provide some of the patient’s physical therapy.  Physical therapy assistants can teach exercises, give massages, apply electrical stimulation, paraffin bath, hot and cold packs, tractions and ultrasound.  They record the treatment given and any progress made.  Some physical therapy assistants prepare the area prior to treatment, they assist in patient movement, and others perform clerical duties. 

Training to become a physical therapy assistant is generally done at a career college and leads to an associate’s degree.  View a complete list of physical therapy schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment is expected to grow 29%.  This is especially because of the elderly population.  In 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median wage was $43,360. 

Massage therapy and Physical Therapy assistants are fast growing careers.  They are needed careers as well.  They serve people and make a real difference in their lives.  Attending a career college to learn the skills will be very rewarding to you and beneficial to all those you help in the future.  Good luck in your future endeavors.