Massage Therapy Continuing Education – Recent Research Studies

Using Pressure Massage for Achilles Tendinopathy: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing a Novel Treatment Versus an Eccentric Exercise Protocol, 2019.

In this 2019 research study, researchers aimed to determine if pressure massage was a successful treatment option on the calf muscles for treating Achilles Tendinopathy. Researchers also wanted to compare pressure massage with Eccentric exercises, which is the current treatment plan for patients with Achilles Tendinopathy. The main goals were to see if pressure massage is proportionate in its capability to helping with pain reduction time and also, to see if pressure massage could surpass the success of Eccentric exercises for the treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy. This study consisted of 60 patients who had Achilles Tendinopathy. These patients were divided into three groups: group 1 received eccentric exercise treatments, group 2 received pressure massage treatments, and group 3 received a combination of both treatments. The success of these treatments was deliberated by the use of the Icelandic version of the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment – Achilles questionnaire (VISA-A-IS), a test for the pressure pain threshold, range of motion tests, and a real-time ultrasonographic scanning of tendon thickness, along with degree of neovascularization. Ultrasonographic scanning measurements were taken at 0, 12, and 24 weeks, while the other tests were taken at 0, 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks. The outcome of the research study showed that VISA-A-IS and range of motion scores improved for both treatment options. There was no serious difference in results from any of the groups. None of the groups showed any improvement in pressure pain threshold or in the ultrasonographic scanning. In conclusion, pressure massage is just as effective as eccentric exercise in the treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy.

Impact of Massage Therapy Intervention for Pediatric Palliative Care Patients and Their Family Caregivers, 2018.

In this 2018 research study, researchers sought to examine how massage therapy would influence the symptoms and medication usage of pediatric patients receiving palliative care. Researchers also sought to discover how massage therapy would impact the caregivers of patients as well. A total of one hundred and thirty-five massages were given to patients and their caregivers, each receiving a 10-minute bedside massage. There was a noticeable difference in the children’s FLACC score, along with their as-needed pain medication usage. Along with the positive outcomes for the patients, their caregivers also showed a decrease in their distress levels. This research study demonstrated that massage is a relevant additional treatment option for pediatric patients receiving palliative care, along with being beneficial to their caregivers as well. Even the nursing staff that was present for the research study agreed that massage therapy was impactful for the patients and their caregivers.

Effects of Massage in Reducing the Pain and Anxiety of the Cardiac Surgery Critically Ill – A Randomized Controlled Trial, 2018.

Researchers in this 2018 research study sought to decide if hand massages could positively impact the pain and anxiety of the cardiac surgery critically ill. Researchers conducted this research study at an intensive care unit in Canada, using a total of 60 patients. These sixty patients all had undergone elective cardiac surgery. Before the study began, participants were scored according to their pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and anxiety. Patients were separated into three groups, all of which included standard care: The experimental group was given two 20-minute hand massages, the active control group was given two 20-minute hand holdings, and the passive control group had two 20-minute resting periods. After each treatment, pain unpleasantness, anxiety, muscle tension, and vital signs were recorded. They were all recorded again after 30 minutes. After the completion of the treatments for the research study, researchers reported that the experimental group had experienced lower pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and anxiety. This was significantly lower than what was reported for the active control group and the passive control group. There was no difference in any of the groups for the vital signs. The outcome of this research study justifies that a 20-minute hand massage along with routine postoperative pain management can benefit the patient’s pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and anxiety.

Effects of Geranium Aromatherapy Massage on Premenstrual Syndrome: A Clinical Trial, 2018.

In this 2018 research study, researchers wanted to test if aromatherapy massages would be an adequate treatment option for women dealing with premenstrual syndrome. 120 people participated in this study for a total of 8 weeks. Researchers used the essential oils geranium 2% in almond oil and sweet almond oil was used for both the aromatherapy massage and the massage group. The women were separated into three groups: group 1 received an aromatherapy massage, group 2 received a regular massage, and group 3 was a control group. The massage groups were given massages with the effleurage technique, along with 8 ml of oil on the abdomen and the arm. In both the essential oil group and the massage group, the participants gave themselves a 30-minute massage every week for 8 weeks. The essential oil group used the essential oils in addition to the sweet almond oil, while the massage group only used the sweet almond oil, which worked as a placebo effect. At the end of every month, a daily record of symptoms form was collected from the participants. At the end of the study, there was only 115 participants as 5 were excluded after too many absences. Results showed that both the massage and the essential oil massage group improved the physical and mental symptoms of the participants, while the control group did not show any improvement.

Massage as Adjuvant Therapy in the Management of Post-Cesarean Pain and Anxiety: A Randomized Clinical Trial, 2016.

In this 2016 research study, researchers aimed to assess if massage would be a favorable treatment option for patients who have recently undergone a cesarean section to help control their pain and anxiety. Researchers used a total of 156 women for this research study. They were divided into three groups: group 1 received hand and foot massages, group 2 received foot massages, and group 3 was a control group. Before the treatments began, researchers assessed the patient’s pain, vital signs, and the current level of anxiety they were experiencing. These were also assessed again directly after receiving their treatment and again 90 minutes after their treatments. The conclusion of this research study showed that both massage groups showed a decrease in the severity of their pain, along with patient’s blood pressure and their respiration rate. Anxiety levels also decreased drastically. Massage therapy was proven to be an effective treatment option for managing post-cesarean pain and anxiety.

Massage Therapy Decreases Pain and Perceived Fatigue After Long-Distance Ironman Triathlon: A Randomized Trial, 2016.

This 2016 research study investigated whether or not massage therapy was a valuable treatment for the pain and fatigue that is associated with long-distance running, in this case, a triathlon. Researchers gathered 74 athletes who had participated in an entire Ironman triathlon race and was experiencing pain in their thigh, around the anterior area. Participants were separated into two groups: one group was given massage on their quadriceps, while the other group was just to rest while sitting. Researchers used a visual analogue scale and pressure pain threshold to determine if the massage therapy was successful. The massage group showed promising results in massage therapy treatment for the participant’s pain and fatigue, proving that massage therapy is an effective treatment option for decreasing pain and fatigue in people who have completed a triathlon.

The Effects of Ear Acupressure, Massage Therapy, and No Therapy on Symptoms of Dementia: A Randomized Controlled Trial, 2014.

Researchers in this research study sought to determine if ear acupressure and massage were beneficial to improving the pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with dementia. Researchers had 120 elderly patients that were diagnosed with dementia in this research study. These patients were separated into three groups: ear acupressure, massage therapy, and the control group was to continue their daily activities with no intervention. Researchers used Doloplus2, Cornell, and Campbell scales to weigh the outcomes of each group. The study lasted for five months, which only 3 of those 5 months the patient received treatment. The remaining two months no treatments were involved. A total of 9 patients ended up not completing the study, leaving a total of 111 participants that successfully completed the study. The results of the research study showed that ear acupressure and massage both significantly improved the pain and depression aspects of the patient’s dementia symptoms. As for the anxiety, it did not improve until the third month of the treatment. While ear acupressure did produce better improvement results, massage therapy was also successful in improving symptoms of dementia and can be a useful treatment option for patients.

Massage Therapy State Continuing Education Requirements


Alabama massage therapists are required to to complete 16 Massage Therapy Continuing Education hours every two years. For more information on Alabama Massage Therapy continuing education requirements, visit the board website at:



Massage therapists in Arizona are required to complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. Out of the 24 hours, only 12 hours can be obtained through online or home-study courses. For more information, visit the board website at:



Massage therapists in Connecticut are required to complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. Out of the 24 required hours, no more than 6 hours can be obtained through online or home-study courses. Also, no more than 12 hours can be obtained from programs that are not approved by the NCBTMB. For more information, please visit the board website at:–Investigations/Massagetherapist/Massage-Therapist-Licensing-Requirements



Delaware massage therapists must complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours biennially on even numbered years. Out of these 24 hours, 3 credit hours must be in ethics, 12 hours can be elective or core credits, and only 15 hours can be obtained online. For more information, visit the board website at:




Licensees are required to complete 24 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every two years. Out of these 24 hours, 2 hours must be in professional ethics, 2 hours must be in laws & rules, 2 hours must be in the prevention of medical errors, 12 hours must be complete LIVE, and only 12 hours may be obtained online. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Georgia massage therapists are required to complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. Out of these 24 hours, only 12 hours can be obtained online. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Illinois massage therapists are required to complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every even numbered year. Out of the 24 hours, 2 hours must be in ethics. Only 12 hours may be obtained through distance learning, self-study, or online courses. For more information, visit the board website at:




Iowa massage therapists are required to complete 16 hours of Continuing Education biennially. Out of those 16 hours, only 8 hours may be obtained through online courses. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Kentucky massage therapists must complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. 3 of those required hours must be in ethics. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Maryland massage therapists must complete 24 hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education biennially. Out of the 24 hours, 3 hours must be in HIV/AIDs, 3 hours must be in ethics, 1 hour must be in cultural diversity, and 17 hours must be massage related. For more information, please visit the board website at:



Massage therapists in Michigan are required to complete 18 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every three years. For more information, please visit the board website at:,4601,7-154-89334_72600_72603_27529_53660—,00.html



Massage Therapists in Missouri must complete 12 Hours of Continuing Education every two years. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Licensees in Montana are required to complete 12 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every even numbered year. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Licensees must complete 24 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every two years. Out of these 24 hours, 14 must be Live and 3 hours must be in ethics. Only 10 out of the 24 hours may be obtained online. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Massage Therapists in Nevada must complete 12 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education per year. For more information, please visit the board website at:



New Hampshire

New Hampshire massage therapists must complete 12 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. For more information, please visit the board website at:


New Jersey

New Jersey massage therapists are required to complete 20 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every two years. 2 of the 20 required hours must be in ethics and only 6 hours may be completed through online courses. For more information, please visit the board website at:


New Mexico 

New Mexico massage therapists are required to complete 16 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years license renewal. Four hours must be in ethics. Only 8 of those 16 hours may be obtained online. For more information, please visit the board website at:



New York

Massage Therapists in New York are required to complete 36 hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every three years. A maximum of 12 hours may be self-instructional coursework. For more information regarding New York Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements, please visit the board website at:



North Carolina 

Massage therapists in North Carolina are required to complete 24 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every two years for license renewal. Out of these 18 hours, only 12 hours may be obtained through distance learning and a minimum of 3 hours in ethics is required. For more information, visit the board website at:



North Dakota

Massage Therapists are required to complete 32 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education for license renewal. Only 12 out of the required 32 hours may be obtained online. For more information, please visit the board website at:



Massage therapists in Oregon are required to complete 25 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours each year. 4 hours must be in professional ethics, boundaries and/or communication. Only 10 of the 25 hours may be obtained through distance learning. For more information, visit the board website at:




Massage therapists are required to complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours each biennial renewal period. Out of the 24 hours, 4 hours must be in ethics and 2 hours must be in child abuse. A minimum of 16 hours must be Live contact hours. Only 8 hours may be obtained through distance learning. For more information, please visit the board website at:



South Carolina

Massage therapy licensees are required to complete 12 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours per two year renewal cycle. For more information, please visit the board website at:



South Dakota

Massage therapy licensees in South Dakota are required to complete 8 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours per 2 year renewal cycle. For more information, please visit the board website:




Virginia massage therapy licensees must complete 24 Hours of Massage Therapy Continuing Education every two years for license renewal, along with maintaining NCBTMB Certification. For more information, please visit the board website at:




The state of Washington requires 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. Only 12 out of the 24 hours may be obtained through distance learning. 8 hours of continuing education must be LIVE. Out of the 24 hours, 4 hours must be in ethics and 2 hours must be in rules & boundaries. For more information, please visit the board website at:



West Virginia

West Virginia massage therapists must complete 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. 3 of the 24 hours must be in ethics. For more information, please visit the board website at:




Licensees must obtain 24 Massage Therapy Continuing Education Hours every two years. For more information, please visit the board website:


How Massage Therapy Can Help Patients Living With Alzheimer’s – Massage CEU

What is Alzheimer’s?



Alzheimer’s is a disease in which the patients loses their memory. When a patient has Alzheimer’s, they will forget their loved ones and forget basic life skills, such as feeding and dressing themselves and using the toilet. This usually happens to patients who are 65 or older. This also happens more often to women than men. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, patient’s symptoms can be treated with medications. 1 in 10 people older than 65 have Alzheimer’s.


Symptoms of Alzheimer’s


Symptoms progress slowly. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s best to let a doctor know.


Early signs and symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Planning & problem-solving challenges
  • Difficulty completing tasks at home and work
  • Confused regarding time and place
  • Difficulty reading, judging distance, and driving
  • Problems following or joining a conversation
  • Poor judgement
  • No longer interested in work, hobbies, and social activities
  • Mood changes


Signs of severe Alzheimer’s:

  • Increased anxiety and aggression
  • Repeating questions
  • Losing personal items such as keys
  • Begins wandering around and getting lost
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures


Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

While the main diagnosis is through symptoms, there are other tests to rule out other conditions. Blood tests can be ran to rule out conditions that may cause memory loss or confusion such as a vitamin deficiency or a thyroid disorder. Doctors may also run tests to verify mental status. MRIs, PET scans and CT scans can also be used to check for strokes, trauma, or tumors.


Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

Stage 1:

In this stage, there is no signs of Alzheimer’s.


Stage 2:

In stage 2, there may be small memory problems. They may lose things, but these memory problems are small and they are likely not able be detected by doctors.


Stage 3:  

In this stage, memory problems begin to become noticeable. Doctors will be able to detect memory problems. Patients in this stage may have problems remembering names, planning, and having conversations.


Stage 4:

In the fourth stage, symptoms become very noticeable. Patients begin having issues paying bills, begin forgetting life details, and begin losing their short-term memory.


Stage 5:

In this stage, patients begin to have issues with their daily functions. While they can still function properly, they may have issues properly dressing themselves and dealing with daily confusion.


Stage 6:

In the sixth stage, patients are no longer able to be alone. They require constant supervision. In this stage, symptoms such as loss of bladder control, wandering, and extreme loss of memory take place.


Stage 7: 

In this final stage of Alzheimer’s, patients can no longer communicate. They still may be able to mutter out words. People may also lose their ability to swallow in this stage.


Treatments for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Treatment

There are medications that can help with memory problems. These medications are cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Cholinesterase inhibitors can also improve depression and help ease agitation in Alzheimer’s patients. Memantine helps to slow the progression of symptoms.


Massage Therapy for Alzheimer’s

massage therapy for alzheimer's

Much like children, elderly people respond well to touch. We all crave touch. When patients receive a massage, it calms and comforts them. It also helps patients interact better with others. According to Holly Cotton, a licensed health care administrator, just the act of a physical touch that isn’t necessarily associated with typical care gives the resident a feeling of calm and centeredness.

Massage can also help by improving sleep and helping to relax the patient. This also can help psychologically for the patient. By circulating your blood, massage therapy can help slow down the progression of memory loss.

Massage therapy can also offer benefit patients in ways such as:

  • Raising endorphin levels
  • Increase brain activity
  • Positive effects on disruptive behavior and wandering
  • Improved mood & well being


Different Types of Massages

 Foot Massage

Foot massages are very beneficial in inducing relaxation, alleviating anxiety, promoting sleep, and easing pain.


Hand Massage

Hand massages may be easier to be accepted by Alzheimer’s patients because holding hands is so familiar. All patients need is a 5-10-minute hand massage. Hand massages help decrease agitation, along with the frequency of agitation happens. A hand massage may also help strengthen the relationship between the patient and their family care partner.


 Slow-stroke Back Massage

A slow-stroke back massage uses effleurage in a figure-eight formation on both sides of the back, moving the palm of the hand in long, rhythmic, firm strokes. This type of massage helps with sleep, anxiety, agitation, and helps to decrease blood pressure and heart rate.


A Study on the Efficacy of Reflexology in Dementia Patients

Reflexology for Dementia

In this 2008 study, 21 residents with mild dementia were split into two categories. One group was given 4 weeks of weekly reflexology treatments and then followed up with four weeks of a control condition. The other group received four weeks of friendly visits followed by 4 weeks of weekly reflexology. The primary result that researchers wanted to achieve was to help lower stress in dementia patients. The results of the study concluded that the control group had no significant improvements, while the reflexology conditioned group showed significant improvements. Patients had a decline in pain and sadness. Due to these findings, it’s important that patient’s families are aware of these benefits as reflexology can be performed anywhere.





Schaper, S. 2015. How Massage Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients. Suzanne Schaper – Board Certified Massage Therapist.

6 Benefits of Massage for Alzheimer’s Patients. Daily Health Alerts.

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Association.

2017. What are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease? National Institute on Aging.

2018. What are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s?

Catlin, A. The Role of Massage Therapy in Dementia Care. Massage Today.

Facts & Figures. Alzheimer’s Association.

McDaniel, R. 2017. Amazing Benefits of Massage for Alzheimer Disease Patients. The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.

Heerema, E. 2018. Alzheimer’s Disease Signs & Symptoms. Very Well Health.

Hodgson, N. Andersen, S. 2002. The Clinical Efficacy of Reflexology in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia.

Foam Rolling

What Are The Benefits of Foam Rolling? – Massage Therapy Continuing Education

What is a Foam Roller?

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is another name for self-myofascial release. The purpose of the foam rollers is to release muscle tightness by applying pressure to specific points on your body. The specific points in your body that you should focus on is your ‘knots’ or your ‘trigger points’. These points cause pain when there is pressure applied to one area, but it causes pain in another area of your body. You’re likely to feel pain while foam rolling in the beginning, but by the end the pain should be gone. Also, this pain should be uncomfortable. If you are feeling extreme pain, stop.


What are the benefits?

Foam rolling is getting the benefits of a massage therapist at home. There are so many benefits such as:

  • Increased Blood Flow: Stretches and loosens muscles.
  • Improved Movements: When your muscles are hydrated and loose, they will move past each other with less friction, which means that your muscles are less likely to be pulled.
  • Better Range of Motion: Stretching and lubricating muscles helps improve range of motion, which gives better flexibility.
  • Decreased Risk of Injury: Increases circulation through the body and reduces chances of injury.
  • Decreased Recovery Time: Washes away the acid by recruiting fresh blood and nutrient to the muscle.
  • Faster Results: If you achieve all of the benefits above, this brings us to our sixth benefit. If you continue to be healthy, you will achieve your athletic goals and it produces faster results.


 How Often You Should Use Foam Rollers

It’s recommended that you use a foam roller every day, especially if you are relatively active. Just as you would stretch every day, you can use the foam roller every day to help your muscles respond to it. You don’t have use it for a long time. A quick 10-30 minutes will suffice.


Different Types of Foam Rollers


Low-density Foam Rollers

Low Density Foam Roller

These are soft and light foam rollers. These are used for sore muscles or for an exercise class.


Firm Foam Rollers

Firm Foam Roller

These dense foam rollers are extremely hard when you sit on them, which are best used for an intense myofascial release.


Short Foam Rollers

Short Foam Roller

These foam rollers are smaller rollers used to focus on one area that can be hard to reach with regular sized foam rollers. They come in firm and soft densities.


Bumpy Foam Rollers

Bumpy Foam Roller

These foam rollers are textured to help get into and reach your trigger points in your muscles.


Medium-density Foam Rollers

Medium Density Foam Rollers

This is the all-purpose foam roller. No matter what you’re trying to achieve – you can’t go wrong with the medium-density foam roller.


How to Use a Foam Roller


Calf Foam Roller

While sitting on the floor, have your legs straight and ankles crossed left over right and a foam roller under your right ankle. You’re going to place your hands on the floor next to your butt. Lift your butt off the floor and roll your right calf muscle over the roller from your ankle to your knee with your toes pointed up. Rotate with your leg rotated inward and outward. Then switch legs.


IT Bands

IT Band Foam Roller

Lying on your right side with your legs straight, place the foam roller under your right hip. Place your hands on the floor, cross your left leg over your right and place your left foot flat on the floor by your right knee. By using your hands, roll the side of your upper leg over the roller. After a couple of times, switch legs and repeat.


Gluteal Muscles

Gluteal Foam Roller

Sit on top of the foam roller with your left foot flat on the floor while crossing your right leg over your left thigh. Place your hands on the floor behind you and tilt your body to your right. This will press your glute against the roller. Keep rolling forward and backward and then switch to your left side.



Back Foam Roller

Lying face up with your knees bent and feet flat, place the foam roller under your mid-back. Lift your butt off of the floor and place your arms behind your head. Slowly roll the entire length of your back from your shoulders downward.



Quad Foam Rolling

Lying face down on the floor, keep your legs straight and put a foam roller under your quads. Prop yourself up on your forearms and slowly roll your quad muscles from the tops of your legs to the top of your knees.



Hamstring Foam Rolling

While sitting on the floor with your legs straight, place the foam roller under your thighs and place your hands on the floor next to your butt. Then lift your butt and use your hands to roll the entire length of your hamstrings.


Mistakes to Avoid


Do not roll where you feel pain

Usually when you’re feeling pain in an area, it’s the result of tension in another part of your body.


Do not roll too fast. 

According to Monica Vazquez, NASM certified personal trainer, “You need to give your brain enough time to tell your muscles to relax”


Don’t spend too much time on knots

When you spend too much time on a knot, you can actually cause bruising by hitting a nerve or damaging the tissue.



History of Massage

The History of Massage Therapy – Massage CEU

3000 B.C.

Ancient Chinese Massage

The earliest time we know massage was practiced, which began in China.


2700 B.C.

The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine

Someone practicing massage in Ancient China wrote a book titled “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine”. This was published in the 1900’s in English and is still used today.


2500 B.C.

Ancient Egypt

At this time, massage had spread to Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians were the ones who developed the reflexology technique. Ancient Egyptians actually had tombs painted showing massage therapy.


1500 B.C

Ayurvedic Massage

1000 years later, massage becomes an ancient Hindu practice known as Ayurveda medicine, which is based off the idea that mind, body, and spirit are all connected. Ayurveda means life health.


1000 B.C.

Massage Therapy Japan

Massage has now spread to Japan and is being practiced by Buddhist monks. After being introduced to the Chinese massage modality known as Tui Na, they made their modifications and named it Anma. A man named Tokujiro Namikoshi made other modifications which is now Shiatsu.


800-700 B.C.

History of Massage

Massage therapy has now spread into Greece. The techniques they used are now techniques that we use in Sports massage. Their techniques were focusing on decreasing the knots in the muscle tissues.

500 B.C.


This is the era of Hippocrates. Does that name sound familiar? When doctors graduate, they take the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath was written by Hippocrates. Hippocrates is the founder of modern medicine and used holistic medicine more than conventional medicine.


200-100 B.C.


A physician by the name of Galen began using massage therapy to treat his patients, based off Hippocrates’s principles.



Printing Press

This was when the printing press was invented, which then articles of the effectiveness of massage were able to be seen by people. This caused a lot of interest in massage therapy.



Massage Therapy

This is when massage began as an occupation. Instead of being called massage therapists, they were called rubbers. They were mostly women working in hospitals and independently.



Johan Mezger

Dr. Johann Mezger gave the techniques that are used in massage correct medical terminology. The words effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement all derived from him.




A report was released by the British Medical Association, revealing the abuse of the education and practice of massage. This made it hard for any advancement in massage because people were losing interest.



Per Henrik Ling

There was a decline in massage therapy. Even though this was a dark time for massage therapists, Per Henrik Ling created the massage technique known as Swedish massage in the 1900s.




Dr. Emil Vodder

Dr. Emil Vodder came up with a treatment for chronic lymphedema using massage therapy. At this time, along with the help of other massage therapists, popularity of massage was being restored.



Massage Chair

This is when the American Massage Therapy Association was founded, previously known as The American Association of Masseuses and Masseurs. They began to make educational and ethical standards for the massage therapy field. This is also when the first massage chair was made by FUJIRYOKI, founded by Nobuo Fujimoto. The first chair only had a knead function.



Massage Therapist

Now rubbers, and all other terms, is finally dropped and the name of massage therapists has emerged.



Massage Board Organization

As the massage therapy industry continues to gain legitimacy, more massage therapy organizations began forming. With the emergence of these organizations, 17 states began passing licensing laws regarding massage.



Massage Therapist Olympics

Massage therapy was offered for the first time as a medical service in the Olympics, which took place in Atlanta that year, GA.



As of now, 49 states and territories regulate massage therapy. Each state has their own licensing requirements, along with their own continuing education requirements to maintain your license. Many states currently deem continuing education courses acceptable if they are approved by the NCBTMB. To browse our current NCBTMB courses, please visit our Massage CEU page. 


Here are some links to some popular NCBTMB courses.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Science of Headaches
Future Stem Cell Treatments
Professional Ethics & Boundaries








Benjamin, P. 2015. Brush Up on the History of the Massage Therapy Profession. American Massage Therapy Association.

History of Massage Therapy & How It Evolved. All Allied Health Schools.

History of Massage Therapy… and How Bright the Future Is for Professional Therapists. Massage Education Guide.

The History of Massage Chairs is the History of Fujiiryoki. Fujiiryoki.

2018. History of Massage Therapy. AMC Massage Therapy School Miami.

History of Massage Therapy. Natural Healers.

Miami Dade College

Top 10 Massage Therapy Schools – Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Massage therapy is known as the manipulation of the soft tissues by the use of hands-on techniques. It can help with a number of conditions, along with giving clients a sense of relaxation. There is plenty of job opportunity as massage therapists can work in a number of places, such as spas, clinics, hotels, and fitness centers. Not to mention, Zeel offers a job where massage therapists can travel to the client’s home. From 2016-2026, the growth of job outlook is at 26%.

Massage therapy is all about helping the client have the best and most relaxing experience. If you love helping people, this may be the job for you. Schools will either offer a certificate of completion or you can earn an associates or bachelor’s degree. It will all depend on what your states rules and regulations are, which you should be familiar with going into this profession.

Below we have compiled a list of the 10 best massage therapy schools, in no particular order.


#1 National Holistic Institute

National Holistic Institute

Phone number: 888-279-7008

Multiple locations


National Holistic Institute first started in a house in Oakland, California in 1979. After many years, Carol Carptenter, the founder, opened a massage therapy school. National Holistic Institute is one of the largest, most respected schools of massage therapy. There are now 10 campuses to choose from, all located in California. They offer a 8 month full time massage therapy course or a 10-12 month part time program. While the program does not list the tuition amount, you may go on to the site listed above for a tuition calculator.



#2 Myotherapy College of Utah

Myotherapy College of Utah

Phone number: 800-511-5735

Salt Lake City, Utah


First opening in 1987, Myotherapy College of Utah is accredited by Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges(ACCSC). Tuition Costs Roughly $13,324 but that includes tuition fees, lab fees, books, massage table, equipment, and your professional licensing. While this seems expensive, this school does offer financial aid.



#3 Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College

Phone number: 305-237-8888

Multiple Locations in Florida


This school has 9 different campuses around Florida. The massage therapy program will only take around a year to complete and will cost around $2,277.00. You will study areas such as anatomy & physiology, hydrotherapy modalities, allied modalities, and massage therapy clinical. This program will require 25 completed credits.



#4 Cortiva Institute Schools of Massage Therapy

Cortiva Institute Schools of Massage Therapy

Phone number: 1-866-CORTIVA

Multiple locations


Cortiva has 29 campuses in 12 different states. Each school is accredited by either ACCET, ACCSC, or COMTA. Cortiva offers more than 40 massage therapy programs, which you can complete your program in as little as 7 and a half months. They focus on hands on learning, the science behind massage, and professional development. In addition to their regular massage therapy programs, they also offer continuing education as well. Cost of tuition depends on what campus you are going to, but financial aid is available as long as you qualify.


#5 The Soma Institute

The Soma Institute

Phone number: 1-800-694-5214

Chicago, IL


Soma Institute offers a 750-hour program which will provide student with the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support that they need. It will take approximately 11 months to complete this program. In addition to your clinical massage therapy diploma, you can also obtain a sports massage certificate of achievement while there. Soma also offers internships at their on-campus clinic under faculty. Your tuition is going to cost around $14,150k, but they do offer financial aid, along with grants and scholarships.  



#6 Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

Phone number: 888-504-9106

Tempe, AZ


What began as only a massage school, has grown into much more. They now offer various programs for Healing Arts. Not only do they offer a 700-hour massage therapy program, they offer specialty certificates in aromatherapy, cranial unwinding, medical massage, reflexology, and more (at an added cost). The tuition for this school runs between $11,250-$11,550, with financial aid being accepted. Southwest Institute of Healing Arts is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET).



#7 National University of Health Sciences

National University of Health Sciences

Lombard, IL 1-800-826-6285

Seminole, FL 1-800-826-6285


National University of Health Sciences was founded in 1906. You can earn your certificate at the National University of Health Sciences in as little as three semesters, or one year of evening classes. Students will become proficient in chair massage, sports massage, Swedish massage, trigger point therapy, etc. Also, students can intern at the campuses Whole Health Center. Annual costs run between $25,653-$34,653, depending on living on or off campus. There is also a one-time cost for your massage table of $500. Financial aid and loans are available.



#8 Universal College of Healing Arts

Universal College of Healing Arts

Phone number: 1-402-556-4456

Omaha, NE


Universal College of Healing Arts was founded in 1995. They are accredited by the Accrediting Bureau for Health Education Schools (ABHES). They have listed on their site their core values which are: open mindedness, justice, balance, & respect, and responsibility. Their massage therapy program is 12 months for a diploma program and you have the option to take another 8 months to receive an associate’s degree. They break their semesters down into three categories:


The FOUNDATION Semester: This semester will focus on the basic foundation of massage therapy. Courses include Anatomy & Physiology, Wellness, Complementary Therapy, & Business Arts.


The PRACTICE Semester: This semester focuses on deepening your learning and practicing clinic applications of massage therapy. Courses in this semester include Specialized massage, business exploration, hydrotherapy, kinesiology, pathology, etc.


The IMPLEMENTATION Semester: This last semester focuses on continuing to grow your knowledge to prepare for your career. You will prepare for the written practical board requirement and will begin to master advanced and eastern massage techniques. Courses in this final semester include Advanced massage, business mentoring, hydrotherapy II, pathology research, massage internship, etc.

Using the Net Price Calculator provided on their website, the estimated cost for the year would be around $20,222. That is without financial aid and without room and board fees.


#9 Bryan College

Bryan College

Phone number: 423-775-2041

North York, ON


Located in Ontario, this college offers a large, career-relevant course list. Students will become proficient in Swedish Massage, Sports massage, Pregnancy Massage, Therapeutic Rehabilitation, Trigger Point Therapy, Friction Therapy, Hydrotherapy, etc. Bryan’s College also has their own on-site clinic where students can get clinical experience working with the public. They also offer a Student Outreach program, which offers students internships. They do not have their tuition price listed on their site, but they do offer a number of different financial options to help you pay for schooling.


#10 New York College of Health Professions in Syosset

New York College of Health Professions in Syosset

Phone number: 1-800-922-7337

Syosset, Long Island, NY


While the main campus is located in Long Island, there are three other campuses in New York. They are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Their massage program is a 72-credit program. Students will take courses in Holism, oriental anatomy & physiology, T’ai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, Yoga, etc. The massage therapy program is $390/credit and students should expect to pay around another $2000 between books, massage table, and massage supplies.

Massage Retail Sales

Tips For Expanding Your Massage Business – Massage CEU

Social Media

Social Media

I cannot stress the importance of social media enough. In today’s world, everyone’s eyes are burned into their phone or computer screen about 98% of the time. There’s so many social media outlets today to take advantage of. Obviously, Facebook is number one, but we have Instagram also which is rising quickly. Twitter and LinkedIn are also great tools to use on social media! Make your presence on social media be known. Engage with your community. Share photos of you and happy clients, share links to your blogs, share massage tips, you can post events you’ll be attending where people can receive your services. The possibilities are endless.




Create a website for your brand. You want to make sure your website is professional, neat, and it’s easy to navigate. If clients want to view your prices, they don’t want to spend 20 minutes searching for the prices area. Make sure buttons and links are easy to find so that they don’t leave your site to find one more accessible. Having all of this information ready on your site is helpful because a lot of people do not want to sit and make a phone call to get information that they can just read online. Also, another added bonus, you can offer online booking on your website. It seems smarter for your business and the client- they don’t have to make a call and you and your team can focus on the clients currently at your office, instead of running back and forth to the phone.




While YouTube can be considered a social media presence, it’s different in the way that you speak to your audience. On YouTube, you can upload free videos and speak directly to your clients about what you offer, hot topics in massage, what massage is helpful for, etc. You get to choose the topics and your clients and viewers will be able to hear information directly from you, while catching a small glimpse of who you are as a therapist.


Retail Sales

Massage Retail Sales

Having retail sales at your office will definitely draw in customers. You can offer products such as lotions, candles, massage oils, etc. After using these products in your massage, you can have those products out on display for clients to see and purchase for themselves. Showing clients your best products and how to use them will also be a great indicator to the client of your exceptional customer service. Also, clients would rather buy from you than to have to take time out of their day to research new products, find one, and wait for the product to come in the mail or drive to the store to get it. Extra bonus for you, it increases the money that you are making as well.


Network with Other Massage Therapists or Health Care Professionals 


Doctors and other health care professionals see patients every day, for all different reasons. They may see fit that a patient should seek out treatment from a massage therapist as well. If you are properly networking with these health care professionals, there are extra clients. If a patient is having extreme lower back pain and medicine is helping, but not enough, the doctor may refer them to you. Just as they can refer you, you can refer your clients to that doctor if tell you they are searching for a new one.

You can either reach out via phone or mail to these healthcare professionals to offer a free massage so that they can attest to how skilled you are. Another way to get them to network with you is by hosting an open house, which will allow you to reach a larger audience by hosting at your office so they can personally see your office, they have time to speak to you and pick your brain, and you have a window to have a small speech to better explain what it is you offer.


Referral Program


Having a referral program is SO important. Not only can you get new clients this way, but by offering incentives to current clients for referring you, you give your current clients reasons to keep coming back. All they have to do is refer you to a friend for $10 off their next massage? Who wouldn’t jump at that?


Flyers, Business Cards, & Brochures

Massage Flyer

Having these can be very beneficial to spreading the word of your business. You can post flyers or brochures at malls, businesses, train stations, the library, etc. Business cards are efficient too as you can have them at your office and when a patient is checking out, you can just hand them a business card and ask them to please refer you to friends and family. Also, if you are out and about and you strike conversation with someone and they happen to need a massage therapist, you’ll have your business card to give to them and they won’t have to waste their time seeking out a massage therapist.


Discount Packages

Discount Packages

Offering clients bundle packages can be so helpful to your business. While you are losing money, it’s usually a small amount and it saves your clients money, which will keep them happy and keep them returning and referring you to their friends and family. Plus, you get all of that money upfront and it guarantees you more visits from this client because they already paid for all of those services.



2017. 10 Excellent Massage Therapy Marketing Ideas, Tips, and Strategies to Grow Your Business. Marketing360.


Growing Your Practice: Marketing 101 for Massage Therapists. American Massage Therapy Association.


Spread the Word with Referral Network. American Massage Therapy Association.


Bringas, C. 2013. 5 Ways to Supercharge Massage Business Referrals. Massage Magazine.


Diamond, I. 2017. 11 Things You Don’t Know About Retail Sales. Massage Magazine.


21 Ways to Market Your Massage Therapy Business. Discovery Point School of Massage.


Bayer, C. 2017. Marketing, Pricing, & Advertising. Massage Magazine.

Prepping for Exam

Useful Tips & Resources For Students Taking the MBLEx – Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Studying for the MBLEx


The current pass rate for first time MBLEx takers is at 73.9%, which isn’t terrible but that means 33.3% of people are failing. Before beginning the exam, you should know what it is your studying for. The current fee for the MBLEx is $195. You do not get a discount for retaking the exam so it’s best to prepare as best as you can. The exam is 100 questions and you are given two hours (120 minutes) to complete the exam. In 2018, there was some changes made to the content of the exam.


Exam Content is now as follows:

  • Anatomy & Physiology: 11%
  • Kinesiology: 12%
  • Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution, Special Populations: 14%
  • Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue: 15%
  • Client Assessment, Reassessment & Treatment Planning: 17%
  • Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, & Regulations: 16%
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice: 15%


Tips to Prepare for the MBLEx

Prepping for Exam

  • Take practice exams and quizzes, use flashcards and study guides
  • Make time to study even if it’s only an hour a day. The worst thing you can do is have to cram all that information in your head in one day.
  • Review your wrong answers, find out the correct answer, and find out why that is the correct answer
  • Don’t drink too much liquids. You do not want to spend any of your allotted 120 minutes in the bathroom.
  • Do what works for you.
  • Get enough sleep. You can’t focus on the test if you are half asleep
  • Make sure you have everything you need the night before. If you need pencils, a calculator, your ID, etc., you want to have it in a safe place, not scrambling around all morning looking for it.
  • Make sure you leave your house early. You do not want to arrive last and upset everyone else waiting for you and you definitely do not want to show up and not able to take the test you already paid for.
  • Identify your weak spots: If Kinesiology isn’t your strong point, spend more time prepping for that topics. Do not neglect your strong points, though.



Online Resources 

Online Study Resources


Mometrix Test Preparation

On this free site, you can access a MBLEx study guide, along with flashcards and a practice quiz to help you prepare for your exam.


UGO Prep

On this free site, UGO Prep offers free classes online. They offer classes such as Anatomy, Kinesiology, Pathology, and Ethics. In each class, you will have access to studying the topic, focused learning, practice questions, videos, written articles, and access information on the MBLEx test.

This site is not a free resource, but it does offer a 15-question practice test before you purchase anything. This site offers thousands of practice questions, 90+ test prep video lessons, and an in-depth MBLEx study guide.


AMTA – American Massage Therapy Association

Are you a member of the AMTA? If so, they offer a free online study guide that provides you with practice exams and study resources. This includes all the topics that will be covered in the MBLEx.


Books to Study From

 Check out these books on Amazon that can help you study and prepare for your MBLEx.


MBLEx Test Prep 2018 & 2019 for the NEW Outline: MBLEx Study Guide 2018 & 2019 and Practice Test Questions for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination

This book has received 5 stars. The review section is flooded with nothing but great things to say in regards to this book. 


MBLEx Secrets Study Guide: MBLEx Exam Review for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination

This study guide has a 4-and-a-half-star rating and out of 72 customer reviews, 69% of them are 5 stars. 


MBLEx Study Guide 2018-2019: MBLEx Test Prep and Practice Test Questions for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam

While this book has only received a 4-star review, most of the reviews were good and it’s a book definitely worth checking out to help you prepare.


MBLEx Study Guide

This book was published by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). It has a breakdown of all of the content covered on the MBLEx, examples of content that will not be covered on the exam, a 100-question practice test, and tips for a successful exam.





MBLEx and Licensure FAQ. Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.


MBLEx Practice Test. Mometrix Test Preparation.


Free MBLEx Classes Online. Ugo Prep


Prepare For Your MBLEx Exam- All in One Place.


AMTA Massage Exam Study Guide. American Massage Therapy Association.


The MBLEx Exam – Questions and Answers. Massage Practice Exams


Hultquist, I. 7 Free Tips to Help You Pass The MBLEx. Massage Exam Academy.


7 MBLEx Study Strategies To Pass The Massage Exam. MBLEx Guide.


Top Tips for The Night Before, and the Morning of, an Exam. Bright Network.


2016. 7 Tips to Exam Test Prep the Morning of a Test. Albert.


Smyth, F. 2017. How to Maximize Pre-Exam Study. Studiosity.


MBLEx Test Prep 2018 & 2019 for the NEW Outline: MBLEx Study Guide 2018 & 2019 and Practice Test Questions for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination. Amazon.


MBLEx Secrets Study Guide: MBLEx Exam Review for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. Amazon.


MBLEx Study Guide 2018-2019: MBLEx Test Prep and Practice Test Questions for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam. Amazon.


Abating Chemotherapy Side Effects with Massage Therapy – Massage CEU

Battling Cancer


Cancer is a scary, hard time for anyone experiencing it. Not only are you fighting for your life, but your current quality of life is slowly being taken from you. Cancer patients are having their entire world flipped upside down in the blink of an eye. Dealing with cancer can be a lonely time for people. Even with the support of family and friends, they will never truly understand all that a cancer patient is dealing with. Cancer patients may become depressed because of their diagnosis and because of the feeling of loneliness.

Treatment Options for Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy Cancer Treatment

Once the patient finds out what stage their cancer is in, they can begin discussing treatment options. There are many different types of treatments out there for cancer today and it’s best to discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of each one. They all come with their own side effects and some may be more beneficial to your specific cancer.

  • Surgery: Surgery is needed if doctors find a cancerous tumor. Getting the tumor out is number one priority. Sometimes, but not all, the cancer has not spread outside of the tumor. That is best case scenario, but even if your cancer has spread outside of the tumor, it is possible that it hasn’t spread far.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a popular type of treatment for cancer. It works by destroying your cancer cells. By destroying the cells, it can lessen or stop your cancer. While chemotherapy can be very helpful, it can destroy healthy cells as well. When your healthy cells are being damaged, it causes side effects such as hair loss and nausea.
  • Radiation Therapy: We know radiation is used in x-rays in low doses, but in high doses, radiation can be used to kill cancer cells. It does take days or weeks for these cancer cells to die and leave the body. Radiation therapy is similar to chemotherapy in the ways that it kills your healthy cells as well, causing side effects.


Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Massage for Cancer Patients

While cancer is already a lot on your body, the treatments used to treat your cancer are an added stress. The side effects of cancer combined with the treatment side effects can be almost debilitating for patients. Massage can be used as a great coping mechanism for your side effects and symptoms. Massage cannot make cancer go away and it certainly is not an alone treatment for cancer, but a person is not defined by their cancer diagnosis and they should still be able to live a happy life. Massage can bring back a person’s positive attitude, their sense of self-worth, help give them a chance at a great quality of life, etc.

When receiving a massage when you have cancer, you should always always always make sure that the massage therapist is trained in oncology massage. While all massages feel great, certain massages are not okay for patients dealing with cancer. It can cause a whole mess of issues if the massage therapist does not know what the risks are. It is highly advised that you do not stop taking medications prescribed by your doctor to replace with massage therapy for treatment side effects. Massage is meant to be used in addition to these treatments.

Below is a list of side effects that massage therapy can be used to alleviate:

  • Nausea: Nausea is a huge side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, along with vomiting.

In a 2013 study, researchers took 70 patients undergoing chemotherapy and split them into two groups: massage therapy and control. 24 hours before chemotherapy and 24 hours after, patients were give a Swedish massage for 20 minutes. The results were assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale. The results showed that the patients in the massage therapy group had a 25.7% incidence rate and 20% severity.

  • Depression: Fighting for your life doesn’t seem like anything that would put someone into a cheerful mood. As stated above, people who are battling cancer are also feeling lonely. Massage is known to help with clinical depression, so it definitely can be helpful in treating depression associated with cancer treatment.
  • Pain: Massage therapy releases endorphins, which are our “feel good” hormones. When these hormones are released, they help to combat pain in our body.
  • Sleep Patterns: Less pain and stress will help cancer patients get better sleep at night.

While massage therapy is beneficial, as stated above, always make sure you are seeing a massage therapist who specializes in oncology massages. There is a risk of getting massages during cancer treatments and one who is not specialized in oncology massages would not necessarily need to know this information, which could lead to bad outcomes.

Risks of massage therapy for cancer patients include:

  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Fractures
  • Skin breakdown
  • Dislodging a blood clot

Deep tissue massages are not recommended for patients dealing with cancer. Massages should be light and relaxing. It is important that the massage therapist avoids tumor sites or treatment sites, as it can cause pain and discomfort to the patient.


Free Help For Cancer Patients

Angie's Spa Cancer Foundation

Medical bills can already be such a burden on patients. Adding the cost of massage into that is asking a lot for a lot of people. Luckily, there are some generous organizations in the world that help provide free massage services to cancer patients.


Angie’s Spa Cancer Foundation

Not only does Angie’s Spa fund treatment for massage, they have acupuncture, yoga, and Reiki too. Angie’s Spa is named after a woman named Angie Levy who lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer is 2007. During her battle with cancer, Angie worked towards her goals and career, while being active in numerous charities. Angie’s spa is a way to give back to cancer patients in her name. 100% of their donations go towards their programs and they even have their financials listed on their website so you can see where your donations are going. Angie’s Spa has 10 programs in 9 states in the US and hoping to continue to grow. For more information and locations, please visit the site listed above.


Greet the Day

Located in California, Greet the Day offers free massage and bodywork therapists to cancer patients. They offer programs such as inpatient massage, spa day retreat, infusion center, and a client clinic.


To find an organization near you, visit the Society for Oncology Massage’s website at







Eldridge, L. 2018. Massage Therapy for People with Cancer. Very Well Health.

2014. Massage and Cancer Key Questions. Cancer Council.


2017. Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients. North Shore University Health System.


Benefits of Oncology Massage. Piedmont Healthcare.


Walton, T. 2000. Cancer and Massage: Clinical Thinking and Cancer. American Massage Therapy Association.


Ruane, G. 2017. Oncology Massage Brings Pain Relief to Cancer Patients. Massage Magazine.


Types of Cancer Treatment. National Cancer Institute.


Mashhad, I. 2013. The Effect of Massage Therapy on Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Pediatric Cancer.

Male vs Female Gender Bias

Gender Bias in the Profession – Massage Therapy CEU

Massage Therapy Bias

Male vs Female Gender Bias

As with any profession, there is some gender bias that comes with male and female massage therapists. Gender bias can be associated with getting a job, how much pay you are going to receive, and how far you will go with your job. While it’s unfair, this is the awful truth of our world today. While we should be considered for employment based on our skill and our qualifications, it doesn’t always happen like that. While it seems that mostly women are discriminated against in the work force, men are discriminated against more so in the massage therapy field.

The main focus of a massage is to relax, but some people feel as though they cannot do so if a person of a certain sex is the one who is supposed to massage them. More than 85% of massage therapists are female, according to the American Association of Massage Therapy. Men are discriminated against in massage therapy with finding jobs and with people feeling uncomfortable about having a male as their massage therapist. There a number of different reasons this happens today.

Why Do Woman Feel Uncomfortable With a Male Masseuse?

Female Client with Male Massage Therapist

Some women do not feel comfortable in their own skin, they pick apart their flaws, and they most definitely do not want a male seeing them without clothes. Because all or most of their clothes are off, some women think that men are equating them being naked with sex. Some people believe that men are only becoming massage therapists so that they can prey on or touch women. On top of insecurities, women who are victims of assault or domestic violence may feel more comfortable with a woman due to their fear of being hurt by a male. The woman would automatically feel safer with a woman than with a male. Also, married women have an issue with being massaged by a male for fear of disrespecting or upsetting their spouse.

 Why Do Men Feel Uncomfortable With a Male Masseuse?

Massage Therapy Male

A lot of men have a hard time being massaged by another male. Not only do they have to get pretty much naked in front of them, but they also are being touched in various places. Without knowing, men automatically believe that these massage therapists must be gay if they want to touch men, even though the massage therapists are just there to help all of their clients. Along with having a woman massage therapist, men also are worried that they will get an erection while receiving their massage from a male or that their massage therapist will get an erection. This is just a psychological response and is not meant to be taken personally. Consequently, some men see the session as a homosexual experience.

Gender Bias That Happens to Massage Therapists While Working

Massage Client Gender Bias

Another huge issue with men in the massage therapy field is that they may face sexual harassment claims. These claims should always be taken seriously, but something as small as a hand slip or a graze could make someone feel uncomfortable, so it’s best to be completely careful while you are giving a massage. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be sexually harassed by a client. This includes making derogatory comments, exposing themselves, inappropriate touching, etc. It’s important for men and women to set boundaries before and during the massage, if necessary. If the massage therapist feels uncomfortable, they are allowed to stop the massage.

While it can happen in any job, there are a few individuals that act inappropriately and they help feed the fear of people getting massages by men. The sad truth is that not everyone acts accordingly and some people may take advantage of their position and make a client feel uncomfortable, which adds to the gender bias.

Massage Envy — Multiple Sexual Assault Claims All Over the US

Massage Envy

For example, a franchise massage therapy chain, Massage Envy, has been receiving tons of sexual assault complaints over the years and instead of reporting them and firing people, they documented the assaults and nothing ever came of them. People began flooding in calls of their sexual assaults from all over the country. This resulted in at least 180 women coming forward about sexual assault at these multiple chains. It was reported that these people who were known to sexually assault women were actually being recommended to clients. After the initial 180 victims, about a year later, even more victims came forward about being assaulted even after Massage Envy revised its policies.



While it’s more likely for a male to be discriminated against in this field, women too can be discriminated against. Because men are typically stronger, clients who are searching for a deeper massage or they are dealing with a sports type injury usually prefer a male massage therapist. This is because people see women more as nurturers and men as strong protectors. This is why males can succeed with athletes in sports massage. Athletes don’t usually care who is giving their massage, they just want to work out their muscles and get back into playing their sport.

Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claims

Massage Therapy

There are plenty of ways men can protect themselves from sexual harassment claims. The massage therapist should be sure to tell the client that they can disrobe to their comfort level. When they do decide to be nude, or mostly nude, proper draping is 100% necessary. They should make sure that the client’s genitals and breasts are securely covered. If their massage requires touching of the upper inner thigh, the massage therapist should be careful to how far up they are going and verify that everything is correctly draped so nothing becomes exposed or accidentally touched. Male massage therapists should also be very careful of how close their body is to the client to avoid accidentally touching them inappropriately as they lean or move over to massage you.

Work Hard and You Will Reap The Benefits 

Male Massage Therapist

Although employers are not allowed to base your job qualifications off of your gender, they surely find a way to. In most job forces, women are actually the ones who deal with discrimination and bias. While it may be hard for men to push through all of the challenges they face, they are certainly capable of building a solid client base and becoming a successful massage therapist. If you are skillful at your job and you continue to live by your ethics and morals, you will succeed in your career as a massage therapist.


Osborn, Karrie. 2007

Quora. 2017

Ames, Michael. 2016

Lyons, Neal. 2016

Massage Magazine. 2008

Messer, Olivia. Melendez, Pilar. 2018

McDaniel, Justine. 2018