States are beginning to re-open and ease COVID-19 restrictions. Massage therapy providers across the country are getting back to business — and this newly re-opened industry is looking to hire and staff up again. This shift in the industry is in lockstep with the new Medical Massage Therapy program at Beckfield College.
Diane Wolfer, President of Beckfield College said:
“Offering a Medical Massage Therapy program has been in development for a long time – long before COVID-19 was a concern. Now that our state is opening back up, we are seeing the need in the community to help develop and train new medical massage therapists. As we are completing the lab buildouts for this new program, we are taking extra precautions to ensure safety for our students and instructors by adding sanitation stations, providing protective wear, and scheduling labs so that we have a small number of students on campus at the same time. We will also be offering didactic classes online.”
Why the demand right now?
Let’s start with the basics…
MEDICAL BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY
Whereas once associated with luxury hotels and upscale spas for pampering, massage has evolved into one of the most valued complementary therapies alongside physical therapy that people turn to assist people with their medical conditions. From pain relief and recovery from injury to increased range of motion and improved cardiovascular health, the list of benefits of therapeutic medical massage goes on and on. Instead of seeking massage solely for relaxation purposes, over the past decade, Americans have quickly learned the value & efficacy of massage therapy as an integral approach to health & medical conditions.
According to the AMTA 2019 Consumer Study:
🔳 78% of Americans say their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical or stress-related (up from 50% in 2016).
Medical reasons included:
- Injury recovery
- Pain Relief
- Soreness/stiffness or spasms
- To control headaches or migraines
- To relieve or manage stress
- For prevention or to improve quality of life
- To keep fit/healthy & maintain overall wellness
🔳 71% believe that massage therapy should be considered a form of healthcare (only 27% believe massage is solely a form of pampering)
🔳 87% believe that massage is effective in reducing pain
🔳 86% believe massage is beneficial to overall health and wellness
HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS LEGITIMIZING MASSAGE THERAPY
A growing number of research studies are showing that the benefits are more far-reaching than previously known, and include everything from fibromyalgia and post-operative surgical pain, to tension headaches, low back & knee pain. This is why healthcare providers and doctors are more commonly viewing massage therapy as a legitimate option to address health concerns and are more commonly recommending massage therapy sessions to their patients along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.
THE NEED FOR MASSAGE THERAPY POST-QUARANTINE
COVID-19 and the subsequent social distancing/quarantine has made the need for massage even stronger, on top of all the medical benefits of massage therapy. People recognize the importance of therapeutic touch after the stress and collective trauma of having to be apart and not able to even touch our closest loved ones. When we are isolated from our friends and family, and we find ourselves reduced to using elbow pumps instead of a hug or even a handshake, it goes against our basic human nature and the natural order of things. It feels completely awkward because touch is ingrained in us as humans from the moment we come out of the womb.
Human contact is essential. It is what connects us to others. If we deny ourselves touch, we deny ourselves the fundamental need for connection and belonging. Therefore, we need touch and connection for both our mental health and our physical health.
Explains Kate Behan, Dean of the Medical Massage Therapy program at Beckfield College:
“The benefit of building out our new medical massage program now is that we can adapt to the changing environment that the COVID-19 pandemic has produced from the ground up. Teaching our students new methods in safety, sanitation, and client service is at the forefront of our curriculum; clinical indicators and restrictions for massage therapy are also being addressed for our students to develop sound clinical judgment.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic presenting a serious threat, the massage industry will survive, as it has survived other times of crisis in this country. Massage therapists provide healing and relief – this is particularly crucial to the holistic management of the physiological responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that impact mind, body, and spirit.”
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We are now accepting applications for the September 29th starting class. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get started on a career in this growing profession, visit https://www.beckfield.edu/academics/medical-massage-therapy/.