Is your Massage Therapist Undertrained?

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According to the American Massage Therapy Association's 2008 Fact Sheet, "massage therapists have an average of 688 hours of initial training." And there are more than 87,000 therapists who are Nationally Certified. However, in Texas' recent past only 300 hours of training were required to get licensed and practice in the state, meaning many Texas therapists are working with less than half the hours of the average massage therapist.

massage therapists have an average of 688 hours of initial training.

Lauterstein-Conway Massage School finds on average many Texas massage therapists are undertrained by national standards.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association's 2008 Fact Sheet, "massage therapists have an average of 688 hours of initial training." And there are more than 87,000 therapists who are Nationally Certified.

However, in Texas' recent past only 300 hours of training were required to get licensed and practice in the state, meaning many Texas therapists are working with less than half the hours of the average massage therapist. And since a therapist must have at least 500 hours of training to begin the National Certification process, a majority of Texas massage therapists are not Nationally Certified, either.

More than half of Lauterstein-Conway's students and graduates have between 500 and 750 hours of training, despite Texas' previous 300-hour licensing requirements.

Recognizing the need for advanced massage training in Texas, Lauterstein-Conway Massage School will offer its Advanced Clinical Training in San Antonio beginning March and September 2009. It is the first time San Antonio therapists will be able to benefit from this program.

San Antonio classes will be held at the Center for Life on Jones Maltsberger.

Co-director, David Lauterstein believes a higher-level of massage education is critical a recession because the job market is tighter than ever.

Lauterstein says, "The simplest way for a therapist in Texas to be unique and succeed is to live up to the National standard. There is no substitute for excellence in the health professions. People want quality of care."

There is still a growing demand for massage therapy services. According to National Public Radio, despite decreased spending, people are still getting massage and, in fact, sales are up.

In NPR's broadcast, Little Luxuries Fairing Well in a Flagging Economy, they report many people are not taking vacations - they are too expensive. Instead, "little luxuries, like massage are exactly the kind of 'comfort consumption' that always spike during stressful times like a recession."

With the cost of health insurance, alternative healthcare spending is also going up. Massage is not only effective in reducing stress but also pain syndromes. According to AMTA's 2008 Fact Sheet, 63 percent of massage therapists are receiving referrals from healthcare professionals, and deep tissue massage, effective for muscular pain management, is the second-most requested massage modality.

Lauterstein-Conway's Advanced Clinical Massage and Bodywork Training program is a 250-hour program which, because of its length, will add not just a few techniques, but take therapists to a new level of therapeutic and professional success.

"With thorough training in Deep Massage, Sports massage and Clinical massage therapy, therapists will have the skill level to accept physician referrals. They will be able not just to relieve tension, they will be able to resolve people's problems. They move from doing rub-downs, to being fully-fledged health professionals," said Lauterstein.

Lauterstein-Conway started in Austin in 1989 and has been teaching advanced programs for over 20 years.

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Jennifer Shaw
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