Why Is A Licensed Professional Massage Therapist Better?
So, your friend saw a YouTube video explaining how to do a massage and wants to help you with your chronic back pain. Do you let them or don’t you? For a simple back rub, probably not much can happen. But if an unqualified person wants to attempt a deep tissue massage or a specific massage of a muscle group, it’s better to be under the hands of a professional. There are conditions that a professional would know how to handle. They should get a full physical history and you should inform your doctor that you are intending to go to a massage therapist. Some conditions to be very careful of are: blood clots, which could be loosened and move to the brain or the heart, diabetics’ blood sugar levels often decrease after a massage or nerve damage could occur.1
When looking for a licensed professional massage therapist, you should look for the specific letters designating their certification or licensing. The various designations to look for are:
CMT – Certified Massage Therapist
This is a professional designation by a massage therapy organization, which indicates that the therapist has fulfilled the educational requirements, passed the written exams related to theory and ethics and fulfilled the training requirements.
LMT/LMP – Licensed Massage Therapist/Licensed Massage Practitioner
This is the designation indicating the fact that the person is certified and then licensed. One must be certified to get the license. The term Therapist and Practitioner are essentially the same, it varies according to the state in which they are licensed.
NCTMB – National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
The person with this designation has met the credentialing requirements and passed the board’s exams for therapeutic massage AND bodywork.
NCTM – National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage
The person with this designation has met the credentialing requirements and passed the board’s exams for therapeutic massage only.2
Massage focuses on the body alone, usually done by the hands with some oils to decrease friction. However, bodywork focuses on the body, mind and spirit, concentrating on the energy paths, sometimes utilizing acupressure, sometimes incorporating hot and cold.
Obviously, if you go to a professional massage therapist, you reap the benefits of the education that they received as well as hours of practice that they have already invested in their art. Do not feel shy about asking about their credentials, as well as how many hours they have worked in providing therapy to clients.