..The Intuitive Times
Complementary Therapies


The Healing Touch of Massage Therapy

by Shirley Desborough

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Considering trying massage therapy? This effective form of therapy can contribute to your health and well-being in two distinct ways: by promoting relaxation and by addressing specific health concerns. Continuing research is clinically documenting the long experienced benefits of therapeutic massage to decrease pain, increase function, help deal with stress, and to address a multitude of conditions from arthritis to pregnancy, from infancy through to our Golden Years!

Relaxation massage helps the recipient attain an increased level of well-being and is most often provided when the client is otherwise free of disease and injury. The skillful and caring touch of a massage therapist has a holistic influence which encompasses the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a person's being. Therapeutic effects include the reduction of muscular tension and generalized pain, improved circulation, increased flexibility, reduced emotional anxiety, and an increased sense of centeredness, energy and peace.

Therapeutic massage addresses the signs and symptoms of physical dysfunction. Clients often seek this treatment for musculoskeletal problems that result from injury to the soft tissues of the body. Such conditions include whiplash, low back strain and repetitive strain injuries, to mention just a few. In many cases the client's complaint may be relieved entirely through a prescribed regimen of treatments. In the case of long-standing chronic conditions, massage therapy greatly improves the client's quality of life and provides a means for continual improvement through regular on-going treatment.

Few people outside the massage therapy profession realize the scope of massage therapy education. Anatomy, physiology, and pathology are studied in considerable detail, with musculoskeletal anatomy taught in depth. The art and science of therapeutic massage - whether one thinks of it as touch therapy or manual medicine - is explored in rich detail. From traditional Swedish Massage to such advanced techniques as joint mobilization and fascial stretching, students are immersed in a process of learning that will challenge them on many levels.

It is in student clinics and at specialized "outreach" clinics that the anatomical understanding and practical skills of the student are integrated in the applied art of Massage Therapy. Supervising Instructors work with students sharing their clinical experience and insight. The varied aspects of professional practice are stressed.

When looking for a massage therapist, first ask what type of massage therapy the therapist has been trained to provide. The practice of Massage Therapy is regulated in British Columbia and Ontario. Several other provinces are in various stages of the process of regulation. The Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA) is our national professional association. The CMTA supports the Ontario 2200 hr. Core Curriculum as the National Standard. Graduates of the 2200 hr. program are eligible to sit the Ontario Registration Examinations. A therapist who has graduated from a 2200-hour training program in a provincially registered school will be able to provide massage therapy that can both increase your well-being and address specific musculoskeletal conditions. [This enables them to practice in all provinces except British Columbia without further study]. Graduates are also eligible for membership in the Provincial Association.

Shirley Desborough, BA, DipMT (3HO), DipST (Kik), MT, is CEO of International Complementary Therapy (ICTTM), which owns and operates ICT Northumberland College in Halifax and ICT Kikkawa College in Toronto.


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