Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: May 2014

What is massage? Anyone??

The Entry Level Analysis Project (ELAP) is on a quest to find out what makes a good massage. ELAP was started by the Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations to determine the requirements of an entry-level massage education program. It aims to ensure that graduates are safe and competent massage therapists. As it is, there is a tremendous amount of inconsistency throughout the country, with all 50 states each having their own regulations regarding licensure, scope of practice, number of hours of training, and what modalities (aspects of massage) schools should focus on. There are currently over 260 recognized forms of bodywork. It's no wonder that a massage client may not know what to ask for or expect.

I'm happy to say that New York is stricter than most states. Here we meet a minimum requirement of 1000 hours of education (the school I went to did about 1300 hours), take a state board exam, and obtain an license in order to practice, and are required to take ongoing continuing education classes.

The ELAP researchers have posited that massage schools need a common entry-level education program that will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice safely and competently. ELAP used collected data to write a massage educational blueprint. They are working to publish a project report for the profession to improve consistency of massage education programs.

Once we achieve this commonality in entry-level education, then clients, clinic owners, spa managers, fitness directors, and everyone else will better know what their therapists bring to the table (so to speak).

There are also an infinite number of ways a massage therapist can move up in their career after graduating from massage school. I am a continuing education junkie, with advanced certifications in medical, sports, and pre-natal massage. With all the hours I devote to advancing my education (and money spent!) I would love to see massage therapy offered as a Masters program.

ELAP in on a mission to make sure every massage student in the country is given a thorough, first-rate entry-level education. Perhaps then, we'll know better what to expect of a massage therapist, and feel confident that we we are in good hands. But for now, don't be too surprised if, while vacationing in California, you walk into a spa complaining of neck pain and your therapist does energy work on your feet!

Sources: World Massage Conference and elapmassage.org

Don't text and walk!

If you read my last newsletter (as I'm sure you all did, but here it is just in case), you understand the importance of good posture. Today's technologically driven world causes our brains and bodies to constantly battle our misalignments. Texting as you sit, hunched over your phone is no exception. But what about texting and walking?

Texting while walking creates obvious (sometimes life-threatening) hazards such as falls or collisions. But a recent study delved in deeper to find out what happens to gait as we walk and text. Twenty-six individuals were analyzed while walking a straight path for about 30 feet - first without a cell phone, then again holding a phone and reading text, and lastly typing text. Both reading and texting significantly modified gait performance, with texting being the worst offender. Researchers observed slower speed, deviation from a straight line, neck flexion, and a decrease in neck range of motion. Arms, head and chest all moved together in order to steady the phone for reading and texting. This caused an increase in head movement, which could negatively impact balance.

So texting while walking promotes poor posture and the all the health risks that come with misalignment. Even more, altered speed and balance, in addition to cognitive distraction and a reduced visual field, can have dire consequences on our safety. No text is that important!

Source: plosone.org

What's new with me ...

Hooray for spring! Finally! My husband, daughter and I love spending time outside on nice days. Sienna particularly loves to swing in the playground, and walk around picking up rocks and twigs.

If you're bored and want to smile, click here for new photos and videos of little Sienna.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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