Clinical Massage Therapy: Massage with a Purpose

Massage means many different things to many different people.  When most people think of massage they think of a relaxing spa setting, with candles, oils and soft music playing.  Perhaps they’ve upgraded to hot stones, or maybe a little aroma therapy, and as you lay on the soft table all of your tensions simply melt away.

That’s not exactly what Clinical Massage Therapy is.

Maybe you’re an athlete, and when you think of massage you think of sports massage and deep stretches after a workout to help alleviate soreness in the following days.  Maybe you think of someone who helps relieve cramps after a grueling marathon, or someone who helps warm up your musculature before an event so you can be at peak performance.

That’s a little closer, but still does not fully define Clinical Massage Therapy.

Perhaps you’ve seen videos online of therapists walking barefoot on their client’s backs, or stretching them into pretzels, or finding pressure points in their feet or their hands, or pouring oil on their scalps and kneading their hair into a mushy pulp, or using their hands to shoot magical energy at their clients.

Clinical Massage Therapy is not that.

As a Clinical Massage Therapist people come to you with a specific problem, and, after testing and evaluation, you treat that specific problem. If massage can solve their issue you solve it, but being a Clinical Massage Therapist also means knowing when to tell your client massage can’t solve their problem, and sometimes massage might even do them further harm.

Clinical Massage Therapy means knowing that the symptoms of a problem aren’t always the problem itself.  Sometimes a muscle in the neck can cause pain in the hand, or a muscle in the hip can shoot pain all the way down to the foot.  A Clinical Massage Therapist knows how, based on the client’s symptoms, to get to the root of their problem in a quick, efficient and professional manner, and explain their treatment plan to the client so that they can together agree on the goals of the treatment.

Being a Clinical Massage Therapist means you know what techniques are called for in any given situation.  Maybe a client does just need a relaxation treatment.  Or maybe they need sports massage.  Maybe they need deep tissue work, trigger point work, or cross fiber friction.  Maybe they need some combination of multiple modalities.  A Clinical Massage Therapist can reach into their toolbox of techniques and create a treatment plan specific to a client’s needs.

Clinical Massage Therapy is massage distilled down to its essence in order to treat specific conditions.

Clinical Massage Therapy is healing somebody with the simple power of touch.

Clinical Massage Therapy is massaging with a purpose.

7 Self-Care Strategies for Massage Therapists

One for All and All for One

from the AMTA

Like other health care providers, massage therapists are often guilty of burning the candle at both ends. Between packed schedules, caring for clients and an overzealous desire to build a stronger career, sometimes even the smallest reprieve is mistaken as slacking off. In fact, Jim Binion, a massage therapist based in Winona, Minnesota, says it’s the opposite.

“Ignore any part of your self-care, and there’s a domino effect,” he explains. “Poor nutrition leads to stress, which leads to poor sleep, which leads to exhaustion and eventually career burnout.” Fortunately, Binion adds, the domino effect can work in reverse. “Our body is always regenerating cells. Take care of your mind and body today, and in seven years you might feel 10 years younger instead of seven years older.”

Registered nurse and Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based massage therapist Charlene Crumley agrees. “Self-care is cumulative; it’s a lifestyle that builds lifelong health.”

What also has cumulative powers? Stress! Massage therapists know how chronic stress affects health conditions and diseases. Now a recent study suggests a link between long-term stress and pessimism. Since this is the first study of its kind to link perceived stress and a gloomy outlook, further research is necessary. However, if the connection proves true, this could be a powerful career-buster. Imagine saying, “That kink in your back is a bummer, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Read more here.

And become a clinical massage therapist by clicking here.

Massage is an “invaluable resource” for hospitals

From Massage Magazine:

The general public understands that massage is good medicine, and this is reflected in the growing use of massage therapy and energy work in U.S. hospitals.

According to research conducted in January 2017, 82 percent of hospital patients claimed massage therapy was the most helpful form of hospital therapy. The patients in this survey were between the ages of 19-95 years old, according to the report.

Hospital massage includes any type of on- or off-the-body structured touch or energy work offered to any population in any facility owned by a hospital.

This means some hospital massage programs are on the hospital premises, while others are located in an outreach facility or clinic owned by a hospital.

“On a daily basis, the acute pain service sees firsthand the benefits that massage provides our patients, with improved mood, function and overall comfort,” said Lynn Anson, R.N., B.C., a pain management nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri.

“When we ask them about their massage, they usually tell us the therapists are their favorite people to see–and their smiles tell all.”

Read the rest here, and find out more about attending massage school here.


We’ve seen many graduates walk across the stage in our nearly 20 years of teaching massage.  It never gets old.  Graduation day is always a day of celebration, of seeing all the student’s hard work finally come to fruition.  Many students struggled to make it there – many of them didn’t think they ever would.  But through hard work, sacrifice, and a determination to make the world a more bearable place through the power of touch, they did it, and we were overjoyed to recognize their achievements in front of their family and loved ones.

But you’re not done yet.

There’s a reason they call it a massage practice.  It’s because, as Hovi said, you should never be done learning.  You have a diploma now, and you should be very proud of that, but it does not stop there.  Please continue to learn and grow, and if you ever have any questions don’t hesitate to call.  And come back for your free massages!

We’re extremely proud of all our graduates, but a just a quick word to our current students, too: enjoy the process.  We know it’s difficult to find time to study when you have a full time job, kids and a life of obligations.  We know it’s difficult to show up to class twice a week with a positive attitude and that sometimes you’re tired, and sometimes you’re in a bad mood and sometimes there’s nothing anyone in the world can do about it.  But we’re sure the majority of our graduates would say that the program is over before you know it, and with it comes a bittersweet sense of accomplishment.  You will no longer be surrounded by a group of people sharing the same goals.  We’ll shove you out of the nest, absolutely positive you will fly, and you might not realize all that you’re leaving behind until you’re gone.  So just take a moment and enjoy the process.  The end will be here soon enough.

Once again, best of luck to all our graduates.  We truly couldn’t be prouder.

For more graduation pics, check out our Facebook page.



from Massage Magazine:

Last year I was offering workshops at a day spa, and I had a meeting with the spa manager. We got to talking about her massage therapists, and I learned that she required them all to wear the same color, but she called them subcontractors. I felt I should say something ….

Before I became a massage therapist in 1994, I was a construction worker for 15 years. On a construction site, subcontractors operated under their own rules. Plumbers, for example, couldn’t be told how to do their work by the general contractor.

I have always felt the way massage therapists work is usually more of an employee situation than subcontracting. Over the years I searched the internet to validate my hunch, but never found anything authoritative.

I recently researched the subcontractor topic again. I was surprised to discover a page that clears up the difference between a subcontractor and an employee,and why it matters. I hope you visit this IRS site to learn for yourself.
Read more here.


Soma is dedicated to your success and to helping you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your future massage therapy career. By filling out this form, you understand that The Soma Institute will utilize this information to contact you to provide more information about The Soma Institute by a variety of methods including phone (both mobile or home, dialed manually or automatically), email, mail, and text message. 1-800-694-5314

First Name*
Last Name*

Please leave this field empty.