Whether it’s helping with an injury or just helping someone relax at the end of the day, massage therapists have a skill that others are very thankful for. With their skill comes a tool belt they have to consistently carry around full of tools that help them give their client a relaxing hour or two so they can walk away feeling less stressed.
The most important tools a massage therapist uses are:
- Their own bodies
- Massage table
- Massage Oil
- Massage Table Warmers
- Foam roller
- Muscle roller stick
- Tuning Fork
While some tools may seem self-explanatory, there are some people who don’t know what is necessary for a massage therapist to do their job and do it effectively. Thankfully, the tools are mostly easy to acquire and a lot easier to use.
A Day In The Life Of A Massage Therapist
A day in the life of a massage therapist looks very different than some may believe. While they are giving massages a lot during their day, they also need to do a few other things such as:
- Recommending follow-up massage appointments
- Cleaning tools, washing linens
- Restocking tools and products
- Testing out new tools
- Learning new techniques
One of the benefits of having a massage therapist career is that usually you have the ability to choose your own schedule and your day goes exactly how you want it to.
How Does Someone Become Certified To Be A Massage Therapist?
Becoming a massage therapist requires anywhere from 500-100 hours of training from a board-approved massage school. While other states may require additional training and extra hours, this is the average time required across the US. Taking one of the best online massage therapy certifications is also a more accessible option.
Once your training is completed you will have to pass the NCBTMB or MBLEx exam to become fully certified and licensed. These tests cover things such as:
- Massage therapy ethics
- Anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology
- Client assessment
- Massage therapy history
Find the 7 benefits of becoming a massage therapist to help you get an idea of its perks.
What Is The Most Important Tool That Massage Therapists Use?
The most important tool a massage therapist uses is their own body. From their fingers to their elbows they can provide world-class massages that allow people to calm down, destress and fix certain muscle issues they may be having.
From the waist down, the massage therapist uses the legs and core to stabilize them and provide extra pressure to a client when needed.
The 7 Most Important Tools A Massage Therapist Uses
Now, while a massage therapist does have their body to help achieve a good massage, sometimes they need tools to help them achieve the desired outcome, especially if a client has a special request or a specific pain point.
1. Massage Therapist Bodies
When you are studying to become a massage therapist you learn that your body is one of the most important tools you can use to help massage a client. While most people assume massage therapists only use their hands to massage, they actually are consistently using their entire bodies to achieve a good massage.
They can use anything from their fingers to their elbows to provide good pressure points and hit the muscle groups they need to hit. However, they also use their back, legs and core to stabilize their body and increase strength the achieve the desired massage outcome.
2. Massage Table
It’s a common misconception that massages can comfortably happen on any surface, they actually need to happen on a surface that is comfortable enough for the client and stable enough for the massage therapist to apply the needed pressure.
A massage table is a perfect tool for both the client and the massage therapist to get the comfort and stability that they both need. Most massage tables are adjustable to appropriately accommodate the therapist and their standing or sitting height.
3. Massage Oil
Now, if you try to massage someone without using oil you will quickly realize it’s not comfortable for the client or the therapist to massage someone this way. However, if you use massage oil you lose the friction that usually causes an issue and you can often use different oils that help with certain things.
Some oils that have added benefits besides just reducing friction on the skin are:
- Peppermint Oil – loosen muscles, reduce inflammation, pain relief, opens airways
- Lavender Oil – Reduce Inflammation, Relaxes muscles, and mental status
- Eucalyptus Oil – Reduces inflammation, opens airways, and loosens muscles
- Copaiba Oil – Reduces inflammation, reduces pain
4. Massage Table Warmers
Along with a massage table, you want your clients to be comfortable with the temperature while they are getting their massage. Massage table warmers can be installed on the table to allow a controlled temperature while the client is laying down on the table.
Even if you think it feels great in the room, your client may get cold and that can make it harder to fully give a good massage, table warmers can help them relax and get comfortable.
5. Foam Roller
Now, while your hands can do a lot for your client’s muscles, you may need other things to help create a different experience across a larger area of muscle. Foam rollers can offer very gentle pressure across a large area without having to worry about applying different pressure in certain areas.
Foam rollers can also help with back issues because it allows clients to stretch without needing to arch their back too far.
6. Muscle Roller Sticks
Muscle roller sticks can do things similar to foam rollers, but these are usually used for places that need a bit more pressure or for muscles that are incredibly tight. You can apply a bit more pressure using roller sticks without worrying about pressing too hard in one spot because they distribute the pressure evenly.
7. Tuning Fork
Okay, while this may seem like an odd tool for a massage therapist to have, they can actually provide a lot of relief to someone with a tender injury or with a lot of muscle pain. Tapping the fork on the edge of a table and pressing the vibrating tongs into someone’s muscle gently can transfer the vibrations from the fork to their muscles.
This allows a gentle massage that releases pressure much more gently than other methods.
Massage therapy is quickly becoming a widely recommended part of healthcare due to its ability to lower stress and ease the pain of injuries or muscle issues. While massages can be expensive, it’s only because massage therapy is labor-intensive for the therapist and they have to pay for the tools they may, or may not need for their clients.
No matter what your therapist does or doesn’t use while giving you a massage, rest assured that you would not achieve the same outcome if you tried to do it yourself. In a typical set of hands, the tools do stuff, in a massage therapist’s hands, the tools heal and fix issues.