Introduction

This book has been revised and updated to meet the new standards and requirements of the various awarding bodies. It will provide the student with a comprehensive introduction to massage and will also be of value to those already practising in this field. The broad-based information provided will guide the therapist towards safe and effective practice. For those wanting to progress further, additional information explaining some advanced massage techniques and the techniques of passive movements has been included, together with the rationale for their use.

Great emphasis is placed on the responsibility carried by every therapist to be well informed and to maintain the highest standards of safety and hygiene. Relevant information regarding the regulations and legal requirements is provided. The text will provide underpinning knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and will explain the application and the effects of massage on body systems and tissues. Guidance is also provided for dealing with, and caring for, each client on an individual basis. Contra-indications are carefully explained and advice given on the appropriate action to be taken.

The importance of consultation and accurate assessment is discussed, with guidance on meeting the needs of each client. Advice is given on planning effective treatments, selecting appropriate techniques and setting realistic targets.

Consideration is also given to the timing and costing of treatments, together with post-treatment observations and feedback.

Emphasis is placed throughout on high standards of client care and all the factors that will contribute to the success and effectiveness of the treatment.

Revision notes and questions are included among the text or at the end of each chapter, with model answers at the end of the book.

The aim of the book is to help the student become a caring, competent and successful practitioner. It will emphasise that the accomplished therapist will require an understanding of biological principles, an appreciation of the technique and effects of all massage manipulations, together with highly developed motor skills, sensitivity, integrity and dedication.

Massage forms an important part of all courses in beauty therapy, and also in the growing field of holistic and complementary therapies. Many techniques are combined with shiatsu, and acupressure routines, while the application of aromatic oils through massage is the basis of aromatherapy treatments.

Therapeutic techniques are once again recognised in mainstream medicine, for the relief of pain, improving the circulation and in general health care. Basic massage and other more advanced techniques are now carried out in hospitals, health centres, clinics etc, by therapists, nurses, and other health staff who have received training in these specialised areas. Athletes, sportspeople, dancers and actors include massage in their training schedules to aid recovery, promote relaxation and to prevent or treat soft tissue injuries. A qualification in massage offers numerous opportunities for employment in a variety of establishments such as beauty salons, health spas/clinics, leisure centres, sports complexes, and also in hair and beauty centres in hotels, large department stores and on board luxury cruise liners.

Massage continues to be practised throughout the world and we have much to learn from other cultures. It is hoped that this book will provide students with a sound foundation on which to build, explore and evaluate other techniques and theories. Expertise and excellence will develop through constant practice, self-assessment and evaluation of results. Massage offers an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career for those seeking a caring role in society.

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