Choosing a Massage Therapist

Each state has its own licensing requirements for massage therapists, so the first thing to consider when seeking the services of a massage therapist is license & credentials. In order to practice massage therapy in most states, the massage therapist must have a license obtained from the state’s massage therapy board. In other states, such as Wyoming, there are no state requirements, but license requirements exist within the different municipalities.

Before booking your first appointment, all you have to do is check your state licensing board website to verify a license. To verify the validity of a massage therapist’s license, you will need the therapist’s certificate number, city of residence, and first and last name. To locate your state board of massage therapy website, visit The Massage Register. The Massage Register lists massage therapy requirements by state and direct links to state boards.

If you have made it to the license verification point in the selection process, chances are you are already pretty sure of the type of massage you are interested in, whether you prefer a male or female, and how much you want to spend. If not, the information to follow will be very useful. Besides choosing whether you prefer a male or females, knowing what type of massage you’re interested in will help narrow your choices.

There are a number of specialty areas in the massage therapy industry. Some massage therapists may be certified in several specialty areas, while others may be certified in just one. Just a few of the most popular specialty areas include:

·Swedish Massage
·Aromatherapy Massage
·Deep Tissue Massage
·Hot Stone Massage
·Thai Massage
·Shiatsu
·Back Massage
·Sports Massage
·Reflexology
·Prenatal Massage

If you’re interested in both Swedish and hot stone massage, choose a massage therapist that’s licensed in your state and certified in both areas. If you’re interested in sports massage only, choose a massage therapist that’s licensed in your state and certified in sports massage. To verify certification, ask the therapist for the name of the school or program that awarded the certificate to make sure the program it is accredited. If the massage therapist works in a professional setting, you might not have to ask. The therapist will likely have a license and certificate(s) on displat, in plain view.

Next, contact the school or program to verify accreditation and certification. Most programs are more than willing to verify credentials and accreditation status. The accrediting agencies for massage therapy schools and programs are as follows:

Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
Website: www.abhes.org

Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
Website: www.accet.org

Accrediting Commission for Career Schools & Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
Website: www.accsct.org

Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS)
Website: www.acics.org

Council on Occupational Education (COE)
Website: www.council.org

Commission on Massage Training Accreditation (COMTA)
Website: www.comta.org

Distance Education & Training Council (DETC)
Website: www.detc.org

North Central Association of Colleges & Schools (NCACAS)
Website: www.ncacasi.org

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development
Website: www.gov.bc.ca/aved

Department of Education
Website: www.education.gov.yk.ca

When it comes to pricing, you will find that rates vary greatly depending on geographic location (small or large city, suburbs), setting (spa, resort, hotel, wellness center, private studio), experience, and type of massage. For example, in a large city, the cost for Swedish massage may start at around $90-$100 for one hour. A day spa in a small city may start at around $75 for an hour.

Resorts typically start at around $105 for a fifty-minute Swedish massage, while a luxury hotel, such as Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, may charge $150 for a classic 60-minute massage. Specialty massages, regardless of setting and other factors, always cost more. Expect to pay roughly $50 (or more), above the cost of a Swedish massage for a hot stone massage, sports massage, Thai massage, or other specialty massage.

One final piece of advice when choosing a massage therapist. It is important that you are comfortable with your therapist or the experience can be unpleasant. An initial consultation is highly recommended. If you feel comfortable with the therapist after the consultation, but during the session you begin to feel any discomfort, please let the therapist know right away. Fortunately, most professional therapists will ask for feedback during the session in an effort to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

Jack LaLanne dies at 96

Jack LaLanne, (September 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011) was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional Icon and motivational speaker who many referred to as “the godfather of fitness” and the “first fitness guru.”

“The crusade is never off my mind — the exercise I do, the food I eat, the thought I think — all this and how I can help make my profession better-respected. To me, this one thing — physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America.”

“Well it is. It is a religion with me,” he told What Is Enlightenment, a magazine dedicated to awareness, in 1999. “It’s a way of life. A religion is a way of life, isn’t it?”

(Jack LaLanne’s accomplishments as reported by his website)

* 1954 (age 40): swam the entire length (8,981 ft/1.7 mi) of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, under water, with 140 pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of equipment strapped to his body; a world record.
* 1955 (age 41): swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.
* 1956 (age 42): set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It,[22] a television program hosted by Art Baker.
* 1957 (age 43): swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound (1,100 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
* 1958 (age 44): maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.
* 1959 (age 45): did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes and The Jack LaLanne Show went nationwide.
* 1974 (age 60): For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
* 1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
* 1976 (age 62): To commemorate the “Spirit of ’76″, United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.[23]
* 1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds (2,900 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.[24]
* 1980 (age 66): towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.
* 1984 (age 70): handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.[25]

Playing when you are hurt

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler looks at the ground after throwing an incomplete pass during the second quarter of the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field in Chicago on January 23, 2011. UPI/Brian Kersey

The road to the Super Bowl for the Chicago Bears hit a snag when Jay Cutler hurt his knee and had to be removed from the game. It’s become a controversial issue, however, and many commentators and NFL players criticized Cutler for not staying in the game. He was walking the sidelines and didn’t appear to be in great pain, and that fueled speculation about his toughness.

All of us need to be aware of our own bodies and listen to medical professionals when deciding whether to continue playing or working out. It seems rather ridiculous for people who know nothing of the situation to criticize Cutler, though the culture of the NFL says you have to be willing to play with pain.

Meanwhile, the NFL Super Bowl frenzy is in full gear with the Steelers and Packers going head to head. Regardless of what you feel about Cutler, you can enjoy the game by checking out the Bet US sports picks and laying down a wager with your friends.

Depression: placebo vs prescription drugs

Those who study depression and the drugs that treat it are concluding that antidepressants are no different than a placebo or “sugar pill”.

Placebos are widely used when studying pharmaceuticals. E.g., in a controlled clinical trial, one group will be given the real medication while another group is given a placebo in order to observe if the effects of the drug are due to the medication or to the power of suggestion.

Research has found that patients do improve on SSRIs, tricyclics, and even MAO inhibitors. This conclusion is the basis for blindly prescribing antidepressants to anyone who complains of being depressed.
When researchers compare the improvement in patients taking medication, however, with the improvement in those taking a placebo, they find that the difference is minuscule.

The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo increases with severity of depression symptoms and may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms. For patients with very severe depression, the benefit of medications over placebo is substantial.

JAMA 2010

These trials comprised 10030 depressed patients who participated in 52 antidepressant clinical trials evaluating 93 treatment arms of a new or established antidepressant. Fewer than half (48%, 45/93) of the antidepressant treatment arms showed superiority to placebo.

Int Jour of Neuropsychopharmacology

Despite the failure of prescription drugs when compared to a placebo for mild to moderate depression, the number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled in a decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005. Is this increase due to an increase in the prevalence of severe depression? Of course not. Walk into a doctor’s office and complain about being depressed; most will prescribe an anti-depressant on the spot. This is mainly due to western medicines lack of a holistic approach to the body, and big pharma’s hold on our medical community and society in general.

Never doubt the power of the mind. In many cases, a person’s beliefs are as or more effective than drugs when it comes to achieving health.

New research: cut back on carbs, live longer

According to the 2002 United States Life Tables, In 2002 the average person in the US could expect to live a little over 19 years longer than in 1920. But does longevity come with a healthy life? Not for most. Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, deteriorating senses, and other diseases and conditions all come with age. However, new research may have uncovered a true fountain of youth, and it may be as simple as cutting down on consuming carbs.

Professor Cynthia Kenyon, a US genetisist, has discovered that the carbohydrates we eat like bananas, potatoes, bread, pasta, and cakes directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

But what Professor Kenyon found out was why ­drastically reducing calories has such a remarkable effect.

She discovered that it changed the way two crucial genes behaved. It turned down the gene that controls insulin, which in turn switched on another gene, which acted like an elixir of life.

‘We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,’ she explains.

The ­second ‘elixir’ gene seems to bring all the anti-aging benefits.

Professor Kenyon has changed her diet as a result of her research.

‘Carbo­hydrates, and especially refined ones like sugar, make you produce lots of extra insulin. I’ve been keeping my intake really low ever since I discovered this.

‘I’ve cut out all starch such as potatoes, noodles, rice, bread and pasta. Instead I have salads, but no sweet dressing, lots of olive oil and nuts, tons of green vegetables along with cheese, chicken and eggs.

‘I’ll have a hamburger without a bun and fish without batter or chips. I eat some fruit every day, but not too much and almost no processed food. I stay away from sweets, except 80 per cent chocolate.’

She is adamant it will be well worthwhile. ‘You could have two completely different careers if you could stay healthy to 90,’ she says. ‘How fascinating that would be.’

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