A study done by the American Institute
of Stress has shown that job-related stress and economical anxiety
are costing companies an estimated $300 billion or more, roughly
$7,500 per worker per year. Stress has been named the number one
cause of disability in and out of the workplace, and many employers
are spending money covering the lost productivity and health care
Luckily, most companies, big and
small, are becoming more receptive to the problems that
work-related stress creates. Tension in the workplace is almost
unavoidable due to a rise in workplace expectations, which is a
direct result of an unstable economy. Physical stress in most
business environments is also an issue. Sitting at a computer all
day long is often harder on the body than physical labor. Being
planted in one position that is not conducive to our natural
postural alignment causes havoc on our bodies, namely our upper
back and neck.
Employees in today's economy are holding
on to their jobs for dear life and are willing to do almost
anything to stay ahead of the game, including sacrificing their own
wellness. Sadly, the more stress employees consume by
overextending themselves, the more likely their professional
efficiency will plunge. Fortunately, most employers who are
concerned about the quality of work their staff is doing are
increasingly open to the benefits of stress reduction techniques
during work hours.
The most popular form of stress reduction making its way into
the workplace is on-site chair massage. Chair massage in general
has become a fast, inexpensive remedy for a world on the go. Many
companies such as law firms, car dealerships, realty firms,
insurance companies, hospitals, and many other businesses are
hiring contractors to perform chair massages as an incentive to
their employees. Here in Chicago, businesses such as United
Airlines, Federal Reserve Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield of
Illinois have hired one company in particular called "Hired Hands,"
on-site massage specialists, to provide chair massage services to
On-site massage specialists provide their own training to
contractors working for them. A co-owner of "Hired Hands,"
Christine Ramsey says, "Most massage schools do not spend enough
time on chair massage." Since the main focus of chair massage is on
the back, neck and head, it is important to be completely
proficient in those areas. Although therapists working through
"Hired Hands" are considered independent contractors, they enjoy
the luxury of consistent schedules and a guaranteed hourly pay. The
good news for aspiring massage therapists is that the need for this
type of massage work is increasing and companies such as this one
are almost always hiring licensed and insured massage
Chair massage as a methodic technique
has been around for quite a while. Although David Palmer created
and designed the first massage chair in the 1980s, the technique
has been traced all the way back to ancient Japan. Block prints
showed people being massaged while seated on what appeared to be
David Palmer is really the driving
force behind contemporary chair massage, however, and received that
title rightfully after bringing chair massage into the public eye
when he began massaging Apple computer employees in 1984.
In 1998, Palmer wrote in Positive
Health magazine how he believed chair massage would eventually
become more popular than table massage. He thought that in order to
bring massage therapy into the mainstream, it would need to be
completely accessible at all times to anyone and everyone. The idea
that a person can experience the positive effects of massage in a
matter of minutes, sitting in a chair and fully clothed is a very
attractive and practical idea.
"Touch is the orphan sense in our
culture," Palmer says. "It's the one sense we've disowned most, and
it's time for us to reclaim it. It's the first sense we have in the
womb and likely the last sense we experience when we die. Yet, we
live in a culture that numbs us from the neck down. When we reclaim
that, it will be revolutionary. If we got all the touch we wanted
(or needed), 75% of mental health problems would go away tomorrow,"
he says. "It would change the individual, it would change their
relationships, and it would change the institutions in which they
live, work and play."
Palmer explained chair massage best
when he wrote, "The beauty of chair massage is its simple message -
that massage can make you feel better, whatever that means to you,
any time you want. You don't have to be sick or enlightened or
wealthy to appreciate its benefits. It's truly massage for the
Being skilled in chair massage can
open up many employment doors for you as a massage therapist. Since
the massage chair is portable and not as heavy as a table, you have
increased mobility with your business and a better chance at
marketing yourself. As a chair massage practitioner, you also have
the choice of working completely for yourself or working with
companies like "Hired Hands."
National University of Health Sciences, chair massage is a required
part of the curriculum, and you will also spend intern hours and
outcall hours practicing your chair massage skills. For more
information on training in chair massage, call 1-800-826-6285.
My biggest pet peeve, one that is ever present like
a festering boil, is the lack of customer service that is available
in just about any business you deal with these days. Just coming
out of the Christmas season, I'm sure you can relate.
Have you ever stood in a long line just to have a new cashier
open up and instead of taking the next person in line, lets the
people who just got in line rush up to get taken care of first?
How about the invisibility factor? Any of you have it? My
sisters and I have always suffered from this affliction and I now
see it trickling down through my children, so I'm thinking it's
hereditary. For those of you who don't have the disorder let me
explain. You're standing at a counter or in a line waiting to be
taken care of when another customer steps right in front of you as
if you don't exist. Or you've been at a counter for a while and you
know the salesperson has seen you, but they continue to wait on
How about the phone call you try to make to a cable company,
utility, or charge card company and you're put on hold for an
eternity? I actually can feel myself aging as I wait and wait and
wait. And then to add fuel to the fire is the ever so cheerful
voice that repeats to you over and over, "Thank you for holding,
your call is important to us." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
The reason I bring this all up is because the opposite is true
in the field of massage therapy. A massage therapist is the epitome
of the customer service champion. Everything about a massage
session is geared to the comfort and care of the client. The most
successful therapists pay close attention to the smallest details
with the sincerity of a true caregiver.
Copious notes are taken to remind the therapist of any specific
conditions that have been addressed or simply to remember the type
of touch the clients likes and the techniques that work best and
are well accepted by the client. Details like sheet color, music
and scents are used to complement the clients' experience. An
overall feeling of a "safe environment" is created to promote
relaxation and comfort and the most pleasant of memories. The
combination of all of these things sets the stage for what every
therapist hopes for - happy clients, repeat business, and
If you're thinking about attending our Massage Therapy
Certification Program, it's important to remember that this is a
profession all about service. You must be willing to go the extra
mile. You must be a people pleaser. And you have to check your ego
at the door of the massage room. It's important to examine all of
this before you make the decision to become a therapist.
There is competition out there, too, so although you can get
away with being mediocre, you'll never be at the top of your
profession unless you see yourself as a caregiver. And just as
important, you need to back up your passion with the best education
available. Once you decide that this is the right fit for you
professionally, come and see us and we'll provide you with a
program that'll take you to the top of your game. We'll prepare you
professionally and instill in you the confidence to pass your
National Board exam the first time around, like about 95% of our
We'll be waiting for your call!
Growing up, I attended a parochial school and the
first time I heard anything about one's calling in life was from
the priests and nuns who were our teachers. Looking back, there was
much discussion on the call to vocation, or becoming a nun or
priest, but not so much information on the endless list of other
fields one could be "called" to. So, at that time in my life,
little thought was given to one's mission, outside of the clergy.
I've since learned to think
outside of the box!
Life is all about the choices we make and how we respond to
those choices. I have found often in my life that when presented
with a decision, my inner voice (the smart me) tells me what I
should do. On the good days I both hear and listen to the message.
But other days when I think I'm smarter than the wisdom within, I
override those instincts and do it my way. Inevitably it is a
disaster. Given the incredible luxury of that inner advisor it is
in our best interests to listen - after all, it comes with no
We are responsible for our choices and at some point in our
lives we come to a place where we long to uncover our mission, our
life's assignment, our calling, that speaks to us from deep within
our soul. As an admissions counselor at National University, I am
very lucky to witness people doing just that - responding to their
inner voice, exploring the possibilities, and finally, listening to
the wisdom within. A calling, in my opinion, is not a job, it's not
even a profession. It's fulfilling the need inside of you to give
to the world that special gift that is unique to you. It is
something you HAVE to do, LOVE to do, and it brings you incredible
Almost daily I meet people who are thinking about starting our
Massage Therapy Certification Program. When I ask them how they
became interested in this profession, a huge percentage of them
tell me it's something they've been thinking about for years -
something that's been "calling" to them - a little voice of
encouragement that they can no longer ignore. They tell me stories
of how they gravitate to people in pain and are able, without any
formal training, to relax those muscles, work out those knots, and
ease someone's aches. They are Massage Therapists. There is no
denying that they have a gift to offer to the family of
Working on a cruise ship sounds like a dream job, doesn't
it? Well, here's the scoop on how it all works.
According to Steiner TransOcean, an organization that manages
and trains personnel for about half of the cruise ships running in
the world, massage therapists are hired who have the qualifications
to work in the United States. Therapists who are accepted are
trained in the Elemis system of massage, which includes a specific
product line of oils not available on land. The oils are used in a
75-minute massage that incorporates mind and body relaxation.
Two very important attributes to have:
A good attitude- They want smiling faces and genuine people.
Their clients are on vacation and are there for a very positive
The ability to sell- Therapists are expected to sell the Elemis
products and a large part of their income depends upon their
After sending in a resume and proof of your certification or
licensure, you will be contacted by Steiner if they want you to
appear for an initial interview and trial massage. These interviews
are conducted on cruise ships when they are docked in U.S. ports,
usually around Florida (at your expense).
Once accepted, you fly to London (at your expense) to complete
training. Training lasts from two to 10 weeks depending on how
qualified the therapist is and how quickly she/he catches on to the
Elemis system. Steiner pays for lodging. Therapists are then flown
to their assigned vessel. From that flight on, Steiner picks
up all expenses, including room and board, and the return flight
home at the conclusion of the assignment. The length of assignments
ranges from four to eight months.
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