Massage therapy has its roots in ancient healing practices from all over the globe. The oldest medical journal on record, “The Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine,” written in China around 1000 B.C., refers to the treatment of paralysis and reduced circulation through massage. Even Hippocrates, the great Greek physician was an advocate of massage. He wrote, “The physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly in rubbing, for rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid.”
Over the centuries, massage therapy has evolved into the practice we’re familiar with today and is used in physical rehabilitation as well as in the treatment of chronic conditions such as back pain, arthritis, infertility and depression.
Finding a massage therapist isn’t difficult; most have listings in local telephone directories or in internet directories by location. You can also call local massage therapy schools for their recommendations. In Virginia, Fortis College has campus locations in both Norfolk and Richmond or you can contact the National Massage Therapy Institute in Falls Church, Virginia. In Virginia Beach, the Cayce/Reilly School of Massotherapy offers a slightly different approach with a focus on holistic healing based on the famous Edgar Cayce readings and the massage style developed by Harold J. Reilly.
There are hundreds of different types of massage therapy. To ensure that you find the practitioner who is right for you, you have to ask the right questions. Do they specialize in deep tissue or sports massage? Do they offer Thai massage, Shiatsu, reflexology or aromatherapy? Are they certified in prenatal or pregnancy massage techniques? What types of oils or creams will be used? Will they come to your office?
The office chair massage is a popular option for busy professionals. Mobile practitioners arrive at the office with specialized equipment, offering stress relieving massage to staff as a special treat during the work day. A great way to boost morale, ease tension, alleviate aches, pains and stiff joints, office chair massage offers a unique alternative to standard massage.
It’s also important to make sure they are licensed. Virginia is one of 37 states to adopt the National Certification Exam (NCE,) a standardized entry level exam for massage practitioners, as their written massage licensing test. This allows practitioners who have passed the exam, to apply for licensing in another state without taking the test again. The National Certification Exam includes questions on pathology, anatomy, therapeutic massage assessment and application, professional standards, ethics, business and legal practices. Eligibility to take the exam is gained by competing 500 hours of supervised instruction and graduation from an accredited school.
Rates for massage are usually based on a one hour session, less than sixty minutes doesn’t allow enough time for total body and mind relaxation. Some therapists offer thirty minute sessions, but this usually includes just upper body massage. In the Norfolk – Virginia Beach area, prices range from $45 to $90 an hour, dependent upon the types of services offered.