Massage therapists use their hands to work the soft tissue and muscles of the human body. Massage therapists undergo extensive training to become familiar with the muscular structure of the body in order to understand the best way to reduce muscular tension. Massage therapy is used for a variety of reasons including supporting overworked muscles, promoting general health, reducing stress, and recovering from physical injury.
Clients often seek out massage therapy for its therapeutic physical and physiological effect on the body and mind, seeking the professional services of many different massage varieties. Massage therapists generally work by appointment, taking time to meet individually with clients and consider their physical and mental health situation before engaging in the therapy session.
The length and type of session often depends on the technique of the therapists as well as the needs and conditions of the client. Massages are often tailored to meet the needs of a specific clientele. For example, physical therapy massage is different from stress relaxation, while maternal massages are yet another kind of massage for pregnant mothers.
Many massage therapists are self-employed and specialize in specific types of massage. Based on a patient's needs, a therapists may refer clients to other specialists, while in return other therapists might refer their clients back to them. It can take time for massage therapists to gain the rapport necessary to attract a large number of clients and to develop a network of other specialists to work with, but doing so will increase the stability of the profession for self-employed therapists.
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