Massage Education/Requirements for NYS
A brief introduction into the world of becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist...
What is the Criteria to become a Certified & Licensed Massage Therapist in New York State?
Massage Therapy is often defined as touching (pressing, rubbing, squeezing, etc.) of the skin, tendons, muscles, etc. (soft tissues), and the manipulation of such as to create beneficial results of the tissues, organs, systems, and each body cell, which have lasting effects.
There are many types/styles of massage known as modalities, in which to practice. Some of these modalities include: Sweedist, Shiatsu, Thai, Connective Tissue Therapy (CTT), Myo-Fascial Release (MFR), Active Release Therapy (ART), Sports, Abdominal, Maya Abdominal Massage, Trigger Point Therapy (TPT), Medical, Pregnancy, Elder, Event, Chair, Hydrotherapy, Lymphatic Drainage, CranioSacral, Reflexology, Lomi, Lomi, Trager, Kinesiology Through Movement (KAM), Feldenkrais, Polarity/Energy Therapy, Rolfing, Deep Tissue, and soooooo many more!
Most states in the US, (and Countries around the world) require an individual to complete a training program before being permitted to practice Massage Therapy as a profession. NYS is one of the states that requires the highest amount of training (still as of writing this blog and when I, April, went through training), in order to become Certified and therefore eligible to take required exam, to practice legally, in order to become Licensed. That requirement is 1,000 hours of education from an accredited/accepted school in but not limited to: Anatomy & Physiology (A&P), Kinesiology, Pathology, Massage Modalities, Ethics, Etc., and Clinical Hands on Practice both in school and with the General Public which is observed while in school.
So one may ask, what differentiates Therapists, or what are the basic modalities taught in NYS? To my awareness, there are modalities that are required in NYS to be taught (including but perhaps not limited to: Swedish, Shiatsu, Medical, Sports, Pregnancy, Elder), and others that can be added into a school’s program, much like electives. For example, Finger Lakes School of Massage (FLSM) in Ithaca included CTT (based off of Myofascial), TPT (Trigger Point Therapy), KAM (Kinesthetic Awareness through Movement, which is based off of Trager & Feldenkrais), Hydrotherapy, and Polarity/Energy Therapy (based off of Reiki and Reflexology). I may have some of these in the wrong columns of NYS’s requirements vrs electives, but you get the general idea.
Because of this, LMTs in NYS have the same basic training, but the style of training and the variations of modalities can change between them. Because of this, all LMTs in NYS have a similar background to start with. Also in NYS, and some other states, are required Continuing Education Unit(s) (CEUs) in order to maintain your license. With these CEUs, experience, natural ability/inclination, etc., a therapist can be as versatile as s/he would like, as specific, or even both -I myself (and as anyone who knows me can testify) like both.
I do think it is important to know the level of training a therapist goes through in order to have understanding and respect for the profession. With that said, be careful when it comes to someone telling you they have a certification or more training in something then they may not truly possess (misleading). For example, in school we learn to massage the whole body including the feet; however, that does not make someone a Reflexologist. There are specific terms and training certifications (Trager, Feldenkrais, MFR, ART, Lymphatic Drainage, Reflexology, etc) that people must have in order to say they are such...
As always, I could continue; however, I hope this has been informative and helpful in learning about how your skilled LMT became what s/he is.
Until next time,
April R Roush-Stanley