The Therapeutic Benefits of Massage


When you think of getting a massage, you may imagine it tied to some special event — an appointment given as a birthday gift, a day spent getting spa-like treatment with a friend who is about to be married, or perhaps you’re lying on a massage table some miles away while on vacation.

In short, you may not always think to associate massage first and foremost with the image of regular healthcare.

But massages are a therapeutic treatment that, when used effectively, can actually help you alleviate a variety of mental, emotional, and physical ailments. Put simply, massages are incredibly therapeutic because...

Massage Relaxes You

Did you know that therapeutic massages have been proven to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety? This is because massages stimulate the release of endorphins in your body (the hormones that are regarded as natural opioids), helping you to more easily reach feelings of happiness and euphoria.

Speaking of hormones, massages also decrease your body’s level of cortisol — also known as the “stress hormone” — which contributes to headaches, weight gain, stiffness, and generalized stress.

By increasing your endorphins and decreasing cortisol levels, massages not only relax you, but they help you to regulate your sleeping patterns, reduce fatigue, and balance out your sense of emotional stability on a daily basis.

Massage Reduces Pain

Therapeutic massages are aimed directly at easing pain, enhancing your body’s range of motion and increasing blood circulation.

Particularly if you struggle with chronic pain and intense stiffness due to regular physical activity or demanding labor, frequent massages will help boost your pain tolerance as well as relieve any pain you may currently feel.

If you’re experiencing difficulty in isolating a source of pain or reaching an area that has remained inflamed, a (student) massage therapist will be able to help you work out those sensitive areas and give you the resources necessary to keep your pain in check.

Massage Can Enhance Your Long-term Well-being

As massages systematically strengthen your immune system, stimulate the nervous system and invigorate the lymph-nodes, regular sessions will increase the likelihood that your body will maintain a sense of overall resilience. In effect, your body will be more capable of fighting off illness or infection.

Additionally, stress, anxiety, and fatigue all serve to weaken the body’s immune system. As massages not only improve the immune system but decrease stress, scheduling an appointment with Alpha School of Massage is one of the easiest and most well-rounded ways you can take your well-being back into your own hands.

If you’re wondering where to turn next for your therapeutic massage — or if you have further questions about how your body may benefit from a session — contact us at Alpha School of Massage today! We hope you come relax with us.

What to know before becoming an esthetician

If you’ve been considering entering the field of skin care as an esthetician, you should know the ins and outs of this career.  It’s a wonderful option for those that love to work with people, heal others, and educate their clients on healthy skin care techniques.

This branch of anatomical science is focused on the health of the skin by helping to cleanse, preserve, and beautify skin of the entire body. Along with treatments to keep the skin healthy, estheticians work on preventative measures and maintenance for the skin. From the schooling required to building your clientele, here is a look at what you should know if you are considering becoming an esthetician.

esthetician applying facial mask

Schooling requirements

First, you’ll need to get into a school or program to become a certified esthetician which will give you a specialty in a branch of anatomical science. You’ll learn to work with making skin healthy through preservation, beautifying, and cleansing the skin on the entire body.

You’ll learn to detect skin problems that could need medical attention, learn preventative and maintenance care for the skin, branch into the manufacturing or selling of cosmetics, and learn treatment methods for a healthy and attractive skin.

Esthetician schooling will require between $5,000 and $20,000 in tuition as you complete between 4-12 months of training. Depending on your state’s requirements, you’ll complete between 260 and 1500 hours of education. You can look at the Beauty Schools Directory in your area for guidance on the schools offering your specialty.

However, Alpha School of Massage offers a Facial Program at NO-tuition so your total cost would be much less. It is a 500-hour Program that exceeds the minimum requirements by the state. Call them at (904)389-9117 for more information.

Careers opportunities and salary

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to do a variety of jobs with your education. Many go into a salon or spa esthetician position, while others simply open up their own salon or beauty bar. You can work as an educator, a travel esthetician, or even a cruise ship esthetician.

A lesser known use for this degree is working in the medical field since medical aestheticians are needed to treat conditions that are more serious. Of course, you can always become a product developer, a beauty product creator, a skin expert, or a beauty ambassador. You should explore as many opportunities as possible to determine what best suits your interests as a new esthetician.

Building a clientele

Whether you’ve decided to become a spa esthetician or a salesperson, you can try all kinds of great job opportunities with your education. Hotels, cruises, department stores, and resorts all need estheticians for their clientele. If you’re passionate about a skin care line, you can become a rep for the brand. You can work in retail, become an independent contractor, or become an educator.

It takes a long time to build up a clientele of repeat business. Sometimes clients don’t connect with you or vice versa, and they may go elsewhere for their next appointment. Getting to know your client and learning what their expectations are, what personality type they connect with, and what experience would best suit them is a great way to win a client over and have them coming back in the future.

You’ll have to work hard to earn your clients trust, but you can also get clients in the door by offering free skin treatments, giving out coupons for future visits, or bringing in friends and family for your first appointments while you build that client list. Make sure you are giving the best service possible by addressing your client’s skin concerns, learning about their type of skin in depth, and finding out their goals of the visit.

Pros and cons of the profession

If you’re sold on becoming an esthetician, you are likely looking forward to the benefits of the profession such as how emotionally rewarding it can be, the variety of jobs and places you can work with this license, and having a very flexible schedule with many benefits. At the same time, beware of some of the downsides, just like you’d have with any profession.

You may work nights or weekends depending on your place of employment and it may take you some time to build up that client list. The competition will be high and the demand for your services may fluctuate with the changes in the economy.

On the other hand, even if you struggle to get in the door at the spa of your dreams, you can always start your own or work in a variety of esthetic positions while you decide what’s right for you. You can even choose between jobs paying commission or jobs paying a salary. You’ll love working in a respected position that is associated with the medical field and always having something new to learn keeping boredom far away from the field of esthetics.

If you are thinking about becoming an esthetician, make sure you know the ins and outs of the field before getting involved in this rewarding career!

How to Know if a career in Massage Therapy and Massage School is right for you

If you’re interested in attending massage school for a future in massage therapy, you may be wondering what you can look forward to as a Licensed Massage Therapist. It’s a great way to combine your academic career with a hands-on profession, while helping others every day and enjoying a flexible schedule.

Like any career, it has its demands and protocols that you’ll have to follow. You’ll also be expected to take continuing education courses for your license and practicing requirements. If you think you might want to get into a massage profession, use this guide to see if massage school is right for you.

The schooling required

You probably have many questions about massage school, wondering things like what physical demands will be required and what kind of education requirements you’ll need for your license. The number of hours required for schooling differs from state to state. (Florida requires a minimum of 500 hours for licensure.) In addition to completing the regular schooling requirements for your licensing, it’s mandatory that you complete continuing education courses if you want to maintain your license. You’ll have to complete these continuing education “units” according to your state to maintain your massage license for the long-term. (Florida requires 12 hours of live continuing educating classes and 12 online based hours of continuing education every 24 months.)

Alpha School of Massage Storefront

The demands and expectations of the job

Now that you have a better idea of the educational requirements of the career, you may be wondering what the physical demands and other expectations are for massage therapists.  This is one of the more physically rigorous careers in which you’ll be kneading clients up to 8 hours a day, putting pressure on your hands and joints while standing all day. This is one of those professions with a higher burnout rate a few years after graduation for at least half of graduates, often due to improper techniques and not resting between massages. Self-care is important! You’ll have to make sure you are eating healthy, working out, and keeping your weight to a healthy number to avoid physical burn-out.

You’ll also need to maintain a positive demeanor with your clients, especially while they are in pain and making demands of you. You’ll need to be able to maintain your mental health and be prepared to provide healing to clients. They will be expecting physical and spiritual wellness from their appointments, making this career both physically and mentally challenging. Make sure you are seriously interested in health and medicine, that you want to help improve quality of life for your clients, and that you are willing to develop strong relationships. All excellent endeavors.

The perks of massage therapy

There are some wonderful and unique perks that come with working in this profession. Those strong relationships will bring much satisfaction as you watch your clients improve and help to be the reason they are healing. You’ll love the flexibility in the career with a flexible schedule, unlike the typical 9-5 work day many experience, and you can choose between working as a freelancer or as an employed professional in a spa setting or other facility.

The income can be wonderful in this profession whether you are salaried as an employee or working as your own business owner, especially since you are earning in relation to the time and resources you’ve invested into the career. Salaries are on the rise in this profession since the demand for services continues to rise.

There is a great deal of professionalism associated with massage therapy since insurance companies look at it as a health treatment for injuries and you’ll avoid dealing with the tedious, daily operations of the business. With the current high demand, you won’t have to worry about a lack of available positions, and you’ll find much flexibility of job opportunities between home-based businesses, traveling therapy, clinical settings, and more.

If you’re ready to get enrolled in massage school, be sure to use this guide to make sure you are prepared for the profession. It’s a unique and rewarding profession that could be the career of your dreams!

How Getting a Massage for Depression Can Help You

Have you ever gotten a massage and felt an instant mood lift? That might be because massage has been linked to fighting depression, at least for those that have sought out a massage for depression. When the muscles and soft tissue of the body are manipulated by a massage therapist, it can improve their function while promoting relaxation, making it easy to see why feelings of depression would be encouraged to dissipate. Take a closer look at massage to understand why it can help fight depression for you.

Woman is happy that she is receiving a massage

What is massage?

Massage is the manipulation of the muscles and soft tissue by a therapist to bring benefits to the body in function and relaxation. It involves rubbing, applying pressure, stretching, and often skin-to-skin contact, while in some scenarios additional measures including warm stones or acupuncture needles. A therapist uses hand, arm, fingertip, and elbow pressure to treat both physical and emotional problems in the body that dates back hundreds of years to when it was used as a medicinal treatment option.

The types of massage vary greatly from relaxation-focused treatment options like the Swedish massage to hot stone massages that promote relaxation in the muscles using warm flat stones. There are more intense massage options like the deep tissue massage which helps to correct a problematic muscle while shiatsu is used to provide a firm pressure to correct muscle issues.

The benefits of massage

There are many benefits to massage and it’s wise to get them often. When a trained professional massage therapist performs a massage, the body feels immediate relief, calmness, and relaxation. Even combining it with conventional treatment methods for depression like medication and psychotherapy, massage will still yield great results.

On the other hand, massage can’t treat the depression that is affecting a patient emotionally or chemically like conventional treatment options can, but it does offer relief and a mood boost that may offset these other issues temporarily.  

Is there any scientific proof?

The studies have been done for massage and depression research.  Studies are showing that massage for depression can actually relieve depression and anxiety that is affecting the body’s biochemistry, according to the Touch Research Institute at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine.

They found that massage increased dopamine and serotonin which are linked to reducing depression. They found this through studying women that were breast cancer patients receiving massage therapy for five weeks who ended up feeling less depressed.

Types of massage for depression techniques

The great thing about massage therapy is that it can relieve the tension that naturally happens in your muscles and connective tissues when they become stiff. Your blood flow will increase and that alone promotes relaxation. You’ll be able to see relief from the physical symptoms of depression including back pain, muscle aches, sluggishness, and sleeping problems.

The best massage for anxiety would be one of the relaxing massage options like the Swedish massage or Aromatherapy massage. A foot massage for depression would be Reflexology which works to stimulate better function of the organs and systems of your body through pressures points in the feet.

The aromatherapy massage using scented oils can not only make you feel more relaxed, but it can boost energy while reducing anxiety. Any method in which the mind and body can connect, such as through massage, is going to lead to relieved tension, improved health, better stress management, and relief of depression symptoms.

If you’ve ever wondered, “can massage help with depression?” the studies are in and they can, in fact, improve your depression symptoms. Make an appointment for a massage today in order to feel immediate results and to experience a relief from depression symptoms.

Top 3 Benefits of Regular Facial Treatment

Have you ever thought to try a facial during one of those spa visits you make throughout the year? Facials are sometimes overlooked to your favorite massage therapy or nail appointment, but it can be one of the best things to do for your skin’s health. Not only does it feel good, but you’ll find that it can reduce wrinkles, unclog your pores, and give you that healthy glow you wish you had.

While you practice your daily skincare routine and you’ve seen a dermatologist when issues were more severe than you could treat, a regular facial appointment may be the key to keeping your skin healthy and relaxed.

Take a look at the top three benefits of regular facial treatment that you didn’t know and that you’ll want to take advantage of by scheduling a facial today.

Rejuvenation and healthy skin

One reason you’ll want to start taking advantage of a facial appointment in your skincare routine is that facials are great for giving you a rejuvenated appearance and a healthy glow. Since a facial wil strip away your skin’s top layer through a chemical peel and microdermabrasion, you’ll be removing the dead skin cells that are hindering your appearance.

That means that those signs of sun damage and wrinkles on your face will disappear and you’ll naturally look fresher and more luminous. In addition, regular treatments of chemical peels, laser treatment, and facials are triggering more collage production in the face which will make you feel rejuvenated, fresher, and revitalized. Removing dead skin cells through this treatment is a great way to give your face a natural glow.

Reduce wrinkles and acne scars

Do you have scars from acne or wrinkles starting to show on the face? With your face being your most important element to your personal appearance, it’s important to rid it of anything taking away from the smoothness. Get facials to reduce acne scarring and visible wrinkles.

The chemical peels and laser treatments involved in facials can even out that skin tone which is going to remove the acne scarring that is currently visible. Even just every day stress can cause an uneven skin tone, which is why facials are so important for reducing this visibility. Having these treatments on the face can even out the textures, improve your skin tone, and help to prevent further acne scarring since you’ll notice less breakouts.

With the removal of that top layer of dead skin cells will help smooth out the textures, make wrinkles and fine lines fade, and will help with the collagen production needed to restore your skin cells. You’ll love the effects of a microdermabrasion, microneedling, or anti-aging facial that will help fight off those wrinkles and make them less prominent.

microneedling facial

Unclogging of pores

Lastly, if you’ve been feeling like your daily skincare routine is simply not fighting off those clogged pores, you’ll love the effects of regular facials. Sometimes pores just can’t avoid getting clogged up with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells but your regular facials can decongest them more permanently. You’ll love a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels for this reason as they will unclog those pores and help to prevent future acne breakouts.

If those reasons aren’t enough, you’ll also find that facials help you to soothe sensitive skin, treat pre-cancerous conditions, and simply make you feel your best. Be sure to book a facial treatment soon and make this a part of your new monthly routine!

How often should you get a massage for stress?

Have you ever wondered how often you should get massages if you want to get them regularly or sparingly? This is often brought up with therapists at the end of a great massage and it’s time to book the next appointment. While it’s going to vary for each person’s individual needs, there is a general guideline to determine how often you should get them.

You may have stress from an injury, from your athletic lifestyle, or simply from the life where a massage would help a great deal with reducing the stress. Take a look at this guide to help you determine your personal needs and how many times you should get a professional massage each month.

If you’re an athlete

The easiest scenario to look at is when it comes to athletics. If you are an athlete, you’ll want to get massaged as frequently as needed for the specific sport you are in and your specific goals. Some athletes get massaged daily while others will do it before a certain event. You’ll need to look at your training schedule and what your therapist recommends for your specific sport, training, and goals.

woman getting a sports massage

Pain management

For others, pain management is the reason behind their visits and what is causing stress throughout the week. If you are in pain from an injury and want to reduce or manage your pain, massage therapy is a great technique to do this. Your pain management may be different from someone else’s and will mean that you need an individualized frequency and technique.

If you are in serious pain but it’s not something that requires medical intervention, you could get a massage 1 or 2 times on week one with reduced frequency as the weeks continue, unless two visits a week continues to be necessary.

If you find that your pain is reduced or you’ve started your pain management treatment at a lower pain level, you likely would only need to get a massage once per week or every other week as the pain dissipates.

Personal needs

Sometimes you just need to reduce stress in your life or have a way to manage the stress you can’t help but be faced with. Whether it’s stress from your career, having children, or other physical or mental demands, massage is a great way to reduce the stress and relieve the body.

This is common for someone in a high-stress occupation or living situation, as well as travelers. You can cope with your lifestyle much easier with weekly or bi-weekly massage sessions. It’s helpful to reduce the stress levels and have something to look forward to each week. You may not realize how sore you are until you have a massage, even from just the normal stresses of daily life.

Can you get too many massages?

A massage is a great tool for relieving stress, improving mood, and increasing the overall quality of life and productivity. You’ll often feel better for a full week before you’ll start to notice the need for a return visit unless you are dealing with pain or injury. Your tension headaches will disappear, your energy will increase, and your mental health will improve. Is there such a thing as too many massages when you have benefits like this?

Actually, you can get massaged too frequently. Once a week is the most you should go unless you are dealing with pain or high-intensity sports. Between you and your therapist, you’ll be able to determine the best frequency because your body’s response is a large part of this determination.

You should go at least once per month, but as often as twice per week in severe pain situations. The longer you wait though, and the more often you’ll start the process over of loosening up your muscles because they tense up if you don’t go often enough. Try different techniques, such as deep tissue massage and stress massage depending on your needs.

When your body starts to feel stiff and sore, it’s telling you that it’s time for a massage again, but the type of massage you may need could vary depending on your body’s needs.

If you’ve ever wondered how often you are supposed to get a massage, use this guide to learn how to listen to your body and the benefits of getting one frequently.

3 Types of Massage Techniques Used by the Pros

If you’re new to the world of massage, you may not be familiar with the types of massages you could benefit from. There are three main massage techniques that you’ll find used by all of the pros, and they all serve different functions.

You’ll most often see the Swedish massage, the Deep Tissue massage, and the Sports massage offered at a professional massage studio near you. These are the most popular options that offer a variety of strokes and pressure. Take a closer look at these options and what they offer.

Deep Tissue

You’ve probably heard of a deep tissue massage because this style is so common for people that need help with a painful back or neck problem. This is a great option for correcting a painful knot because it gives specific attention to trouble areas in the body. The therapist will apply slow strokes with much pressure according to your needs.

This type of therapy is great for relieving an injury, sprain, or knot. It’s going to be less rhythmic and relaxing, but it’s going to aid you in recovering from more severe pains. Your therapist will apply more pressure to layers of muscle or tissue that needs to be worked on.

Your therapist may use a transverse friction method for a deep tissue massage. This method uses an oscillating pressure across the direction of the tissue fibers for a tendon or ligament injury that needs to be broken down.

deep tissue massage.jpg

Sports Massage

Similar to the deep tissue massage is a sports massage used for sports injuries. If you or someone in your family is an athlete, this massage can help with healing those sports injuries or muscle strains. There is a variety of approaches to the strokes used in sports massage depending on if you are getting a massage before, after, or during your sporting events.

It’s a great way to help athletes for their training. Your therapist will likely use trigger point techniques, relaxation techniques, and anti-fatigue massage on your muscles.  

sports massage.jpg

Swedish Massage

If you’ve ever heard of someone getting a massage recently, they were likely getting the Swedish massage, one of the most common relaxation methods that people often seek out. This type is much more rhythmic, in which your therapist will use longer and softer strokes to relax your muscles.

He or she will us tapping strokes, kneading, petrissage which is a type of squeezing or rolling after a gliding stroke, and friction with deep, circular movements to increase blood flow.

swedish massage.jpg

Your massage therapist will know the best massage technique depending on the reason for your appointment. They can also customize your massage to provide multiple techniques depending on your current needs and your body’s response. When you try to do it yourself or use an at-home device to relax your muscles, you don’t have the kind of control of a therapist in the pressure, the technique, or the trigger point. Your therapist is more likely to be able to pinpoint the source of the pain as well.

That’s a look at the types of massage and their benefits and the types of massage techniques that you may experience at your next massage.