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May 8, 2014 9:49 AM by Elizabeth Hill

Injuries possible when going to unlicensed massage therapists

It's no secret, massage can be a beneficial tool in treating acute or chronic injuries and even certain disease symptoms.

"It's all about the type of massage that can be used for it and there's a time and a place for all of it."

Dr. Stephanie Aldret says knowing which type of massage technique to use and when, lies in the hands of a licensed and experienced therapist.

"If they've put their hands on numerous people they know what normal feels like and then they're going to be able to feel what abnormal feels like and what needs to be worked up a different way."

"They go through a lot of anatomy, palpatory, you have to know each muscle, it's origin, insertion, and actions, so they know how to move and they know how to asses them after."

Licensed therapist and instructor at Blue Cliff College, Laura Egoavil, says in order to be certified by the state, students must complete a minimum of 500 hours of supervised training including clinicals on the different types of massage like deep tissue and swedish.

She says the key is knowing contra-indications or when not to massage.

"If one of your muscles is injured you have to wait a certain amount of time to even asses the muscle so if they don't know that then they might injure the muscle."

"People that aren't licensed and haven't gone through the school don't know those things, they're not aware of the medications, or pregnancies or other things that maybe you need to change your technique," says Aldret.

It's up to client and therapist to keep the lines of communication open.

"Everybody coming in with pains isn't just the standard muscle pain, I strained my back, I pulled a muscle, there's other things that they need to be aware of," says Aldret.

"A massage is very subjective and you also have to get to know your therapist," says Egoavil.

In addition to the physical training required to be certified, massage therapy students learn the laws and ethics associated with practicing massage in louisiana. Egoavil says it's important for therapists to set boundaries with clients and if those boundaries are crossed by client or therapist, the massage should immediately be stopped.

In order to maintain a license, therapists are required to take 12 hours of continuing education every year.

Click here to search a list of licensed massage therapists and establishments in Louisiana.

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