Most of you will by now have seen Seated Acupressure (On Site) Massage in practice and may even have received a Massage yourself. Perhaps you were at an Exhibition and thought ‘That looks great. I’d love to do that’. Maybe you know someone who offers this type of Massage or someone who has On Site Massage at work. However your interest has come about, you know you want to train in On Site Massage.
So where do you go from here?
An obvious starting place is the internet. You will soon find you are faced with several Schools offering this type of training. Courses will range in content, quality of training, duration, price and location. Courses vary from just a few hours to 4 full days. This is obviously an influencing factor on the quality of training.
So what things do you need to consider before booking onto a course?
There are many different aspects to consider and the priority of each aspect will vary from person to person.
Whilst finance is an obvious consideration in the current economic climate, it should not necessarily be the first thing to consider.
What qualification would you receive on successful completion of the course? Is it a Certificate of Attendance, a Diploma from the School, or a Professional Diploma with accreditation (if so, who provides the accreditation?). Accreditation from a National Body is often instantly recognized and respected, particularly in the Corporate sector.
Does your Insurance Company recognise this qualification so it can be included on your policy, or would you have to change Insurance Companies? Again accreditation from a National Body is more likely to be accepted.
These points are all valid and we haven’t yet looked at the course itself!
So what about the course?
Information regarding the content of the course should be readily available. Compare several courses and see what the differences are. According to their websites it may seem some schools are very similar in course content, but with a big variation in duration, ranging from a few hours to 4 full days.
So how can you choose between them?
Firstly, what are the entry requirements? The majority require a recognised Bodywork and Anatomy & Physiology qualification. This makes great sense as it is important to have an understanding of how the body works and the effect of Massage on the different systems of the body. To try and learn a skill such as Seated Acupressure (On Site) Massage without any prior knowledge of the body and the effects of massage, could lead to difficult and potentially harmful situations. On Site Massage is a powerful form of Massage. It works on the Meridians or energy channels of the body and may have quite a dramatic effect on the individual.
Further to that is both knowledge and understanding of Cautions and Contra Indications to Massage.
For several reasons this is a very important aspect of any type of Massage. With an increase in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and conditions relating to poor diet and exercise routines, not to mention the increased ‘blame’ society, it is even more important to have an understanding of the effects of Massage on the body.
Many training courses state they include a section on Cautions and Contra Indications specific to that type of Massage. But how much time is actually spent discussing this area? It is not enough to tell the students to simply read through the information in their own time.
It is vital to understand what information you need to know before you can make a decision about whether to go ahead or not with an On Site Massage. The Practitioner may ask a question to which the Client replies yes, for example, a history of back or neck injury. That could mean the Client simply has an aching back from something like gardening, or, they could have had a whiplash injury or an operation on their back. Without further questioning from the Practitioner and an understanding of what information is required, how can the Practitioner make a decision on whether to go ahead or not with an On Site Massage?
A Colleague was working at an Exhibition recently and whilst working, overheard another Practitioner asking their Client if they had Diabetes. The Client said yes and the Practitioner ticked the box. The Practitioner went ahead with the massage. After the Client had gone the Practitioner waited until my Colleague was free and said, ‘What’s Diabetes?’
Not surprisingly my Colleague was both amazed and appalled that the Practitioner not only did not ask any questions of their Client, but that they went ahead with the Massage with no understanding whatsoever of the condition. When asked if Cautions and Contra Indications were discussed in the course where they trained, they said no.
Diabetes is now a common condition and all Practitioners should have some understanding on how it affects the body and how massage can affect the condition. But, if a Practitioner does come across a condition they know nothing about, this should automatically mean the Practitioner asks more questions to determine if On Site Massage is suitable. Do not just ignore the condition and go ahead with the Massage. Not only is this potentially harmful, it is unprofessional.
It is essential to spend time as a group discussing the major conditions they are likely to come across and what information they need to know. Similarly, the Practitioner needs to know what questions they need to ask to obtain the relevant information if it is a condition or situation they have not come across before.
Even with a prior qualification in A&P and Bodywork, time should still be spent discussing Cautions and Contra Indications relative to On Site Massage. As commented by a previous student of the Academy....... ‘I think one of the parts of the course that proved most useful is the section on cautions and contraindications. I have studied with several schools of different sizes and certainly this has always been a section that has been gleaned over. The detail and information shared throughout and especially in section three of the course has made me feel much more confident than in the past’.
What about On Site Massage itself. Where does it come from? How does it work? It’s all well and good to tell your Client the massage works on the Meridians of the body but do you know what a Meridian is? An understanding of the origin of the Massage, Meridians, Ki energy and the effects of Acupressure on the body are important. This should be discussed as a group to ensure a basic understanding or, knowledge of, Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Regarding the Massage, how long is the routine? A basic routine would normally last approximately 20 minutes. The routine should be taught in smaller ‘bite size’ modules to allow the Practitioner to learn the technique, its application and also how to look after their own body whilst massaging. But remember everyone is different and it is important to be able to provide a massage that suits the needs and requirements of both the Client and the Practitioner. With this in mind, there should be the opportunity on the course to learn techniques that are additional to the basic routine, thus allowing the Practitioner to adapt the Massage as required.
You should be able to get a more detailed breakdown of how the course runs, what exactly is covered in the course and how long is spent on each area, by contacting the School and asking questions. You do not have to make a decision there and then and may find you think of more questions after you have put the phone down. Not a problem. The School should be more than happy to answer your questions and tell you what they offer on their course.
But how do you earn the qualification? What exams are required? How many case studies are required? When are the exams carried out? These are all important questions. Any good School will require a minimum of 50 case studies or massages prior to completing their Seated Acupressure (On Site) Massage course and practical exam. This allows the Practitioner to practise on a variety of people and conditions, helping build up their knowledge, experience and confidence.
Exam wise, this should be made up of both a Theory and a Practical section. In the Theory exam, the Practitioner should be tested on both knowledge and understanding. The Practical exam should only be completed once the Case Studies are complete. These exams cannot be completed in a one day course as you have not had time to practise, learn and, importantly, understand.
Other considerations not yet mentioned include class sizes and Tutors. Small class sizes ensure greater attention for the individual from the Tutor As an example, the Academy has a maximum of 8 students to one Tutor so at any one time during practical work, 4 students are receiving the massage whilst 4 students give the Massage. The Massage itself is taught in smaller Modules to allow the individual to learn each section thoroughly and safely.
What about the Tutors? All Tutors should be both qualified and insured to teach. They should also have a minimum of two years experience ‘in the field’ using the therapy in their working Practice. When speaking to the School you should be able to confirm this.
Whenever you learn a new Therapy you need to practise. But remember, practise does not necessarily make perfect. However, good practise can certainly help towards it.
There is a lot to learn with any new Therapy. As part of your learning you need to be able to go away from the course and practise the new skills. Upon your return to the course any ‘bad habits’ you may have developed during your practise can be corrected before they become permanent, thus helping you to provide the best massage possible, without compromising your own health.
Having completed your research you will see that included in the Academy course are the history and background of On Site Massage, the aims (and limitations) of On Site Massage, chair set up and correct use of equipment, correct positioning of the Client, Client screening, cautions and contra indications, the 20 minute Kata or massage routine (broken down into modules), point location exercise, introduction of a series of new techniques, shorter massage routines, Marketing On Site Massage to the Corporate Sector, and one to one tuition.
From a practical point of view you need time to take away what you have learned over the first weekend, and put it into practise. The second weekend allows you to improve your core techniques and ensure correct posture, positioning, point location and execution of the technique. You can then broaden your skills with a range of new techniques, adapt the Massage to provide 5, 10, 15 or 20 minute routines.
An understanding of Cautions and Contra Indications is vital for the safety of both the Client and Practitioner. For this reason there is an initial discussion on level 1, with specific screening situations discussed on level 2, including those from Practitioner experience during their case studies.
With all this in mind, in my opinion you cannot learn Seated Acupressure (On Site) Massage in one or two days.
Having done your research you should now have an idea of the course content, exam requirement, resulting qualification and accreditation. The length of the course will be reflected in the time available to cover the different aspects of the content. The cost and location of the course will vary but remember to look at what you get both in, and from, the course.
Hopefully this helps you in the selection of your course. Perhaps there were some things you didn’t think about or, it reinforces what to look for in a course.
Finally, if you have any questions about a course then just ask. It’s the best way of getting answers!
If you would like any information regarding the Academy’s courses by all means, call us on 0118 927 2750. Alternatively, check out the website www.aosm.co.uk or email us at
Pauline Baxter Academy of On Site Massage Ltd