Women are notorious for trying to fight the signs of aging, but like death and taxes, getting old is inevitable. Thankfully, geriatric massage therapists can ease some of the pains of getting old by providing specialized services suited to the elderly. While geriatric massage may not stop aging, it offers geriatric clients other benefits like pain relief, improved circulation and stress release. Massage therapists who wish to serve the elderly population can opt to obtain certification in geriatric massage.
Massage therapists wanting to earn geriatric massage certification can turn to a variety of different providers, including massage schools dedicated solely to geriatric massage, like the Daybreak Geriatric Massage Institute. Numerous general massage therapy schools also offer geriatric certification programs. Several individual massage therapists who have extensive experience in geriatric massage provide certification courses, as do professional associations, like the American Massage Therapy Association.
To earn certification, participants must complete courses that cover in-depth topics related to geriatric massage. Each program offers its own curriculum, but most cover general topics like the emotional and physical effects of aging, modifying massage techniques for elderly clients, working with clients with various medical conditions like Alzheimer's, and working with clients who are in wheelchairs. Additionally, some programs also cover marketing techniques and teach therapists how to attract and maintain clients by advertising in senior communities. The certification classes typically include both classroom work and hands-on practical experience on elderly clients.
Each program has different prerequisites for students to enter the certification program, such as holding a current massage license. Sometimes the prerequisites are as simple as having any type of medical background, like with the Carlson College Geriatric Workshop. The Daybreak Geriatric Massage Institute offers two different levels of certification and requires students to have completed Level I before taking Level II.
While in the certification program, participants must fulfill certain requirements to earn the designation, including paying tuition or a program fee. Some programs also require students to purchase textbooks, study guides and other course materials. Depending on the program, a student may also have to bring her own massage table, towels, sheets and lubricant. Students must be present for all course hours to gain credit for the class.
The amount of time needed to complete a certification course varies, but most programs take between 8 and 18 hours to finish depending on the program. Most programs occur over the course of one or two days. Massage therapists earning certification can use those course hours as continuing education credits to go towards maintaining a massage license or other general certification.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.