MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Medical Educator Speakers Bureau Seminars and Events Research Studies Research Grants Catalyst PDF File Community Happenings Campus News

Return to Main Menu

Therapy: a form of preventative health care

Stop by Health 1st’s Wellness Wednesday table in the Children’s Hospital lobby between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 23 to learn more about massage therapy, and receive a free chair massage from a therapist of the Center for Therapeutic Massage.

by Steven Jurch
Rehabilitation Sciences
Massage therapy, one of the oldest forms of healing, is continuing to establish itself as a valid, effective form of preventative health care. As the demand for this profession grows, more therapists are entering the workforce to meet the needs of the community. With increasing choices for the consumer on where to get a massage or what type of therapy to receive, the decision can become overwhelming. In order to help you get the most out of your massage, here is some advice on finding a therapist:

Make sure they are licensed
South Carolina has required licensure of massage therapists since 1996. Therapists must have attended at least one 500-hour training program and passed a national certification exam before applying to the state to obtain a license to practice.

Make your needs known to the therapist
Not all massage therapists are the same. While every therapist has a similar basic set of skills, many have received additional training or may have a specialization in working with certain types of clients. For example, if you have chronic pain or have sustained an injury, choosing a massage therapy clinic to provide the treatment you need would be the right choice. At the same time, if you just want to relax or receive a body treatment, then going to a spa or salon should be the right fit.

Be an informed consumer
Treat your search for a massage therapist the same way you would for any other health care provider. Ask others where they have gone. Word of mouth is always a good indicator. Don’t be afraid to ask a therapist about how long they have been practicing; their training and education (remember that each school will emphasize different aspects of massage); and whether they have experience working with your particular condition or situation.

Keep an open line of communication with the therapist
Giving feedback on aspects such as the pressure and whether your needs are being met will help you obtain the best therapy possible.

Highlighted upcoming Health 1st event
Break the Habit! Sign up for the “Freedom From Smoking” series, an American Lung Association Program. This is a free (normal registration fee is waived) seven-week,  eight session course, from noon to 1 p.m. starting Feb 26.
Topics include: Thinking about Quitting—weighing the pros and cons of quitting; On the Road to Freedom- the supportive group setting; Wanting to Quit—motivation and conditioning; Quit Day—a formal ceremony for quitting; Winning Strategies—becoming a nonsmoker; The New You—emphasizes the new life-style as a nonsmoker; Staying Off—includes assertive communication and importance of a physical activity plan suited to each participant’s daily routine; and  Celebration—reflecting during the last seven weeks and reinforcing relapse prevention.
Contact Beka Hardin at 792-9959 to register, or e-mail Registration is limited to 20 participants. Also, go to for information on other upcoming events/classes.
Editor's note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st. Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful information concerning all aspects of health.

Friday, Jan. 18, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.