Benefits of Massage Therapy for Arthritis Patients Page 5
New York's requirements are eve tougher, for the massage therapist student must have 663 hours of instruction and courses. Colorado, however, is the most stringent, requiring 1,000 classroom hours (Anonymous 3, online).
Once a nurse practitioner completes a course in his or her state, a license is issued, following the certification examination. As mentioned earlier, patients feel a greater level of comfort when going to a registered nurse for massage therapy, since those practitioners are also highly trained in the healthcare field.
Although acupuncture also seems to help many patients, massage therapy is now becoming more of a mainstream - rather than an alternative - practice. Again, this is thanks to a growing number of registered nurses including the technique in their medical practice (Rock, 38).
Implications for Healthcare
As a treatment for medical conditions, massage therapy is fairly new. But as we have noted in this paper, it has gained credibility and respectability over the past decade or so. The backing of the National Institutes for Health beginning in 1992 opened the door for this practice to expand to mainstream practitioners. Although the department is called the Office of Alternative Medicine, it applies to both mainstream, traditional practices, and to alternative practices, such as acupuncture and massage therapy. Its head says the department's function is to look at everything from Chinese herbal medicines to changes in exercise habits and, yes, massage therapy, to determine how well they work (Rock, 37).
Given the evidence presented, there is no question that massage therapy will be embraced by more mainstream medical professionals in the coming years. It is no longer simply an "alternative" type of treatment; indeed, it has become a helpmate for thousands of arthritis sufferers.
Anonymous 3, "Legal Requirements for the Practice of Reflexology," online at www.reflexology-research.com
Cimons, Marlene, "Hands-On Help," in Runner's World, v. 36, #5, May 2001
Rock, Maxine, "Exploring Medicine's Gray Area," in Arthritis Today, v. 7, #5, September-October 1993
Zollman, Catherine, "Massage Therapies," in BMJ: British Medical Journal, v. 319, #7219, November 6, 1999