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Massages have long been a common gift throughout the holiday seasons. Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, or Valentine’s Day, a massage gift card can make anyone smile. However, many people don’t consider what it really means to give someone the gift of massage. Here are a few ways you may not have known you were showing your love.

1. The Gift of Relaxation

Relaxation means more than just taking a few minutes out of your day to be alone. Massage therapy can help ease tension, relieve stress, and promote overall relaxation. If you have a hard-working spouse, mother, or friend, a massage gift card can bring one (or more!) days of peace to a rather chaotic work schedule. Show someone you care by helping them prioritize themselves.

2. The Gift of Recovery

If you have an athlete in your life who prioritizes their physical health, we can tell you that massage therapy should be a part of that routine. Massage therapy can help athletes recover from injuries or after competitions and meets. Massage therapy is good for athletes of all ages, too. Give the gift of recovery and revitalization to the person in your life who is running circles around everyone else.

woman in white receiving a massage

3. The Gift of Preparation

In addition to aiding recovery, massage therapy can help prepare you for a variety of physical activities. Massage can help warm up and stretch muscles that may have otherwise felt tension before an event. You can even use massage to help someone prepare for everyday life. A morning massage appointment can make all the difference in the work day. Whether your loved one is running the 9-5 race or hitting the pavement, massage can make a difference.

4. The Gift of Self-Love

Everyone should take time out to give themselves a little bit of attention. Help your wife, husband, mother, or father focus on their own wellbeing by giving them a reason to get a massage. Gift cards are the perfect way to allow someone to make time for themselves.

massage therapist working on a client's calves

5. The Gift of Community

When you give a gift card from San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork, you allow someone to connect with their community. Our students are people just like you. They work hard and are passionate about what they do and how it affects others. Your loved one can help a fellow citizen practice a craft they care about, all while making a connection with someone who can be a friend in the future.

Who Will You Give To?

Who do you want to show love and appreciation for? Who in your life can benefit from all these ways massage can give? Make sure to share with us in the comments below. If you want to pick up a gift card to our student clinic, click here.

Massage Therapists, Find Out How to Use Gift Cards in Your Holiday Marketing! Click Below.

click here to read more about giftcards

As we enter the depths of the cold and flu season, massage therapists have an extra responsibility to their clients, communities, and themselves to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria. We come in close contact with multiple people throughout our work day, which makes it especially easy to spread cold and flu-causing viruses. However, some simple precautions can help keep you and your clients healthy and happy.

Hand Washing is Your First and Best Defense

While it may seem obvious, keeping your hands clean is the easiest way to prevent the spread of cold-causing viruses. From office door handles, to coffee cups, to elevator buttons, there are an infinite number of high-touch points that can all harbor viruses and bacteria.

washing hands with soap and water

Luckily, frequent hand washing is the most effective method of preventing those viruses and bacteria from transferring to you (and then to your clients). Here’s a step by step approach to effective hand washing for massage therapists.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, warm, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. If you use your forearms and elbows during a massage, be sure to wash them too!
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Humming the “Happy Birthday” or “ABC” song from beginning to end twice is a good timer.
  4. Turn on the tap and rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a paper towel.
  6. Use the paper towel to turn off the tap and to open the bathroom door before recycling it or disposing of it in the trash.

This method ensures that your freshly washed hands won’t come into contact with any high-touch points where viruses and bacteria can lurk.

Now that you know how best to wash your hands, when should you wash them?

  • Before and after every massage session
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching garbage
  • After touching used linens or dirty equipment

You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth during or after a massage until you can wash your hands. In lieu of hand washing, it’s okay to use hand sanitizing gel throughout a massage session as needed but, it should never replace regular hand washing. If you do use it, make sure to massage it into your hands for a full 30 seconds to let the sanitizer do its job.

Institute a Firm ‘Stay-At-Home’ Policy

It can be hard sometimes when we’re sick to admit it to ourselves. We might think that a little sniffle is nothing to worry about. Despite feeling a cold coming on, many of us will still keep our appointments until we are in full-blown sickness.

girl in a blue hat with a cold blowing her nose

Our massage clients are no different. Many of them will arrive for their session in denial about what their little sniffle might be, or even thinking that a good massage is just the thing to help them feel better. The reality is that getting a massage during a cold may actually make them feel worse!

Massage therapy stimulates the immune system and if your client is fighting off a cold, receiving a massage may actually increase their symptoms. Never mind that they may be transmitting their cold to you and the rest of your clients.

Likewise, if you are feeling sick, you have a responsibility to not transmit your virus to your clients. If you sense that you are coming down with something, do yourself and your clients the favor of calling to cancel and reschedule their appointments. You may lose a few sessions in doing so, but most clients will appreciate that you are putting their well-being above your income and happily reschedule for a later date when you are feeling better.

It’s important to communicate these facts to your clients from the get-go and as cold and flu season makes its annual appearance, remind them of them through an email, newsletter, or via your social media outlets.

One easy way to convey this information to your clients up front is to enter into a “Wellness Agreement” with them as part of their initial sign up. This can be a separate section of their intake form that simply says something like:

“Wellness Agreement: If I am sick, I will call and reschedule my massage appointment so that I do not transmit my illness to my massage therapist or their other clients. I also understand that should my therapist be sick, they will call me to reschedule my appointment so that they do not transmit their illness to me.”

After the statement, you can provide a place for them to initial that they understand and accept this agreement.

Target Points of Mutual Contact

Another technique you can employ during cold and flu season is to take extra care in cleaning your massage studio and equipment. Besides always changing your linens after each client, clean the entire massage table after each session.

Use a commercially available disinfecting wipe or a spray with bleach solution of 1 Tbsp of bleach to 1 Qt of water. Sanitize and wipe down the entire surface of your massage table and face cradle after every session. You can use the same wipes or bleach solution to clean any equipment or high-touch areas.

Clean after every massage session:

  • Massage oil and lotion bottles
  • Massage bolsters, props, and arm rests
  • Massage tools such as thumb savers or trigger point knobs

Clean daily (at least):

  • Massage table leg and face cradle adjustment points
  • Doorknobs
  • Sink taps and sink
  • Toilet seat, handle, and lid
  • Light switches

The easiest way to remember what to clean and when is as follows:

  • Anything that contacts you or a client during a session, clean after every massage.
  • Anything that you or your clients touch before or after a session, clean daily.

Vaccinate Against Intruders

Finally, viruses are everywhere and the average adult gets 2-3 colds per year. Even if you follow the above guidelines, regular flu shots and other vaccinations should be maintained and up-to-date. Talk to your doctor, tell them what you do for a living, and ask them what vaccinations they recommend to help prevent you from getting sick in the first place.

female doctor vaccinating a senior man

We employ all of these methods at the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork to help prevent the spread of colds and flu to our students, instructors, and faculty. While nothing will prevent all infections, implementing these proven techniques in your massage practice will sharply reduce the risk of infection to you and your clients and defend against the spread of viruses. Be well, and massage happy!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

The holiday season draws out millions of shoppers, all seeking to get the perfect gift for the people on their lists. For industries like massage, this can present a bit of a conundrum. Competing with the retail space’s pervasive grip on consumer attention, holiday spending, and brand awareness might seem simply impossible, but there’s actually a ton you can do to take advantage of the season.

If you haven’t tried to capture some of the holiday season buying frenzy yet, it’s not too late. Here are a few things you might try out.

Get Festive

Little details can bring the festive mood into your practice. Brighten up your space with some string lights, decorate with sprigs of winter berry and balsam, or burn a pine-scented candle. Subtle changes can remind your customers of the holiday festivities and keep them in the spirit of the season.

santa getting a table massage

Gift Certificates

If you don’t offer gift certificates, you should; every massage gift certificate given is a new potential client. They make great stocking stuffers and fit nicely into a card. Don’t be afraid to let clients know you offer gift certificates. You can make a cute little holiday display in your office to promote them, or simply let clients know you have them available after their massage.

Don’t forget, everybody loves a deal, especially with all of the holiday sales happening. Offer gift certificates for a single massage at a slightly discounted rate to help encourage your current clients to buy them for friends and family.

Bonus: DON’T forget to push them on your social media accounts! (More on that below).

woman looking at a gift card on her tablet

Be Creative!

Upgrade your massage menu by offering a pomegranate oil aromatherapy massage. Create a special mini massage session featuring a peppermint foot massage that would be perfect for weary holiday shoppers. Trying out something new can be just as fun for you as it is for your clients!

Not to mention, seasonal specials can make people feel like there are always new options to explore if they come back and want a bit of a change up!

Give Gratitude

The old adage, “Your best new customer is your current customer” is true. Research shows that marketing to existing customers can be six or seven times more cost effective than marketing to new customers. Why not send an email to all of your existing clients telling them how awesome they are and saying thanks for a great year?

While you’re at it, make sure to extend a special holiday massage deal just for them; buy three massages get one free, take 20% off your first massage of the new year, or something similar that really lets them know you appreciate their business.

Engage Your Customers

Social media can be a great way to connect with your existing client base and let them know you’ve got something special going on. Tweet about how massage relieves holiday stress. Blog about the benefits of giving massage gift certificates. Share some pictures on Instagram of the holiday decorations in your practice. Post on Facebook about your special peppermint foot massage. Get the word out far and wide and try to cross-pollinate between various platforms where possible. Whether you do one of these or all of them, get going! The holiday season is almost over and you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities to connect with clients new and old.

Get in Touch!

Maybe you’re a seasoned massage therapist that would love to learn more about the business or expand your skill set. Maybe you’re a budding therapist-to-be. You might even just be an eager holiday shopper looking to take advantage of our great clinic. Get in touch with us here at San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork, and happy holidays!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Some of you just sang the melody in your head and got a little bit more excited for the holiday season. Some of you rolled your eyes and thought about how seasonal depression doesn’t happen in the summer months. Regardless of which camp you fall into, there’s one thing that’s universal: the winter season in San Francisco is awesome.

You probably already know that you shouldn’t be counting on a white Christmas in the Bay Area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the holiday and wintertime spirit all the same. Why is this? Well for one…

San Francisco gets a little bit more beautiful around the holidays.

The city decks its halls in the winter. Between light displays and holiday festivals, Zoo Lights, and boat parades in Fisherman’s Wharf, there are plenty of places to wander off and get yourself in the holiday spirit.

Bay Area locals know all of the tourist traps to avoid by now, but there are few diamonds in the rough of would-be touristy eye-rollers, too. From holiday light tours to cable cars, locals can enjoy a killer holiday date night or family night in the city.

Don’t skip on the holiday festivities in Union Square.

Forget Rockefeller Center, San Francisco has a holiday vibe all its own without the price of a coast-to-coast plane ticket. From ice skating, to live music, to gigantic Christmas trees and light displays, Union Square is the center of holiday fun in the city.

aerial image of union square during christmas time

What’s more, it’s a great place to experience some of the multiculturalism that makes our city so great. From a variety of different seasonal foods to Hanukkah celebrations, you get a little taste of everything at Union Square.

The Arts

San Francisco (and the Bay Area as a whole) is rich with culture and the fine arts. You may or may not be interested in seeing the Nutcracker again this holiday season; if you are, you’re in luck because the world famous San Francisco Ballet performs it annually, but you’ve got options abound.

Holiday concerts performed by the San Francisco Symphony, musicals & live theater at any of the great venues around the city, and more all contribute to the long-standing winter and holiday traditions that make SF so amazing this time of year.

Holiday shopping for those that enjoy the novelty.

Most people are going on Amazon to fulfill their Christmas shopping list, but still plenty of shoppers love window browsing and the novelty and instant gratification of more traditional holiday shopping. If you fall into that category, San Francisco has options aplenty for you.
If you want to go traditional, head back to the Macy’s at Union Square, or check out Pier 39 if you can hang with the crowds and the tourists. You’ll find variety, trendy holiday sales & product lines, and more.

If you want something a bit more off the beaten path, hop down the Mission District, where San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork calls home. From the trendy and hip, to the culturally diverse, and more, the Mission District is chock full of boutiques, gift shops, retailers, and artisan shops to help you check off the important people on your Christmas list.

Did we miss anything you absolutely love about the Bay Area around the holiday season? Tell us in the comments, and share our blog on social media!

Choosing a career is an important life decision. When considering the options, you want to find something that fits your personality, works with your lifestyle, and will be rewarding. Making the right career choice can mean the difference between loving or dreading going to work every day; when you spend 40 hours a week working, you can’t afford to hate your job.

Many are finding massage therapy to be a great career choice for multiple reasons. Here’s some of the reasons that we think make it a great career choice:

man getting deep tissue massage on back

Helping Others

Whether it’s relaxation or healing, massage therapy can help people feel better. Massage can help increase overall health and balance within the body and as a massage therapist, you can be an instrument in this process. Knowing that you are playing a role in helping people release stress and feeling better about their health can be extremely rewarding. If you’re the type of person who enjoys helping others, massage therapy may be a great fit.

Career Flexibility

Flexibility is something that many other career choices lack. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to get stuck working the mundane 9-5, massage can be a great solution. Once you graduate from massage therapy school, you can find very flexible work as a massage therapist. There is a wide variety of places to work and scheduling possibilities as a massage therapist. It can be a great career choice for people who want to make a living while still having time to do other things that they love.

Another nice perk is that an education in massage therapy can be just as flexible. You can choose from a variety of class schedules at San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork. Days, nights, weekends – find a class schedule that you can make work.

Work Environment

Many people have experienced working in a less than ideal environment. With massage therapy, this can be much less of a concern. One of the main goals of massage therapy is to take people from the high stress of daily life to an atmosphere where they can relax and release tension. Imagine working in an atmosphere where the main goal is to reduce stress and increase relaxation. That’s what certified massage therapists do every day!

Great Opportunity

The massage industry is in a very exciting phase. The benefits of massage are becoming more well-known and people need those benefits more than ever in the busy world we live in. People need massage more than ever and this is great news if you are considering a career as a massage therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the massage industry is growing much faster than average. It is estimated to grow 22% by 2024 compared to 7% for all other occupations. So if industry growth is something that you look at when considering which career path you should take, massage therapy might be an attractive option.

massage therapist working on clients legs

Concerned About Changing Careers?

While massage is an enticing career prospect for many people, there are a few common concerns that come up. Here are some tips and tricks to help lay those concerns to rest.

It’s Too Late for Me to Change Careers

Sometimes people think it’s too late to make a career change, but it’s never too late to start building a career as a massage therapist. You can finish school and start working in the massage industry in as little as six months. This means you can switch from your monotonous job to a rewarding career in massage without skipping a beat.

How Do I Choose the Right School?

People who are considering an education in massage therapy often wrestle with the question of which school to go to. Everyone wants to get the most out their education. Choosing the right school is an important part of building a successful career after graduating. At SFSM, we encourage prospective students to contact us, ask us all their questions about the school, and even sit in on a class. Doing these things can help you decipher whether or not the school fits your personality and lifestyle.

How Can I Pay for School?

Paying for school is one of the most common concerns that prospective students have. The good news is that there are a lot of financing options available for those who qualify. You can get more information about how to pay for your education here.

Start Building a Brighter Future Today

Are you ready to start your journey to a new career as a massage therapist? We can’t wait to see you learn, grow, and find yourself doing something that you love. Check out our massage program and request more information today!

Zen Shiatsu is a unique massage technique, with origins in ancient China and Japan, that’s become extremely popular in Western culture. But what is it exactly, how can you learn it, and why should you even bother? We’ve got all the answers here.

What is Zen Shiatsu, Anyway?

Zen Shiatsu is equal parts science and philosophy. The technique combines traditional Chinese medicinal practices, modern massage therapy, and Eastern holistic healing philosophies to provide clients with a revitalizing feeling and experience when they’re on the massage table.

According to Shiatsu Society, “a practitioner uses touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow.” That last part is especially important. Zen Shiatsu focuses on meridians, or pathways that help channel energy throughout the body, and attempts to help balance that energy, which is unique to this particular modality.

Meridian pathways, according to the traditional Chinese philosophy, are shared between pairs of Yin and Yang organs (along with tissue, muscle, and more), and each pair correlates to one of five elemental phases, wood, fire, water, metal, and earth. Awareness of the body’s energy, meditation practices, and general mindfulness are cornerstones of the Zen Shiatsu technique and the workshop at San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork.

zen shiiatsu treatment on the hand

What Can Zen Shiatsu Help Treat?

Practitioners and clients alike have reported that Zen Shiatsu can be effective in helping to treat stress related ailments like headaches and anxiety, but the physical benefits of Zen Shiatsu often include improved circulatory and immune function, relief of localized pain, and more.

Moreover, the focus on balance of energy (or Qi) and meditative practice can often leave people with a feeling of clarity or a heightened sense of general well-being.

Why is Zen Shiatsu Important to Massage Therapists?

No two massage therapists are necessarily alike. Just like doctors, dentists, and lawyers will specialize in different areas of study, massage therapists sometimes do too. While it’s much more common for massage therapists to have a wider variety of skillsets than some of the other professionals we’ve mentioned, no massage therapy program will cover it all.

zen shiatsu treatment back massage

Demand for massage therapists is expected to grow at a rate of 22%, which is much faster than average, and the ability of a licensed therapist to perform a wide variety of techniques and modalities, especially the incredibly popular ones like Zen Shiatsu, makes it easier to take advantage of the many opportunities available.

Who Can Learn Zen Shiatsu Techniques?

Some of the workshops we offer require some kind of prerequisite training for safety reasons, legal regulations, or both. Our Zen Shiatsu workshop, however, is open to everyone, with or without previous experience in massage.

It also counts towards 35 continuing education hours for licensed massage therapists who participate. While the state of California does not require continuing education for massage therapists to maintain their licensed status as some other states do, it’s never a bad idea to pursue it anyway; continuing education can allow you to serve a wider variety of clients and potentially make you more attractive to prospective employers.

Ready to Get Started?

Head over to our continuing education page to see when our next classes are for Zen Shiatsu and more! Don’t miss your chance to learn a fun, interesting, and fulfilling massage technique at SFSM!

It’s no secret that the onset of fall and winter brings with it a myriad of health struggles. Some people are simply destined for the incessant runny nose and seasonal cold, some battle dry skin, and others have to fight off seasonal depression. There’s one thing, however, that almost everyone can relate to: the ever-present holiday weight gains.

Between pumpkin everything & Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas parties galore, it’s easy to lose track of fitness goals this time of year, but there are plenty of ways to stay on top of it and be kind to your January self, including (you guessed it) a great massage!

Why is this?

1. Massage can boost immune function.

Your body’s immune system is responsible for fighting off sickness and infection, as well as making sure your body gets the nourishment it needs to crucial areas. When your immune system isn’t operating at peak efficiency, you might find that it becomes increasingly difficult to maximize the benefits of a good diet and get the exercise you need to keep the holiday weight from creeping up on you.

Massage has been shown time and again to help increase immune response and assist the cellular functions responsible for fighting infection and maintaining good health.

2. Do you even lift? Massage helps with that too.

Whether you’re the type to seek out a gym membership when the “new year, new me” sentiments start coming, or you’re trying to get ahead of the game before all the fats and sugars make their way into your diet, massage can help you get the most out of your workouts.

girl doing squats with a trainer

Women’s Health reports that massage can help keep your muscles in tip-top shape by making general movement easier, mitigating the post-workout soreness that comes along with lifting (leg day, anyone?), and helping to prevent injury. Try supplementing your gym routine with a few massages, and see what differences you notice in your strength, range of motion, and flexibility!

3. It’s all about perspective.

Massage is much more than just a good way to relax and feel great, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a fantastic benefit! Investing in your health and staying focused on your fitness goals requires a holistic approach to your physical and mental well-being, and massage is a wonderful catalyst for this.

Most people feel rejuvenated and all around great after hopping off the massage table, and you might find that these feelings are just the mental push you need to stay on top of your fitness game.

4. Some massages are specifically designed to help with fat & weight loss!

You might know this already, but there is a wide variety of different techniques and modalities that fall under the general practice of massage. Some of these, such as lymphatic massage, are specifically designed to help supplement the bodily functions that impact weight loss.

massage therapist working on a woman's leg

While no honest, professional therapist should be telling you that these techniques are a weight loss hack on their own, there’s a lot of neat science behind the methodology. According to Livestrong, lymphatic massage, for example, can help with digestion, the removal of waste, and general metabolic function. While any direct weight loss you experience is likely just due to water weight that the lymphatic technique assisted in clearing out, all of these side effects can help you get more mileage out of your weight loss (or weight gain prevention) efforts.

Let us help!

At San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork, our student clinic* can be the perfect place for you to come in and experience all of these great benefits for yourself. Head over to our student clinic page, or simply call us at 415-474-4600 to schedule your appointment.

Want to learn these techniques for yourself? Our massage therapy program can be completed in as little as 6 months and covers all this and more in our curriculum. Contact admissions here to get started!

*Services performed under the supervision of trained professionals.

Adding new techniques to your massage therapy tool belt is important as a professional. There are many existing techniques for massage therapists to learn and new ones are being developed every day. As a result, therapists should never run out of ways to improve their skill and understanding.

One technique that can be valuable to learn for massage therapists is Ortho-Bionomy.

What is Ortho-Bionomy?

This technique was developed by an osteopath, Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls. Osteopathy is a branch of medical practice that emphasizes treatment of medical disorders through the manipulation and massage of the bones, joints, and muscles. He developed it as a way to help the body find balance and heal itself. The theory behind the technique is that by moving the body in certain ways, you can trigger the natural healing abilities of the body. You can also discover areas of the body that are not functioning or moving properly.

ortho-bionomy practice on knee

How Ortho-Bionomy is Useful in Massage

Massage therapists can use this technique in a variety of different ways. Here are a few of them:

  • Find tension: By utilizing Ortho-Bionomy techniques, areas or muscle groups that are holding tension or stress can be discovered. When these areas are found, you can use more movements or other massage techniques to help loosen those muscles. These techniques can be used throughout the massage to help find and loosen tension.
  • Stimulate self-healing: As mentioned before, one of the main goals of the Ortho-Bionomy is to stimulate the body’s capacity to balance and heal itself. Incorporating this technique into your massage sessions for clients who would benefit can help make their experience that much more beneficial and individualized.
  • Reverse trauma: Repetitive motion, abrasive motion, strong impacts, or other types of trauma can cause the body to tighten and strain itself. Using Ortho-Bionomy can help reverse these types of negative effects and restore the body to a state of comfort.

These are a couple examples, but Ortho-Bionomy can be used to achieve a number of outcomes.

ortho-bionomy practioner working on woman's back

How it Works

The therapist and client will explore movements and postural positions to find what causes irritation. When these movements and positions are found, the therapist will help the client with Ortho-Bionomy movements that will target the areas of discomfort and irritation.

Desired Outcome

As with all massage techniques, Ortho-Bionomy has a set of goals that it can be used to achieve. Some of these include increasing flexibility, circulation, range of motion, and reducing muscle tension. It can also be used to help mitigate emotional and mental stress. These are all things that massage can help with and Ortho-Bionomy can be another tool for therapists to use to this end.

Improvement and Growth

During your time in massage therapy school, you can learn about many foundational techniques and modalities. All of the techniques that are most important and used most frequently are the ones that you will most likely learn during your time in school. To set yourself apart as a great massage therapist, you will need to build upon these foundational techniques with things like Ortho-Bionomy.

So where do you learn additional techniques like these?

One way is to find continuing education workshops like the ones at San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork. Continuing education is one of the best ways for massage therapists to expand their skill set. The more you involve yourself in learning and becoming better as a therapist, the more individualized experiences you will be able to provide for your clients. Not only can this lead to a more satisfied clientele but more opportunities within the massage industry.

Getting Involved

At San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork, we consistently have continuing education workshops that you can take advantage of. These workshops are scheduled throughout the month on different topics and are taught by highly qualified instructors. Ortho-Bionomy, Exploration of Movement is an example of the one of the topics. Other topics include cranial-sacral therapy, trigger point release, deep tissue massage and many more.You can also learn many of these skills and techniques in our 600 hour massage therapist program.

Register for the workshop that you think will complement your skills as a massage therapist best or get started on your massage therapy education today!

A question we get a lot here at the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork is, “What is the difference between a certification and a license?”

In the world of massage therapy, people often use the words licensed and certified interchangeably. While each term represents the involvement of local government in the regulation of the profession, licensing and certification mean different things.

deep tissue massage

What’s the Difference?

In California, massage therapists are certified through the California Massage Therapy Council or CAMTC. The CAMTC defines certification as a “title law”, or a law that regulates the use of a title; in this case, “Certified Massage Therapist.” In this type of law, what is protected is the
title of the profession and only those therapists who have gone through the certification process may claim to be a “CMT.”

States that have a license are a little bit different from states that have certifications. Licenses generally regulate the practice of massage therapy itself, not the title of the practitioner. In this sort of legal structure, government still regulates education and has a registration process that is not dissimilar to getting certified. In license states, certification generally refers to having completed state approved education and received a certificate, not being legally able to perform massage.

massage therapist working on getting his certification

Why it Matters

Both licensing and certification seek to address the same concerns of public safety and protection of the profession. The differences may seem semantic, but the point at which the regulation takes place allows for certain things to occur that may be desirable for one reason or another. For example, in a title law state like California, individual municipalities can still have local massage regulations that are less stringent than the state requirements. In such places, a person could technically practice as long as they did not claim to be certified by the state. While most cities and towns in California have adopted CAMTC requirements, there are still a few that wish to regulate massage at the local level. In these places, having a state certification is like a seal of approval while lacking one is a red flag to clients and customers.

In license law states, the practice of massage may be regulated as a means to clearly define what is and what is not considered massage. In this legal structure, the consumer is protected by not being subjected to having techniques performed on them by people who are unqualified. This may, for example, allow a spa attendant or personal trainer to perform certain massage techniques as a part of their job but would restrict them from performing something more advanced such as deep tissue or trigger point.

Whether you are in a certification state, a license state, or massage is just regulated on a local level, the goals are the same; to protect the public and to protect the profession by ensuring a minimum standard of practice and competence.

Which States Are Which?

For more information on whether your state requires massage certification or a license to practice massage, check out the list of state massage therapist titles below.

  • Alabama – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Alaska – Massage Therapist (License)
  • Arizona – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Arkansas – Licensed Massage Therapist, Master Massage Therapist, Instructor
  • California – Certified Massage Therapist
  • Colorado – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Connecticut – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Delaware – Licensed/Certified Massage and Bodywork Therapist
  • District of Columbia – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Florida – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Georgia – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Hawaii – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Idaho – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Illinois – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Indiana – Certified Massage Therapist
  • Iowa – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Kentucky – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Louisiana – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Maine – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Maryland – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Massachusetts – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Michigan – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Mississippi – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Missouri – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Montana – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Nebraska – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Nevada – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • New Hampshire – Licensed Massage Practitioner
  • New Jersey – Licensed Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist
  • New Mexico – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • New York – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • North Carolina – Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist
  • North Dakota – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Ohio – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Oklahoma – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Pennsylvania – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Rhode Island – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • South Carolina – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • South Dakota – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Tennessee – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Texas – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Utah – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Virginia – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Washington – Licensed Massage Practitioner
  • West Virginia – Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Wisconsin – Licensed Massage Therapist

If you read this far, you likely noticed a few states missing from the list. This is because Kansas, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wyoming have no state regulations in place. To find information about massage regulations in these states, check at the local level with the town or county clerk.


We hope that this article helps clarify the subtle differences between being certified and being licensed. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork!

Your preparations for any big endeavor will ultimately influence your success. Choosing to go to school to become a massage therapist is no exception. It requires that you set yourself up to succeed by planning out all the things that need to happen for you to be in class on time and mentally prepared to absorb the important information that will be covered.

As part of this preparation process you have to map out your transportation to and from school. What is the most effective way for you to get to school? Getting yourself to class can be a more complex task than it sounds when you live in or near a thriving metropolis like San Francisco. At the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork (SFSM) we have compiled a list of several transportation resources our future students can utilize to help them get to school.


BART is the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. It is a subway system that has convenient stops located around the entire Bay Area. For those who are commuting from areas like Walnut Creek or Oakland, for example, this could be a great tool to help you get to class at SFSM efficiently and economically. It is also nice because you don’t have to worry about traffic or parking. The BART train system has a station located only 2 short blocks from SFSM, allowing students to easily walk to class. BART also has stations in other East and South Bay Areas, making it a tool that many commuters can utilize to save time and money while going to massage school.

bay area rapid transit map
source: https://www.bart.gov/


Another great transportation tool that can be used by students to help them get where they need to go is the Ford GoBike system. This is a bike sharing program that has bike racks conveniently located all over the Bay Area. These bikes can be used by students who live in the immediate area to ride from home to school or by students who live in surrounding areas to get to and from the bus and train stations. Not only is this a good mode of transportation, but it can help you be more healthy and have a more alert mind when you get to school, not to mention the environmental benefits. There is a GoBike rack located outside of the SFSM campus, so students have access to borrow or return bikes when they go to school.

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Other Public Transportation

In addition to the BART train system and the GoBike’s there are a variety of public transportation methods that students can use to get around the downtown area. There are buses and railcars that transport people around the entire San Francisco area. If you live in the East or South Bay areas, you can use the BART trains to get into downtown, then use the buses and railcars to get around downtown while you are there. If you already live in or near the downtown area you can choose from one of the many public transport options to get to where you need to go.

san francisco rail car


If you need to drive into school because of other places that you need to go before or after class, make sure you plan your drive during times when there is less traffic so you don’t have to struggle with busy roads and interstates. Also, take some time to find the best place to park your car. There are several paid parking areas around the school that students can take advantage of. Make sure you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Getting Started

Going to school to create new career paths that you can pursue is something that requires many decisions to be made and a lot of planning. How you are going to get to school is just one of these. If you want help making all of your plans to become a massage therapist, contact us. We can answer any questions you may have about becoming a massage therapist in California or about the program at San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork.

We are excited to help you get started on your future in the massage industry.

San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork

School Campus
475 Valencia Street – 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Student Clinic
– Located at the School Campus
475 Valencia Street – 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103