To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Kinesiology For the Massage Therapist,” by Steven Jurch, in the November 2010 issue. Article summary: Movement is all around us and is an integral part of life. Kinesiology is defined as the study of human movement from the viewpoint of the physical sciences. Kinesiology is an umbrella term that encompasses various disciplines including biomechanics and other areas of study, such as exercise physiology, motor behavior, sport psychology and adapted physical education.

by Steven Jurch

How do you obtain kinesiology training? The first step would be to become proficient at what you already know. Go back and review all of the information you acquired as part of your schooling. Re-examine the origins, insertions and actions of the muscles, review the pathologies of the musculoskeletal system and really gain a command over the basics.

Next, you may pursue specialized training.

  • There is a certification in the Functional Movement Screen that can be obtained through a workshop or home-study course by the creators of the Functional Movement Screen. (All the information you need can be found on www.functionalmovement.com.) Once you take the course, practicing the tests and scoring the results are imperative to being successful with your clients.
  • There are many different avenues to obtain education on incorporating movement into your massage techniques. Remember, certification is not necessary to be effective with these techniques. There are many books that offer training in clinical massage therapy and will vary in how comprehensive they are. Some may focus on just the hands-on techniques while others include both the assessment and treatment information.
  • Instructional videos are another route a therapist may take to get this information. A fantastic resource is a video by Lee Stang with Bridges to Health Therapeutic Massage Center (www.bridgestohealth.net). 
  • A massage therapist can also take hands-on workshops. These can range from a weekend course to a more comprehensive workshop series that may include a certification test, such as Whitney Lowe’s program at www.omeri.com.

Regardless of which path a therapist takes, the key to proficiency with the material is once again: practice, practice, practice.

Steven Jurch, A.T.C., L.M.T., has more than 17 years of experience as a massage therapist and athletic trainer. He is director of massage therapy for the Women’s Tennis Association and has worked in professional and international sports as well as the clinical setting. He wrote the textbook, Clinical Massage Therapy: Assessment and Treatment of Orthopedic Conditions, and teaches continuing education through Cortiva Institute (www.cortiva.com).

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