Massage therapy programs often include basic courses in anatomy and physiology. Massage therapy classes also include clinical massage therapy, kinesiology, muscular and skeletal systems, stretching, and exercise. Massage therapy requires knowledge of all of these areas as well as strong interpersonal skills, in order to be able to communicate with the patient. Some massage therapy programs also teach basic business skills.
Massage therapists help patients with a wide range of physical ailments. Treatment begins by examining the patient, testing range of motion, physical strength, balance and coordination, and other aspects of a patient's condition. Many types of injuries can be treated, such as sports injuries, arthritis and other joint problems, and even in some cases problems such as migraine headaches. Massage therapy can include soft tissue massage, join mobilization, hydro therapy, stretching, strength building exercise, aerobic exercise, and more. Massage therapy jobs can be found in health clubs, resorts, nursing homes, cruise ships, chiropractic and doctor's offices, sports teams, hotels, private practice, and in many other locations.