Asian Bodywork Therapy As A Full Or Part-time Career

Have you ever heard of Asian Bodywork?  If so, are you curious about it’s benefits, career outlook, or wonder how it differs from Massage Therapy?  Well, Asian Bodywork Therapy can greatly enhance and up-level any massage practice, but it can also be done as a stand alone wellness modality, as a bodyworker.

Asian Bodywork Therapy is widely referred to as treatment of the human body, mind and spirit, which includes the energetic field, surrounding and infusing the body to life by manipulation and pressure.  This paraphrased statement is the lead-in to the general definition of Asian Bodywork Therapy, adopted by the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA), the largest membership organization in the U.S. representing the interests of Asian Bodywork professionals across a broad spectrum of practices.  By this definition, Asian Bodywork Therapies are holistic approaches addressing and affecting the whole person through the use of movement, manipulation, or pressure techniques.

Zen Shiatsu is an amazing technique that is taught worldwide, and Southwest Institute of Healing Arts is one of the holistic healing arts schools that provides an amazing education in this field.  “Zen Shiatsu” is a form of bodywork administered by the thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows, feet and knees, stimulating the natural healing powers of the body. Clients remain fully clothed during this treatment. No massage oils or lotions are needed because rather than sliding along the body surface, a series of gentle specific presses are given along the meridian pathways. The professional Zen Shiatsu practitioner is trained to feel and intuit the condition of the body, particularly the circulation, by his/her hands in order to find imbalanced areas. Obstacles to health are removed and vitality is gained, thereby lessening the symptoms of dis-ease. Advanced bodyworkers and massage therapists who utilize Zen Shiatsu techniques will enhance the longevity of their career by avoiding overuse of the hands, wrists, and thumbs.

Zen Shiatsu Career Outlook: Zen Shiatsu Practitioners often find employment in spas, wellness centers, private practice, fitness centers, hospitals, acupuncture and chiropractic offices, plus more.  Massage-oriented professionals in general can anticipate a 19 % increase in employment through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Another intriguing Asian modality is Tui Na, also taught at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona.  Huang Di Nei Jing, (The Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor) one of the ancient Chinese Medicine tests included records of the use of acupressure techniques and how they should be used in the treatment of diseases.  A cross between acupressure and Shiatsu, Tui Na is sometimes called Meridian Massage, utilizing the traditional Chinese medical theory of Qi and its flow through the meridians.  Tui Na uses brushing, grasping, pressing and circular kneading hand techniques along the meridian pathways and over acu-points to create harmony. By keeping the bodies energy in balance, physical, mental and emotional well-being is maintained.

Tui Na Career Outlook: Massage-oriented professionals in general can anticipate a 19 % increase in employment through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The field continues to expand with the country’s ongoing wellness boom and the public’s increasing interest in massage and complementary therapies as a means to achieve health and wellness.

*** An Important FYI for anyone considering Massage Therapy as a career!  It is important to know that the NCBTMB test has an Asian component to it.  It would be beneficial for students who are interested in taking the NCBTMB certification to know that they should plan on taking AT LEAST Asian Theory I (at SWIHA) to be successful on the NCBTMB test.  Tui Na or Zen Shiatsu is also highly recommended. ***

To learn more about massage therapy and Asian Bodywork, please join the Massage Career Expo 2012 at SWIHA on August 10, 2012 from 6pm – 8pm.  Sign up for this complimentary event at