Throughout their training, many massage therapy students learn the importance of whole food nutrition, and proceed to carry that knowledge into their holistic health careers. However, while an awareness of holistic health is certainly beneficial to a professional massage therapist, a skillful integration of nutrition and bodywork can provide a significant boost when it comes to helping clients heal. Not only that, this approach can also help in building a more successful business. Read on to learn about common nutritional deficiencies and concerns that come into play for bodywork professionals – and consider adding a whole food nutrition certification to your massage license for a more multifaceted practice.
When nutrition is the culprit
According to a recent article for Massage Today magazine, nutrition can often prove the underlying culprit when massage, chiropractic or other forms of therapeutic bodywork fail to effect positive changes in a client’s physical condition. Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS, notes that such clients, the so-called “non-responders,” are often those in need of the most help – frequently due to malnourishment and deficiencies in nutrients that support vital musculoskeletal health. Such deficiencies, Oswald explains, can contribute to inflammation, tissue abnormalities and muscle pain, making nutrition for tissue support a vital cornerstone of vital health and successful bodywork.
Among the key nutrients Oswald recommends for improved tissue health are the following:
- Fish oil: shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin D: protects against muscle weakness and bone fractures
- Vitamin C: soft tissue support, encourages collagen and L-carnitine production
- High-quality multi-vitamins: for general tissue support
Taking a whole foods approach
While it is easy enough to suggest one or more of these nutrients in the form of a supplement, bodyworkers with training in whole foods nutrition know the importance of getting as much nutritional value as possible from healthy, natural, whole food sources as opposed to processed formulas. Therefore, with the advantage of professional training in holistic nutrition, any massage therapist could also provide basic nutritional counseling for better musculoskeletal health, and recommend foods that might help alleviate certain types of pain and weakness for better physical integrity and, ideally, more effective bodywork into the bargain.
Integrative wellness education at the School of Healing Arts
Here at the School of Healing Arts, we believe in providing a customizable, integrative curriculum to our San Diego massage students – and that means offering courses in nutrition as well as massage modalities and applications.
This summer, consider supplementing your California massage certification requirements with a state-approved certification in Whole Food Nutrition Counseling, or combine a 500-hour Massage Therapist training program with nutrition courses as part of our comprehensive Holistic Health Practitioner program. To learn more about these and other courses offered at our school, visit our homepage at www.schoolofhealingarts.com.