Massage Therapy Principles and Practice, by Susan G. Salvo, Chapter Eighteen, and Introduction to the Human Body: Cells, Tissues, and the Body Compass, covers the fundamental building blocks of the human body, as well as, mapping of the body with locational and directional cues. This serves as a foundation for the knowledge to massage therapist industry.

With an understanding of the body’s basic systems and cellular levels, we can better understand the functions and dynamics of the body, and how they may affect the muscular tissues that the therapists attend to. Deterioration and strains on the fundamental systems can personify into tensions in the muscular tissues due to stresses both mentally or physically. Having this understanding of the body may allow the therapist to better address the issues and to start the body on its path to healing. When one system is not functioning properly it can put a strain other systems, or in other components in the same system itself.

Knowing the fundamentals of mapping the body with directional cues is essential to the massage therapist to communicate in the medical industry. Whether it be doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or in providing documentation to personnel in the insurance industry effective communication is necessary to work in the industry of massage therapy.

When communicating with other medical professionals it is important to be able to communicate effectively. If the massage therapist does not understand the basics of medical terminology they may not understand the severity of the patient’s condition or worse may not be able to properly identify where the issue may be in the body. Working in an area before it is ready for therapy or treating the wrong area could leave the therapist open to legal complications, up to, and including a medical malpractice suit against the business. No one wants that. Likewise in the reverse situation, if the therapist does not communicate properly with the medical staff, it will as well, create a situation where it would leave the business vulnerable for legal ramifications. In the unfortunate event a law suit would become a reality, it is essential that proper documentation with accurate and precise information of what was performed, what area of the body was it was performed on, what muscles were treated, how the body responded, and what steps (recommendations or referrals) were given to ensure the clients well-being. Without proper documentation, it will leave the therapist or the business vulnerable. This could even lead to being dropped by insurance carriers or loss of license to practice.

Having the essential knowledge of the fundamentals established in chapter eighteen, along with the other information provided in the book, Massage Therapy Principles, and practice will ensure the massage therapy student is well on their way to becoming a knowledgeable practitioner in the massage therapy industry. It is a vital part of the career to protect oneself ethically and legally, by understanding the human body from its basic components of atoms, to the tissues of the body, to the total value of the organism itself.

Nancy Glick, student class April 2018