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Being on the receiving end of a massage is like being given a gift – especially an Indian head massage. The soothing, rhythmic strokes of a massage can heal, energise and relax the body almost immediately. Knowing how to use your hands in massage is a skill you can use to offer comfort to those you love, and to secure a good income from clients in need of re-energising and re-vitalising.
As with all hands-on therapies, you need to master a skill set before you can exchange your services for money. There’s a huge list of complementary therapies and massage services available to study and sample. When deciding which discipline to specialise in, it is worth trying out a number of massage styles.
Sports massage therapy, for example, concentrates on deep-tissue work on areas of the body that are most affected by performance; whilst a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage focuses on relaxing the mind and body with the application of long, flowing strokes.
As massage is an intuitive form of healing, it is worth exploring the massage techniques you feel most comfort receiving as well as giving. A good massage therapist will work in harmony with the energy in a client’s body.
Indian head massage (or Champissage) concentrates on increasing energy, and improving circulation, in the upper back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head, scalp and face. It incorporates deep-tissue bodywork – on the bulky trapezius muscles of the shoulder – and lighter tugging, plucking and pulling movements that are applied to the head and smaller muscle areas.
This form of massage offers many unique benefits, including improved circulation and total relaxation. It can also be performed through light clothing or directly on the skin using oils. With minimal equipment required, it is perfect for the mobile therapist.
There are many course providers offering Indian head massage tuition on a part-time or full-time basis. Courses range from intensive 1-2 day workshops to lengthy diploma courses which require class attendance and regular practical work.
Research the available courses in your area to select a course that complements your lifestyle.
A one-year part-time course involves weekly college attendance, with hands-on massage practice of fellow students, plus homework assignments.
Some distance-learning colleges also offer Indian head massage as a diploma course. However, you’ll only experience one day of practical work, and subsequently may feel a lack of confidence in your skills to practice professionally. Many massage courses also require that you already possess an anatomy and physiology qualification.
Whichever course of learning you choose to follow, always check the course is recognised by an authoritative body like BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology).
Also ensure you practise, practise, practise. This will be surprisingly easy, as once word gets round you will be inundated with willing volunteers you can develop your skills on. Part of your coursework will involve working on case studies over a number of weeks, which will help you master flowing strokes and increase your massage delivery confidence.
As with practically any subject matter, you will learn as much as you want to learn. You will be able to research the history of Indian head massage further, following the introductory lesson should you want to.
You will learn about contra-indications (the side effects that may be caused by the application of massage), how to perform relaxing massage techniques, the benefits of the treatment and how to work with Chakras.
Developing your own style comes with practice, as does establishing a preference for working with certain essential oils and strokes.
Health and safety issues are of paramount importance when working within the beauty and well-being industries, and all courses should cover this module in great detail. You will also learn about adopting the correct posture when massaging clients, so that you do not cause unnecessary strain to your back.
Relaxation techniques, to ease the muscles in your own arms and hands – before, during and after performing a massage – will also be covered.
You will also discover more about how you would like to use Indian head massage as an income provider.
Working in a salon environment may be appealing, as you will be working alongside others, perhaps on a part-time basis. Alternatively, you may prefer the freedom of working for yourself from the comfort of your own or a client’s home.
To qualify as an Indian head massage therapist you will have to invest in at least £350 for an ITEC accredited diploma course.
Depending on the length of the course and the course provider, much larger amounts can be charged. Here are some of the additional costs you may incur:
You also need to purchase indemnity insurance to protect you against any claims made by a dissatisfied client. This is a relatively small expense that will give you the peace of mind, and freedom, to work anywhere.
A salon-based therapist can either work for the salon as a part-time employee, or pay for a ‘chair’ at the salon. This means that you will pay the salon owner a commission for every massage client you have, but it does allow you to build a clientele list from their premises.
This method will save you advertising expenses but will restrict your earning potential. If you do decide to go it alone, circulating leaflets and business cards locally can result in a steady stream of customers. Taking the opportunity to offer your massaging skills at events, for free or perhaps a small donation, can also help get your business known.