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Essential Functions of a Therapeutic Massage Student

Essential functions are those considered to be necessary or fundamental to performance of a job. In postsecondary education, the student’s job is to learn and participate in an academic environment and the clinical/fieldwork environment as well. The student, with or without reasonable ccommodation, must be able to:

Physical Demands

1. Sit on a massage stool.

2. Stand for at least one and one half hours without a break.

3. Lift 25-40 pounds up to 1/3 of the workday.

4. Carry or push 15-35 pounds for at least 300 feet.

5. Have endurance and attention to actively engage in 4-5 hours of client treatment or classroom activities each day for 3-5 days per week.

6. Be independently mobile within a building and between buildings.

7. Travel to and from externship sites, fieldtrips and assigned locations off campus.

8. Be able to assist the client in turning or getting on or off the massage table.

9. Demonstrate strength, agility, and flexibility to position a client on the table, perform a basic massage, a treatment routine, a stretching routine, and a myofascial treatment session.

10. Be able to use heat and cold modalities when treating a client.

11. Reach over the body to properly drape when turning a client.

12. Work in confined spaces such as small treatment rooms or in an office with other therapists.

13. Reach and grasp overhead, in front of the body, to the sides and down.

Palpation Skills

1. Detect changes in tissue texture, tonus, temperature and tenderness.

2. Evaluate symmetry in the body, both physically and visually.

3. Detect and assess variations in range and quality of movement.

4. Sense the position in space of yourself and the person being palpated.

5. Detect and evaluate change in the palpated findings whether these are improving or worsening as time passes.

Communication Skills

1. Audibly communicate with clarity in person to exchange accurate information on a one-to-one basis, in a small group, large classroom setting or large group.

2. Produce at lease one method of legibly written communication in standard and organized English such that 80 words can be produced in 20 minutes.

3. Demonstrate observational skills to collect data on client treatment and assure client safety during massage routine or treatment.

4. Document in SOAP note format subjective and objective observations about a client, document client massage session, and develop a written plan of care with a client.

5. Use therapeutic communication: attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and using and responding to nonverbal communication.

6. Communicate effectively, efficiently and appropriately with peers, faculty, supervisors, other professionals, clients and their significant others verbally and in writing.

Personal Traits

1. Work within clinical environments, which involve exposure to persons with physical and mental disabilities: and to pain, grief, death, stress, communicable diseases, blood and bodily fluids, toxic substances, noxious odors and irritating particles.

2. Work with a diverse client population including person of various ages, ethnic, racial, religious, alternative lifestyle, and socioeconomic backgrounds without prejudice or repulsion.

3. Conduct oneself in accordance with professional ethics of massage therapy.

4. Exhibit teamwork skills and a spirit of cooperation and respect for peers, faculty, supervisors and other professionals, clients and their significant others.

5. Work around others or alone.

6. Function as part of a team including consulting, negotiating, sharing, and influencing.

Cognitive/Perceptual Abilities

1. Modify behavior/performance in the classroom or clinic after feedback from the instructor or clinical supervisor.

2. Show problem-solving ability to organize and complete multiple tasks accurately and within assigned time frames.

3. Independently initiate routine job tasks.

4. Respond independently and quickly to emergency situations.

5. Maintain poise and flexibility in stressful or changing conditions.

6. Deal with abstract and concrete variables, define problems, collect data, establish facts and draw valid conclusions.

7. Interpret instructions furnished in oral, written, diagrammatic, or schedule form.

8. Carry out detailed, simple to complex written or oral instructions.

9. Comprehend medial records, documents, evaluations, manuals, journals, instructions and in use and maintenance of equipment safety rules and procedures.