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How to Become a Trigger Point Massage Therapist

Practitioners of trigger point therapy apply pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to alleviate physical pain or dysfunction.

Through trigger point massage, patients experience relief and healing from the pain and stiffness that trigger points can cause.

As trigger point therapy training explains, injuries, trauma, poor posture, fatigue, arthritic joints, and other conditions can cause active and latent trigger points to develop in the body.

Active trigger points can produce immediate muscular pain and referred pain, or pain in another area of the body, for example, sore neck muscles can produce chronic headaches.

Latent trigger points go unnoticed until you apply pressure to them. When touched, they feel dense and fibrous and often result in stiff joints or restricted range of motion, particularly in older people.

Career Overview

During a Trigger point therapy session, practitioners will first interview patients about their symptoms and conditions and then palpate muscles to assess the presence of trigger points.

Based on their assessment, practitioners apply firm pressure with a finger or an instrument on a trigger point for several seconds, increasing the pressure as the trigger point softens. Therapists might repeat treatment three or four times to help flush out as much of the toxins present as possible and optimize healing.

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After a session, therapists might recommend stretches, exercises, and nutritional changes to help retrain muscles to function normally and allow patients to enjoy a full range of motion.

Training and Education

What You’ll Study in Trigger Point Therapy School

Massage therapy and healing arts schools offer trigger point therapy training programs and continuing education workshops. Content may vary from school to school; however, you can expect trigger point therapy training to cover these subjects:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Neuromuscular physiology
  • Pathology
  • Trigger point therapy foundations and research
  • Trigger point massage techniques
  • Professional development
  • Clinical application and practice

Average Length of Study

Trigger point therapy training programs for students without a massage background can take up to one year to complete. Workshops for continuing education credit might involve two to four days of full-time study.

Average Tuition

If you don’t have prior massage training, tuition for trigger point therapy training can cost $10,000 or more. Current massage therapists, physical therapists, and other bodywork professionals can expect to pay between $300 and $500 for trigger point therapy workshops.

Trigger Point Therapy Certification

The Certification Board for Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists (CBMTPT) offers voluntary certification for candidates who meet eligibility requirements and pass a certification exam.

Career Outlook

Massage therapy professionals, such as those practicing trigger point therapy, can anticipate faster than average job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook. Among many factors, the increasing popularity of touch therapies and an aging baby boomer population will contribute significantly to job growth for massage occupations over the next several years.

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Trigger Point Therapy Salary

Salaries for massage therapists, including those with trigger point therapy training, can vary widely. You can find salary data from the BLS for your state here:

Learn more about how much you can make as a massage therapist.

Is a Trigger Point Therapy Career Right for You?

A trigger point therapy career requires training in the unique anatomy, physiology and kinesiology aspects that surround trigger point massage. Additionally, you’ll need a background in massage therapy, physical therapy or another bodywork profession and a current license in that field in order to practice.

If you are interested in trigger point therapy training, take a closer look at trigger point massage schools. Then choose the trigger point therapy training program that meets your personal and professional needs.

Sources: MamasHealth, Inc., Amber Davies and Clair Davies, National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists, Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy, Hands-On Seminars, Certification Board for Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists

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