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Massage Today
January, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 01


Touching the Massage Today readers one letter at a time...

By Lynda Solien-Wolfe, LMT

Author's Note: Welcome to my new monthly column, DearLyndaLMT, where I will be answering questions from you, the readers.

I have been blessed this past decade by working with many experts in the massage profession who will serve as resources, mixed with a touch of Dear Lynda's views and advice. So ask away with all those things you've wondered about but didn't know who to ask!

I can't guarantee that all of your questions will be published, but I will do my best to answer you, or at least point you in the right direction. Please remember, as with all advice, it is just that: advice. Always check to make sure that you're working within your scope of practice in your city/county and state.

Please send your questions to or:

P.O. Box 173,
Cocoa, Florida 32923


I graduated from massage school last month. I work in a state that doesn't require licensing. I'm engaged to be married next September and will be moving to a state where I need to take the National Certification Exam to be licensed. Should I take it now while my schooling is still fresh, or would it be better for me to wait until I have almost a year of practice under my belt?

-- Sally from Sacramento

Dear Sally,

I called the chairman of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB): Dr. Neal Cross, PhD. He stated that the National Certification Exam is designed to test the basic core skills and knowledge of entry-level practitioners. So with that in mind, I would take it while it is fresh! There is no time like the present! You can download an applicant today by visiting NCBTMB's website at or calling them at 1-800-296-0664.

Good luck!


I've always loved getting aromatherapy massage, but don't feel confident enough to use aromatherapy in my practice. How much do I really need to know about aromatherapy to feel good about using it?

-- Rita from NJ

Dear Rita,

I too love using aromatherapy oils in my practice but do not have the time knowledge to mix them myself. I have them mixed for me from someone in my area that specializes in aromatherapy. My favorites to use are lavender and rosemary I called aromatherapist Maureen Gilbert, LMT, NCTMB, from Melbourne Beach, Florida to have her help us answer your question. Here is what Maureen had to say:


I appreciate you contacting me to comment on aromatherapy; it shows how much you care about your readers getting good information. I look forward with delight to following your column and learning.

To answer your question: Unless aromatherapy is your entire practice, it can be quite expensive to have the variety of oils at hand when you want to add aroma to your massage. You are wise to have your mixtures blended by a professional or company that you trust to use the purest ingredients, which have been stored and cared for properly.

The subject of aromatherapy is so complex, yet at the same time so very simple to put into practice, that anyone can embark on the journey of aromatherapy. To learn the basic principles (and especially the precautions), invest in one of the many books on the market today. Two important factors must be considered:

  1. Your choice of base/carrier oil is very important. Base oils are vegetable, nut or seed oils, many of which themselves have therapeutic properties. The oils used should be cold pressed; the oils on your supermarket shelves may have been processed with chemical agents. Sweet almond and apricot kernel are excellent, and most of the cold pressed oils available are very good, but my personal choice is pure jojoba: rich in vitamin E and a unique liquid wax used as an oil. Jojoba has a very close chemical composition to the skin's own sebum. It is stable and long-lasting because it will not oxidize and combines well with essential oils.
  2. The sense of smell is very powerful and the aromas may trigger deep memories, and not all pleasant. Always allow your client to smell your mixture before applying; if it smells good to them it will have a wonderful effect. Also use aromas that you like, in that way you will feel as good as your client at the end of a session. Lavender is a most versatile and soothing oil and is the safest to use. It is wonderfully relaxing, and its rejuvenating properties make it useful in skin preparations. It also blends well with other oils.

My favorite skin formula is:

1 ounce pure jojoba oil Lavender 4 drops
Roman Chamomile 2 drops
Sandalwood 2 drops

For muscular aches and pains:

1 ounce pure jojoba oil
Rosemary 4 drops
Lavender 4 drops
Juniper 4 drops



I've heard a lot about CranioSacral Therapy. What is it and how effective is it?

-- David in South Carolina

Dear David,

I just took the CranioSacral I class in 2000 from the Upledger Institute to start incorporating CranioSacral Therapy into my massage practice. I have been getting this type of treatment for years to help with a chronic headache problem, and have been very effective in reducing my headaches.

I called Roy Desjarlais, LMT, CranioSacral Program Director of The Upledger Institute, Inc. According to him, CranioSacral Therapy is a light-touch manual therapy that addresses restrictions in the craniosacral system the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. This system extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth, which make up the cranium, down to the sacrum, or tailbone area.

The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner uses a light touch generally no more than the weight of a nickel to evaluate possible restrictions in the craniosacral system. This is done by monitoring the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it flows through the system and is translated to the entire body.

The positive effects of CranioSacral Therapy rely to a large extent on your body's natural self-corrective activities. The therapist's light, hands-on approach simply assists the hydraulic forces inherent in the craniosacral system to improve your body's internal environment and strengthen its ability to heal itself. Because of its influence on the functioning of the central nervous system, CranioSacral Therapy can benefit the body in a number of ways, from bolstering overall health and resistance to disease to alleviating a wide range of specific medical conditions. CST is beneficial to those with head, neck or back injuries resulting from an accident. CST is also a safe approach for children, infants and newborns with early trauma, including birth trauma. Another area of principal effectiveness is with stress-related dysfunctions, such as insomnia, fatigue, headaches, poor digestion, anxiety and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Other conditions for which CST has shown to be effective are various sensory disorders. Among these are eye-motor coordination problems, autism, dyslexia, loss of taste or smell, tinnitus, vertigo, and neuralgias such as sciatica and tic douloureux.

For more information on CST, contact the Upledger Institute, Inc. at 1-800-233-5880.


I live in Boston and will be visiting Florida for the winter. What steps do I have to take to get licensed in Florida?

-- Carl from Boston

Dear Carl,

Massage therapy is licensed by the department of health in the state of Florida. Their telephone number is 850-488-0595. To receive information on licensure in the state of Florida you may request a copy of Florida law.

The Florida Board of Massage Therapy refers out-of-state massage therapists to a Florida licensed massage therapy school to go through the process of receiving a Florida massage therapy license. I called Michael McGillicuddy, owner of the Central Florida School of Massage Therapy, to find out what the process is.

This process may include paying an application fee to the school. The therapist would have to have a copy of his or her massage school transcripts sent to the Florida licensed massage school. The school would then verify that the out-of-state therapist's education met Florida's licensing requirements.

Minimum requirements for Florida Board of Massage approval are as follows: 150 hours of anatomy and physiology; 225 hours of basic massage theory and clinical practicum; 10 hours of Florida statutes/rules and history of massage; 15 hours of theory and practice of hydrotherapy; 97 hours of allied modalities; and three hours of HIV/AIDS education.

After the Florida massage school reviews the transcripts and the out of state therapist has fulfilled all educational requirements, the school will issue the therapist a "transfer of credit" form. The out-of-state massage therapist then sends this form to the Florida Board of Massage Therapy with an application for licensure and the appropriate fee.

If the out-of-state therapist is nationally certified by NCBTMB, the Florida State Board of Massage Therapy can issue a Florida massage therapy license. If the out-of-state therapist is not nationally certified, the therapist must apply for and pass the NCBTMB exam before a Florida license can be issued.

I hope you enjoy the Florida sunshine!

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is Vice President, Massage and Spa at Performance Health. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been in private practice in Merritt Island, Florida for more than 20 years. Lynda graduated from Space Coast Health Institute in West Melbourne, FL.


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