<![CDATA[Core Products Blog]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:40:39 +0000 hourly 1 <![CDATA[Five Things You Can Do in Fall to Avoid Winter Injuries]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 03:34:47 +0000 By Brian Acton

winterinjuriesFall is a popular season for many reasons: it brings cooler weather, beautiful foliage, and includes some of the best holidays. But winter is around the corner, and with it comes an increased likelihood of injury resulting from cold temperatures and inclement weather. But if you start preparing now, you can reduce the risk of injury once winter arrives.

Here are five things you can do in fall to avoid injuries in winter.

  1. Prepare for Slippery Walkways

If your home has a driveway, walking paths, a sidewalk, or other areas that tend to get icy, you should stock up on supplies that will keep those areas walkable. At minimum, you should keep a quality snow shovel and a method to treat or cover ice. Salt can aid in melting ice, but isn’t exactly friendly to cars, concrete, or the environment. As an alternative, you can put down kitty litter or gravel - they won’t melt ice, but they will add traction.

  1. Stock Flashlights

Snow and ice storms can cause power outages. If you’re caught stumbling through your home in the dark, you risk a fall. Make sure you have flashlights with fresh batteries stashed around strategic areas of your home so you can get to them easily in the event of a power outage.

  1. Prepare Your Vehicle

It’s important to prepare your vehicle for slippery conditions and breakdowns.

To prepare for slippery roads, you may want to consider snow tires or at least ensure that your current tires have a sufficient tread depth to manage snow and ice. Rear wheel drive vehicles may handle poorly in the snow, but you can use sandbags, cinderblocks or other heavy items to add extra weight to the rear of your vehicle and cut down on sliding.

You should also prepare your vehicle for a roadside breakdown, which can be life threatening in certain conditions. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. This kit should include extra warm clothes, gloves, bottled water, some canned food, a flashlight, and emergency flares. In addition, storing a bag of road salt and a shovel in your trunk can help in a pinch if you ever need to dig yourself out of deep snow.

  1. Get the Right Clothing

Warm clothing keeps you protected from the elements when you’re outside. Check your existing wardrobe now to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll want a warm clothing option for every part of the body, from head to foot. Choose clothes that fit well and have interior. Make sure you have options for inner layers such as socks and long johns.

Finally, shoes or boots with a good tread can help prevent slips and falls.

  1. Trim Back Trees

If you have trees on your property, you should trim back branches that extend over your roof, power lines, and any walkways. You don’t want branches felled by ice to cause property damage or injury to anyone walking below.

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<![CDATA[Seven Home Methods to Treat or Relieve Plantar Fasciitis]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:23:44 +0000 By Brian Acton

plantarPlantar fasciitis is a condition in which your plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes and supports your arches, becomes inflamed. The resulting pain in your heel or the bottom of your foot can make it difficult to stand or walk.

While it’s common among middle aged and older people, plantar fasciitis can also occur in young athletes and anyone who is frequently on their feet. While unusual cases of plantar fasciitis may require surgery, doctors will usually recommend at-home remedies to start, as most people will recover in three to twelve months without aggressive treatment.

Here are seven home methods your doctor may recommend to treat or relieve your plantar fasciitis.

  1. Rest

While it might be unrealistic to completely eliminate walking from your routine, resting your foot is necessary. You should limit any activities, such as running or walking on solid surfaces like concrete, that can exacerbate your plantar fasciitis.

If your sport of choice involves a lot of running or high impact activity, try substituting a low impact sport like bicycling or swimming.

  1. Cold Therapy

Cold therapy helps treat injuries like plantar fasciitis that involve pain, swelling, or inflammation. Applying ice or cold packs to your foot can temporarily reduce those symptoms.

  1. Over-the-Counter Medication

Over the counter anti-inflammatory aids like ibuprofen or naproxen can help you manage your pain and reduce inflammation.

  1. Supportive Footwear

Avoid flats, high heels, sandals, and any footwear that doesn’t provide adequate support. Instead, wear shoes with a well-cushioned sole that absorbs shock and provides arch support. Many running shoes will provide plenty of cushioning to the bottom of your feet.

Alternatively, shoe inserts like heel lifts can add support and cushioning to your unsupportive footwear.

  1. Foot Stretches

Toe stretches and calf stretches can help your foot stay limber, and are especially beneficial early in the morning. Stretches help your ligaments become flexible and strengthen the muscles that support your arch.

  1. Night Splints

Night splints can provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain overnight. These splints hold the foot with the toes pointed up, applying a consistent 90° angle stretch to your plantar fascia. This helps reduce pain and keeps your foot limber.

  1. Wear Supports

Supports like the Swede-O® Thermal Heel-Rite™ can fit in your shoe and provide daytime relief for your foot. They provide ample arch support and compress the plantar fascia to protect your foot from further pain and injury. The support’s compression and heat retention can also help reduce swelling and aid recovery.

In Closing

Most cases of plantar fasciitis are easily treatable with simple remedies or over-the-counter products, and only in rare instances will they last over one year. However, some cases are more extreme. If you suspect you may have plantar fasciitis, see your doctor. Your doctor can recommend the best combination of treatments and remedies to get you back on your feet.

Sources:

http://www.coreproducts.com/blog/2017/06/05/seven-of-the-most-common-sports-injuries/
https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/mdo/presentation/conditions/condition_viewall_page.jsp?condition=Condition_Heel_Pain.xml
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/plantar-fasciitis-topic-overview#1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HWSbdzIIKI

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<![CDATA[Seven Ways Hobbies Can Improve Your Life and Wellbeing]]> Fri, 06 Oct 2017 03:13:50 +0000 By Brian Acton

hobbyHobbies come in many different forms. They demand different levels of physical or mental exertion, they may be solitary or social, and some are easier to pick up than others. But all great hobbies give you more than just a way to pass the time and can provide a wide range of benefits to you.

Here are seven ways hobbies can improve your life.

  1. Physical Fitness

Hobbies that require physical activity can contribute to your overall physical fitness and improve your strength, endurance, and overall health. But you don’t have to lift heavy weights or train for a marathon to boost your fitness. Any hobby that requires physical activity - such as gardening, hiking, or shooting pool - can convey health benefits, especially if the alternative is sitting on the couch.

  1. Stress Reduction

Hobbies are a great outlet for stress relief. They allow you to lose yourself in an activity and recover from a stressful day. They also give you something to look forward to during times of stress. Having an outlet for stress relief can help you avoid burnout, boost your mood, and promote psychological wellbeing.

  1. Social Connections

Some hobbies, like group sports, are naturally social and require you to interact with others. They can help you meet new friends that share similar interests. But even solitary hobbies like stamp collecting can help you make social connections if you seek out in-person or online communities dedicated to your hobby of choice.

Many studies show the positive impact of an active social life on physical and psychological health. The connections you make with your fellow hobbyists can lead to lifelong friendships and boost your overall wellbeing.

  1. New Challenges

Learning a hobby often requires you to develop new skills. You may have to break with routine and challenge yourself in new ways that are entirely different from work or family challenges. These new challenges can help you make mental connections, think about problems differently, or get outside your comfort zone. No matter the scenario, new challenges can help you grow as a person.

  1. Enhanced Self-Esteem

Simply put, it feels empowering to master a new skill (or even become proficient at one). While learning a new hobby takes time, it can pay off with increased confidence and self esteem.

  1. Improved Work Performance

The new skills you’re learning could also help you get better at your job. While confidence and low stress can certainly help your job performance, learning a new skill could also help you identify a new approach to a work problem or apply your newfound skills to a work task. You may even find a hobby you want to turn into a career.

  1. Fun

If you spend all your time working and running from errand to errand, you may end up overly stressed or burned out. Hobbies provide a break from tedious obligations, giving you a chance to have fun and enjoy yourself.

 

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-benefits-of-stress-management/
https://www.nia.nih.gov/about/living-long-well-21st-century-strategic-directions-research-aging/research-suggests-positive
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/jobs/02career.html

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<![CDATA[What Should Massage Therapists Learn About New Clients?]]> Wed, 27 Sep 2017 03:48:18 +0000 By Brian Acton

massageThe most successful massage therapists practice good client management. That’s because maintaining great relationships can make clients happy and drive future success.

When meeting a new client, it’s important to learn as much as you can to deliver a great first impression. Before a client ever gets on your massage table, you should make sure you understand their preferences, needs, and concerns so you can deliver the best massage possible.

Here are eight things you should be learning about your new massage clients.

  1. Basic Contact and Health Information

New clients can fill out a brief intake form upon their first visit. This form should collect basic client data such as contact information and emergency contacts. It can request basic medical history, current medications, and other information that would be helpful in the case of emergency. The form can also include questions that help guide the massage.

The questions on the client intake form should be grouped in a logical way, and shouldn’t require long responses. More detailed questions can follow in a verbal conversation.

  1. Prior Massage Experience

Once you’ve collected the intake form, you can take the time to introduce yourself and get to know your client. This is an ideal time to ask about your client’s prior massage experience. Massage newbies may need more in-depth explanation and guidance, while experienced clients may want to spend more time discussing their personal preferences and what they have liked or disliked about prior massages.

  1. Preferred Pressure

Always ask your clients to choose from a selection of pre-defined pressure levels. Of course, pressure is subjective, and different clients will have varying expectations. At the very least, you’ll get a starting point to work from, with the understanding that you may need to adjust throughout the massage.

  1. Goals for the Massage

Every massage needs a goal. Some massages provide general stress relief and relaxation, while others may focus on a particularly tight muscle group. Make sure to establish a goal ahead of time to better address your client’s needs.

  1. Areas of Focus

Most people have at least one area of the body that will especially benefit from massage therapy. Make sure to ask about areas that need extra attention.

  1. Areas to Avoid

Your clients may prefer you avoid certain areas, either because of injury, ticklishness, or because they simply aren’t comfortable with you touching that area. You should go through all the areas you will be massaging, and make sure to ask if there’s certain areas you should steer clear of.

  1. Special Preferences

If your client is a massage veteran, they might have preferred techniques, products, music, or other requests. Even newbies can make educated decisions with some help. Make sure to offer options such as aromatherapy to your clients and be prepared to provide some guidance.

Other preferences may include whether the client likes to start face up or face down, whether they prefer conversation or silence, and whether they prefer massage, oil, cream, or lotion.

  1. Their Questions and Concerns

Once you’ve asked all your questions, you should give your new client the opportunity to ask their own. They may have concerns ranging from basic to advanced. Giving your client a moment to ask their own questions can help them feel more at ease.

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<![CDATA[Six Tips to Help Schoolchildren Improve a Poor Sleep Schedule]]> Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:42:07 +0000 By Brian Acton

sleepMost schoolchildren are now well into the new academic year, but some kids might still be experiencing difficulty adjusting to their school schedule. If your kids are still struggling to get enough sleep, their everyday lives can be negatively affected. After all, quality sleep is important for a kid’s academic performance, physical and psychological health, and overall happiness.

Children age 7-12 need around ten hours of sleep each night, while teenagers require at least eight hours. If your kids aren’t meeting this benchmark, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot your kid’s sleep issues.

Here are six tips to improve your kid’s sleeping schedule.

  1. Cut Back on Commitments

When a child has too many commitments, those obligations can eat into the time needed to decompress, spend time with family, and wind down for bedtime. An overloaded schedule can also put a lot of stress on a child’s shoulders, which can affect sleep quality.

With homework, sports, extracurricular activities, and chores, modern kids can easily get overwhelmed. If your child is frequently doing homework until bedtime or rarely has a spare moment to relax, it might be time to eliminate a few things from their calendar.

  1. Set a Schedule

A consistent schedule can help your kid’s internal clock adjust to their school schedule. Determine how much sleep your child needs, and then enforce a strict bedtime and waking time. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, will help your kid improve their sleep quality and establish a working routine.

  1. Develop a Relaxing Routine

Children need time to wind down as they prepare for sleep. An hour before bedtime, you can have your child perform a relaxing and quiet activity – such as reading, taking a bath, or working on a puzzle – to help them quiet their minds and get ready for bed.

  1. Avoid Overstimulation From Technology

If your kids have gadgets like phones, tablets, and computers, it can be tough to pry them away. But technology can affect a child’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. The light produced by screens restricts the production of melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle. Gadgets also tend to keep the mind active and engaged. Late night notifications can disturb your child’s sleep.

You can institute a “no-gadget” policy leading up to bedtime and keep gadgets with notifications away from your kid’s bedroom.

  1. Exercise

Exercise helps children fall asleep faster, while sedentary children have trouble falling and staying asleep. If you want your kids to get a good night’s rest, make sure they get plenty of daily exercise.

  1. Keep it Quiet

Once your kids are in bed, try to maintain a quiet home. A loud television, music, and other noises can cause your kids to wake up and think they’re missing out on fun. For the sake of their sleep, keep your noise levels down.
 

Sources:

https://modernparentsmessykids.com/quiet-time-activities-perfect-getting-kids-settle-bed/
https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/beauty-aging/ultimate-guide-childrens-sleep/
https://sleep.org/articles/design-perfect-bedtime-routine/
http://sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5887603/Exercise-helps-children-fall-asleep-faster-study-indicates.html
https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/7579-overscheduling-activities-can-cause-burn-out-for-children-and-parents

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<![CDATA[Stuck at a Desk All Day? Here are 6 Ways to Maintain Your Health]]> Fri, 15 Sep 2017 03:11:01 +0000 By Brian Acton

deskworkThe typical office worker spends long hours sitting at their workstation and staring at a screen. But long sedentary periods have been linked to a variety of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, decreased mobility and back problems. Office workers should be mindful of the potential hazards and take steps to reduce the risk of developing health problems.

Here are six tips for fighting the adverse effects of a desk job.

1. Practice Good Posture
Office workers are frequently drawn toward their computer screens, hunching forward and craning their necks. This puts a lot of unnecessary strain on the neck and spine. Ideally, you should sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed, your arms close to your sides, and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Take Breaks
You can counter some of the negative health effects of a desk job simply by getting up and walking around a bit. Taking regular breaks allows you to get some exercise and loosen up. How you do that is up to you, but you could try walking to a colleague’s office to chat in lieu of an email and setting regular calendar reminders to get up for a short burst of activity.

3. Make Time to Stretch
Sitting for long periods of time can cause tightness in the hips, legs, neck, and shoulders. Over time, this can lead to decreased mobility, especially in the hips. If you take time to stretch your hip flexors, neck, back, and other affected areas, you’ll maintain better mobility and reduce discomfort. You can get started by signing up for yoga classes or looking up a few stretches to perform at home or in the office.

4. Place Your Monitor at the Right Level
If your monitor isn’t placed at the proper height, you may need to adjust to save your spine. If your screen is too low, your head will point forward and down, which puts strain on your neck and spine. If your screen is too high, you may tend to lean back too far and tilt your head forward at an unnatural angle. For proper placement, the top of the monitor should be at or just below eye level.

5. Get a Standing Desk
Adjustable standing desks can be moved between standing and sitting positions, so that you can spend all or part of your day standing at your desk. Standing at work builds muscles, promotes proper posture, increases blood flow, and burns calories. If you’re used to sitting all day, you may want to gradually increase the amount of time you spend standing and be sure to practice good standing posture.

6. Get a Lumbar Support Pillow
Extended periods of sitting put an unnatural amount of pressure on the spine, which can lead to serious back pain. Lumbar support pillows provide support and comfort to your lower back and help you maintain proper spinal curvature. Plus, they’re easy to use and relatively affordable.

Sources
https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/yoga-desk-job_n_3707818.html
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_monitors.html

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<![CDATA[7 Tips to Avoid Injuries When Running]]> Wed, 06 Sep 2017 03:02:12 +0000 By Brian Acton

runningWhen it comes to physical benefits, running is one of the best exercises you can do. Running can help build muscle, lose weight, reduce the risk of disease, and improve your cardiovascular health. It can also relieve stress and boost your mood.

But, like any exercise, running comes with the risk of injury. While you can never fully eliminate that risk, you can reduce it by taking precautions.

Here are seven tips for runners to avoid injuries.

1. Avoid the Heat
If you run outside, you know that intense heat can be unpleasant and even downright dangerous. To reduce the risk of overheating in the hotter months, avoid running in the middle of the day. Instead, run in the morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler (or hop on an indoor treadmill).

2. Warm Up and Cool Down
Five to ten minutes of light exercise (such as walking) can supply oxygen to your muscles and slowly raise your temperature and heart rate to prepare your body for a run. After your run, you should cooldown with another few minutes of light activity, giving your body a chance to gradually lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

3. Choose the Right Shoes
Not all running shoes are identical, and running in the wrong shoes could lead to injury. The right shoe depends on your foot size, foot type, and running style. While many running shoes may fit comfortably in the shoe store, they won’t necessarily give your feet the proper support and cushioning needed when running. Make sure to do your research, describe your specific needs in the shoe store, and pay attention to how they feel when you’re on the run.

4. Stay Hydrated
If you haven’t had enough fluids, running can quickly leave you severely dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your run.

5. Increase Intensity Gradually
Whether you’re a new runner or an old pro, you should gradually increase speed and distance based on your skill and endurance level. If you train too hard right out of the gate, you risk injuring yourself and putting an unnecessary strain on your muscles. Gradual progression will help your body handle greater workout stress and build up endurance and strength over time.

6. Use Support Products
If you already have an injury that makes running difficult, you may be able to reduce risk of pain or re-injury with the right support product. For example, the Performance Wrap Knee Support can help promote athletic performance and knee stability for people with persistent knee problems.

7. Stretch
Stretching is an important part of any running program, as it relieves muscle tension and supports flexibility and mobility. It’s important to make stretching part of your routine.

Sources:
http://www.active.com/running/articles/6-benefits-of-running
http://www.runnersworld.com/for-beginners-only/5-quick-stretches-when-youre-crunched-for-time/slide/4
http://www.runnersworld.com/the-shoe-room/5-common-myths-about-running-shoes/slide/4
https://www.verywell.com/how-to-warm-up-and-cool-down-2911285

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<![CDATA[Six Ways to Exercise Your Dog When You Can’t Go for a Long Walk]]> Thu, 31 Aug 2017 03:07:42 +0000 By Brian Acton

dogexerciseMost dogs need daily exercise to stay healthy and keep their weight under control. Regular exercise can also help avoid problem behaviors, as restless dogs may turn to digging, chewing or constant barking to release pent-up energy.

Taking your furry friend for a walk is one of the best ways to give your pup a workout. But if injury or illness is keeping you from walking, you might have to find an alternative way to exercise your dog.

Here are six ways to exercise your dog when you can’t go for a long walk.

1. Play Fetch
Fetch is an old standby. It can exercise your dog while you stay relatively still. Best of all, it can be played with anything your dog will chase, including a ball, stick, Frisbee, or chew toy. Fetch comes more naturally to some dogs, but most dogs can learn with a little bit of training.

2. Dock Jumping and Swimming
Not all dogs are great swimmers, but many breeds are perfect for aquatic exercise. Dock diving is essentially an aquatic version of fetch in which dogs chase a toy off the end of a dock to retrieve it. It’s best played with a dog that already loves to retrieve and is comfortable in the water. There are even dock diving competitions.

If that’s not your thing, you can still take your dog for a swim if you live near a calm body of water. Just be sure to take precautions, especially if you’re not confident in your dog’s swimming abilities.

3. Visit a Dog Park
If you’ve got an easily accessible dog park, you can drive your dog over and let them loose. They can play with other neighborhood dogs in a safe, fenced-in environment while you relax. This is also a great way to meet other neighborhood dog owners. Of course, your dog will need to play well with others.

4. Tug-of-War
Tug-of-war is a simple game that can be played from a chair or the couch, but your dog will nevertheless be enthralled. All you need is a longer toy with a good grip on both ends. As a bonus, you’ll be giving your grip and arm a good workout.

This activity is safer with a relaxed dog that isn’t too territorial with toys, and shouldn’t be done with a dog you don’t trust or know well.

5. Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toys come in many different varieties, from the simple to the elaborate. They all require your dog to use its brain and body to extract a treat. Puzzle toys can be filled with kibble, treats, peanut butter, and more, and they can keep a dog occupied and physically engaged for hours.

6. Outsource
If you really need a break, you can ask a friend or loved one for help walking your dog. You could also consider hiring a dog walker until you’re back on your feet. While it is an extra expense, your dog will benefit from the routine exercise.

Sources
https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/toys-and-play/ways-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors
http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/breeds/top-swimming-dog-breeds
http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/teaching-your-dog-to-play-fetch#1
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/dock-diving

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<![CDATA[Tips for Working Out During the Hottest Days of the Year]]> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 03:03:52 +0000 By Brian Acton

hotdayIn many ways, the great outdoors is the perfect gym: it’s free, virtually unlimited, and offers better scenery than your neighborhood fitness center. But if you prefer to exercise outside, you may face a challenge when temperatures heat up. Hot weather can make outdoor workouts uncomfortable and even dangerous, as the heat puts extra strain on your body and can cause dehydration, overheating, and even serious injuries like heatstroke.

It’s important to exercise correctly during the hottest days of the year. Here are eight tips for working out in the heat (or avoiding it altogether).

1. Choose the Right Time of Day
The hottest times of day generally range from late morning to late afternoon. You should try to avoid exercising during this time frame, as your body could be quickly overwhelmed by the intense heat. Try to work out in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cooler.

2. Stay Hydrated
High temperatures will make you sweat more intensely, so you’ll want to make sure you’re properly hydrated. You should consume plenty of water leading up to exercise and make sure to take a drink at least every ten to 20 minutes during your workout.

3. Find the Shade
Work out in shady areas if possible. Shaded pathways or trails will lessen the effect of the sun.

4. Wear the Right Gear
You should wear workout gear that is loose-fitting, light in color and lightweight. Try to find clothes that wick away sweat and encourage evaporation. Avoid dark-colored, thick cotton clothing, as it absorbs heat and can trap moisture against your skin, raising your body temperature.

To prevent sunburn, you may even want to wear a ventilated hat and some lightweight sunglasses.

5. Don’t Overdo It
You may want to cut back on the intensity of your workout and avoid shooting for personal records on hot days. You can reduce the intensity, speed, or duration of your workout to make up for the rise in temperature. If you can, reserve tougher workouts for indoors.

6. Hit the Pool
If you have access to a pool, now is the best time to take advantage. While you should still make sure to stay hydrated and avoid overexertion, swimming is great for hot weather because water naturally cools your body. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

7. Join a Gym
If you have a local gym with a monthly membership plan, it might be worth it to sign up for the hotter months. You can cancel your membership and get back outdoors when it cools off.

8. Get an Exercise Machine
If a gym membership isn’t your style, you could spring for some home workout equipment. Treadmills, rowing machines, weights and more can all help you stay in shape in the sweet comfort of air conditioning.

Sources:
https://greatist.com/fitness/hydration-during-exercise
http://www.livestrong.com/article/522110-the-best-clothing-to-wear-to-prevent-heat-exhaustion/
http://www.mensfitness.com/training/endurance/the-heat-wave-workout-how-to-train-in-hot-weather
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercising-in-the-heat#1
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/summer-workout-0

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<![CDATA[How Massage Therapists Can Benefit from Board Certification with the NCBTMB]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 03:07:12 +0000 By Brian Acton

massageMassage therapists who wish to boost their credentials, unlock new opportunities, or expand their knowledge and training can all stand to benefit from board certification with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). That’s because board certification is nationally recognized as the highest voluntary massage therapy credential, and gives massage therapists greater legitimacy and recognition, especially in the healthcare industry.

What Is Board Certification?

Board certification is a voluntary credential - provided through the NCBTMB - that massage therapists can pursue. Upon becoming board certified, therapists can include the credentials “BCTMB” following their name. They’ll also be nationally recognized by the NCBTMB and gain several other perks and benefits.

The requirements for board certification are standardized across the country. Requirements include:

• Completing 750 hours of education
• Completing 250 hours of hands-on professional experience
• Passing the BCETMB exam
• Passing a criminal background check
• Agreeing to uphold NCBTMB’s code of ethics and standards
• Agreeing to oppose human trafficking

Hours you’ve completed in an NCBTMB-approved school will count toward the education requirements, and you’ll have two years from the date you graduate to complete your work experience requirement. Once all requirements are met, you can become board certified.

Board certification is not the same as state licensure, although many massage therapists will sit for their licensure and board certification exams around the same time. Board certification isn’t required to practice, but there are many tangible benefits to getting your certification.

What are the Benefits?

Board certification isn’t simply an arbitrary credential; it’s nationally recognized and has several benefits:

1. Greater Legitimacy
According to the NCBTMB, board certification demonstrates that therapists have gone above and beyond the entry-level requirements needed to operate as a massage therapist. Since board certification has such strict requirements, clients and employers can be confident that certified therapists are committed to lifelong learning and continued growth.

2. Job Opportunities
Board certification grants access to opportunities and career paths that may have previously been unavailable. Many employers, especially those in the health care industry, will require board certification for available job opportunities. Some spas and massage practices may also require board certification.

Therapists can place the “BCTMB” credential, which stands for “Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork,” after their name to indicate that they’re board certified.

3. Greater Online Visibility
Once a therapist becomes certified, they are listed on the NCBTMB’s directory of certified massage therapists. The public can search on the site, using criteria as simple as a zip code, to locate nearby board certified therapists. In this way, board certification can help you connect with new clients.

4. Networking Opportunities
Becoming part of the NCBTMB community unlocks online networking opportunities, including social media groups that can help therapists continue their career growth. For example, NCBTMB has a Facebook group for approved providers to post continuing education courses, helping connect board certified therapists with the industry’s top educators.

5. Access to Online Marketplaces
The NCBTMB runs an affiliate program with some of the massage industry’s top brands and services. Active members get access to exclusive deals and promotions on products and services that can help their business.

There’s also a public online marketplace that reserves exclusive savings and discounts for board certified members.

6. State Licensure Requirements
States don’t require board certification for therapists to do business within their borders. However, many states do allow continuing education from NCBTMB approved providers to count toward meeting licensure renewal requirements.

7. Continuing Education
Therapists will get the opportunity to connect with continuing education classes, providers, and resources. Continuing education classes help therapists gain experience, encounter different issues in the field, and further their professional development.

How to Get Started

No matter your current standing as a massage therapist, you can apply your existing education and experience toward board certification with the NCBMTB. Board certification can open up access to new opportunities and resources to massage therapists at all levels. To learn how to get started, visit the NCBTMB website.

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