Posts Tagged ‘Massage Test Prep’

All about the MBLEx Exam

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The MBLEx exam has quickly become the most common massage exam, used by 42 states for licensure. Whether you’re just starting to study for your MBLEx exam, or looking for some last minute information, here is everything you need to know about the MBLEx exam.

About the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)

Before you can study for the content and test questions, you need to understand the purpose of the MBLEx. In 2005, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professions (ABMP) held a meeting to address issues common to their members. In the meeting, they discussed concerns of a valid and reliable licensing exam.

Three key issues continued to rise to the surface:

• the need for consistent scopes of practice and entry level standards across the country
• the need for a valid and reliable licensing exam that would be accepted by all jurisdictions
• the need for a common database with licensing and disciplinary information and the ability to store critical documents

Regulators and educators discovered that there was a need for an organization to formally bring the regulatory community together. Thus, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards was born. Since 2005, the FSMTB has been committed to establishing a foundation upon which to build the organization and begin the work necessary to carry out the desires of the states. The best thing about the MBLEx exam is that it allows states to “own” the exam, so they can dictate policies that pertain to the exam, specifically for their state.

Applying for the MBLEx

All About the MBLEx examTo apply for the MBLEx, you must fill out the application on the FSMTB website. There is also an application fee of $195. It normally takes up to five business days for the FSMTB to process your MBLEx exam application. If the application is incomplete, they will contact you within those five days. Once the application is approved, the FSMTB will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS) via email or postal mail (if email address has not been provides).

From the date the NTS is issued, you will have 90 days to schedule your test. If you cannot test within those 90 days, you will have to reapply. You can locate a test center here. Once you arrive at the testing center, you must bring two forms of identification; one requires a photo and signature and must not be expired.

MBLEx Exam Outline

If you’re not sure what the MBLEx will cover or how the MBLEx exam is divided, here is a brief content outline from the FSMTB website.

  • Anatomy & Physiology – 14%
  • Kinesiology – 11%
  • Pathology, contraindications, areas of caution, special populations – 13%
  • Benefits and physiological effects of techniques that manipulate soft tissue – 17%
  • Client Assessment, Reassessment & Treatment Planning – 17%
  • Overview of Massage & History Bodywork, Culture, and Modalities – 5%
  • Ethics, boundaries, laws, and regulations – 13%
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice – 10%

Passing the MBLEx exam does not mean you can start practicing right away. The MBLEx exam is only one-step in the licensing process. However, failing the MBLEx exam can postpone your career as a licensed massage therapist for months. Make sure your prepared for all sections of the exam with a comprehensive, interactive MBLEx study guide like Massage Prep!

An Introduction to Ayurveda: Part Two

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Introduction to AyurvedaThe NCETMB exam is known for its emphasis on oriental concepts and modalities. That’s why we provided you with an introduction to Ayurveda in a previous post. Ayurveda stands for the “knowledge of life” and is one of the oldest forms of healthcare, as part of Hindu tradition. It is founded on the belief that in order to be healthy, one must achieve balance.

Here is part two of our “Introduction to Ayurveda”. To learn more about Ayurveda and what will be covered on the major massage exams, visit


Another key concept in Ayurveda, along with doshas, is the guna. The basic meaning of guna is “string” or “a strand of cord or twine”.

In Ayurveda, gunas show our mental and spiritual state through which we can measure our psychological and emotional tendencies. There are three gunas that determine our individual, mental, and spiritual nature. These gunas have become a common means of categorizing behavior and natural phenomena in the Hindu philosophy. They also act as a system in Ayurvedic medicine to assess conditioning and diets.

A key thing to remember is that a guna is the tendency, not the action itself. For example, sattva guna is the tendency towards purity, but is not purity itself. Generally one guna dominates our nature; however we all have moments of the other gunas.

The three gunas are:

Sattva- “Equilibrium”; Sattva stands for balance, order, and purity. A person of Sattva has a positive or orderly state of mind.

Tamas- “Inertia”; Tamas has been translated to mean inactive, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. Usually it is associated with darkness, delusion, or ignorance. A person of Tamas can have a self-destructive or entropic state of mind.

Rajas- “Activity”; Rajas has been translated to mean change, movement, or dynamism. Rajas leads to one activity: yogakshem. Yogakshem is derived of the two words “yoga” and “kshem”. Yoga is acquiring something that one does not have. Kshem is losing something that one already has. Rajas is the force that creates desire for new things and fears for losing those newly acquired things. These desires and fears lead one to activity.

For spiritual growth, it is believed that a higher force of rajas is necessary. Through it one becomes a spiritual warrior and can do spiritual practices with great energy and vigor. Yoga is not only about developing sattva, but also about developing the higher rajistic force in order to bring about sattva. For either health or spiritual growth, a higher force of rajas or active energy is crucial.

Asana & Prana

Asana is a Sanskrit word meaning “sitting down” or “to sit down”. In Ayurveda, asana at the most basic level is a body position intended to restore and maintain a practitioner’s well-being and improve the body’s flexibility. However, our bodies vary in structure, so the experience of an asana will depend upon our body’s build, flexibility and condition.

The asana is a vehicle through which Prana is directed. Prana is known as “breath”, but it is not actually the break. It is the power behind breath, the energy that enables us to breathe. Prana is one of the five organs of vitality:

1. Prana- Breath
2. Vac- Speech
3. Caksus- Sigh
4. Shrotra- Hearing
5. Manas- Thought

In Ayurveda, the prana is further categorized into subcategories, referred to as pranas. The five pranas are:

1. Prana- responsible for the beating of the heart and breathing.
2. Apana- elimination of waste products
3. Udana- producing sounds through the vocal apparatus
4. Samana- digestion of food and cell metabolism
5. Vyana- expansion and contraction processes of the body (e.g. the voluntary muscle system)

There’s a lot more to Ayurvedic principles that are hard to cover in a few hundred words. For a more in-depth look at Ayurveda or to figure out what you need to study for your massage exam, visit

An Introduction to Ayurveda: Part One

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Introduction to AyurvedaAyurveda is a subject that is covered on most massage exams; especially since the NCETMB exam includes oriental concepts and modalities. That’s why Massage Prep includes an intensive and interactive study guide that provides you with an introduction to Ayurveda. To see how in-depth and easy-to-understand our study guides are, here is a glimpse of the information and material covered in the study guide provided by Massage Prep. There will be two parts of this introduction to Ayurveda.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system of healthcare that can be traced as far back as 3000 BC. Its therapeutic measures relate to physical, mental, social, and spiritual harmony. The term Ayurveda derives from two words: “āyus” meaning life and veda meaning “knowledge”. Ayurveda stands for the “knowledge of life” and the intent is to harmonize the body with nature.

There are eight branches of Ayurveda:

1. Internal medicine- Kayachikitsa
2. Pediatrics- Kaumarabhritya
3. Psychology/Psychiatry- Bhuta Vidya
4. Ears, eyes, nose, and throat- Shalakya Tantra
5. Surgery- Shalya Tantra
6. Toxicology- Agada Tantra
7. Rejuvenation- Rasayana tantra
8. Fertility therapy- Vajikarana tantra

Introduction to AyurvedaDoṣas (or Doshas)

Most of this article will focus on a brief introduction of Ayurveda and the balance of three elemental substances (“doṣas” or doshas). Ayurvedic theory asserts that each human possesses a natural, unique combination of doṣas that define that person’s temperament and characteristics. Health exists when there is a balance between the three doshas.

The three fundamental bodily doshas called are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They are created from the five elements and cosmic rhythms of nature, as seen in the image to the right. Your individual metabolic or body type is determined by the conditions of your dosha at the time of birth. No type is better or worse than the others. All have their strengths and weaknesses.

  • “Vāta” or Vata (Wind/Air) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy nature, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc. A person of a Vata dominance normally has the weakest body build, but the greatest capacity for change and adaptation to protect it.
  • Pitta (Fire) is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism. Its chief quality is heat. Individuals who are primarily Pitta have moderate physical strength and greater emotional and mental forces.
  • Kapha (Water) is the body fluid principle which relates to mucus, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients. Persons with a Kapha dominance has the strongest body build, but can lack motivation and adaptation to use it properly.

Keys to Balance Your Dosha(s)

Again, each human has a natural, unique combination of doshas. To achieve ultimate balance and health, one should seek balance by structuring their behavior or environment to provide more of the element(s) they lack. To find out your balance of doshas, view our interactive study guide for Ayurveda. It includes charts with characteristics that will help you determine which dosha you are naturally dominant and where you can bring balance and unity.

If you are primarily Vata, it’s important to implement regularity in your lifestyle habits. Keep your energy firm and consistent. Moderate and sustain your enthusiasm throughout the day to keep the body calm, centered and relaxed. You should practice breathing exercises every day at the same time. Keep the breath calm and strong, emphasizing inhalation. The whole purpose is to keep the mind calm and concentrated, grounded in the present moment.

If you are dominantly Pitta, cool down the fire and keep your energy cool, open, and receptive. You want moderation in all things, including your food and activity. When you practice your breathing keep the breath cold, relaxed, and diffused; exhale through the mouth to relieve heat as needed. Keep your mind receptive, detached, and aware.

Finally, if you are mainly Kapha, make sure to warm up properly and then do the asana with effort, speed, and determination. Your primary purpose is to increase stimulation and invigoration. Keep the body light and moving, warm and dry. Exercise to invigorate the breath and maintain energy. Keep your mind enthusiastic, wakeful, and focused like a flame

All Ayurvedic physicians believe that these ancient ideas exist in harmony with physical reality. These Ayurvedic concepts allow physicians to examine the homeostasis of the whole system. With a career as spiritual and healing as massage therapy, it’s understandable why a firm understanding of Ayurveda is necessary. If you can’t wait for Part Two or you’re ready to dive into the study guide, visit

Are You Taking Your Massage Exam Soon?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Are you taking the MBLEx, the NCETM, or the NCETMB exam soon?  You might be if you just graduated from an accredited massage therapy school and live in one of the 46 states that regulate massage therapy.

Massage therapy is a growing industry and can be an extremely successful career choice.  Becoming a massage therapy requires dedication, time, and a passion for helping others.  Those interested in becoming a massage therapist must attend school, pass comprehensive exams, and sometimes participate in an apprenticeship program.

The three major exams recognized by states as a valid testing tool for qualified massage therapists are the MBLEX, the NCETM, and the NCETMB exam.  Therefore passing at least one of these exams is a crucial step toward obtaining your massage license.  Many states require at least 500 hours of massage therapy schooling in addition to passing the MBLEX, the NCETM, or the NCETMB massage exam.

The Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is developed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards on behalf of its Member Boards. To ensure the examination reflects current practice, a Job Task Analysis Survey was developed with contributions by over 50 content experts under the guidance of 15 testing and psychometric experts. The Job Task Analysis was further validated by input from 7,646 massage, bodywork and somatic professionals representing every state in the USA. The MBLEx is administered through Pearson VUE at high-security test centers across the United States.

Both the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB) are developed by The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.  The NCBTMB is an independent, private, nonprofit organization that was founded in 1992 to establish a certification program and uphold a national standard of excellence.  NCBTMB’s exam programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).  Their exams are created using professional testing standards ensuring validity and accuracy.

Passing the MBLEx, the NCETM, or the NCETMB is not easy for everyone.  In fact, the NCETMB is known as the most difficult of the three because of its heavy emphasis on Oriental Modalities.  If you feel like you might need extra help passing your exam, enrolling in an online MBLEx, NCETM, or NCETMB preparation program like Massage Prep can help.  Massage Prep is a comprehensive online study aid that contains over 2,000 practice test questions, 26 interactive study guides, 28 exams including 3 simulations exam mimicking the major massage exams, and 30 animated muscle guides.  Massage Prep guarantees you will pass your massage exam after completing their program or they will refund your money.  For more information on how Massage Prep can help you, contact them at

The Most Important Part of Every Massage Session

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Massage ExamMost clients think the actual massage is the most important part of their visit to their massage therapist.  But professionals in the massage therapy industry know the most important part of the visit is the interview or intake process held at the beginning of each session.  Why is this so important?  Because it establishes why the client is there, what their ailments or complaints are, and the best course of action the massage therapist should take to treat their client. 

If there was one simple form of massage therapy or if anyone could perform healing massage without injury, everyone would be doing it.  The truth is, professionals in the field of massage have studied and trained for hundreds, if not thousands of hours, pouring over anatomy, massage techniques, massage history, and benefits of massage in order to best treat their clients.  In addition to studying, schooling, and sometimes an apprenticeship, massage therapists also have to pass rigorous massage therapy exams like the NCETMB, the NCETM, and the MBLEx.   Each massage therapy exam covers every aspect of massage therapy that you need to know to be successful in your career, including the proper procedures during a client intake.

For example, it is important to interview each client thoroughly at the beginning of the very first session.  It is critical that the massage therapist determines if the client’s needs can be met by him or her, or if the client is suffering from something that is outside the therapist’s scope of practice.  For example, the therapist might discover or suspect a client is suffering from depression or severe muscle trauma.  These and other types of ailments should be referred to a physician. 

The initial interview is also a time to establish the client’s specific needs and to begin building a trusting relationship with him or her.  Clients might ask for a specific type of massage they have heard about from a friend or on television.  This is an opportunity for the massage therapist to ask questions about the client’s difficulties or concerns.  It is also a time to demonstrate your knowledge by explaining which techniques might be recommended for the problems the client describes.

Another important factor of the interview process is to record each session and the information discovered in the client’s record.  It is critical to the client’s care to refer to the record each and every visit to understand if progress is being made, if treatment or technique needs to be altered, or if new problems are being discovered. 

Questions about the above and other features of the intake interview are on the NCETMB, the NCETM, and the MBLEx exams.  If you’re not 100% confident in your intake interviewing knowledge, turn to an online study guide like MassagePrep.  This program offers narrated study guides, over 3000 practice questions, simulated final exams, plus much more in addition to a money-back guarantee.

Top Ten Massage Exam Mistakes

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Groggy Massage Test TakerBeing prepared can be your best defense against common mistakes and errors many people make when taking the massage exam. Thinking ahead will not only help you perform better, but will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed as well during your entire MBLEx, NCETMB or NCETM exam.

Here are some of the common yet avoidable mistakes that can be made on when taking the Massage Exam:

1. Skipping Sleep Time to Study – Get plenty of sleep the night before the massage exam. Groggy test takers miss instructions, small but important words in questions, and select the wrong bubble to fill even when they know the right answer.

2. Oversleeping – Rushing is unsettling and it’s best to stay calm on exam day.  If you’re bad with directions, map out your route to the test center the day before.  If it’s close enough, consider a dry run.  On test day, most centers require that you arrive 30 minutes early for check-in, especially for large groups of testers.  This helps you as well by allowing you to pause and collect yourself for a few minutes before the exam starts.

3. Skipping Half the Question and Heading Straight for the Answers – The Massage test is a multiple choice exam and it’s common for people to read just the first line of a question and skip straight to the answers if it’s familiar to them.  Don’t fall in this trap as the second line of the question may change the answer all together.  Practice reading the full question and maybe even cover the answers until you do.

4. Losing Track of Time – Bring your own watch in case the test center doesn’t have a visible clock from your perspective.  If you’re on pace, it can be comforting.  If you’re behind, it will remind you that you might be spending too much time on certain questions.

5. Giving in to Test Anxiety – Just pause for a moment if you feel some anxiety.  Breathe or count to ten and remember that the exam developers want you to pass.  Think of your favorite pet or all the gifts you’ll be getting when you get your license.

6. Not Trusting Yourself – After thoroughly reading the question, your first impulse among the multiple choice answer is usually the correct one.  Try not to over-analyze, and remember that no-one is really trying to trick you.

7. Stalling Out on a Question – Spending too much time on one question can throw off the whole exam.  If you look at your watch and see how much time has gone by, you can spark up that anxiousness again.  Don’t spend any longer than 1-2 minutes on each question. You can always go back to it.

8. Working at an Uneven Pace – Move steadily throughout the exam, and neither hesitate too long on a question or rush through without considering the full question and all the answers.  Spend an equal time on each question and go back when you’re through if you have any questions you did not answer.

9. Not Thoroughly Reading a Question – If you’re a speed reader, you can miss some of the small but important words like “not” and “don’t”.  Not every exam will highlight these key words such as, “Which of the following is NOT a type of massage?”

10. Bad Breakfast Choices – This includes skipping the arguable most important meal of the day, and eating too many carbs that can make you crash in the middle of your exam.  A light, healthy breakfast is all it takes to give you the energy to power through your Massage test!

Mental and Physical Benefits of Massage

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Healing HandsMost people are aware of the feel-good benefits of therapeutic massage and sometimes forget about the actual physical and mental benefits.  While preparing for the Massage Therapy Exam, students should be able to recount the mental benefits of massage.  Using a study guide like Massage Prep will help you accomplish your goals and do your best on the exam.    Being able to discuss these benefits with your clients will help you in your career, but more importantly, will impact the long-term well-being of your clients.

From a mental point of view, massage therapy:

Encourages Peace of Mind
Promotes a Relaxed State of Mental Alertness
Relieves Stress
Boosts the Ability to Control Stress Signals
Ability to Positively Respond to Stress
Improves the Ability to Think Calmly and Creatively
Provides Emotional Benefits
Appeases the Need for a Caring and Sensitive Touch
Aids a Sense of Well-Being
Lowers Anxiety
Creates Body Awareness
Builds a Connection Between Body-and-Mind

Massage therapy is known to benefit the physical body through increasing circulation and relieving tight muscles.  As a massage professional you are in a position to influence people to take massage as a serious benefit to overall health. Scientific research has indicated that there are more than simply a method to help you unwind.  Massage and beneficial touch have been methods for making people feel better for thousands of years, but there are health benefits as well.

Researchers have determined that many diseases can be correlated to stress.  In removing stressors through massage, many clients will begin to feel better physically and mentally.  Investing in therapeutic massage benefits many people a great deal especially in clients who struggle with chronic pain or have been diagnosed with a debilitating illness.  A person well-trained in therapeutic massage can be almost as important to a client as regular physician visits.  Perhaps the most surprising benefit is the connection therapeutic massage provides is the direct link between the physical and the mental.  When the body feels better and begins to repair itself and unwind physical benefits extend directly to the mind.  Once you pass your Massage Therapy Exam and become a licensed Massage Therapist, the service you provide to every client can heal the body in specific and unique ways.

Get A Grip On Your Studies

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
Abductor Pollicis

Abductor Pollicis

The day is drawing near and it is time to review.  Study as much as you have time to and then just a little more.  The Massage Therapy Exam is what you have been waiting to take since starting your studies.  Now, relax and review.  Gain confidence with Massage Prep courses.  They increase your chances of passing the MBLEx or other Massage Therapy Exam the first time.  There are so many basics that are taken for granted now, which may require one big review to ensure you’re fully prepared.  The height of the table, for example, or wearing comfortable attire. Your body mechanics, and which stance should you be in, the bow stance or the warrior stance?  All of these are important to know when taking your MBLEx.  Some stances work better with the shorter message strokes, do you remember which ones?

Have you warmed up and practiced your breathing?  Those are vital elements to the proper body mechanics.  You may be relaxing someone else’s muscles but you are working yours.  Take care to make sure you are following the principles of proper body mechanics.  Moving smoothly and lifting correctly are also for you safety.

Review the organ and muscle group placements in the body.  The different strokes for the various muscle groups make the difference.  Do you remember those?  Remember to review and get extra assistance from a massage therapy test prep course.  Treat the Massage Therapy Exam like your intake form for your clients.  You want to know what you can do for the client; the test wants to know what you can do for the client.  Relax and remember to breath.

Intake serves as a stage to set the boundaries of the relationship between therapist and client.  The questions you use will provide valuable information, set boundaries, and allow for you to start formulating your plan of care.  Your assessment should start as soon as you see the client walk in.  Watching the gait and paying attention to the swing through provides you with enormous amounts of information concerning the care you may need to provide to them.  Do you remember the key points you are assessing?  Review is the only way to ensure accuracy in your answers on the exam.

Any misaligned bone or deformity of the muscle groups can cause great stress in the area of concern.  Do you remember what normal looks and feels like?  Is the mass you have felt on palpitation a stressed muscle group or is it a tumor which needs to have further medical evaluation?  Are you confident enough to make that call?

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success on the exam is know the material.  This will help prevent any test anxiety and your mind will be clear to focus on the task at hand.