Posts Tagged ‘Massage Therapy Study Guide’

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

Ten Practice NCETM Test Questions

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Practice NCETM Test QuestionsIf you’re looking for some real NCETM questions, then look no farther. Massage Prep is here to provide you with real practice NCETM test questions taken from the actual NCETM exam. Massage Prep is the premier online massage exam study program with over 2000 test questions and dozens of study guides and simulation exams that guarantees you will pass the NCETM or your money back. Massage Prep was created by professional, licensed massage therapists who know what it takes to pass this comprehensive exam. So if you are looking for practice NCETM test questions, look no further than Massage Prep.

About the NCETM

Before you can even start your practice NCETM test questions, you need to understand the NCETM history and where the questions are coming from. The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) is created by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTM).  The NCBTM’s mission is to define and enhance the highest standards of massage and bodywork.  Massage therapists who pass the NCETM are proving they are competent to practice massage therapy.  The NCBTMB also offers continuing education, recertification, and volunteer opportunities.

Like all professional licensing exams, the NCETM is based on a content outline that was created by a team of experts in the massage therapy industry.  The NCETM tests candidates on the following categories:  General Knowledge of the Body Systems; Knowledge of Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology; Pathology; Therapeutic Massage Assessment; Therapeutic Massage Application; Contraindications, Areas of Caution, and Special Populations; and Professional Standards, Ethics, Business and Legal Practices.

Ten Practice NCETM Test Questions

Here are some sample NCETM questions taken from the actual NCETM exam).

Which one of the following best describes the regulation of blood calcium level by Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)?

  1. PTH has no effect on blood calcium level
  2. PTH stimulates osteoclasts to break down bone matrix; blood calcium level increases
  3. PTH stimulates osteoblasts to build more bone; calcium level drops
  4. PTH causescalcium to be absorbed and stored in the parathyroid gland

What is the Massage Practice Act?

  1. An act that informs therapists about the massage profession
  2. An act that informs and defines the public about the massage therapy professional
  3. An act that has been developed and enforced to ensure public safety
  4. An act that qualifies therapists to perform massage treatments

Which is the correct order of the divisions of the colon from cecum to anus?

  1. Sigmoid, ascending, transverse, descending
  2. Ascending, transverse, sigmoid
  3. Descending, transverse, sigmoid, ascending
  4. Transverse, ascending, sigmoid, descending

Which of the following is embedded in the miscle of the venrticular walls and conveys stimulation for the ventricles to contract simultaneiously?

  1. SA node
  2. AV node
  3. Purkinje fibers
  4. Bundle of His

Which muscle aducts the femur at the hip joint?

  1. Quadratus femoris
  2. Tensor fasciae latae
  3. Gluteus maximus
  4. Rectus abdominus

Nerve tissue is derived from which type of germ layer?

  1. Endoderm
  2. Mesoderm
  3. Ectoderm
  4. Endoderm & mesoderm

What is a main function of B lymphocytes?

  1. Antibody fromation
  2. Heparin production
  3. Hemopoiesis
  4. Blood clotting

Which is an example of an exocrine gland?

  1. Holocrine glands
  2. Merocrine glands
  3. Aprocrine glands
  4. All of the options

What should a therapist do if a client has epileptic convulsions on the massage table?

  1. Push away nearby objects
  2. Force a blunt object between the victim’s jaws
  3. Keep the client sitting up
  4. Apply direct pressure to temples

Which of the following is an inorganic bio molecule that is central to living systems

  1. K+
  2. Zn
  3. H20
  4. Ca

For hundreds of practice MBLEx test questions, detailed study guides, and animated muscle tutorials as well as explanations of each question, visit Massage Prep today!

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

Stay Involved After Your Massage Test

Friday, June 24th, 2011

After your Massage TestPassing your massage exam and securing a job are two very important aspects of your massage career.  But there are other areas of the massage therapy field that should not be neglected.  Here are a few points you should consider as you move ahead in your career.
Continuing Education
Continuing education is vital to the successful massage therapist.  You must stay abreast of the current trends in the massage industry.  Participating in conventions and events will help you stay current and ensure you will be able to maintain your credentials as a massage therapist.  Older techniques and massage-related information should not be neglected either.  There are staples within the massage therapy field that will never change, like the history of massage therapy, tried and true massage techniques, and the numerous benefits of massage.  These items are tested over and over again in each massage exam and should be ingrained in a massage therapist’s brain.  Should you need a refresher course on information related to the massage exam in your state, using a massage study guide program like MassagePrep is ideal.  Both current and historical content can be found at  Should you need to retake an exam for recertification purposes, they even offer a money back guarantee. 

Being Involved in the Testing Process
Did you know that organizations like NCBTMB are continually searching for candidates to help them with the massage test creation process?  It’s true.  Professionals in the field of massage are constantly being sought for their expertise.  They are interviewed and often participate in workshops where actual test questions are written.  Contact your state board of massage therapy or organizations like NCBTMB directly to find out how you can be part of the team.

Serving on Massage Therapy Boards
Nearly every state has a board that provides guidance regarding the massage therapy practices conducted in that state.  These boards are crucial to public safety and regulation pertaining to massage therapy.  Often these boards seeks experienced and new candidates willing to serve the community and their fellow massage therapists by participating in meetings and workshops, suggesting regulation on massage therapy, and creating standards in the field of massage therapy.  Additionally, organizations like FSMTB are looking for applicants who are willing to serve on their boards and set standards for both the exams and the industry as a whole. 

Volunteering Your Services
One of the most rewarding aspects of your career can be offering your services to those who cannot afford it.  Contact your neighborhood assisted living facility or Hospice to see if they require the skills and knowledge of a volunteer massage therapist.  Providing comfort to someone who needs it most will give you the joy and appreciate what a career in massage therapy is all about.

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.

Don’t be Nervous about the Nervous System

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Nervous?Before sitting for the massage therapy exam to obtain their license, massage therapy students need to have a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology, particularly the nervous system. Questions about physiological reactions to different massage techniques are common on this massage test.  Aspiring massage therapists will also be tested on both general and specific areas of kinesiology in terms of how the nervous system is connected to different muscles and tissues.  This type of working knowledge is essential to applying massage techniques that are the most beneficial for each client.  Massage Prep is designed to help you prepare for these questions and take the stress out of this area of the exam.

The first area that should be studied for the massage test is the spinal cord itself.  Massage therapy students need to know the shapes and positions of the vertebrae in order to correctly apply massage techniques. They also need to be aware of various spinal abnormalities that can affect what types of massage a client can receive.

The massage therapy exam for licensure can also cover questions on the peripheral nervous system.  Students should be able to recognize the parts of this system such as sensory neurons and ganglia as well as how they connect to the central nervous system.  They should additionally be able to answer questions on how the peripheral nervous system functions by sending signals through pathways leading from one area of the body to the other.  Certain massage techniques have both relaxing and stimulating effects on this part of the nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system is another topic that can appear on the massage test.  Day to day movement and tension can imbalance this system; correct pressure from massage can help relieve this nerve compression.  Proper massage can also contribute to increased endorphins and stimulation of the neurotransmitters in the brain.  Massage Prep has practice questions on these processes as well.

Other sections of the massage therapy exam cover pain perception nerves and vasomotor nerves.  Candidates should be familiar with how massage therapy affects these nerves through manipulation of the connected muscles. Nerve connections to internal organs are possibilities for related test questions.

To pass the licensure test, aspiring massage therapists should finally understand the relationship of nervous system imbalances and conditions such as chronic pain and even depression.  They should be able to explain how massage techniques can help relieve some of these conditions.  Massage Prep can help!


Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

S.O.A.P. charting is a standardized method of documentation of patient symptoms, diagnosis, and care.  The creation of S.O.A.P. charts is an essential element in massage therapy practice, and thus forms an important part of the massage therapy exam.  In fact, Massage Prep devotes an entire study guide to S.O.A.P. charting.  It contains all of the detailed information you need to know about S.O.A.P. charting for the exam, but read on for a quick overview.

The initials S.O.A.P. stand for the four main components of the chart:

Subjective Component
This is, simply put, how the patient is feeling, from their own point of view.  Whatever symptoms the patient has noticed—aches, soreness, limitations in movement—and their general sense of well-being.  These are things that can’t be measured, and can be assessed only on the basis of the patients own observations and feelings.  Patients should also be asked if they are keeping up with any treatment recommendations made on previous visits, or are continuing to take any medications that may have been prescribed, or have started any new prescriptions.  This is not the same as a history of present illness, or HPI, which should be taken on a patient’s first visit, but is an assessment only of how the patient has been feeling since the last time they were seen.  For the Massage Therapy Exam,  Massage Prep also reminds us that we should ask questions to understand what the patient is hoping to achieve from the session.

Objective Component
The objective component consists of any measurable examination procedures that do not depend on either the patient’s or the therapist’s opinion.  This can consist of an overall physical examination, including blood pressure, temperature, range of motion, and the presence of any rash or wounds.  It may also include the results of any tests or laboratory examinations.

Application or Assessment
The assessment or diagnosis of the possible causes of the symptoms, based on the information gathered in the first two components.  This includes a review of symptoms previously recorded, along with any new symptoms, an assessment of the patient’s functionality, response to previous recommended therapy, and a stats assessment, charting acute, chronic, or recurring symptoms.  The diagnosis must be documented before any treatment plan can be created or recommendations made.  In some states you may be legally prohibited from providing an official diagnosis.  An accurate assessment, however, is often all that is required to recommend treatment.

The patient’s recommended treatment plan, based on the diagnosis or assessment.  A treatment plan can consist of any number of elements, from passive treatment, such as prescriptions, spinal adjustment, massage or other forms of physical therapy, to active therapy on the part of the patient, including exercise, diet, recommendations for home care, and other options.  All treatment recommendations, either planned or actually delivered, must be recorded.  Any changes to previously recommended treatments should be included, along with referrals to other therapists or physicians, and any educational plans.

A S.O.A.P. chart must be created each time a patient is seen.  Since the S.O.A.P. chart becomes a part of the patient’s permanent medical record, it needs be as clear and concise as possible in order to be fully understood by other therapists and medical practitioners.  Lists of common abbreviations and standard descriptions of symptoms can be found in various places online.  The Massage Prep S.O.A.P. study guide lists the abbreviations you should know for the Massage Therapy exam in great detail.