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Tips for Completing Practice Sessions - Module 1 Massage/Level 1 Polarity

As a student enrolled in a Massage Therapy Program or the Polarity Therapy Career Program, you will complete 30 practice sessions during your first module or level of your program. While the actual sessions are not turned in until the first block of clinic, you are encouraged to have all or most of the practice sessions done by the Peer Review final exam class.

The reason for this is simple: The sooner you apply the work the better you will learn each new piece of work. Often students make the mistake of waiting until they have learned more information and can do a full session. They think this is more effective when, in fact, it slows them down in learning new material. So avoid this simple mistake. Take action to set up your session times ASAP.

Your teachers will talk to you about the specifics of the requirement and will emphasize the importance of these sessions. The purpose here is to provide tips for getting the most from your practice sessions and for getting them completed on time.

Prior to or immediately following your first class develop a list of people who you can practice on. Include their name and their phone number or email on your list.

If you have difficulty identifying people to practice on, speak to your instructors and classmates for ideas. Focus on creating solutions rather than on the problem. Here are potential resources for practice people: family, friends, coworkers, church members, neighbors, graduates of school, professional therapists in your area, advanced students, students from your class, practitioners of allied modalities in your area, local firemen, nurses at nursing home, etc.

Put your class schedule and approaching clinic schedule into your planner. Put other mandatory commitments into your planner. Identify blocks of time for practice and for studying in your planner. Block off the practice time in your planner/scheduler book or device.

Contact people on the list by email or by phone with your available “practice” appointment times. Schedule people in your planner in and ask if they have recorded the appointment in their planner.

If you schedule all 30 practice sessions in advance, this will prevent the stress of feeling like you do not know or remember the work. Imagine how good it is to eliminate unnecessary stress from your life.

Send email/voice mail “courtesy reminder” for person about approaching appointment about 24 hours prior to appointment.

Explain to practice people that initially you are looking for feedback around things like causing pain. It is important that your practice people realize that you value the specific issues they may have and eventually you will address them but that initially practice is about only doing the pieces you have learned in class.

Use the practice verification form in your workbook to record the practice session, questions, and the client feedback. Bring questions to your classes and check with teachers.

Do not delay starting practice sessions. After the first 8 hours of Module 1 Swedish Massage or after Level 1 Polarity you will definitely have enough material to start practicing after the first 8 hours of classes. Do not wait longer than that. It will make subsequent practice sessions harder.

As you move forward with your classes, keep adding the new work to the work you already know. In other words practice session is cumulative.

30 practice sessions is the minimum that needs to be turned in. Some people do more to improve their skills.

When practicing use your book. Start by using the long description in the workbook and over time you can switch to the highlight sheets. The goal is not to merely memorize the work. You want to integrate it fully into your understanding. This comes from repetition and practice.

A music stand works great to hold your book while practicing.

Speak with classmates about doing a practice party on a Saturday or Sunday where 4-6 people get together at someone’s home and set up tables and practice on each other.

After your thirty practice session are completed to finish mod1, level 1 and start clinic you will not need to document practice sessions. This does not mean stop practicing. If you want to be a successful therapist it will be important to have dates and times blocked out to practice the many other things that you will be learning in your program. Looking ahead on your program schedule to see what items you will be learning will help you to determine when you should have blocked out time in your day planner and schedule times to practice. Doing practice for your advanced classes will enrich and increase your understanding and aid you in being a successful professional.

An additional tip for practicing body mechanics when you don't have a person to work on is as follows:

Do a practice sessions “tai chi” style. This means doing a session with a make believe person. Set up table and still do draping and body mechanics as you simulate giving a session. Move around the table and do all the strokes as you would if a real person were on the table.

Note: This would be in addition to your 30 practice sessions.

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