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If you have questions, there are two ways to get the answers you need. ..
1, For instant answers simply scroll down through this Frequently Asked Questions page where you'll find the answer to almost any question you have.
2. If you can't find your answer here, then submit your question to the help desk and we'll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Course Structure and Content
- School Policies
- Financial Stuff
- Legal Stuff
- The Chair Massage Industry
- The Chair
Do you offer evening or daytime classes?
Almost everybody has told us that they prefer weekend classes. So we usually schedule classes every second weekend so there is a minimal amount of disruption to your daily life, even if you have a full time job. Not only will this type of schedule be easy to manage, but it will give you lots of time to practice your massage between classes which is vital in helping you integrate what you learn.
What kind of massage is this? Swedish or Shiatsu?
You'll learn all types of techniques. We did market research with a group of about 80 people to come up with the most effective techniques. We gave each person a massage using both Swedish and Shiatsu-style techniques as well as some unique techniques that were designed specifically for the chair. After each massage we asked the person to tell us which techniques they enjoyed the most and which ones they liked least. We continued with this process, dropping the techniques people didn't like and keeping the ones they did. We weren't faithful to any one particular style of massage. Our only criteria was that the techniques feel terrific. By the end, we had an arsenal of techniques that had universal appeal - everybody loved them. From those techniques we chose the ones that were easiest on your body as a practitioner. These are the techniques you learn in the program.
What exactly do I learn?
There are two components to the Relax to the Max certificate program:
1) An online component where you learn all the theoretical information you need to know. This will include some basic anatomy and physiology, contraindications, customer screening, hygiene and infection control, how to set up your chair, body use principles and much more. You can go through this material at a time that's convenient for you.
2) In-person classes where you learn the actual massage techniques. There are six full days of practical massage training. Almost the entire class time is devoted to giving and getting massage. The first four days are focused on setting the chair up and mastering the unique Relax to the Max routine. On days five and six you'll learn a whole new range of techniques and will practice customizing a massage to meet your customers needs. By the time you're done you'll be able to do anything from a 2-minute massage at the ninth hole of the golf course to a relaxing one-hour full body massage with the person seated in the massage chair.
Do I have to know anatomy and physiology?
We want the course to be as practical as possible and avoid any "fluff". Because the focus is on relaxation and not treatment of specific conditions, anatomy and physiology is not as important as it would be for a therapist, that is someone training to do rehabilitation massage. Nevertheless, it is important to be able to understand and talk about the various structures, like muscles and bones, so that you can get your hands in exactly the right spots and target specific muscles.
You'll learn basic anatomy or physiology in the online portion of the course. You don't have to be a mad scientist to understand all this stuff. We make it all easy and maybe even interesting. By going through this material before class begins, you'll learn all about the muscles we are working on and your massage skills will be more effective. All this information will be reviewed and reinforced throughout the in-person classes.
What books do I have to buy?
You do not have to buy any books. All materials (online training, printed materials and videos) are included in the course fee. If you want to expand your knowledge, our experienced instructors would be happy to suggest some great books and other resources for you.
What kinds of post-graduate courses do you offer?
We offer a variety of special courses that are offered only to Relax to the Max graduates. In the past we have offered introductory courses in Swedish, Thai massage, advanced chair massage, reflexology as well as personal development, sales and marketing courses.
I haven't been to school in a long time. Will this be too difficult for me?
You're not alone. Most people taking the course have been out of school for some time. Unlike your previous experiences with school, you'll find that your Relax to the Max experience is a lot of fun.
Even though the course is a little intense, if you do the online training before classes begin, pay attention in class and spend a few hours each week practicing, you will have no problem whatsoever in getting through the program.
Will you ever run a course in ______(my city)?
We would love to be able to offer more programs in more locations. It's our dream to see seated massage available to everyone, everywhere. However, it's important to us that we maintain a high standard of quality. So we will only expand as we train and develop more top notch teachers. We won't settle for giving you anything less than a phenomenal experience. The new course format we have introduced in 2013 will allow us to expand at a faster rate to more centers across Canada and the USA. We're even in talks with instructors in Europe to offer the classes there.
Are there any tests or exams?
You are quizzed after every online lesson so that you get instant feedback and know whether you understand the material or not. If you decide that you would like to become Certified you must successfully pass a one-on-one practical exam.
I haven't done exams in years. What if I fail?
Do your homework and stay focused in class and we can almost guarantee you won't fail. We behind you all the way and will do everything we can to support you and ensure you succeed.
There is no written exam. Instead, you are quizzed after every online lesson to test your understanding of the material. You you don't pass any particular quiz, just review the videos and take the quiz again as many times as you need to.
The practical exam is very much like a tutorial. The instructor will critique your massage and give you very specific feedback for improving. After completion of the exam, the examiner has three options:
1) Approve you for certification,
2) Require that you do a certain number of practice hours integrating the corrections you were given and then retake the practical exam, or
3) Require that you retake parts of the course and retake the practical exam.
We want everyone to succeed and are very supportive. But you do need to have achieve a sufficient level of proficiency before we give our seal of approval. We'll do everything in our power to make sure you get there.
What kinds of people take the course?
All kinds! There has been an incredible diversity of people taking the course. From homemakers looking for part-time work to bank managers pursuing a lifelong interest. From high school students to grandmothers. From people wanting the career they've always dreamed of to people who simply want to learn for fun. We've had couples, sisters, and even entire families including the kids take the course together. The diversity always makes the classes interesting.
Can I speak to a someone that's taken the course?
Absolutely! Relax to the Max graduates are the greatest supporters of our program and quite a number have allowed us to freely pass on their phone number to people interested in taking the program. What we might suggest first however, is that you check out our testimonial page. You may also want to take the time to listen to these recorded messages from some of the graduates.
Do you ever offer introductory massage workshops?
You betcha. We offer short 3-hour introductory seated massage classes. These are done in a standard chair so no special equipment is needed. Just bring your hands and comfortable clothes. These are usually priced at about $50, but check the list of available massage workshops to see if there are any specials on the workshops in your area.
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What happens if I've registered and I have to cancel?
You can apply your deposit another program and you have up to one year to use it.
What happens if I miss a class?
You must attend every class - no exceptions are made. If for any reason you miss one or more days of class you have several options.
1) Hire a tutor to help you get caught up - $40 per hour.
2) Take the missed class in a nearby city if it fits into the schedule - no additional charge.
3) Exit the program and join us in the next program - no additional charge.
What happens if I need to drop out?
Sometimes life's circumstances won't allow you to continue. Again, you have options. You can either apply the money you've paid to a future course. Alternatively, pay for the time you have been in class ($75 per half day) and we'll refund the balance of your course fee.
What guarantee do you offer?
You have a two-part guarantee for double protection.
First, if after going through the online preparatory course you decide this isn't for you (or if you just get cold feet), give us notice of at least two weeks before your start date and we'll refund all payments including your deposit.
Second, come to the first two days of class. Have some fun and learn some great techniques. If at anytime during those two days you decide not to continue, simply hand back your study materials and we'll refund all payments including your deposit. You don't even have to give us an explanation. We'll respect your decision. We won't ask questions and we certainly won't try to pressure you into continuing.
Do I really get all my money back if I'm not happy?
If you've met the requirements listed above, we feel you have given us a fair try and will be happy to return every penny including your deposit. We're not sneaky and there will be no hidden administrative fees or penalties.
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How much does it cost?
The cost of the certification program is currently $900. You can reserve a spot in any class with a $100 deposit. However, there is a discount for paying in full at least two weeks before the course starts. If you leave a deposit the remainder of the course fee is due on the first day of class. This fee includes your online training, your in-person techniques classes and all study materials. It does not include the cost of your massage chair or your practical exam fee which is paid directly to the examiner.
What payment options do you offer? Can I pay with my credit card?
After your deposit, the balance of the course fee is due on the first day of class. You can pay by credit card, cash or cheque. If things are really tight we will consider financing the course fee over several payments.
What else do I have to buy?
The only thing that is not provided is a massage chair. Click here for our recommendations. As well, there is a fee to do the practical exam that is paid directly to the examiner.
Are there any government assistance programs that might cover the cost of the course?
This program is not approved for the provincial loan programs like the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). We are not aware of any programs that consistently provide funding for this kind of course, but you can always ask your employment counselor if there are options.
The course is super low-cost. But if money is an issue, talk to us and perhaps we can offer you some terms. We want to make this course as accessible as possible.
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Do I have to sign a contract of any sort?
We ask students to sign a brief two page contract that outlines many of the points mentioned in this FAQ section so that both your responsibilities and our responsibilities are made clear. It's written in plain English and is easy to understand. It simply helps prevent misunderstandings later on down the road. This is included in your introductory materials and you have lots of time to look it over before class starts. We ask that you sign this and hand it in when you register for class on the first day.
Someone told me I couldn't do massage unless I was a registered or licensed massage therapist. What's the scoop?
Massage is considered to be in the public domain. That means anyone can do massage for fun or profit. Massage is public domain as it should be. People should have choice in when it comes to their healthcare. And they should have accessibility to safe structured touch for personal wellness.
There are some considerations on the title you use, however. In Canada, Ontario, Newfoundland, and British Columbia have provincial regulations. You can't call yourself a "massage therapist". That title is protected by law and you need to meet certain requirements and pass a provincial exam before you can use that term. Our graduates are usually referred to as "Chair Massage Practitioners". (The exception to this is British Columbia where the title "massage practitioner" is also protected. In British Columbia, the title "Chair practitioner" is most commonly used.)
There are estimated to be about 10,000 alternative health care practitioners in the Greater Toronto Area alone. A large percentage of these people do massage or bodywork including Shiatsu therapists, Reflexologists, Aromatherapists, Swedish massage practitioners, estheticians and others.
Legislation in the States is a little different. Most States have legislation that regulates the "act" of massage. Because of the nature of the legislation in these particular States, it is unlikely that you will be able to practice chair massage for profit without becoming a massage therapist first. Check here for an overview of various State requirements for doing massage.
There may also be local or municipal by-laws that may put certain restrictions on your ability to do chair massage. So please contact your local government office to determine if this is the case for you. There are about over 9,000 municipal offices throughout Canada and the USA. It's impossible for us to be current on all the possible by-laws in all these towns and cities. It's your responsibility to ensure you can practice in your region.
Are you coming from another country? Great! We've had students from the Australia, the Caribbean and even the Middle East come to study with us. They have taken our intensive programs that we typically offer in the summer months. Like everyone else, do your homework before you make the trip to Canada. If you want to do chair massage for a career, make sure that you'll be able to practice chair massage once you return to your country. Contact your various levels of government.
Keep in mind that these laws, in Canada, the USA and elsewhere, only apply only if you are doing massage for income. If you are doing massage for fun and not for profit you can massage to your heart's content.
What happens if I hurt someone doing this massage?
Searches through medical or legal databases show that the chances of harm arising from massage are almost non-existent. You can check it out yourself. Look up the term "medline" on your browser to find web sites where you can access the Medline database. This is the largest medical database in the world and indexes millions of articles from a wide range of international journals. Search this database for cases of reported harm.
For a detailed discussion of reported cases of harm by massage refer to the Massage Law Newsletter (Volume 17, Issue 2 provides a summary).
As part of your training, you learn a systemized screening process to determine when it may not be advisable to do massage. As well the massage techniques themselves are extremely safe and designed to put a minimum amount of stress on the clients muscles and joints. The safety of customers is always our foremost priority.
How can I protect myself from getting sued?
Getting professional liability insurance is a good idea and we highly recommend it. The most common injury reported by associations in the United States simply involves people tripping on or accidentally falling out of the chair.
It's possible that someone could mistakenly believe they were injured by your massage. We've heard rare anecdotal reports of this, but as of the writing of this FAQ, we have not been able to find any published reports of harm from chair massage ever being proven in a court case. Relax to the Max certification gives you access to professional liability insurance at excellent rates. Our certification is recognized by major massage associations including the National Health Practitioners of Canada (Canada's largest massage association) and the ABMP (the largest American massage association) as well as many liability insurance providers. You can get reasonably priced liability insurance from these associations as well as from other providers who we are affiliated with.
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What does it mean to be "certified"?
There is a lot of confusion around the issue of certification. In Canada, massage is public domain. That means that anyone is legally entitled to do massage for a living providing their business is in compliance with local by-laws.
Certification is only as meaningful as:
1. The credibility of the certifying body
2. The criteria used for certification and
3. The public perception of the credential
Who is certifying me?
The seated massage industry is very new. It started in 1986 in the United States. Relax to the Max was the first doing it in Canada in 1993. Despite the large number of practitioners, a non-partisan group that regulates the industry either in Canada or internationally does not exist at this time. Although Relax to the Max has taken initiatives to foster the development of such an organization, we remain at this point in time the most qualified to set standards. We offer the most comprehensive program in chair massage in the world.
What criteria are used for certification?
Relax to the Max practitioners have to demonstrate not just competence, but proficiency at performing chair massage. They have to complete a the online training, be present for all scheduled class hours, document practice hours, and pass a one-on-one practical exam with a trained and experienced instructor. These are the most rigorous standards for chair massage training anywhere in the world.
What are the benefits of being certified?
Association with the Relax to the Max name: Being a Certified Relax to the Max practitioner identifies you as being committed to the highest standards in the industry.
Support: You have access to a directory of all Relax to the Max practitioners. Being a pioneer in an emerging industry is exciting, but it can be lonely. We actively encourage communication and support among practitioners and support both formal and informal opportunities to stay in touch.
Access to our members only web site: An excellent way to communicate with other graduates and keep up to date on the latest happenings in the industry.
The opportunity to join professional associations: Our certification is currently recognized by the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (www.nhpcanada.org) - the largest Canadian massage association. We would be happy to apply to other associations for recognition of our graduates if you request it.
Eligibility for professional liability insurance: Certified practitioners are eligible to be insured by various associations or by one of our affiliated insurance brokers. This liability insurance is almost always required when doing corporate massage or contracting your services.
How do I get certified?
To become certified by Relax to the Max as a seated massage practitioner you must go through the following steps:
1. Completion of Relax to the Max online training program
2. Attendance at all scheduled in-person chair massage techniques classes
3. Documentation of 20 hours of practice massage
4. Completion of a one-on-one practical evaluation by a Relax to the Max instructor
Could you give me more details on the process?
Step 1. Completion of Relax to the Max online training
After registration you'll be given immediate access to an online learning center with video instruction that covers all the theoretical information you need to know: Such as anatomy, physiology, contraindications, screening, hygiene, ethics, a short history of massage and more. We suggest you complete this before your first in-person techniques class. Simply watch the videos and read any supplementary material. After you finish a lesson, you'll be required to do a short quiz to ensure you've understood the material. You'll need to complete all the online lessons and pass the quizzes to be eligible for certification.
Step 2: Complete the Relax to the Max seated massage techniques workshop
The technique workshop is six days in total and you must attend each day. We waste no time in this accelerated learning program and you'll be learning massage techniques and practicing on your classmates immediately. Not a minute is wasted.
Step 3: Document 20 hours of practice massage
You are expected to practice the massage techniques between instructional periods. You don’t improve by thinking about doing massage. You improve and become more proficient by actually doing the massage and by repeatedly practicing the techniques you learn in class. For this reason, we require that you complete a minimum of 20 hours of practice on your own time. This practice massage must be completed within six months of the final day of class, although we suggest completing it within two months of finishing or even before the course is over.
Step 4: Complete a one-on-one practical evaluation
After you have completed your documented practice, you may make an appointment for your practical evaluation. The evaluation typically takes about one hour, but may be extended as necessary. You will be working on the instructor. We appreciate that students have various levels of anxiety surrounding exams. Think of this experience as a private tutorial. It is conducted to help make you the best practitioner possible. This evaluation is an excellent opportunity to get good critical feedback from an experienced instructor.
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How is chair massage different than other kinds of massage?
Chair massage is done in a specially designed massage chair with the customer seated instead of laying down. It's done over the clothing and is typically quite short. The focus of the service is providing healthy touch and relaxation, both of which are essential for a healthy mind and body.
Can you tell me a little bit about how this all started?
In the early 80's a gentleman from the States, David Palmer, who was trained in an ancient form of Japanese massage called Amma started doing seated massage in corporations. He quickly realized how popular this kind of massage could be. Unlike table massage which historically has low rates of utilization, short relaxation massages through the clothing appealed to almost everyone.
In 1986 he created the first massage chair that supported the individual getting the massage. This crystallized an image for the industry. From that point on chair massage became to be the fastest growing segment of the massage. More people have been introduced to massage through chair massage than by any other modality.
We'll give you more historical perspective in the online course.
Can you tell me more about Relax to the Max?
Click here to read the About Us section (coming soon).
How many practitioners are doing this kind of work?
We don't know exactly. In North America, tens of thousands of practitioners have had specific training in chair massage. In Canada, there are probably less than 1,000 chair massage practitioners across the country who specialize specifically in chair massage, so there is still plenty of opportunity.
Can I make money doing this?
Absolutely! There is a lot of demand for this kind of massage. Your income potential is largely determined by your level of ambition. You can do it part-time to supplement your existing income or do it full-time. There are many chair massage practitioners doing this successfully as a career. Some go beyond a private practice and develop larger businesses. Cary Cruea was profiled by the Massage Therapy Journal. At the time the article was written, she had already made over $3 million at her Seattle Airport Massage Bars (TM). The Great American Backrub Company, a retail chair massage company, was actually launched as a publicly traded company in the stock market.
How much do you usually charge for chair massage?
Testing shows that a dollar per minute ($60 per hour) is a very acceptable price for this kind of massage, although some practitioners charge as much as $90 per hour and more. That fee may be higher or lower depending on the particular circumstances. If you subcontract your services to other chair massage companies you can expect to earn approximately $30 per hour although once again it varies depending on the circumstances.
How many massages can I do in a day?
You should be able to easily do five hours of massage per day. Since the standard massage time is about 15 minutes, you could do 20 massages a day or more.
Don't your hands get sore doing this all the time?
Not if you have the right training. Massage is physical work, but your body should feel great after a day of massage. At Relax to the Max you will learn to integrate seven essential body use principles. This emphasis on using your body properly will allow you to get the maximum results with minimal effort. As well, the chair allows you to leverage your body weight so you don’t have to use your muscles. It’s easy on your back because you remain upright instead of bending over a table.
How do "therapists" feel about people like myself doing chair massage?
Some are upset because you have a better income potential with less training. Others recognize chair massage as a valuable way to introduce massage to the mainstream public and increase the overall utilization of massage. It makes massage more visible and will have a positive impact on their personal practices. We've had many licensed massage therapists take the course even though they've had 2,200 hours training because doing chair massage is so different than traditional massage therapy.
Can I do remedial or rehabilitation massage using the chair?
Doing rehabilitation or medical massage requires a great deal of training. That's beyond the scope of the Relax to the Max chair massage training. It's important that you be very clear about this and communicate your scope of practice to customers in an open and honest way.
Where can I work once I'm certified?
Because chair massage appeals to almost everyone, you can do it almost anywhere. Click here to go back to the information page to see a list of some of the environments in which chair massage practitioners are working. Click here to hear the stories of successful graduates.
There are quite a few chair massage companies that need to hire practitioners on a contract basis and we have a special Facebook Page set up where those jobs are posted regularly.
How do I start my own business?
Doing massage is one thing; running a business is quite another. Since most massage professionals are self-employed, we recognize the importance of making sure that you have the resources you need to be successful. So for a limited time, we are making the Chair Massage Marketing 101 e-course from BodyworkBiz available to all our students. This is normally priced at US$99. It's the most comprehensive course of its kind and will guide you step-by-step through the process over a five month period. Here's a table of contents.
In addition, we provide a whole host of other resources. A private Facebook group where jobs are posted and where you can share information with fellow graduates, networking meetings, post-graduate workshops, and access to a password protected resource site set up specifically for our graduates. Of course, you can contact the office anytime to speak to one of the Relax to the Max staff.
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What is the best massage chair and where can I get it a good price?
Click here for information about our recommended massage chair. Although you don't have to buy the chair from us, you can purchase it when you register for the course and we'll have it waiting for you in the first day of class.
Note that we do not sell the massage chairs to the public. We supply them to our students only as a courtesy. Just one of the many benefits of choosing Relax to the Max.
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