Dr Gilbert Buckle, Chief Executive Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has called for the setting up of a regulatory body for the emerging Massage Therapy Profession to ensure strict adherence to standards.

He said the country needed to regulate the massage therapists through the provision of professional standards guide in accordance with international best practices, legal requirements and minimum licensing certification in order to practice.

Dr Buckle stated this at the second graduation ceremony of Spa Body N Beyond Institute in Accra and challenged the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) to raise the standard for certification.

The CEO of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital also commended NVTI for collaborating with Spa Body and Beyond for the training and certification of the second batch of Massage Therapists.

He also urged massage therapists not to attempt to undertake other health care related challenges, which were beyond their professional training but must offer honest advice to their clients to seek for the appropriate health care.

Ms Hettie Mercer-Ricketts, Principal and CEO of Spa Body N Beyond Institute outlined plans for the formation of the Ghana Massage Therapy Association to instill sanity into the emerging wellness industry and protect the integrity of practitioners.

The formation of the Ghana Massage Therapy Association will work to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists, and public education on the benefits of massage.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency Ms Mercer-Ricketts noted that Spa Body N Beyond Institute, offered a comprehensive professional massage techniques training, combined with scientific knowledge, communication skills and business practices, to bridge the gap in the body care service industry in Ghana.

She said graduates from the institute were provided with the professional tools and capacity building needed for exceptional massage therapy practice in the country.

Ms Mercer-Ricketts, explained that the Institute offered professional skills development training in anatomy, physiology, touch, and body mechanics.

She said, the Institute, also equipped students with modern trend and knowledge in the world of the massage therapist.

Ms Mercer-Ricketts observed that massage therapy was more than just a massage, and that about 90 per cent of the diseases that affected people were as a result of stress.

'Massage therapy also has a number of documented clinical benefits. Some medical conditions that massage therapy can help are bronchitis, anxiety, stress, arthritis, asthma, circulatory problems among others, she said.

She said massage therapy provided increased relaxation, pain reduction, better posture and more flexibility as some of the long-lasting benefits provided by a therapist well trained in deep tissue massage.

On career possibilities for professional massage therapist, Ms Mercer-Ricketts she said Spa Body N Beyond Institute creates employment opportunities for working in a health club, destination or day spa, sports facility, holistic health centre, on a cruise ship, in a psychology or social work office, with a chiropractor, with athletes or in private practice.

Ms Mercer-Ricketts called on the large unemployed graduates to venture into massage therapy, as it provided huge employment opportunities, whilst urging operators of massage centres to upgrade staff skills with modern knowledge to elevate the body care services industry to international standards.

The Spa Body N Beyond Institute is offering skills development in deep tissue massage course, which focuses on deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue.

Deep Tissue is a more focused type of massage, as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots (also known as 'adhesions.')

Spa Therapy Course focuses on spa treatment sessions, and also covers spa history, theories, and therapeutic benefits.

Ms Mercer-Ricketts said: 'You will learn to operate and care for spa equipment, develop treatment plans, and practice creating custom treatments and corresponding spa menus'.

The spa therapy course includes hands-on labs conducted in teaching clinic and is designed to train students in a comprehensive selection of body treatments.

'You will review indications, contraindications, therapeutic effectiveness, and treatment protocols,' she said.

Others include: Exfoliation- Body Polish/Salt Glow; Body Wrap; Back Treatment; Aroma Wrap; Spa Therapy Training; Reflexology; Thai Massage Course; and Hot Stone Massage.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Stephen Amponsah, NVTI Executive Director described skills training as key alternative to the grammar type of education which only produces 'white scholars without professional skills for the job market'.

Mr Andrew Marriot K. Kuadey, a Massage Therapist Entrepreneur with 22 years of practice in Australia reminded practitioners to maintain an environment conducive to make clients feel pampered and comfortable.

Mr Kuadey who undertook refresher course at the Spa Body N Beyond and was among the second batch of the graduates said: 'Operating under a conducive environment coupled with the massage therapy skills makes clients will respond to our healing touch which rejuvenates the bodies.'