How to Become a Massage Therapist

Massage therapists enjoy the freedom of being licensed contractors; they can work alone, for a spa or massage organization, build a business around their service, and foster fantastic client-service provider relationships. Massage therapy has gained significant interest in the past decade as the nation’s baby boomers enjoy the benefits of long-term health, attempts to reduce aging and fatigue, and overall wellness. Massage therapists have taken the lead on this exciting industry by offering a variety of services and customizing each service for their clients’ individual needs. Massage therapists undergo significant training for specific techniques and styles; from Shiatsu, Reiki, Swedish deep tissue, Ayurveda, Lymphatic, and other world renown styles, the opportunities abound.

The top performing and most talented massage therapists can enjoy the benefits of creating a strong client base, learning new techniques, and establishing a great business in the process. Massage therapist training can be from 10 months to over two years depending on the type and extent of interest. Experience is what creates talent in this industry; massage therapists have an opportunity to work with a variety of clients and body types and can learn very individual techniques in the process.

Taking a consultative approach with their clientele proves very beneficial for a massage therapist’s career; this can create a strong bond and long-term relationship with the client, and the comfort level increases as a result. Beginners to massage therapy can gain valuable experience by working with a variety of regular customers and clients, to truly understand and gauge their needs.

Since massage therapy is such a one-on-one experience, there are many benefits to both the giver and the receiver. Massage therapists often report that they can gain as much satisfaction from giving a massage, as the client does receiving one! This emphasizes even more the power of the human touch, and how we are naturally inclined to enjoy it by connecting with another.

Massage therapy can be performed on a regular basis, as it offers many extensive benefits. These can include deep relaxation, stress reduction, healing from injuryor illness, and targeting specific painful areas for pain reduction.

There is a growing demand for massage therapists across the board; from professional athletes, business professionals, the elderly, and now many people who would like to try a new experience, the opportunities are available at most spas, salons, and massage therapy schools.

When you work as a licensed massage therapist independently, you do have the opportunity to create a contract when working for specific clients. This is the first step to starting a business or self-employed network, and will involve some organization of clients, responsiveness to various needs, and flexibility. Although a ‘perfect technique’ isn’t always possible, massage therapists can and do set goals for themselves; this may mean additional training, more practice, or learning a new dimension of massage therapy. Whatever the case may be, training and practice is readily available today in relaxation/spa massage, sports massage, medical massage, and even corporate massage that offers clients a ‘guest masseuse’ to benefit employees. Keeping track of clients is very important to the savvy therapist, and this can be done with a simple spreadsheet or database for easy reference.

There are many different types of schools and training available for various massage therapists; check your local directory or yellow pages for the main listings, and also get referrals or information from local service providers in your area. Hands-on application is extensively important in this field, and finding licensed professionals and programs tailored to your goals may take some time. After the certification process is complete, many massage therapists can joing professional organizations, attend seminars, and network with other individuals in the industry.

To get the most hands-on experience, many massage therapists choose to ‘volunteer’ their time in exchange for the massage. They can offer open houses, client visits, and other incentives to practice as much as possible. The key here is to find the appropriate clients for your service, and always to explain that you are in training. Since massage therapists make almost a large part of their income from gratuities, it is increasingly important to provide excellent and superior customer service.

Finally, massage therapists also need to remember to take care of themselves! Since almost all of the work done each day is hands-on, it is important that the massage therapist takes care of nutrition and exercise to ensure that they maximize endurance and have a steady level of stamina. Many practice Yoga or Tai Chi to stay flexible and limber, as well as eating a well-balanced and natural-based diet.

Becoming a massage therapist can be very rewarding and lead to many open doors down the road. There is high demand for health care practitioners in diverse fields and organizations, and spas, health clubs, and corporate organizations are always searching for the best talent. Learn about what is available in your area, and with enough experience,e you may even choose to move towards opening your own business! The opportunities abound with a career in massage therapy, and finding your best techniques and capabilities may be a journey in and of itself.

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