How Do You Become a Massage Therapist?

Millions of people are under pressure and feel stressed out. Because of this fact, there is enormous potential to become a massage therapist. Massage therapy is one way to help treat stress, muscle tension, or pain. Many doctors also recommend massage as a part of complementary medicine to help people cope with the effect of many illnesses.

Becoming a massage therapist allows you to work in many different environments. Qualified masseuses and masseurs can work in fitness centers, spas, hospitals, private offices, sports facilities, or hotels. Many self-employed massage therapists also make home visits to give a therapeutic massage.

What does working as a massage therapist involve? What qualifications do you need to start a career in this complementary healthcare sector? This article explains the career path to becoming a professional massage therapist.

What is a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist is a trained person who manipulates the soft tissues of the body. Giving a massage involves using pressure to rub or knead muscles, tendons, and skin to relieve pain, improve physical function, or promote healing. To enhance the experience and treatment effectiveness, massage therapists often use oils, lotions, and other equipment.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are several types of massage. Some massage therapists work specifically with sport’s injuries. Others provide pain relief, and some massage therapists use relaxation techniques to release stress and tension.

Why Choose a Career as a Massage Therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist is the start of a fulfilling career. Most people who receive massages feel instant relief after the sessions. Also, working with people to relieve chronic pain, cope with stressful situations, and increase mobility is extremely rewarding.

Let’s look at five reasons why becoming a massage therapist may be the ideal career choice for you.

1. Course time

It’s possible to obtain the necessary massage therapist qualifications in six to twelve months. Course work involves learning about anatomy, body mechanics, and massage ethics. You also get hands-on experience assisting professionals in a work environment.

2. Many career options

Once you get your license, there are many ways to enhance your career and develop your skills. For example, you could become qualified in a particular branch of massage therapy. There are many possibilities to work in recreation facilities, spas, or in healthcare centers. You can also become a self-employed practitioner.

3. Excellent working hours

Enjoying a career as a massage therapist means you are not tied to a nine-to-five job. You are generally able to choose a flexible schedule and work at your own pace. However, you should be prepared to work outside of regular hours.

4. Work in a relaxing environment

People often come to massage therapists to relax and enjoy a calming experience. This fact means that your workplace has to be a calm and peaceful environment. This type of atmosphere is soothing to your clients and you. And you also have the satisfaction that you help people cope better with pain, improve their mood, and increase their agility.

5. Excellent job prospects

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that jobs in the massage sector will increase by 21 percent in the next ten years. This growth rate is faster than most occupations. The average salary for massage therapists is $42,820.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Massage therapists use several manipulation techniques to relieve pain, alleviate stress, or promote healing. Massage therapy is accepted as a complementary medical practice. It is also a useful therapy when patients are looking for holistic medical treatment.

Some of the duties of a qualified massage therapist involve the following:

  • Discussing a client’s symptoms and medical history
  • Evaluating the best course of treatment
  • Manipulating specific areas of the body to achieve the best results
  • Providing practical advice on relaxation techniques and proper posture
  • Knowing how to use essential oils and blend oils for therapeutic massage

How to Become a Massage Therapist

Most states require massage therapists to obtain a license to work professionally. Depending on your state’s requirements, the training program can include between 500 and 1,000 hours of study and hands-on training. Accredited programs are a combination of academic and clinical work.

In most cases, you need to complete the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) before you can apply for a license.

Once you have an approved massage therapy certificate, you can apply for licensure in your local state. After you start work as a masseur or masseuse, you may need to show evidence that you continue your education to retain your license.

Suppose you plan to become a self-employed massage therapist. In that case, it’s also a good idea to include business finances and marketing in your program. In most cases, you will also need public liability insurance.

Where Can You Work as a Massage Therapist?

One of the benefits of becoming a massage therapist is that many job opportunities open up. Here are some of the places where you can find work:

  • Sports medicine facilities
  • Health clubs
  • Hotels
  • Spas
  • Chiropractors
  • Nursing homes
  • Physician offices
  • Cruise ships
  • Fitness centers and gyms

Massage therapists find that they soon build up a base of regular clientele. This could be an incentive to start your own private massage practice and expand your rewarding career.

Working as a massage therapist also allows you to specialize in a few specific techniques. For example, specializing in different types of massage can increase your earnings.

Here are three ideas of how to grow your massage therapist career:

  • Hot stone massage — This type of massage is excellent for relaxation, easing muscle tension, and improving blood flow.
  • Aromatherapy massage — Aromatherapy can help to provide some emotional healing as well as physical healing.
  • Reflexology — Massaging specific points on the feet, hands, and ears can act as a complementary therapy for your clients.

Becoming a Massage Therapist

Working as a massage therapist allows you to have a positive impact on the lives of others. You have the reward of helping your clients recover from injury or cope with stress, anxiety, pain, or muscle tension.

After starting an accredited training program, you can become a qualified massage therapist in less than a year. Once you start work, you can continue to find ways to grow your career as you bring relief to many people.