Before starting a career as a massage therapist, it is a good idea to find as much information about this job as possible. If you do so, it will help you to figure out if this job suits your personality well or not.
What are the duties of a massage therapist?
Massage therapist is a quiet perspective position, that will allow you to find a job in various environments. It could be a yoga center, health clinic or medical center of any kind. Also, you can always open your private practice salon.
On the job a massage therapist most commonly performs a list of tasks:
- Generates a relaxing atmosphere in the room.
- Finds out what is the client’s problem. Where does he feel pain, what disturbs him?
- Creates an individual massaging program especially for the client’s needs.
- While massaging, pays attention to how the client’s body responds.
- Creates an individual appointment schedule for each client.
A massage therapist can practice any kind of massage, there are plenty of them nowadays. Right now the most popular ones are Asian style massages.
What personal qualities a massage therapist should have?
Most importantly - squeamishness is a no go. You should feel very comfortable about being in constant interaction with a human body.
To become a good massage therapist, one should understand human anatomy well. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to perform a good massage that will have a long-lasting effect.
Another preferred quality is physical strength. And we are talking not only about therapist’s arms. Massage therapists spend the whole massage session standing. Usually, sessions like this can last for 90 minutes straight. It requires both patience and stamina. That’s why a therapist should take care of his own body first. Exercises, diet and safety compliance will help with this task quite a lot.
Other than that, it is important to take care of mental health. This rule is accurate regardless of what profession you are about to choose.
Most of the time, massage therapist work with the basic equipment, including massage tables or chairs, heat lamps and massage oils. His job is to keep an eye on this equipment, make sure everything is clean and works properly.
Some clients are quite talkative and love to have small talk while receiving a massage. Some are absolutely against it and just want to relax. A good therapist will always respect the client’s needs and would never force a conversation. Being nice, respectful and tactful is a key. There is nothing wrong if the client wants to open up a bit for his trust-worthy therapist. But you should know your boundaries and try to show no familiarity. Stay professional.
A good therapist knows that a loyal client is a treasure. That’s why the client service should always be on point.
If you are planning to open your own salon, marketing and other business-related skills would also be very helpful.
Types of massage therapy
A therapist can choose just one narrow speciality, or practice a few massage techniques at the same time. It is completely up to you. The list of massage types are quite big, but there are the most common ones:
- Swedish massage
- Hot-stone massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Sports massage
- Shiatsu massage
- Pregnancy massage
- Reiki massage
- Aromatherapy massage
- Chair massage
- Trigger point massage
Once you chose in which course of massage therapy you want to participate it is better to enrol as quickly as possible. It will allow you to start working faster. Some massage therapy courses offer their students a minimal training hour classes, some are going more in-depth with the subject. If you have enough time and money it is a good idea to invest in an intensive course. It will allow you to gain more money in the future.
What kind of certificate does a massage therapist need?
A potential massage therapist should complete a certificate or diploma degree. An institution must be accredited and approved by the state. Better to choose the massage therapy school where students can take classes in medical terminology, anatomy, psychology, body mechanics etc. The required amount of training hours could be somewhere between 330 and 1000. If you choose minimal training hour course you will be able to finish it in a few months. But more serious programs require about 2 years of practice.
After you finished massage therapy training you must pass the license exam. According to the London Local Authorities Act 1991, anyone who offers special treatments must have an appropriate licence. A Massage therapist should have two documents: a massage certificate and special treatment license. Providing any kind of therapy without these documents will be considered as a violation of the law.
Another needed procedure is to be registered with the council that the premise is located in.
Some types of massage may also require some specific certificates. For example, sports massage or veterinary massage. It may cost some extra work to you to gain this specialization, but higher demand and a good pay-check won’t leave you unsatisfied.
How much does a massage therapist earn?
When you are just started on your career as a massage therapist, your income depends directly on the place of work. If you are lucky enough to find a job in a respected salon you can count on a good salary.
Other than that, your salary will depend on how big your client base is. The more loyal clients you will have the better. Your pay will be stable and satisfying.
Massage therapy is a fast-growing field. For the moment, the average annual income for the specialists who work in the health and beauty industry:
- Athletic trainers £25000
- Skincare specialist £16500
- Cosmetologist £22500
- Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides £24000
- Massage therapists £58500
As you can see, there is a drastic difference between the salary of a massage therapist and other specialists in a similar field. To become a massage therapist is a brilliant strategy for those who want to have a solid paycheck.
Potential workplaces for a massage therapist
After you gained your certificate and a license, you will be able to choose between a big variety of places to work. Considering the demand for massage therapists, there are new vacancies opening every week. The potential workplaces are:
Spa salons. There is no wonder that the spa is the most popular place among massage lovers. Relaxing atmosphere and many available therapies to try to attract a lot of people nowadays. The spa salon is the first place to search for a good massage therapist. If you are planning on working in the spa you should be able to provide the most relaxing environment for the client.
Health and wellness centres. More and more people nowadays are standing against drugs and medicaments. If they don’t feel like their illness is serious enough to take drugs, they are searching for natural healing. Here come the massage and the vitamins.
Hotels, Resorts, Cruise Ships. While enjoying the holidays, people love to try as many relaxing treatments as they can. Some people won’t get a massage on a daily basis because they consider it too expensive or unnecessary. But the holidays are a perfect time for spending money on a luxurious lifestyle!
Rehab Clinics, Hospitals. In this case, you should be able to provide the massage that will help the injuries. Many people need a good massage therapist after a bone fracture. And some massage techniques will help those, who injured their joints while doing sports.
A private practice. If you have enough confidence and passion for opening your own business you definitely should do it. It requires long hard work, but if you succeed it will be quite beneficial.
What are the career options for a massage therapist?
The future career options depend on your personal experience and time you spent practicing.
Speaking about massage therapist qualifications, unlike the other fields you don’t have to worry about improving your degree. So you won’t need to pay for massage therapy courses ever again if you already qualified. The one thing that will help you to advance your career is gaining a big client base.
However, you can go back to massage therapy school if you want to practice any particular type of massage. For example, if you want to learn about hot-stone massage. It will give you a chance to expand your clients list.
It is easy to see the growing demand for massage therapists. Before you would be able to find one only in spa salons and such. But nowadays people tend to include massage in the list of highly effective practices that can improve one’s health drastically.
Obviously, there is a bigger competition if we are talking about luxurious Spas. But the competition worth it when it comes to a salary. Of course, some people don’t want to struggle with stress when it comes to a competitive environment. You can always find a quiet place to work with local clients coming by. Also, some companies searching for a therapist to visit their office a few times a week regularly.
Another good tip to try if you want to avoid stressful competition is to become a specialist in one particular type of massage. It will promise you loyal clients and stability.