For many people, becoming a massage therapist is an attractive career path as they have the advantage that many careers cannot provide: they can work as part time massage therapists in addition to their regular work at the resort, spa, salon or health center providing them with better chances of earning a high salary. These days, getting a massage done by a licensed massage therapist is not hard to come by as many people often have the time to unwind under the care of these qualified professionals.
A massage therapist is someone who provides therapeutic care to the muscles found in the body by kneading and applying pressure on targeted muscles. Many massage therapists work with their hands, but sometimes a massage therapist has the advantage of having other paraphernalia as well, such as candles, stones, heated blankets and machines. Other massage therapists not only employ their hands on a patient’s body, but they may also let their feet do most of the work. As you may have guessed, there are a lot of specialties or modalities in massage and more often than not, you will encounter a massage therapist who knows how to perform more than just one type of modality. Some examples of the modalities in massage therapy include, Swedish massage, acupressure, Thai massage, neuromuscular massage and sports massage, each of these massages have their own pros and cons and depending on the type of therapy the client needs, the therapists can perform these massages to promote the overall well being of their clients.
Massage therapists must have a natural love for the work that they do. As their entire career depends on their magic fingers- or in some cases, toes- they must learn how to take care of their bodies as well. Many times, their work requires them to “hit it off” naturally with their clients so they can have patrons. They must have strong interpersonal skills to convince the clients they have that they are worth returning. Massage therapists don’t always work on their clients right away. All of them have to do their initial interview or assessment of the clients. Once they have figured out the client’s specific needs, they can suggest the type of massage that is most suitable for their client’s condition.
Massage therapy schools have education programs that vary from one state to another. Most schools only require their students to have a high school diploma or equivalent in order to enroll. Before enrolling in a school, be sure to check if the school is accredited with the State licensing board as those graduating from an accredited school will have the privilege of being able to take the licensure exams, including the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and the Massage an Bodywork Licensing Examination. There are also schools that offer their graduates immediate job placements once they pass the licensure so it’s best to look for a school that offers that possibility.
The education program usually covers 500 school hours that include theory as well as hands-on tutorials. The topics covered generally include anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, ethics as well as business management.