How Do You Know Your Massage Therapy Program is Legit?

Every advertisement and every web page out there is trying to tell you that you should capitalize on this opportunity. This is your chance to get ahead, to do something for yourself. Whether it’s a product or an education program, this message of opportunity is constantly reaching our ears.

It’s even more noticeable when we hear about educational opportunities, because these are the things that really speak to our hopes and dreams. Maybe it’s the goal of making a better income, or maybe it’s the desire to do something we’ve always wanted to do. In a perfect scenario, it’s both at the same time. The opportunity to make a great living doing something you love is a noble thing to pursue, and educational institutions all over the world are trying to tell you that they’ll do just that.

This is especially true in the world of professional massage therapy. Why? Because it’s one of those professionals that so many people want to do, but for some reason are afraid to embark on this new career. There are a lot of different massage schools out there, all of them vying for new students.

As a prospective massage therapist, the question you really need to ask is this: Which massage therapy school will actually prepare me for success in the real world? Which school will give me a full set of skills – technical, interpersonal, and administrative – to succeed as a professional massage therapist?

The answer may not seem visible right away ­– but if you do a little digging, it will become apparent.

The better schools have glowing recommendations coming from former students and others in the industry. That’s because they’ve instilled a full set of skills into their students, and haven’t cut any corners during training. Some massage therapy schools just want as many enrollments as they can get – they’re not really focused on creating successful massage therapists who thrive financially and love their careers. They’re only looking at a short-term profit. Obviously, these are the kinds of schools you want to avoid.

But how do you know which massage therapists are legit? Again, reviews and recommendations are a big one. But that’s not the only thing you should be paying attention to. A school’s web site and physical offices/classrooms are another important aspect. Case in point: You should never enroll in a massage therapy school without visiting the classroom, talking to the instructions, asking questions, and seeing for yourself how the curriculum is handled. This is how you get a real sense of the school, its students, and the level of professional success that the school expects of those students.

Finding a great massage therapy school may take some digging, and you might have to visit several schools in your area to find the right one. But when you do, it will pay off in the long run. You’ll be enrolled in a legitimate school that gives you the real-world tools you need to live your dream as a successful massage therapist.

3 Rookie Mistakes Made By Massage Therapists

Experience is perhaps the single most valuable asset in any profession. Talent is worth a lot, as is luck and determination. But really, it’s experience that sets the true professionals apart from the rest. Massage therapy is no exception – the more experienced massage therapists have worked on every different body type, and have worked to address countless different physical ailments in people. All of this experience adds up to better instincts, more reliable techniques, and better results overall.

That’s not to say that you can’t receive an excellent treatment from a less experience massage therapist – especially if they’ve graduated from a reputable massage therapy school. Therapists who are still in the early phases of their career are often eager to put their skills to the test, and if they’ve had the right instruction, they can deliver highly professional treatments with good consistency.

But there are mistakes that are commonly made by less experienced therapists, and as a potential massage therapist (or as a patient), it’s important to know about these mistakes. That’s how you get better at avoiding common pitfalls in your own practice.

Here are 3 rookie mistakes often made by massage therapists today:

1. Not adjusting pressure

The level of pressure is a notoriously difficult thing to get right. Every patient has their own preferred level of pressure, and sometimes firmer or softer pressure is the right therapeutic choice. A good therapist will encourage the patient to get to know their own comfort levels, and to be vocal about whether they want more or less pressure. For whatever reason, many patients don’t speak up when they’d like a pressure change, so experienced therapists will often ask to make sure.

2. Talking or other distractions

When a patient lays down on the massage table, they expect the full attention and care of the practitioner. Rookie therapists (or badly-trained ones) will often answer phone calls, step out of the room for a bathroom break, or be distracted any other number of ways. If you’re trying to build a reputation of happy clients who recommend your services to people they know, this certainly is not the best course of action. Being attentive and present throughout the entire treatment is one of the hallmarks of an experienced practitioner – and if something does come up, you make sure to add the extra time at the end.

3. Not keeping the room and supplies in excellent condition

A patient should feel like the room is fresh and new when they walk inside. Many therapists are overwhelmed at first, and they forget to create that professional, orderly atmosphere that sets the stage for a productive therapeutic massage.

How to establish solid fundamentals in massage therapy

If you’re in the early phases if your journey in the field of massage therapy, you might be wondering where to turn for reliable instruction and training. There are a lot of massage therapy schools out there, and many of them are very good – you will receive excellent instruction rooted in real world practice and solid theoretical understanding. But there are also schools out there that don’t equip their graduates with a full range of skills. Looking for the massage therapy school in your area with the best overall reputation in the community is one good place to start.

How Much Money Does a Massage Therapist Make?

There are two main reasons people go down a given career path. The first reason is that they’re passionate about a certain vocation. It gives them a deep sense of personal satisfaction, whether it’s because the career involves helping people, giving back to the community, or simply honing a craft that brings a lot of joy. The other reason, of course, is money. Certain careers are so lucrative that people embark on that path, even if it’s not something they’ve ever really dream about doing. The ability to own property and look after a family is reason enough to establish a career for some people.

Of course, we all know the best-case scenario: To spend your days doing something you absolutely love – and to be paid well for it! This is the ultimate career goal for a lot of people. After all, most of us spend a huge part of our life at work. If we can enjoy what we do, it makes life that much more joyful and inspired.

That’s one of the reason we love massage therapy so much. It’s one of those jobs that has enormous potential to give people the best of both worlds, especially if they receive a high level of training and take their work seriously. There are countless massage therapists out there who are doing incredibly well financially, and couldn’t be happier with their jobs.

But let’s get specific for a minute: How much money does a massage therapy make? For someone who’s just starting to investigate this career path, what can the realistically expect in terms of annual earnings?

According to a lot of the statistics you find online, the “average” massage therapist makes about $40,000 per year. This is a reasonable wage – nobody is saying otherwise. A lot of respectable people in respectable jobs and careers make even less than that. You’ll also see statistics that say the top 10 or 12% of earners in massage therapy make around $75,000 per year.

Those numbers are actually quite encouraging for a career that has such high levels of job satisfaction – but it’s worth pointing something else out: There are a lot of massage therapists out there making a lot more money than that! Often times, the most successful massage therapists will attract a team around them and will go down the path of owning a spa or massage therapy business. The possibilities in the health and wellness industries are boundless at the moment, and massage therapy is right in the middle of the action.

Getting the best possible start to your career

The massage therapy school you choose to start your career is probably the single most important thing to get right. The best schools are led by experienced, successful instructors. They give you a wide range of massage techniques, learned through classroom hours and plenty of real world experience. They also teach you the business side of things – because there too many newly certified massage therapists who graduate and enter the field without a solid grasp of how to run a flourishing independent practice – or how to make the most of working with a team. So choose the right school and get the most out of this exciting new chapter!

The Massage Industry is Booming: Here’s Why

The idea that you can choose to embark on a new career at any point in your life, and completely reinvent what you do for a living, is one of the most exciting prospects out there. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have been in a position where we didn’t love our current job. And although making a switch can be scary, the rewards are often worth it.

When you think about moving to a new career and a new lifestyle, what industry comes to mind? For an increasing number of people, massage therapy is high on the list. It’s a dynamic career, you have the opportunity to help people every day, and there’s no limit to how successful you can be.

There’s also the fact that the massage therapy industry is booming. It’s constantly popping up on lists of the “hottest” careers, and the opportunities seem virtually boundless. Why is this? Are there specific reasons why the massage industry is booming?

Besides being an incredibly rewarding career for those who dedicate themselves, there are a few concrete reasons for the sharp increase in massage therapy students and schools. One is that people are generally more concerned about wellness these days, and massage therapy is a wonderful addition to any wellness plan. Not only does it have great physical benefits (circulation, detoxification, stress reduction, to name a few); it also has amazing psychological and even emotional effects. People who regularly go for massage therapy have been proven to be more relaxed, more peaceful, and more mentally clear.

The other reason is that people are busier and more stressed than ever. The pressures of work, family, and other important obligations – along with the constant stream of information today – makes it all the more important for people to wind down and take time for themselves.

Basically, people are busier and more stressed – and the benefits of massage therapy are becoming clearer to people as a result. This trend doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon, and the opportunities for a career in massage therapy are growing every day.

This is an interesting situation for people who are interested in becoming therapists. It means that now more than ever, it’s important to choose the right massage therapy school and the right educational program. There are plenty of reputable schools out there who focus on giving students a comprehensive knowledge – not only of massage therapy techniques, but the business side of things as well. On the other hand, there are schools out there that are more concerned about signing you up and collecting tuition than they are about preparing you for a successful transition into the world of professional massage therapy.

How do you find the right school? Talking to past students, or at least reading their reviews online, is a great place to start. If you can find thriving massage therapists in your community who attended a given school – and can vouch for the program – you’ll be on the right track to becoming the next successful practitioner in this exciting field!

What are the Most Popular Types of Massage?

If you’ve been to a massage therapy studio or “spa” lately, you’ve probably noticed there’s more than one type of massage on the menu. That’s one of the great things about massage therapy, both from the perspective of the patient and the practitioner. There’s always something new to learn, and there is no end to the ways in which different massage techniques can be blended and used for therapeutic purposes.

The drawback is that people are sometimes confused by the different types of massage therapy being offered, whether they’re going for a treatment or thinking about becoming a practitioner. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular types of massage, and what they bring to the table.

1. Swedish massage

Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage the world over – in so small part because many people also consider it to be the most pleasurable. Relaxation is the main objective of most Swedish massage work, and practitioners aim for a deep state of relaxation in the patient. Long, firm and gliding movements are used to massage the muscles in the direction of the heart, in order to facilitate better circulation and the elimination of toxins. Swedish massage is often a full-body treatment, but it’s also common to see treatments that focus on certain areas, such as the back or shoulders.

2. Hot stone massage

During hot stone massage, smooth stones are heated in water and then placed on strategic points along the patient’s body. This source of heat provides deep relaxation of the muscle tissues. It’s pleasurable and therapeutic in its own right, but it also opens the way for the therapist to be more effective with other massage techniques. Usually the therapist will begin by massaging the patient with a warm stone in hand, replacing it when cold. At one or more points during the treatment, stones may be left along the spine or torso in order to more deeply relax certain areas.

3. Prenatal massage

You might not have expected this one to make the list, but the reality is that prenatal massage is a very distinct form of massage therapy – and it’s in very high demand. The ability to safely and effectively treat pregnant women is a huge advantage for any practitioner, and the treatment itself can be highly beneficial to expecting mothers. Depending on how far long the woman may be, and her individual comfort levels, side positions with special cushions may be used to relieve pressure and tension during the treatment. The massage itself focuses on relieving common pains and symptoms associated with pregnancy, including back aches and leg cramps, amongst others.

How to learn the right techniques

If you’ve been curious about a possible career in massage therapy, it’s important to find a reputable school that gives you a complete repertoire of therapeutic options, including (but not limited to) the three types of massage mentioned above. Look for a school that offers comprehensive training in a whole array of therapies, as well as a solid grounding in the real-world business of being a professional massage therapist. Your patients will feel the difference!

3 Questions You Should Ask Before You Join a Massage Therapy Program

When you find yourself inspired to embark on a brand new career, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. If you have a clear idea on what career path you want to take, that feeling of excitement and anticipation is even stronger. A lot of people decide they want to try a career as a massage therapist, and they immediately start searching for courses and programs in their area. After all, it’s not that difficult to achieve certification in this field, right? Virtually anybody can pick a program, complete it, and have a brand new career on their hands.

This isn’t exactly the case. In fact, massage therapy is one field where you want to be extra careful in terms of choosing a reputable school or certification program. If you’re careless in your choice, you might not come out of the program with the skills you need to succeed in the real world.

If you’re considering a career in massage therapy, don’t make this mistake. It pays to be meticulous in your research, and decide carefully about what school is worth your efforts. Here are 3 questions you should definitely ask before you join a massage therapy program.

1. What types of treatment will I learn?

Knowing the extent of your training, and what specific techniques will be covered, is an important aspect of your decision. You might find programs out there that are rather one-dimensional and don’t say much about how comprehensive your training will actually be. On the other hand, you might find programs that offer integral training in many vital areas, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue, Myofascial release, medical massage, trigger point therapy, anatomy, physiology, and other areas of knowledge. These are the programs that are going to prepare for the realities of being a trained, professional massage therapist.

2. What about hands-on experience?

Classroom learning is good and necessary – but does the program offer hands-on field experience as a part of your certification? If not, you probably want to focus your efforts elsewhere. A program that doesn’t subject to abundant hours of hands-on training will not really prepare you to succeed in your new career.

3. How experienced are the teachers?

Knowing who is teaching you, and what level of experience and training they have, is supremely important when choosing a massage therapy school. You’re embarking on a new chapter and a new career – and you need to know that you’re in good hands. Look for qualified, experienced professionals with a solid track record as both practitioners and teachers. That’s how you’ll know you’re being held to a truly professional standard as you train.

How to find the best school in your area

There might be several massage therapy schools operating in your area, and some of them might be new. Of course, you shouldn’t discount a school just because it opened recently. The people behind the school – who will actually be teaching you the real world skills you need – are more important. But you definitely should pay attention to the number of years a school has been operating, and get first-hand information from past graduates of the school. These efforts will help ensure that you make the best choice, and start your new career in the best possible way.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Massage Therapist?

We live in a world of convenience. It seems like every device, service, and new technology is geared toward making our lives less complicated and more efficient. Information is coming at us 24 hours a day, to the point where it is impossible to absorb everything. That’s just the nature of modern life. Sometimes it’s more about filtering the information we don’t need rather than seeking the information we do need.

So what does this have to do with being a massage therapist? In this age of constant information and speed, people want to get things done as quickly as possible. When you think about completing a new task or reaching for a new goal, you immediately think about how long it is going to take, how much money it’s going to cost, and what kind of effort you’re going to have to put in. This is only natural because he gives you a realistic idea of what it will take to reach a goal.

In terms of being a massage therapist, people often wonder what kind of commitment is necessary to fulfill the licensing requirements for a practicing massage therapist, and how quickly they might be able to start along the path of offering professional massage therapy treatments in the real world.

The answer varies from state to state and from program to program, but 600 hours of training is a good benchmark for what it actually takes to acquire the knowledge and techniques of professional massage therapy.

Does 600 hours seem like a long time? It actually is a long time — that’s because there is a big difference between professional massage therapy and simply knowing a few massage techniques. Certification in professional massage therapy is going to give you a wide range of practical knowledge, including a working knowledge of various types of massage, including: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, prenatal massage, chair massage, energy work, hydrotherapy, reflexology, trigger points, myofascial release, and more.

It’s also going to give you a blend of classroom and real world experience. No massage therapist should be certified and licensed to practice without a substantial amount of experience treating actual patients in the field. Another thing the coursework is going to give you is practical knowledge of how to run a massage therapy business in the real world, and what it takes from an administrative standpoint.

Completing the requisite hours and earning a massage therapy certification will take different amounts of time, depending on how intensive your program happens to be. A common setup is to complete about 4 classroom hours per week, plus one or two weekend workshops per month. With a schedule like this, massage therapy programs often wrap up after 9 or 10 months of study.

One thing is for certain: Massage therapy isn’t one of those “quick” professions you can simply learn in a few hours, get your certificate and be on your way. It takes a strong commitment and dedication to learning the craft in a comprehensive way — that’s the only way to ensure you’ll have the knowledge and skills you need when it comes time to treat patients out there in the real world!

Why Continuing Education is Important for Massage Therapists

Striving for an academic milestone is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in life, no matter what your field of study. In the case of massage therapy, completing a reputable certification course means that you’re finally able to embark on the journey of being an active massage therapist in the real world. Getting out of the classroom and actually treating clients is an amazing prospect for students, as it represents the culmination of countless hours of training and study.

Once you’re out in the field (whether you’re working independently or as part of a team), there’s no doubt that experience is a great teacher. In fact, there’s no replacement for experience when it comes to treating clients in the real world. Every client is different, with unique physiological needs and preferences. The only way to get better at meeting these individual challenges is to accumulate real-world experience, gradually learning what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, your instincts and skills as a massage therapist grow and evolve — and clients can tell the difference it makes.

But experience itself — important though it may be — is not enough to make you the very best therapist you can be. In order to succeed and thrive over the long term, another ingredient is necessary: Continuing education.

The best way of understanding this necessity is to understand massage therapy not as a perfectly established or understood discipline, but as an ever-evolving practice with an endless number of personal styles and areas of focus. There are aspects of massage therapy we all have to learn in order to form a bedrock of knowledge and technique — but once that bedrock has been formed, the need for new knowledge continues.

One of the strongest signs of a quality massage therapy program is, of course, the intensiveness of the training. When you end up with hundreds of hours of classroom study, in addition to a having a great deal of field experience as a part of your training, you’re in a good position to enter the field upon graduation. But another great sign of a quality program is the emphasis on continuing education throughout your career.

Finding a good place to focus on continuing education — every year, if possible — is important. It allows you the chance to brush up your old skills, learn new perspectives, and develop a more integrated approach to your massage therapy work.

So where do you go for quality continuing education in the field of massage therapy? If you attended a reputable school for your certification, you might look there first. Many programs offer continuing education programs specifically for past graduates and established therapists, as a way to stay in touch with the latest knowledge and keep your practice moving forward.

It’s tempting to think that you can earn your massage therapy certification and rely on experience for the rest — after all, you’re earning a living at the same time. Continuing education, on the other hand, might require an investment from you. But the returns on that investment will almost certainly be worthwhile as you move forward on your journey as a professional therapist.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Massage Therapist?

We live in a fast-paced world — there’s just no two ways about it. People today have more information than ever, and sometimes it seems we also have less time. These factors effect virtually every facet of life, including the educational decisions we make. Recent studies and statistics about student loans and college tuitions have been fast and furious in recent years. People are questioning the time and money they put into various educational programs, and weighing the disadvantages against the benefits. How much it’s going to cost, and how long it’s going to take, are important deciding factors in deciding what kinds of educational programs to pursue.

Massage therapy has emerged as a more viable option than ever for these reason. It’s generally a program that you can get through in less than a year, and the cost is extremely low when compared to something like a liberal arts degree.

And what about the career prospects? Newly certified massage therapists are able to start work almost immediately, whether they’re hired by a spa or massage therapy studio, or deciding to go into business on their own. That’s one of the things we’re hearing more and more in the news lately: Specific trades like massage therapy offer real job prospects and long-term career possibilities right out of the gate, whereas something like a liberal arts degree can be much more difficult to pin down, in terms of long-term economic value.

But let’s back up a minute. Can you actually become a certified massage therapist in less than one year?

The answer is yes — and that’s assuming the program you choose is highly reputable. 600 hours is a good benchmark for education in massage therapy, and schools that offer 600 hour programs usually offer flexible nighttime and daytime options for meeting these requirements. In many programs, enrolling in the fall will have you graduating near the beginning of summer. That means you can be working as a fully trained massage therapist less than one year after starting school — and as many therapists will tell you, the money and career prospects are real. Professional satisfaction and fulfillment also scores high amongst massage therapists.

Well-rounded training

It’s important to realize, however, that choosing your massage therapy certification program is a very important moment. This is the moment when you’ll decide whether to learn from a highly reputable program with a range of modalities, including classroom instruction and supervised field work — or whether you’ll end up in a less reputable program that doesn’t offer the same comprehensive standards of training.

To make sure you find the right program for you, talk to past-graduates and asking the school itself plenty of questions. This is a great way to get a fuller idea of what the school offers and what you can expect as a student and a graduate. There are a lot of massage therapy schools out there, but they’re not all going to give you the same blend of technical and business-related preparation to actually work as a massage therapist in the real world.

3 Common Complaints Against Massage Therapists

As professional massage therapists, we meet a lot of different people. If you’re interested in working as a massage therapist, or if you’ve recently been educated and certified in massage therapy, you’ll find that working with people is a vital part of running a good business. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that people skills have a direct impact on your ability to do well in your practice, whether you’re working solo or part of a team.

1. Too much pressure or not enough

This is the complaint massage therapists hear most often, but there are also a surprising number of cases in which they don’t actually hear about it (even though the complaint exists). People are sometimes reticent to talk directly to the therapist about pressure that’s too firm or not firm enough. Instead, they’ll complain to others after the fact, and/or take their business elsewhere. Actively seeking feedback on the pressure is a good way to do this, since patients are more likely to answer honestly when prompted. The other thing to point out is good, honest training. When you’ve been through a quality massage therapy program with abundant hours of classroom instruction and hands-on practice, your ability to find the right pressure for different patients and different needs is much greater.

2. Smoke, perfume and other odors

Because massage is such a personal experience, with a great deal of physical closeness between therapist and patient, it’s important to pay close attention to odors or fragrances that might cling to clothing or linger in the treatment room. If you’re a smoker (and we hope you aren’t), this can cause a fair bit of discomfort to your patients, and take away from the sense of professionalism. Perfumes and other strong odors should also be avoided. In general massage therapy should only involve natural and unobtrusive fragrances, such as natural essential oils.

3. Lack of focus

This is often a “nebulous” complaint that manifests itself in other ways, including insufficient pressure, or taking time out of the client’s treatment to answer a phone call or use the restroom. Clients are going to think more highly of you and your practice when you stay focus and present throughout the entire duration of the treatment. Being able to do this — especially if you have a full day of treatments to get through — can be challenging. It takes a professional attitude and a good deal of endurance. Legitimate massage therapy schools will address this and many other practical issues involved in being a top-level massage therapist.

Getting to the next level

Massage therapy can be a tough trade — but it’s also one of the most rewarding out there. Being consistent and successful as a practitioner of massage therapy takes practice, patience, and a careful study of common mistakes. If you’re thinking of enrolling in a massage therapy certification program, make sure it’s one that covers all aspects of the business, and gives you the technical as well as the practical skills you need to thrive in the long term.