The Top 3 Reasons Massage Therapists Fail

Massage therapy is a growing field, and there is plenty of research and data to back that up. In fact, you only have to think in terms of first hand experience. As the health benefits of massage therapy become more universally accepted and desirable, we’re started to see massage therapists working in airports, shopping malls, and even hospitals.

All of this points toward a growing demand for quality massage therapists; but is the industry producing them? The answer, of course, is yes – there are many fantastic therapists coming out of various schools every year, and they’ll be in it for the long haul as professional therapists.

That said, there are plenty of massage therapist who graduate school, receive their certification, enter the industry, and quickly find themselves looking for another career. The question is, why does success elude so many massage therapists? Here are five of the most important answers.

1. They don’t have the physical constitution

Massage therapy can be physically demanding work, but it’s also very good for keeping in shape and maintaining great muscle tone. Working on clients day after day requires strength and endurance, and it does happen sometimes that a massage therapist simply doesn’t have the physical stamina to continue on in this profession.

2. They didn’t pick a good school

The massage therapy school or academy is a huge part of what makes a successful therapist in the long run. If you attend a reputable academy with expert teachers, student clinics and plenty of hands-on training (as well as learning about the whole business and administrative side of being a massage therapist), you’ll have a very deep skill set to lean on. Without good training, many people simply flounder in the real world of professional massage, because other therapists are able to do the job so much better. Going back to school can be a great option if you suspect you might not have the best training under your belt.

3. They didn’t learn about the business side of things

As mentioned, the business and administrative side of things is extremely important when it comes to massage therapy. A well-rounded school will cover these aspects in a comprehensive way, giving the graduate a full set of skills and professional contacts to help them succeed in the business.

Ensure your success as a massage therapist

The number one thing you can do to ensure your success as a massage therapist is to be really good at what you do – not only in terms of talent, but being properly trained and certified. That’s why choosing a school or academy is so important. The right school will set you up with the technical and professional skills you need to deliver seriously professional massage therapy services. This much is obvious. But the right school will also set you up with a working knowledge of the business aspects of being a massage therapist, especially if you intend to work on your own. A solid educational foundation is the bedrock of success in the vast majority of careers, and massage therapy is no different. Therefore, choose your school with care!

4 Ways to Keep Yourself Strong and Healthy as a Massage Therapist

Massage therapy is something that can benefit people of all backgrounds and professions. Whether a person works in a physical demanding job, such as construction – or an office job that involves a lot of sitting and stored up of tension in the body – a regular massage therapy session can make a huge difference in the way that person feels. The many health benefits of massage therapy have been extensively studied and documented by leading health organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic and many others.

But what if you’re on the other side of the equation? For massage therapists, the day-to-day practice can be very tiring, and can leave you with a lot of soreness of your own. That’s just the nature of using your own hands and strength to provide healing therapy for someone else. In fact, massage therapy patients often wonder if (and how often) their massage therapist is on the receiving end of a massage. For a lot of professionals, the answer is: Not often enough!

As a massage therapist working in the field, it’s important to respect the physical demands of your job, and to be proactive about your own health and wellbeing. After all, a massage therapist who is hurting and sore all the time will not be able to perform their job at a high professional level. So what can therapists do to keep themselves strong, healthy, flexible and loose?

1. Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful restorative practice for any professional that involves a lot of standing and physical work. Our instinct is often to lay on the couch and relax – and of course there are wonderful benefits to this too, in moderation – but a 30 or 60 minute yoga session can really set us up for a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep. Yoga helps not only the muscles, but the internal organs and circulatory system as well.

2. Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is important for any professional – all the more so with massage therapy. When you’re well rested, your movements are steadier and your mind is clearer – both important to delivering great massage therapy services.

3. Diet

Massage therapy is a professional that requires a lot of self-care across the board. Maintaining a clean diet is one of the pillars of self-care. It leads to better overall health and better performance in a job as physically demanding as massage therapy.

4. Massage!

The same benefits of massage therapy that we bring to other people every day are also there for us! Massage therapists need to schedule time for their own massage therapy in order to experience the benefits and remind themselves what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a good therapeutic massage.

Choose the right massage therapy school

Some of you reading this might actually be looking to get into the world of massage therapy. If so, it’s worth mentioning that the school you choose can have long-term effects on how healthy you’ll be out in the field. The most reputable massage therapy schools out there put extra thought and care into teaching their students effective self-care methods, and how to deal with the physical rigors of treating clients regularly.

What’s the Most Popular Type of Massage?

We live in a world of ever-increasing choices, and massage is no exception. Depending on what type of spa or massage clinic you visit, there might be a long list of options on the menu. Typical massage offerings include Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, hot oil massage, shiatsu, hot stone therapy, Thai massage, myofascial release, and so on. You’ll also find many places that combine different types of massage, sometimes incorporating aromatherapy for a deeper sense of relaxation.

Patients and massage therapy students alike might be asking themselves which among these different types of massage is the most popular. If you’re working independently as a massage therapist – or if you’re visiting a massage therapy center and want to make sure you get the most out of your experience – it helps to know what the most popular options actually are.

While there are no “hard and fast” statistics on what type of massage therapy is most commonly chosen by patients, Swedish massage is usually the answer that people will give. It’s often seen as the “standard” massage technique, and is very often administered in spas and clinics, as well as gyms and “wellness salons.”

So what exactly is Swedish massage and why is it so popular?

Swedish massage is formulated on more of a Western understanding of the body, which means that rhythmic kneading and stoking techniques are used to loosen and relax the muscles – often using oil or massage lotion in order to facilitate deeper release of muscular tension. Many other types of massage, such as shiatsu or Thai massage, are of course based on Eastern understandings of physiology, which incorporate a more “energy-based” perspective.

In Swedish massage, the practitioner generally begins with long strokes on the back, arms, legs and neck. The next stage is to use shorter, deeper strokes to release muscular tension in specific areas of the body.

People who are in training to become massage therapists will learn that there are five different “strokes” used in Swedish massage. Long and smooth movements are known as effleurage. Movements that use kneading and rolling are commonly known as petrissage. Smaller motions that are often circular are known as friction. Tapping or “drumming” movements are called tapotement. Movements that involve shaking, or rocking back and forth, are known as vibration movements.

Terminology is one thing, and it’s important for students to learn these categorizations backwards and forwards if they are to become reputable professionals. But it really comes down to results, and the experience of the patient.

Is it advantageous for practitioners to learn more than just Swedish massage?

The answer is clearly yes – today’s massage therapy industry is more multi-dimensional and multi-disciplined than ever. It’s important for new massage therapy students to be well-versed in all of the popular types of massage: including Swedish, hot stone, neuromuscular, Thai, reflexology, deep tissue, and others – including specific massage techniques for pregnant women, and for individuals with other specific medical conditions. Students who enter the industry with a full set of skills from a reputable institution are much more likely to succeed long-term in the world of professional therapeutic massage.

3 Questions to Ask Before You Enroll in a Massage Therapy School

So you’ve decided to make it happen: You’re going to be a professional massage therapist! It’s something you’ve always wanted to do – and as a career, it offers so many things that interest you. Other people will directly benefit from your services, and being able to offer that kind of help is hugely appealing. It can also be one of the most flexible careers out there, and it’s a part of the booming wellness industry. You may have a friend or family member who became a massage therapist and loves it. These are all valid reasons to pursue your new career path without ever looking back.

Well, hold on just a second. The first and biggest step toward becoming a professional massage therapist is choosing a school and a course. This is how you’ll acquire the professional skills, knowledge, and certification needed to practice therapeutic massage in your community. But are all of these courses the same? Is there really much difference between them, and is it really necessary to research carefully before signing up?

The answer is yes – taking your time to carefully choose the right program will have benefits that continue for years into your career. On the other hand, choosing a substandard program could fail to give you even the most basic skills for working on your own or being part of a team. Here are 4 questions to ask before you enroll in massage therapy school.

1. What techniques does the school teach?

Every massage therapist has their own style. If you work independently, you’ll be able to offer your own custom menu of massage therapy services. If you work with a team, you may have to offer specific types of massage whether you like it or not. Either way, a good massage therapy school will carefully build your knowledge and techniques in several areas, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, hot stone therapy, myofascial release, pregnancy massage, chair massage, thai massage, and others.

2. Does the coursework include “hands on” experience?

When it comes to massage therapy, classroom leaning is certainly important – but it’s just not enough on its own. The best schools will offer a constructive mix of classroom teaching and hands-on training with real patients.

3. How long will the program take?

Obviously, you’ll want to know how long the program will take and when you can expect to start earning a living as a massage therapist. But it’s important to maintain a “no shortcuts” mindset in order to give yourself the skills you truly need. Different states have their own requirements for massage therapy courses. In New Jersey, for example, the requirement is 500 hours. You’ll often see the better schools offering programs of 600 hours. Why? Because they really want their students to succeed!

Finding the right answers to your questions

You’ll probably have more than just these four questions when you approach potential massage therapy schools ­– and that’s a good thing. The patience and time taken to answer your questions is an important indicator of how that school will treat you as a student, and how prepared you’ll be for the real world when you graduate. So choose your school carefully, and good luck!

How Long Does it Take to Become a Massage Therapist?

As the old saying goes, time is money. But is that really true? When you’re talking about education and training that leads into a new career, spending more time is justifiable. After all, professionals that are rewarding and worthwhile take skills. Those skills don’t come automatically, without investing any time or money. If they did, everybody would do them. That what separates somebody who’s really driven, and really ambitious, from somebody’s who’s not.

But we all have to be practical. There are bills to pay and trips to fund. Embarking on a new career is one of the most exciting things in life, but it’s important to know how long it will take to become a professional who earns money in a given trade. Massage therapy is no exception. There are countless candidates out there who want a career in massage therapy, both for the economic opportunity it provides, and for the chance to make a living in a way that helps people. But they need to know how long it takes until the checks start coming in. That’s only fair.

Let’s cut right to the quick: 600 hours of coursework is a good benchmark for a quality massage therapy school. Depending on how many nights a week the class convenes, it’s often possible to complete this certification process in as little a six months. That means you could attend your very first massage therapy class and, if you stick with it, be working professionally within the year.

It might also take longer, depending on the requirements of the program and how many hours a week you attend classes.

But there are more important factors than “how long is this going to take” – after all, you’re embarking on a new career path. It’s much more advantageous to set yourself up for success by going through a rigorous program, and doing it the right way, rather than choosing a program that promises to have you working professionally in a very short amount of time. Those are the programs that tend to produce therapists who are either disreputable or simply don’t have the best techniques and methods for treating patients.

The point is that if you want to be a massage therapist, the rewards can be great – but it’s very important to choose a reputable school with an impeccable reputation and the highest scholastic standards.

Don’t take the easy path

There are massage therapy schools out there that promise to rush you through the training and have you working with paying clients in very short amount of time. You should always make sure the school’s program meets your state and local standards for certification in massage therapy. Beyond those basic requirements, always look for a school that goes above and beyond to prepare you for working with real people in the real world. Of course, this involves comprehensive training in a number of different massage disciplines – but it also requires knowledge about the administrative and business side of being a massage therapist, whether you plan to work independently or with a team of professionals.

3 Common Mistakes Made by Massage Therapy Schools

It’s a great feeling when you find a new career path that excites and energizes you. Suddenly you can envision a whole new routine and lifestyle for yourself, as you prepare to leave behind an old job or career that wasn’t really fulfilling to you. But everything is still in the “idea” phase, and some real decisions have to be made before you can take a concrete step forward.

This is exactly what many people feel when they decide to explore a career in massage therapy. It may be something they’ve always wanted to do; or it may be something that just caught their attention recently. Either way, the process of choosing a school and a specific course can be daunting. Depending on where you live, there may be dozens of schools and courses in the vicinity. Is one as good as the next? How do you go about making the most intelligent, informed decision? These are questions that every prospective massage therapist will ask, and it’s important to find the right answers.

Sometimes, knowing what to avoid in a massage therapy school can be just as useful as knowing what to look for. Here are three common mistakes made by massage therapy schools:

1. Not incorporating enough hands-on training

The classroom is an important element of training to be a massage therapist; but it’s only one element. It’s also important to get plenty of hands-on field training. For this reason, many reputable massage therapy schools have a dedicated student clinic where therapists-in-training can work on real clients, while being supervised by their instructors. The ability to apply classroom learning to real situations is an important prerequisite of any reputable program.

2. Not teaching a wide variety of massage techniques

When a massage schools focuses on just one or two types of massage, their students may learn those techniques very well. But there are many different healing modalities that are worth having in your toolkit. Look for a school that teaches students a wider array of techniques, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, Myofascial release, and other styles. The ability to blend and apply these different still will give each student a more versatile and dynamic practice.

3. Not preparing students for the business side of being a massage therapist

Like or it or not, being a massage therapist isn’t all about being skilled at massage. The business side of things is equally important, and if you don’t have those skills, you won’t be optimally prepared for long-term success in the business. Good schools dedicate serious hours to the administrative side of being a professional therapist.

Finding the right school for you

The last thing anybody wants is to embark on an exciting new chapter in life, only to find out later that the school they chose did not adequately prepare them for a successful career in massage therapy. It’s a booming industry, it allows you to work just about anywhere, and the possibilities for growth are limitless. But getting the best training is a hugely important first step. Research each massage therapy school in your area carefully, ask lots of questions, choose wisely, and enjoy this exciting new chapter in your journey!

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!