Massage therapy is one of those rare industries that bridges the mainstream medical community and the world of holistic or “alternative” wellness. The medical benefits of professional massage therapy are becoming better documented each year, and this type of treatment is often recommended by doctors in conjunction with physical therapy and other areas of health. At the same time, the holistic wellness community is constantly growing and expanding, with massage therapy being one of the central and most popular areas at the center of this community.
This is another way of saying that the future of professional massage therapy is bright. But in order to meet the demand for high quality services, a lot of new therapists need to be properly and professionally trained. This means that many new schools and programs are coming up, and aspiring massage therapists have more choices than ever when it comes to choosing a school.
A big part of the process of “vetting” massage therapy schools involves reading about the experiences of past studies, and looking at the professional reputations of people who have graduated from that school. This is a common sense way to find out what kind of standards a given school actually has, and what caliber of massage therapists they’re putting out into the world.
Like any academic program or service, there are plenty of reviews out there to help people make a more informed decision. A school’s overall reputation should be largely visible online, and possibly also in trade journals and other publications related to the industry.
When you start to look into a school’s reputation, you might begin to notice complaints that have been made about the way the course was conducted, or perhaps about the curriculum itself.
So what are some of the most common complaints made against massage therapy schools?
1. “The curriculum was too narrow.”
Reputable schools invariable offer a comprehensive curriculum that includes many different modes of massage therapy, and a very detailed understand of technique in each of these modes. Some people graduate from massage therapy school and are surprised to find out that spas, hotels and other employers want a broader skill set.
2. “It was mostly classroom learning.”
The balance between classroom learning and hands-on field experience is a very important aspect of any massage therapy program. If the vast majority of time is spent discussing topics and reviewing academic information, students will be ill prepared to succeed in the real world of massage therapy. Always seek a course or program that goes heavy on “hands-on” experience. If a school has a student clinic, this is a good sign that you’ll have a lot of field training by the time you graduate.
3. “They didn’t prepare me for the real world.”
Being a successful massage therapist is about more than just mastering techniques and accumulating experience. It also has a lot to do with being a savvy businessperson, especially if you’re going to be working on your own. You’ll see a recurring pattern where the best schools put time and effort into developing the business acumen of their graduates.
Contact a reputable massage therapy school in your area for specific details on coursework, and good luck in your search!