What does a massage therapist do?
Massage therapists provide therapy to clients suffering from many different ailments or to help the client feel rejuvenated and relaxed. They manipulate the body’s soft tissue muscles to remove waste products and improve circulation. They can specialize in more than 80 different types of massage and most specialize in several techniques. Some examples are deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, acupressure, reflexology, prenatal massage, neuromuscular massage, and sports massage. The massage therapist assesses the client’s physical condition, medical history, goals, and needs prior to suggesting a type of treatment.
Massage therapists use a variety of things in their massages such as oils, creams, and lotions. They typically dim the lights, play soothing music, and light candles to help the clients become relaxed.
What kind of training does a massage therapist need?
Massage therapists must complete formal training and there are many technical and vocational schools and colleges that offer programs. Coursework typically includes anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, ethics, business, and massage techniques. Programs also include hands-on practice of massage methods. Some states require massage therapists to complete continuing education courses to update their skills and keep up to date with advances in the field.
Most states require massage therapists to pass a national or state certification examination. Most massage therapists take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). Many states require this examination to practice massage therapy. Massage therapists must renew their credentials every 4 years by complete continuing education and work experience requirements.
What are the prospects for a career as a massage therapist?
Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 20% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Job growth will be driven by the increased demand for alternative health treatments and as people understand the benefits massage therapy provides.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for massage therapists who complete formal training and become certified. Part-time opportunities will be more prevalent than full-time positions.
How much do massage therapists make?
As of September 2009, the middle 50% of massage therapists earned annual salaries between $37,606 and $56,313. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $65,541 (2).
A career as a massage therapist is an excellent choice for individuals interested in providing therapeutic touch to clients. Massage therapists must be good with their hands and in good physical health. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential when working with clients. Massage therapists should also be friendly, empathetic, understanding, and patient. They must be able to make clients feel comfortable and relaxed.