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How to become a Massage Therapist

massage therapist careers

What does a Massage Therapist do?

Massage therapy is the therapeutic use of touch by hands, elbows or feet on the body. There are many different systems of massage but it is commonly used to help physical or emotional problems. Many massage therapists prefer to use a holistic approach, as they believe that emotional or personal problems lead to physical conditions such as stiffness or tension.

A common type of massage is body massage (also known as Swedish massage) which covers the whole body, especially the limbs and back. There are many specialised branches of massage including Indian head massage, this involves using particular oils and techniques to relax the neck, shoulders, head and face; sports massage, this area includes the treatment of sprains, torn ligament and broken limbs; and baby massage, this form of massage can bring benefits to both parent and baby, calming and possibly strengthening the immune system of the infant.

To start with, the therapist will take a detailed medical history, asking their client about their health and lifestyle to assess any possible problems or conditions. They apply pressure to specific spots in gentle movements to ease tension, clear blockages, improve circulation and help restore the body’s natural balance. Sometimes essential oils may be used.

What's the working environment like working as a Massage Therapist?

There are no set working hours. Unsocial hours may be required to accommodate the clients. Part-time work is often available.

Massage therapists can work in a variety of environments including beauty salons, health spas and fitness centres. It is also possible to work in a healthcare environment such as a hospice or complementary medical centre. Some offer a service in clients’ homes or workplaces, so a driving licence would be needed. It is also possible to work from home.

Sessions usually last from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the client's needs. Most work takes place in a quiet room with a massage table. Massage therapists spend a lot of time on their feet bending over clients, and have gentle music playing while they work to help clients relax.

What does it take to become a Massage Therapist?

To work as a massage therapist you should:

  • be comfortable with close contact with clients
  • be able to develop empathy with clients and appreciate what they are going through
  • have a smart appearance and good personal hygiene
  • be able to clearly explain the stages of treatment
  • have highly developed listening skills to determine the best treatment
  • recognise when to refer clients to a qualified medical doctor
  • be able to keep client records
  • have the commercial skills required to run a business.

Massage Therapist Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Massage Therapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

British Register of Complementary Practitioners
C/o Institute for Complementary Medicine
PO Box 194
London
SE16 7QZ
Tel: 020 7237 5165
www.i-c-m.org.uk

International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC)
2nd Floor
Chiswick Gate
598-608 Chiswick High Road
London
W4 5RT
Tel: 020 8994 4141
www.itecworld.co.uk

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)
3rd Floor
Eastleigh House
Upper Market Street
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9FD
Tel: 023 8068 4500
www.vtct.org.uk

Massage Training Institute
PO Box 44603
London
N16 0XQ
Tel 020 7254 7227
www.massagetraining.co.uk

Federation of Holistic Therapists
18 Shakespeare Business Centre
Hathaway Close
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 4SR
Tel: 0870 420 2022
www.fht.org.uk

Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation
24 Ellon Road
Bridge of Don
Aberdeen
AB23 8BX
Tel: 01224 822956
www.scotmass.co.uk

The Guild of Infant and Child Massage
22 Elder Close
Uttoxeter
Staffordshire
ST14 8DR
Tel: 01889 564 555
www.gicm.org.uk

The International Association of Infant Massage
88 Copse Hill
Harlow
Essex
CM19 4PP
Tel: 078 1628 9788
www.iaim.org.uk

The Sports Massage Association (SMA)
1 Woodville Terrace
Lytham
Lancashire
FY8 5QB
Tel: 0870 005 2678
www.sportsmassageassociation.org

Skills for Health
2nd Floor
Goldsmiths House
Broad Plain
Bristol
BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 922 1155
www.skillsforhealth.org.uk