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Our guide to massage courses

There are few things more relaxing than a massage – whether you’re hoping to untie those knots in your back, help your body through your feet with a reflexology session or de-stress from the top down with an Indian head massage. It’s one treatment that appeals to a huge cross section of the public and as such, people are flocking to study massage and learn more about what it can do.


Massage for leisure

If you’re a devoted massage patron and love giving friends and family massages, then you should probably consider taking up a short or part time massage course. After all, you don’t want to be thinking you’re doing someone a favour and then actually end up making their aches worse! Learn to give effective back massages, pick up a 10-minute massage routine, explore the ancient form of healing through Thai yoga massage, or follow Shiatsu for a Japanese approach to the art of healing. Classes run from a day to a couple of weeks and you can even do some of these courses with your partner so you have someone to practise on.


Become a qualified massage therapist

If you’re hoping to take things a bit more seriously, there are loads of courses available that will lead to a career as a trained massage therapist. Some qualifications will take your career to the next level so it’s worth looking out for these. Therapeutic massages are fast becoming popular, not only for when people feel like a little stress relief after a hard day’s work, but they’re also increasingly being promoted by healthcare providers to patients. From pregnancy and aromatherapy massages to sports and deep tissue massages, you’ve got a wide range of areas to specialise in.


Improve your skills

For those who are already working as professional massage therapists, there are courses designed for you to gain additional skills and knowledge required at a higher level. They’re more comprehensive with advanced assessment techniques, practical assessments, oral questioning, final practical exams, theories and long contact hours. You’ll draw upon personal expertise and engage in supervised clinical practice through vocational experiences.


Korean hand massage anyone?

Yes – the Korean hand massage technique actually exists!  There are plenty of different types of massage and you’re in for a surprise if you think that it’s just all about Thai massages. There’s the therapeutic Indian head massage; the Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage, that’s been passed down through generations by the Polynesian shamans through secret initiations and training; hands free massage techniques using feet and elbows; chair-based massage; and the Chinese Tuina massage which works with Chi and acupressure points. Plus, if you’ve got a screaming baby who keeps you up all night, learn some baby massage techniques. This helps to strengthen your new bond, gives your baby a longer peaceful sleep, and allows you to enjoy your much needed rest.



Awards & certifications

Whilst most courses will give you a certificate of attendance upon completion, there are also courses that are run by renowned examination board and awarding bodies. For instance, the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) develops and provides international career pathways in complementary therapies, ensuring students receive training so that they’re work-ready upon their course completion. Other qualifications are the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) and City & Guilds. Some undergraduate and postgraduate massage courses are awarded by the universities themselves.


Our favourite massage

So, we spoke to the Hotcourses team and many of us have had the privilege of enjoying some of the best massages all over the country. Our favourite was one of the Hotcourses team member’s massage at the Gajah Mina Beach Resort where the massage room looks out to one of the most beautiful, unspoilt beaches in the west coast of Bali, Indonesia.

‘The floor to ceiling glass doors give a panoramic view of the Balinese surf sport on one side and the deserted Mejan beach on the other. During the hour long hot stone massage, you can hear the sound of waves and feel the cool gentle sea breeze. The massage therapist was very professional and her magic hands worked all the knots away in my shoulders and problem areas. The mixture of scented oil, warm stones and deep penetrating massaging left me feeling rejuvenated.’


Massage dos & don’ts

Don’t get put off by the term massage or the idea of making it a career. As opposed to stereotypical views, giving people massages as a career is a very respectable and rewarding job. You’ll not be working in dingy little rooms or dealing with unsolicited requests (people know better these days!). It’s not every day we get happy customers who give us hugs, praises or even endless ‘thank yous’, but being a licensed massage therapist will ensure your customers walk away with a bounce in their step, leaving you with bags of confidence!

Do take up courses to become a trained massage therapist. You can specialise in different areas; from Indian head massage and full body Swedish massage to pregnancy and sports massage. Even if you’re not interested in doing it as a career, why not pick up some massage skills to spice things up with your partner or get a full night’s sleep after giving your newborn a baby massage!

Massage course reviews and other useful articles

Massage reviews - what others are saying about massage

Hands free massage

Where: Seed Institute

What: Hands Free Massage Certificate (Booked online with Hotcourses)

by Christine - May 2014

Really enjoyed the day. Very informative course, very good teacher. Good theory and hands on massage experience, learnt so much that I can add into my practise would totally... more

View all massage reviews

Expert views on massage

ITEC level 3 certificate in Stone Therapy Massage

Q. What qualifications route did you take to realise your career? I already had 20 years training experience in the Hotel & Catering sector and decided on a change of career. I started with an ITEC diploma in Holistic Massage and then broadened my portfolio with 6 more

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Course Review: Massage

Andrew tells us about his massage courses and how they’ve changed his life…. Name: Andrew Reeves Course: Holistic Massage and Sports Massage Institution: St Mary’s University College ‘I studied two courses at St more

In need of a good massage

  Feeling tired and achy at the end of the day, or after a workout at the gym? How about a massage? There are loads of different types of massage, all of which involve stretching and manipulating the skin to help function, aid healing, and to give a feeling of more

Special offers on massage courses

Manicure and Pedicure

Next start: 29th Jul 2014

Price: £399.00 £289.00

Where: Beckenham

Facial and Skin care

Next start: 28th Jul 2014

Price: £175.00 £140.00

Where: London

Anatomy & Physiology

Next start: 02nd Aug 2014

Price: £399.00 £299.00

Where: Beckenham

Threading Diploma

Available: Thu, Fri, Sat

Price: £125.00 £69.00

Where: London

Beauty Therapy Specialist Certifica...

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

Price: £795.00 £715.50

Where: Sutton-In-Ashfield

Holistic / Spa / Advanced Facial Ma...

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

Price: £499.00 £299.00

Where: Cheshire

Ayurvedic Marma Point Massage

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

Price: £40.00 £38.00

Where: Bristol

Beauty Therapy - Massage route

Available: Tue, Wed

Price: £1,500.00 £1,050.00

Where: London

Holistic Full Body Massage Diploma

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

Price: £220.00 £200.00

Where: Cardiff

Holistic Massage (Level 3)

Next start: You choose

Price: £366.67 £275.00

Where: Online Course

Body Massage Home Study Courses

Next start: You choose

Price: £195.00 £146.25

Where: Online Course

Beauty Therapy (Level 3) Course

Next start: You choose

Price: £473.75 £379.00

Where: Distance Learning Course

Awarding organisations for massage courses

  • Aromatherapy and Allied Practitioners' Association
  • Founded in 1994, Aromatherapy and Allied Practitioners' Association (AAPA) is an organisation of professionals dedicated to providing complementary therapy services such as aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. AAPA ensures that the interests of its therapist members are well- represented. This Association has designed educational frameworks such as the National Occupational Standards for aromatherapy, the AC Core Curriculum and the City & Guilds award in Complementary Therapies. AAPA also accredits complementary therapy colleges whose training standards meet or exceed core curricula.

  • Association of Physical and Natural Therapists
  • Founded in 1986, the Association of Physical and Natural Therapists (APNT) represents the interests of complementary medicine practitioners, and ensures that high standards are developed and maintained where complementary medicine education and training are concerned. APNT accredited schools provide vocational and postgraduate courses in core therapies such as Indian Head Massage, Seated Acupressure, Hawaiian Massage and Body Realignment. APNT is a member of various consortiums such as British Complementary Medicine Association BCMA and Aromatherapy Consortium AC to advocate equal opportunities and promote collaboration among natural and physical therapists.

  • Federation of Holistic Therapists

Related careers: Massage Therapist

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...more

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