One of the most frequent comments massage therapists make about their occupation is, “I feel fortunate to have found work I love!” They feel this way because a career in massage therapy allows them to help people in a meaningful way with a high degree of personal contact. Massage therapy provides an opportunity to express very positive values about caring and well-being in their work in a way that is both personally and professionally rewarding.

What is Massage?

Massage is a healing art as well as a science. It requires a balance of academic and technical knowledge, clinical skills, manual dexterity, sensitivity, and awareness. Nearly everyone has the innate resources to touch another with care and confidence. However, it takes a sincere desire to help others, along with a commitment to the time, energy, and focus necessary for the training process in order to become a solid practitioner.

The field of massage therapy is growing rapidly in response to the public’s expanding interest in forms of healthcare that promote well-being and a higher quality of life. Consequently, massage therapy has the attributes of an emerging profession undergoing relatively fast-paced change. Personal qualities and characteristics, such as excellent communication skills and a capacity for empathy are important as well.

Job Outlook for massage therapists from 2012-2022 looks very promising. The projected percent change in employment from 2012 to 2022 for Massage Therapists is +23%. (The average growth rate for all occupations is +11 %) according to the US Dept. of Labor.

The Curriculum

The training program curriculum covers such subjects as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, theory and practice of massage therapy, hands-on practice under faculty supervision, ethics and business practices. Required supervised student clinic that is open to the public, gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of people before being licensed to build confidence in their training. Training programs may emphasize certain styles of massage, so it is useful to find out if a school teachers a style you feel comfortable with. Schools often offer both full and part time programs.
Massage therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as private offices or massage therapy clinics, chiropractors’ or doctors’ offices, holistic health clinics, health clubs and fitness centers, spas, nursing homes and hospitals, with sports teams, and sports medicine facilities. Some massage therapists have portable equipment and work at their clients’ offices or homes. Recently, massage therapists have appeared in some rather innovative settings, such as storefronts, shopping malls, and airports. On-site chair massage is gaining popularity with big companies as an extra benefit for employees.

Russell Rust, LMT, LMTI, School Owner