How to Become a Qualified Massage Therapist

Did you know that teenagers today are 74% more likely to have trouble sleeping and 100% more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues? These statistics come from Social Indicators Research, which compared a sample of people from the 1980s and 2010s. It was also found that college students are 50% more overwhelmed.

Our busy modern lives are an ideal breeding ground for stress. We’re also spending a lot more time sitting down, which is said to be responsible for over 70,000 deaths in the UK every year, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It doesn’t take a medical expert to see how massage fits into the picture. 

As you may already know, massage therapy is a powerful tool for relieving stress, promoting muscle relaxation and improving posture; something more and more people are struggling with. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the need for qualified massage therapists is rising. 

Within the next decade, the industry is set to grow at lighting pace, giving aspiring therapists the opportunity to enter a field where demand for their skills are high and salaries are generous. But these aren’t the only reasons to consider this lucrative and rewarding career path. 

Why You Should Consider Becoming a Massage Therapist

If you’re not sure whether massage therapy is right for you, consider the fact that you’ll go home every day feeling satisfied about the work you’ve done, as the primary purpose of this job is to help people. It’s also highly flexible. You can operate from any location and set your own times, thus helping you create a better work-life balance

If you enjoy being on your feet, then massage therapy is a great option as it can be physically demanding. It’s also a very social job. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new faces from different backgrounds every day. Let’s not forget that, while the average massage therapist makes around £19 per hour, many are comfortably making upwards of £50. 

What a Massage Therapist Does

So, what does a massage therapist’s typical day look like? When a new client walks in, you’ll begin your session by performing an assessment where you ask the client about their medical history and lifestyle habits. From here, you’ll use the information you obtained to develop a suitable treatment plan. 

The treatment involves applying pressure to relieve areas of the body where there is tension. Powder or oil is typically used to improve comfort and reduce friction. Some of your clients may not require physical healing, but rather emotional. This is common among people with anxiety or depression who simply want to relax. 

On average, a full-time masseuse sees around five clients per day, with each session lasting between one to one and a half hours. By recommending follow-up appointments, you can build a list of repeat clients who you can depend on for a steadier income. 

Types of Massage Therapy

Upon becoming a qualified massage therapist, you can branch out into a number of different specialisms. Listed below are some of the most popular. 

  • Aromatherapy: Involves using massage oil or lotions that contain essential oils. 
  • Hot Stone Massage: Placing heated smooth rocks onto key areas of the body to promote healing. 
  • Swedish Massage: Utilizes gentle, rhythmic movements for a relaxing or energizing effect. 
  • Thai Massage: Light pressure and stretching aimed to relax the whole body. 
  • Deep Tissue Massage: A technique that uses slow, deep strokes to treat musculoskeletal issues. 
  • Shiatsu: Based on Chinese medicine, Shiatsu involves using your fingers to apply precise, rhythmic pressure. 
  • Indian Head Massage: Ancient therapeutic treatment aimed at promoting healing. 

Developing the Necessary Skills

One of the most important aspects of massage therapy is ensuring that your work environment makes the client feel relaxed. For this reason, you need to know how to create a soothing atmosphere. You should also be able to communicate effectively with your clients to make them feel comfortable with discussing their treatment.

Everyone is different and some people may not be comfortable with certain aspects of a typical massage. For this reason, you need to keep an open mind and know how to handle unique clients. Once you start building a list of repeat customers, you should be able to keep track of their progress and ensure that they’re receiving a satisfactory service.

Developing the necessary skills to become a good massage therapist is best done through practical experience. Perhaps there’s an establishment in your area that can help you with some hands-on work. That said, there’s also a theoretical side to massage therapy that you need to understand before starting your career. 

Qualification Options

There isn’t really a specific set of requirements that you need to meet in order to become a massage therapist. This is especially true if you intend to start your own practise. However, becoming accredited is highly advisable as it will help you provide a better service, avoid causing injury to your clients and give them confidence in your treatments. 

It may also give you an edge over competing massage therapists in your area, as potential clients will see that you’re better qualified for the job. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on a degree in order to become accredited as a massage therapist. There are a number of different courses available for you to take.

These range from a few hours to a few weeks in length and can cost as little as £30 or as much as a few thousand. It’s worth looking into the different massage courses available in your area. This way, you can choose an appropriate course based on your available time and budget. 

You can head over to findcourses.co.uk to explore some options from different massage course training providers. The price, length and location of each course is listed, making it easy to find the right one for your needs. It’s often recommended to pursue a diploma, as this is the most widely recognized type of accreditation. 

Purchase the Required Equipment

It would be wise to invest in the necessary equipment required to become a massage therapist as early as possible. Not only will it come in handy in the future, but may also be necessary for certain coursework. Here are some essential pieces of equipment and what you can expect to pay: 

  • Massage table: £70 to £90. 
  • Towels and covers: £40 total. 
  • Slippers or flip-flops: £10 to £20. 
  • Massage oil and bottle holster: £20.
  • Carry bag: Any backpack will do. 

Employment Options

As a massage therapist, you have the freedom to choose whether you want to become self-employed, provided you have suitable premises and enough capital for equipment, supplies and possibly marketing. Of course, the benefit of having your own practise is the freedom that comes with setting your own hours and rates. 

If you choose to establish yourself as a self-employed massage therapist, then you’ll need to register yourself with the HM Revenue and Customs for legal purposes. Some other responsibilities include filing your tax returns, paying for professional insurance and properly managing your appointments. 

Conclusion

Massage therapy is a great career option. If you’re looking for a dynamic and challenging job where you can help people every day, be sure to give it some consideration.

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