Massage Therapy 101: 7 Things You Should Know Before Enrolling in a Massage Therapy Program Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Date: 02.23.2018 | Posted by: Shannon Hodge If you’re looking for a new career, there are so many options it can feel overwhelming. For a career that won’t take long to train for, that is in high-demand, that will give you a great salary, and that really makes a difference in people’s lives, consider massage therapy. A massage therapy program doesn’t take long to complete, and by the time you finish you’ll be ready to help people heal and have less pain. Before you get started, here’s what you need to know about a career in massage therapy. 1. Massage therapists help people. If you are looking for a career that is meaningful and that helps people, massage therapy is a great choice. Massage is more than just a rub down; it’s a valid therapeutic practice that provides a lot of health benefits. A trained and certified massage therapist can help relieve chronic pain, especially back pain and headaches. Massage therapy helps reduce anxiety, manages arthritis, and can even help cancer patients get relief from fatigue, nausea, pain, and depression. As a massage therapist you could make a real difference in people’s lives, increasing both mental and physical comfort and improving overall quality of life. 2. Trained massage therapists are in high demand. All kinds of careers in health care and related fields are on the rise. Massage therapy is one of these. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy positions are growing much faster than other careers, at a rate of 26 percent. There are expected to be more than 42,000 jobs created for trained massage therapists in the next several years. What this means for you is that if you choose to enroll in a massage therapy program, by the time you’re finished you won’t have trouble finding your first job. And, you can expect to have good job stability throughout your career, as demand is not likely to decrease. 3. It doesn’t take long to complete a massage therapy program. You may be dreaming about a new career but aren’t sure you have the time or money to get needed training. For a massage therapy career you don’t need a degree, just a diploma or certificate that usually takes less than 7 months to earn. A good training program will teach you how to work with patients, about basic anatomy, and how to help patients meet specific health goals. Most states require that massage therapists are licensed, as does the state of North Carolina. A good massage therapy program will prepare you to work as a massage therapist and to meet any licensing requirements, and will do so in a reasonable amount of time. 4. Massage therapy classes teach crucial massage skills. It is important, not just for licensing, to train to become a massage therapist because classes will teach you the vital skills you need to do this job. To provide safe and effective massage therapy, you need a knowledge base and to practice hands-on skills. Classes taught by experienced massage therapists will teach you how to manipulate muscles and other soft tissues and how to use those manipulations to help patients relax and get relief from pain and other symptoms. In massage therapy training you can also expect to learn several different types of massage, and how to choose a strategy for each individual patient. Different types of massage include sports massage, Swedish massage, myofascial massage, aromatherapy massage, and many others. Your classes will include lectures and readings but also hands-on, practical experience. 5. Massage therapy is a physically-demanding career. An important thing to be aware of as you decide whether or not massage therapy is a career path for you is that this is physically-demanding work. You will be on your feet most of the day when working in massage, but you will also be using a lot of upper body strength and repetitive motions. It is necessary to be physically fit and strong enough to do this job. It can be fatiguing and requires good coordination as well. Massage therapists are at risk for certain injuries, especially repetitive motion injuries, but these can be minimized by learning proper techniques in massage therapy classes. 6. Massage therapists are social professionals. Everyone is different, and while some massage clients are content to be quiet and enjoy the treatment, others will want to talk to and engage with their therapist. As a massage therapist, you’ll meet all kinds of people and will need to be able to relate to each patient. You may become a de facto therapist for your clients, letting them talk through their problems and vent frustrations. Enjoying getting to know people and helping people is a must for this career, as are good communication skills, including being a good listener. 7. A lot of massage therapists are self-employed. Nearly 40 percent of all professionals working in massage therapy are self-employed. Others work in health spas or massage therapy centers, in physician or chiropractor offices, and a handful work in resorts and hotel spas. When you have finished training to be a massage therapist, you will have a lot of options for how you want to work. You may choose to work for an established company, but you will also be in a position to be able to start your own small business or to work on a freelance basis. Now that you know some of the most important things about massage therapy careers, you’re ready to make a choice about your future. Does massage therapy seem like a great career for you? If it does, you can get started right away, by searching for the best massage therapy schools in your area. With the right training, you’ll be ready in seven months or less to start working and helping people heal.