How To Become A Massage Therapist

By | April 10, 2013

massageMassage Therapy

Many people are familiar with the positive effects of massage therapy. It’s likely that they have have been recipients of one in the past and have enjoyed the healing and relaxing properties it can offer. While many different types of massage therapies exist, the basic premise remains the same, proving it’s a skilful manipulation of muscles and tissues that works towards reducing tension and alleviating stress.

Here in the UK, it’s not very difficult to find a suitable masseuse or masseur when one knows what “healing” effect they’re after. The most popular types of massages can be neatly divided into two main categories, namely foreign disciplines and specialised therapy. The former relates to Swedish and Thai massage systems, while specialised therapy requires a deeper level of commitment towards understanding the mind and body. Sports and Structural Integration are examples of such therapy.

How To Become A Qualified Massage Therapist In The U.K.

For those that happen to possess hands of gold and are keen to become a therapist themselves, there are a number of routes that can be taken in order to gain the necessary qualifications. With plenty of room for progression, excellent opportunities exist that can offer a rewarding career and comfortable living earning up to £50 per hour.

It’s not difficult to get a foot in the door and with a set of GSCE’s under the belt that preferably have an element of Biology or Science in them (although this is not absolutely necessary), there is enough ground to build from. It’s important to remember that different therapies all require the basic understanding of physiology and the more specialised the treatment becomes, the scope of knowledge naturally increases.


In the UK, a number of recognised bodies exist that facilitate learning in this particular sector. VTCT for example is a government accredited body that offer National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). You can easily achieve NVQ level 3 at The Carlton Institute or just train for one of their accredited diplomas (for insurance purposes).

Established for the past 21 years it has acted as a key player in providing an unrivalled range of beauty courses and training in the UK. For massage training they offer NVQ and Elite NVQ (get NVQ trained in just 3 weeks) courses in Body Massage and diplomas in “Sports Massage Therapy” and “Indian Head Massage”. These diplomas will allow you to obtain your professional indemnity insurance. You will require this to charge clients if you want to become a self employed therapist.


Another option is taking the CIBTAC route that leads to attaining a QCF qualification, with the benefit being that students can receive credits that enable further learning. This is how QCFs differ from the NVQs, which are based on qualifications only. The CIBTAC offers awards, qualifications and diplomas in massage therapy giving the student a broader scope and the opportunity to show their level of commitment.


Finally the ITEC, focuses both on the UK market while offering the option to gain International qualifications that are recognised in 35 countries. This is certainly a sensible choice for those considering working abroad and wishing to keep their options open. The qualifications are divided into Level 2 and 3, with massage courses falling under “Complementary” and “Sports”.

Depending on ones needs and aspirations, the qualifications from VTCT, CIBTAC and ITEC all offer solid knowledge and understanding required to make the transition into the world of massage therapists. Hopefully for those that are keen to take the plunge, this could be the starting point in their journey. As the benefits of massage therapy are increasingly becoming more mainstream there certainly won’t be a shortage in the demand for therapists that can lend their golden hands to a tired soul and body.

Job Opportunities

A massage therapist uses the hands, fingers and elbows to manipulate soft tissue which is beneficial to the client. This will be your most crucial skill if you chose to become one. The benefits of this are decreasing stress, managing sport injuries and promoting a sense of well being. The skills acquired by the therapist enables he or she to carry out different types of massage such as:


otherwise known as a full body massage where the therapist uses the hands and elbows to knead the muscles. The goal is to decrease tension and flush out toxins in the body.


This aims to prepare an athlete before an event, help recovery from a sport injuries or make them better. Though it does require a bit of study it is a fulfilling discipline.


The area of focus of this is the head, neck and shoulders. It is meant to reduce stress and tension that can cause headaches.


Which is very popular in South East Asia is gaining recognition in the UK as a great alternative. It consists of assisted stretching, deep tissue and pressure point work

Structural Integration

This treatment operates on the idea that the mind and body are linked and that each physical issues is connected to a is more commonly known as rolfing after the scientist Ida Rolf.