What Is A Massage Therapist?

By | November 13, 2013

massage-therapistA massage therapist is someone that treats clients or patients by using touch to influence the soft-tissue muscles of the body.

A therapist therefore alleviates pain, lessens stress, rehabilitates injuries, aids in the general wellness of clients as well as increases relaxation.

Typical duties

They use hands, fingers or elbows to knead, stroke and influence soft body tissue to bring relieve to clients. You will enjoy this job if you are one of those who are enthusiastic about alternative therapies and you desire a job that requires you to work with your hands.

Hours of Work

In order to fit in with the requirements of your clients, your hours of work are likely to include evenings as well as weekends. Nevertheless, depending on the needs of your clients, sessions could take between 15 and 60 minutes.

As a therapist, you can work in a selection of settings including fitness centres, health spas and beauty salons. In addition, you can work in healthcare environment such as holistic or hospice medical centre. Furthermore, you may decide to carry out your operations in a quiet room having a massage table or even visit clients in their various workplaces or homes.

Income and earnings

The majority of the available holistic therapists are self-employed charging hourly or per session rate of between £20 and £60 per hour. However, earnings can increase to around £40,000 per annum with experience and skills in different types of therapies. In addition to this, you may get tips from some of your clients as well as commission from selling beauty products.

Required Qualifications

Professional bodies like the GCMT (General Council for Massage Therapy) recommend that for you to work as a therapist, you need to undergo a detailed course of at least six months full-time or 12 months part-time. Shorter courses are only for general interest or introduction and not appropriate as a preparation for professional practice.

Qualifications are issued by examinations bodies like the ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council), VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust and internationally recognised CIBTAC.

It could also be useful to obtain a GCSE in human biology or biology, VTCT, City and Guilds or ITEC Certificate in physiology or anatomy.

Note that you will also need to take extra training in order to specialise in any particular form of massage, including sports, infant and baby massage.

Development and Training

If you are a member of any of the Federation of Holistic Therapists, Massage Training Institute, Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine and GCMT, you will have access to networking opportunities and development programmes that may benefit your career.

Qualities, Interests and Skills of a Therapist

In order to be a qualified, you must possess:

  • Be able to work closely with your clients
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Good personal hygiene and smart appearance
  • The physical strength and stamina for carrying out many treatments a day
  • Good manual agility and practical skills
  • The skill to develop understanding with clients
  • The skill to recognise the time that a client needs to be referred to an experienced medical doctor
  • The Skill to maintain correct and up-to-date records of the clients.
  • Commercial ability to operate a business

In order to complement more conventional treatments, a lot of complementary therapies are now being integrated into traditional healthcare. However, being an independent massage therapist will enable you find most opportunities. Therefore, build and maintain a good reputation and client base to be successful. In addition, you must also have the skill to promote your business, and this may require working long hours initially until your practice have been established.