Massage therapy, once considered a luxury for the rich, is quickly becoming a common way to relieve stress, relax, and stay healthy. If you enjoy working with people, are motivated, and like to make a difference in others' lives, becoming a massage therapist may be an excellent choice for you.
Learn about the many types of massage. There are many different styles of massage, with each style having a different goal. Esalen and Swedish massage are forms of relaxing massage. Various cultures have traditions of massage, such as Thai massage, Shiatsu, Amma massage, lomi-lomi, and Tui Na. Other types of massage are more specific or therapeutic, such as sports massage, deep tissue work, or trigger point therapy. Before you become a massage therapist, you may want to look into the different styles and decide which style or styles you want to pursue.
Prepare for schooling. Massage schools can be quite expensive. In addition to tuition, you will need to pay for materials and books. Many massage schools offer financial aid packages, while other schools provide work study or part-time programs.
Attend a massage school. To become a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) in many countries, including the United States, you must attend a certified massage school. It is generally useful to have a style of massage in mind before you choose a massage school, as different schools focus on different styles and traditions.
Think about your ideal work setting. Massage therapists are able to work in many different environments. Many massage therapists work out of their own homes or rent a space in a clinic or gym. Spas are another common setting for a massage therapist, as are hotels. If you are not sure where you would like to work, it may help to ask experienced massage therapists about their practices, to gain different perspectives before you yourself become a therapist.
Complete the required hours of training to become licensed. Depending upon the area that you are practicing in, the requirement to become a massage therapist may be anywhere from 150 hours of training to over 1000 hours. Some or all of this training may be completed while in school; again, this depends upon the requirements in your area.
Consider a specialty. While all massage therapists choose one or more styles of massage to perform, some choose an additional specialty. Massage specialties might include prenatal massage, orthopedic massage, or sports massage, among many others, and licensing requirements may apply.
Participate in continuing education. Dedicated massage therapists never stop learning. When you think about becoming a massage therapist, keep in mind that you will need to continue to take classes. This continuing training can be to learn new skills, become familiar with ethnic massages, to brush up on additional skills, or for many other purposes.
Advertise. Because massage therapists are often self-employed, it is essential to advertise. Even if you become a massage therapist at a spa or hotel, massage therapy on the side can be a great way to earn additional income.
Massage therapy is an excellent career for anyone who enjoys healing. Massage is a great way to soothe, relax, and help others. Just make sure that you don't forget to treat yourself to massage to stay in great shape yourself.