Massage therapy may often be set aside and thought of as being among the less desirable or profitable careers. Massage therapy may indeed be on the road less traveled, but there are many benefits to training for this profession and assisting others heal their bodies and minds through massage therapies’ unique blend of holistic and technocratic medicinal properties. This type of therapy has a rich history and in today's stress-filled and touch deprived world, remains a personally and professionally rewarding career to consider pursuing. We all turn to standard healthcare providers to give us relief from pain or illnesses. However, by addressing the basics, massage therapy provides preventative medicinal properties, which have long proven to be highly beneficial towards one's quality of life and overall health and well-being. Massage therapy is considered favorable and advantageous not simply for those receiving physical therapy, but also for those providing physical therapy.
Because we live in a world of acute stress, the physical toll daily obstacles take on the human body is often overlooked by modern medicine until something goes seriously amiss. The primary goals of physical therapy involve providing a healthy environment for recovery and physical rehabilitation without having to turn to pill prescriptions and standard medicine. Due to long-standing scientific backing on the healing benefits of touch, massage therapy ranks high on the list of desirable services offered within the healthcare industry. Personal motivation to become a massage therapist may come from the ease of certification compared to accreditation and other recognized areas of professional medicine. Motivation to become a massage therapist may also come from the necessity or desire to change professions. People with an existing background or qualifications within the fields of caregiving services or Health and Human Services may find massage therapy a good fit. In the state of Colorado, massage therapy is always in demand with even greater opportunities for opening up one's own private practice.
Apart from psychologists and physiotherapists, massage therapists generally dedicate the most time to caring for their clients. Because successful massage therapy relies on a high level of attentiveness, good communication, providing a soothing environment and paying attention to client needs, this field best suits those who are perceptive, adept and good with people. Massage therapists provide a bright spot in the lives of their clients to enjoyable and relaxing conversation, physical therapy, coaching on relaxation and healing techniques, all combined with their own personal touch. The approach one takes as a massage therapist may vary greatly depending on what best suits one's clients. Analyzing and deciphering the needs of patients and deciding the best approach is among the primary duties of a massage therapist. As such, training involves learning how to be acutely aware of client feedback.
Massage therapists have a wide range of duties. In general, duties include therapeutic soft tissue and joint massages. Therapists assist throughout assessment of a clients’ range of motion, work with clients on developing muscle strength and help clients to create personalized therapy plans. Massage therapists may go by a variety of job titles depending on the setting in which they practice.
Bodywork Therapist, Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), Clinical Massage Therapist, Deep Tissue Massage Therapist, Hospice Massage Therapist, Integrated Deep Tissue Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP), Licensed Massage Therapist, Massage Operator, Massage Therapist, Masseur,
Masseuse, Massotherapist, Mechanotherapist, Medical Massage Therapist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Rolfer, Swedish Masseuse or Therapeutic Massage Technician.
Specific job tasks include:
• assessing the joint and muscle quality and function of clients
• offering referral services to clients when necessary
• including the use of complementary aids during therapy such as infrared lamps, ice, cool wet compresses, whirlpool baths and more
• proposed relaxation and recovery programs and methods that promote overall long-term well-being for clients
• communicate effectively with clients to develop treatment plans and specific massage techniques in an open and collaborative client/therapist relationship
• discuss medical histories and other contributing factors to pain and infirmity including stress or medical conditions
• offer extensive information and guidance to clients regarding physical therapy techniques for patients to continue and maintain between therapy sessions
Techniques include stretches, postural improvement methods, relaxation techniques, rehabilitation exercises and strengthening tasks.
• Massaging or needing soft tissue and muscles in a variety of ways tailored to manage specific medical conditions or treat specific injuries
• offer preventative medicine to clients known as “wellness maintenance” to prevent future stress or injury.
• Blend and prepare oils which are then applied to the skin of clients
• applying hand or finger pressure to specific pressure points on the body
• communicate and consult with other healthcare professionals to decide client treatment regimens-- consultation may include conversations with chiropractors, physiotherapists, physicians, psychologists and more
• create and maintain client treatment records
The great variety in work activities of massage therapists expected to conduct make this particular type of work exciting, interesting and ever-changing. In order of importance, massage therapists work their way down a list of primary and secondary treatment goals to manage the short and long-term success of their clients. Massage therapists will:
• Care for and assist clients by providing personal and medical attention while also offering emotional support
• maintain positive relationships with clients, medical professionals and any coworkers (i.e. within the setting of a private practice or massage therapy clinic)
• administer any medicines included in the health and wellness plans
• position patients for therapy, providing orientation and explanation of treatments
• prepare clients for tests, exercises and any other treatment programs
• obtain client information through observation and receiving information from any other medical sources involved in the patient's treatment
• developing cooperative and beneficial interpersonal relationships with others over time
• working well with the general public-- massage therapy guarantees a diverse and wide-ranging client base as well as a wide range of practice settings including spas, resorts, stores, hotels and more
• carrying out general physical activities-- massage therapists will be using their whole bodies for work. Physical tasks may include climbing, balancing, lifting, stooping, walking, handling materials and frequently using one's arms and legs
• setting up and taking down equipment used for the purpose of the sauce therapy
• recording and documenting patient information, transcribing, entering, storing, recording and maintaining both formal and informal documents in electronic or written format
• staying educated and up-to-date on massage therapy techniques and applying new techniques to one's work
• evaluating and analyzing problems and creating solutions to meet patients’ needs
• scheduling activities and work -- maintaining an organized calendar of scheduled programs and events
• creative thinking -- developing and applying new techniques, ideas, systems, relationships or product applications to better meet the needs of clients
• carrying out administrative activities such as information organization/storage, day-to-day paperwork and any additional paperwork processing
• planning or prioritizing tasks through developing a system of “ to do” lists
• controlling, monitoring or budgeting resources including supply management and allocation of funds
• installing, positioning and moving materials used for massage therapy appointments
• translating medical terminology or physical therapy information in a comprehensive manner which inspires patients understand, trust and confidence
• resolving conflicts were differences with others
• teaching or training others in the field
• merchandise promotion and sales management
• using touch effectively to alleviate pain, rehabilitate injuries, encourage circulation improvement, increase relaxation, help alleviate stress and aide in the pursuit of general health.
Work settings primarily include public and private office settings, spas, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and fitness centers. Work may also be done through in-home visits, travel or even within a massage therapist’s own living accommodation.
Massage therapy was a career one can branch into relatively quickly. State laws for certification time frames vary as does accreditation leniency when entering a new state with existing certification in the field. In the case of Colorado, the medium training program duration is about one year for massage therapy certification. Compared to the timeframe for other training in related fields like psychiatry of physical therapy, massage therapy accreditation is relatively easy to combine Colorado as well as across the US. Also keep in mind that many aspects of massage therapy are heavily intertwined with duties and responsibilities of related fields like psychiatry and physical therapy/rehabilitation. However, massage therapy tackles many client needs at once, providing a convalescent experience for people for overall body healing.
Because the average duration of massage therapy training programs in the state of Colorado is roughly 12 months, the state is a particularly ideal place to build a career in the field. Compare Colorado's program duration of states like California, which demand between 2 to 4 years of career training and similar between 600 and 700 credit hours of class work or on-the-job training. Somewhere between 500-1,000 credit hours may be required on more extensive training programs. No two massage therapy certifications are exactly the same.
The licensing process usually takes about a year in Colorado and unlike many similar careers does not require four years of college education. While certain academic prerequisites like a high school diploma, an associates degree or bachelors degree may stand you in good stead, higher education is not required for massage therapy training.
Training in massage therapy offers students the distinctive opportunity to work hands-on while earning their license. Types of real-world experience training in massage therapy students can expect include learning anatomy, musculature and practicing multiple massage techniques. Upon graduation, massage therapists are expected to practice in hospitals, schools, clinics, private practices and potentially even in their own homes. This career provides many opportunities for self-employment and creation of one's own small business. Massage therapists have plenty of chances for on-the-job improvement of skills and techniques as this field relies heavily on feedback, constructive criticism and real-world experience.
Despite any misconceptions, massage therapists are licensed professionals trained to abide by a stringent set of guidelines. To obtain a license, one must graduate from a massage therapy school or career training Institute with a degree from that school. In Colorado, one must complete hundreds of hours of actual practice. The exact number of credit hours varies from institution to institution.
For freelance massage therapists working within their own private practice or self-employed, the average rule is to charge roughly a dollar per minute for a massage. With such an arrangement, this makes even part-time work very profitable. Factor in the time of the massage, 30 minutes to an hour, and number of clients per week (for example 10 to 15). This generates up to $900 per client rotation. The median annual pay for massage therapists is roughly $35,970.in the state of Colorado, above average wage cities include major cities like Boulder, Castle rock, Denver, Westminster, overwork, Broomfield and Jefferson.
Colorado has a high demand for licensed massage therapists as the field is gaining positive recognition within the world of medicine. There is a good amount of anticipated job growth as analyzed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Colorado's nursing homes, offices, spas, salons and tourist destinations are in need of qualified and caring massage therapists to tend to a growing demand for physical therapy, stress management and healing.
Massage therapists may also have the chance to travel through their work opportunities. Jobs aboard cruise ships, day spas and destination resorts create a diverse work climate for those within the profession. Massage therapists also may be able to set up their own office or make house calls around the state of Colorado. as a massage therapist, one can expect very little monotony as all clients are different, making each experience unique and diverse.
Colorado The Official Web Portal. Office of Massage Therapy Licensure. 2016.
Happy Lifestyle Journal. “15 Reasons to Become a Massage Therapist.” 2016.
Natural Healers. “Massage Therapist Job Description: What You’ll Do.” All Star Directories. 2016.
U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015. 31-9011 Massage Therapists.” 2015.