Pros and cons of being a massage therapist

Barbie doing yoga and massage with a frog

© The Shortlisted – 2019

The health & wellness industry would not be complete without massage therapists.
Massage has grown to become most people’s favourite treat for their bodies; because life can get stressful for many, massage truly is a special treat for your body to be kneaded by expert hands to get rid of those painful tensional knots.

Despite the popularity of massage, however, many still have a lot of misconceptions about getting a job or a career as a massage therapist. As a result, this prevents many from seeking massage therapy as a treatment for their health woes, as well as pursuing it as a full-time career.

So, what are the misconceptions and most common lies about being a massage therapist? Rounded up below are 11 of the most common ones.

1: Working as a massage therapist isn’t stable, employment-wise

This may have been the case decades ago, but now that health and wellness is a 3-trillion dollar industry, massage therapists are highly in demand. There are many wellness facilities all over the world constantly looking for massage therapists to cater to their ever-growing clientele.

Also, any massage therapist with strong business acumen won’t have trouble finding income opportunities; they can create their services and pitch them online, or they can start their own business under the form of a wellness facility, such as a SPA.
A career in training could also be a keen consideration since many wish to pursue a massage therapy career; suffice it to say, being a massage therapist can be a stable job.

2: A massage therapy career is low paying

Not true at all: many massage therapists actually earn more than regular office workers because aside from the usual rate for their services, they often receive tips from their clients, too.
Most folks can be very generous when they’re completely satisfied with the service they receive.

Also, massage therapists can welcome as much work as they can get through; if their body can manage it, they can work beyond the typical eight hours of work to increase their income. Freelance therapists can also determine how much to charge for their services.
If they feel they deserve more because of their finely honed techniques and skills, or because they have famous clients, they can make their service rate much higher than usual.

3: Pediatricians don’t like massage therapists

Many people think that young children’s bodies are too delicate for the pressure that massage therapists apply; also, children’s skin is very sensitive and massaging them using oils can cause long-term damage to the skin, especially for babies who have eczema.

These are just some of the reasons why paediatricians supposedly don’t “like” massage therapists, but in truth, these are never a concern when it comes to highly-trained massage therapists. Those who have qualified with a massage school are trained to take special conditions into consideration in order to provide the most appropriate treatment possible for all of their clients.

A lot of paediatricians do recognize the benefits of massage, especially in helping babies relax and sleep, dealing with colic, and improving appetite. If paediatricians value these massage benefits, surely they won’t have anything against massage therapists.

4: Massage therapists have no business treating pregnant women

People tend to think that all sorts of health complications may arise if pregnant women get a massage and that this may also present the risk of a miscarriage.

Again, these only become a problem if a massage therapist isn’t properly trained. There actually are massage therapies designed specifically for pregnant women to help reduce the aches and pains of labour and lower the stress levels of moms-to-be as they approach their due date.

Pregnancy is such a physically and emotionally challenging time in a woman’s life; skilled massage therapists possess the know-how to alleviate the pains of pregnancy.

5: Massage therapists are all the same

They all do the same thing, claim some. Well, there’s no denying that the fundamental techniques are similar, but massages come from various disciplines and massage therapists choose their specialisation.

It would be incorrect to claim that a therapist who specialises in Swedish massage is the same as a deep tissue massage therapist, though the massages are known to be quite similar. But different massages focus on different issues, and massage therapists execute different techniques in order to appropriately treat them.

6: Massage therapists automatically know what’s wrong with your body. They can diagnose by “feel”

Therapists do have the ability to identify some of your physical concerns; however, you will still need to communicate what you feel so they can focus on that.

Also, if something really hurts, it’s important to tell them: while they can sense where problems are located, they have no ability to feel the intensity of your discomfort.

7: Massage therapists don’t care if clients come in not bathed

Professional massage therapists will insist on upholding sanitary standards for treatment sessions because skin irritation and other nasty infections can occur if clients aren’t clean.

Most massage therapy centres have shower rooms for clients: this way, every treatment session is as beneficial to health as possible.

8: Naked bodies are all in a day’s work

This depends on the kind of massage provided, on the therapists and the facility where they work.
Not all massages require clients to undress. So, for those who are rather conservative, massage definitely doesn’t demand nudity; massage can be done on clients even if they are fully clothed.

It’s important to also mention that there are boundaries to massage therapy sessions: these are set to make clients feel respected and safe so they can relax and benefit optimally from the therapy session.

9: Massage therapy is a sex-oriented career

There is such a thing as erotic massage, but professional massage therapists don’t provide that: there are strong ethics for the profession taught in any reputable massage therapy school and students are educated on how to deny services should a client hint at something of that nature during sessions.

10: The job of a massage therapist is pretty much service-on-demand

This is true to some extent, but because massage therapists’ services are quite in demand – smart time management is required for the job.

This basically means that massage therapists should organise their appointments and deal with clients appropriately if they fail to come at the appointed time.

Massage therapists should never ditch the client they’re already working on to accommodate late clients (no matter how “important” they are).

11: Massage therapists don’t get much respect

That’s just the movie depiction of the profession but in reality, clients have appreciation and respect for the highly trained hands that restore their wellness: they do not treat their massage therapists as second-rate citizens.

It’s important to note too that if massage therapists show integrity in what they do, clients can be expected to respond accordingly: even those personalities that tend to think people who serve them are automatically their “servants” will likely alter their behaviour.

A massage therapy career may not be a conventional one, but it is an honourable and rewarding profession.
The ability to make anybody feel stronger and better, as well as to encourage a healthier, more conscientious lifestyle, is certainly something to be proud of.
If you’re thinking of pursuing this career, get your education at a reputable massage school
and make it your mission to enlighten people about what you do.

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