Why Become A Massage Therapist?

"I want to get into a profession where I can help people. Originally I was thinking of something medical, but I don’t know; I haven’t had all that many great experiences with the healthcare system myself, so I’m not sure that’s for me. So I was thinking about maybe some kind of alternative healthcare thing. That’s getting bigger these days, isn’t it? A friend suggested I become a massage therapist. Why should I consider that as a career? Is massage therapy really helpful for patients?"

asked by Melanie from Gilbert, AZ

While massage therapy still is not recognized by insurance companies and mainstream medical practitioners as real healthcare, millions of patients can attest to its real benefit for health conditions. Massage therapy helps patients with chronic injuries, illnesses, and other health conditions to feel relief from pain. Massage can help to relax muscles and prevent further strain and injury.

The benefits of massage go far beyond mere pain relief. A massage therapist can help a patient to heal, especially in conjunction with a chiropractor or a physical therapist. For many patients, massage therapy is not optional for recovery.

Many patients also enjoy the psychological benefits of massage. Massage is very relaxing, and a lot of patients regularly schedule appointments not only to deal with pain issues, but also to take a break from their busy lives and let go of stress. There are numerous health benefits associated with stress relief, so that is one more way in which massage is helpful.

What are some other reasons to consider becoming a massage therapist? You may enjoy the environment better than you would the environment of a clinic or hospital (although many massage therapists work in clinics alongside doctors and other mainstream practitioners). Massage therapists often operate private practices or work in spas or salons. The environment can be friendlier and more tranquil than a standard medical setting.

Massage therapy is a swiftly growing field, increasing at a rate of about 20%. This is faster than the national average for all occupations. The median hourly rate is not all that high, only around $16.78, which translates to about $34,900 per year if you work full time. If however you work for yourself and operate your own practice, you may be able to earn substantially more money. Many massage therapists earn twice this much, or even four times this much per hour.

One of the best aspects of massage therapy is that the entry barriers are not as high as they are for most medical professions. You do not need to earn a bachelor’s degree or even an associate’s degree. You do need to complete an accredited course however so that you can take and pass your exam and earn your certificate. With this certificate, you can be competitive as a massage therapist. Usually the coursework takes around 500 hours to complete. Each state has its own unique requirements, so look up the requirements in your state to get started.

Career Spotlight: Massage Therapist

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