What is the Fastest Way to Become a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist providing services for their client

Interested in quickly becoming a massage therapist? This profession offers flexibility, low stress and job satisfaction. Massage therapists can also choose their workplace, with options at resorts, massage franchises, salons, from home and at office buildings. If you are interested in this fast-growing profession, the first and fastest step to becoming a massage therapist is getting a formal education at a vocational school.

Although there are many different specialties, most massage therapists specialize in one area. With full-time attendance, the massage therapy program can be completed in just 12 months. You will be able to decide your specialization after learning the different massage techniques in a vocational program.

What Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist must have a high school diploma in addition to a certificate from a vocational school. A licensure examination is administered twice per year. There are often city requirements to legally conduct business as a massage therapist and some municipalities work under licenses. To receive a license, certification must be taken to Officials or the City Clerk for certification verification.

A background check is required for licensing, and the applicant must pay a fee. Once this process is complete, the applicant is licensed to perform massages in that city. Once licensed, specific obligations, professional accountability, disciplinary actions, investigations and client bills of rights must be reported. It is important to find a school that offers curriculum that meets the standards of the National Standard for Massage Therapy. This ensures that you are eligible to take a national exam called the MBLEX.

MBLEx is an appreciation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. This is a standard exam created to test the critical knowledge required to practice massage. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers this test and has received recognition as a United States professional organization.

The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions. Each student has two hours to complete the exam at an authorized testing center. The sections included on the exam are:

  • Special Populations, Areas of Caution, Contraindications and Pathology
  • Treatment Planning, Reassessment and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice
  • Physiological Effects and Benefits of Techniques Manipulating Soft Tissue
  • Kinesiology
  • Regulations, Laws, Boundaries and Ethics

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

The courses taught at a vocational school study the human body, how the mechanics of the body work and the location of tissues, muscles and organs. Typical courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Labs
  • Business Practices
  • Medical terminology
  • Body mechanics
  • Massage ethics

A massage therapist also learns multiple techniques including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Sport therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Hot stone massages

All of this knowledge is necessary to succeed in a career as a massage therapist and manage the pain and stress of others. In addition to the essentials required to work as a massage therapist, courses including business management and ethics are just as important. Not only does a massage therapist need to understand the basics to help clients, but they also need to establish good relationships. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client must be professional and consist of both commitment and trust.

Hands-on Training

Vocational school teaches you the best way to build relationships, the value of ethics, how to run a business and dealing with clients on an intimate basis. Hands-on training is the backbone of massage therapy education. Every student receives hands-on training. You will learn how to perform massage on real people, classmates and at student run massage clinics. In the end, you learn what is necessary to become a successful and happy massage therapist. Ensuring the comfort of clients, proper hygiene and the importance of kindness.

Proper Hygiene

Vocational schools teach the importance of hygiene for all materials used including tables and hands. This is when you develop good bedside manners for clients and classmates. Learning how to listen and communicate is an extremely important skill for a massage therapist because it promotes a feeling of relaxation resulting in fluid and calming sessions for clients. To become a successful massage therapist, certain skills must be mastered. The good news is you will enjoy learning and practicing theses skills while mastering them in a massage therapy program.

Communication and Camaraderie

One of the most delightful yet unexpected things you will learn while attending school is camaraderie. As the months pass, strong bonds, close relationships and amazing friendships will form with other students. You will learn and grow together. You simply know you are never alone, there is always a connection and students in your massage classes often start to feel like family.

Proper Massage Technique

Once you become a massage therapist, the self-care techniques taught become standard practice and invaluable. When you are massaging a client, your body mechanics, movement and breath must be consistent. Remaining hydrated and consuming a healthy diet will help. Many massage therapists remain calm, connected and in a mindful state when working with clients by practicing quiet meditation. When you are not working with a client, try physical exercise, receiving regular massages and meditation to help preserve your focus and enthusiasm.

How Do You Find a Job After Graduation?

There are numerous ways to find a good job once your graduate. The vocational school offers career services and there are job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn that offer networking. It is also important to talk to spa managers within the community. Employers in different environments hire massage therapists including hospitals and retirement facilities. You can work for someone else or establish a small business. Attracting a steady client base is dependent on professionalism and friendliness.

The best part of becoming a massage therapist is the ability to make clients feel better while earning a living. The demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase 21 percent between 2019 and 2029. Once you decide whether to open a practice, work for a business or work alone, your career will begin in this growing industry.

Start a Small Massage Business?

Running a small business offers benefits including flexibility and freedom. You decide the type of space to work in, which hours and days you will be available and determine your own scheduling and fees. All of the revenue earned is yours. If you enjoy working alone, you perform every job and decide whether an assistant or any employees are necessary.

Running a small business is expensive and involves handling all costs associated with the business such as licenses, rent, equipment and advertising. A sole practitioner does not receive the same benefits as a massage therapist working for an employer. Working for an employer means a specific schedule must be maintained including availability, hours and treatments.

Work for a Franchisee Massage Employer?

Certain employers will require you to perform additional administrative duties in addition to massage. The benefit of working for a franchise massage employer is a career offering a wide variety of choices and responsibilities. One of the most important considerations is equipment. Establishing a business as a massage therapist includes purchasing all of the necessary equipment as opposed to having everything provided by an employer.

Some employers pay for continuing education and training. Whether you decide to work for yourself or as part of a team, becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career. Prior to deciding which course is right for your individual needs, consider your personality, preferences, the option best suited to your temperament and how to provide clients with the best possible experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to open a business by yourself, with a team or work for someone else is an important decision. However, the first step you need to take is deciding whether a career as a massage therapist is right for your needs. Once you enroll in vocational school, you’re on the fastest path to your dream career.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Difference Between a Swedish Massage and a Regular Massage?

Massage therapist helping a client

Did you know that you can become a massage therapist in as little as 12 months, attending full-time? Interested in learning the difference between Swedish massage and regular massages? There are many different types of massage that you will learn during a massage therapy program at a vocational school, from Swedish massage to Himalayan hot stone and everything in between. Many massages derive their technique from Swedish massage, but each has a different technique and use. No one type of massage is better than another, but their goals vary. As a massage therapist, you should choose the type of massage that best suits the clients’ unique needs. Whether it is deep tissue massage that offers more pressure or chair massage that uses Swedish massage on the upper body, it is important to learn about the different types of massage so you can create a unique massage plan for your clients.

Swedish Massage History

Swedish massage was invented by Pehr Henrik Ling, in the 19th century. Injured himself, Pehr created a unique massage technique based on an early form of massage using percussion strokes. The massage technique originated in Sweden was brought back to the US in the mid-19th century. The traditional version of Swedish massage included five massage strokes: vibration, petrissage, friction, effleurage and tapotement.

Vibration – as a massage therapist, you will use the palm of your hand to massage in a back-and-forth motion to loosen muscles with vigorous vibration.

Petrissage – a deeper stroke to knead muscles. Using the knuckles and thumbs, you dig deep to prepare the muscles for further massage.

Friction – you use a rubbing action with your hands to produce heat and then place the heat on the muscles to warm them.

Effleurage – use of long gliding strokes to reduce tension in the muscles.

Tapotement – a fast tapping or patting of the muscles with a hand, soft fist and fingertips.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapy?

During your massage therapy program, you will learn about Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, and Himalayan hot stone. It is important to learn many different types of massage in order to tailor a unique plan for each individual client. They will have unique ailments and pain thresholds that will require different types of massage. The main massage type and one that many massage techniques derive from is Swedish massage.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage, also known Western Massage is the basis of most massage therapy performed in America today. It is the most common form of massage found in spas, health clubs, and private practices. Swedish massage techniques aid in the circulation of blood and lymph, relaxing muscles, improving joint mobility, and inducing general relaxation. Some Swedish techniques include; effleurage: sliding or gliding over the skin with a smooth continues motion, Petrissage: lifting wringing or squeezing soft tissues in a kneading motion, Friction: rubbing one surface over another repeatedly to create heat and stimulate the skin, Tapotement: a series of brisk rhythmic percussive movements that have a stimulating effect, Vibration: oscillating, quivering, or trembling motion used to stimulate digestion or bring greater circulation to a muscle to help it relax. Each massage technique produces a different effect that aids in the decrease of muscle tension and increase relaxation. 

Deep Tissue Massage

The massage techniques used in deep tissue massage mirror that of Swedish massage. However, deep tissue massage also involves the use of deeper pressure and trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy involves the identification and deactivation of painful fibrous nodules in muscles and connective tissue called trigger points. Trigger points can be felt as taut bands of tissue that elicit pain if pressed and that refer pain to other areas of the body. The deactivation of trigger points allows muscle tension to decrease and allows more blood flow to the muscle. Deep tissue therapy, although more intense than Swedish massage, can be extremely beneficial to a person’s overall health and well-being.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is the application of massage and related techniques to maintain the health of an athlete to enhance athletic performance. Sports massage is based on traditional western massage techniques. Most of the principals of sports massage are applicable to anyone engaged in physical fitness activities. Sports massage helps care for the wear and tear and minor injuries sustained in the performance of any strenuous physical activity. Some techniques are used more than others, depending on the situation and desired results. Techniques are applied very specifically to certain muscles and tendons; therefore, sports massage specialists have well developed palpation skills and knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy.  

Chair Massage

Derived from Swedish massage, chair massage focuses on the upper part of the body. The client sits in a chair designed for massage. As a massage therapist, you massage the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands to relieve stress and tension. Many offices will bring in a massage therapist to perform chair massage on employees that sit for extended periods of the day and need relief from stiffness and repetitive motions. Chair massages are also common in malls, casinos, and other open environments for clients that are on their feet or sitting for extended periods of time.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a form of Swedish massage that is performed on mothers-to-be when they are pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around a baby for up to nine months. The main purpose of prenatal massage is to relieve back and neck pain. While a client may lie face down during a Swedish massage, a prenatal massage has the client lay with special cushioning to help them lie down properly without putting pression on blood vessels that can disrupt blood flow to the baby. It is important for you to have your client get permission from their doctor before engaging in prenatal massage as the doctor will know about the contraindicators of massage for that specific client. Prenatal massage has been considered safe after the first trimester and also can be used for post-partum depression after the baby is born.

Prenatal massage is used to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension, according to the American Pregnancy Organization. Prenatal massage can also be used to decrease the symptoms of depression, improve labor outcomes as well as improve newborn health.

Himalayan Hot Stone

A hot stone massage uses hot or cold stones to induce relaxation and relieve pain. The most common type of stone used today is basalt, smooth, flat volcanic rocks that retain heat and are thought to channel healing energies. Himalayan hot stone massage uses hot stones with minerals to exfoliate the skin, softening the client’s skin. Himalayan hot stones give off negative ions to balance out the positive ions that cause inflammation in the body. Himalayan hot stone massage helps reduce stress, offering a calm and warm atmosphere.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do Day-to-Day?

A massage therapist’s job is to relieve the stress and tension of a client’s body by manipulating muscles and soft tissue with different types of massage therapy techniques. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a massage therapist will communicate with clients to understand their symptoms, medical histories and massage goals. They will evaluate the client’s body to better understand which massage technique will help relieved muscle pain and restore range of motion. The massage therapist will help educate clients in between appointments to stretch, strengthen and relax their bodies and improve posture. They will also document the client’s condition and record the progress of the massage therapy treatment.

A massage therapist may work in a spa or resort, open up their own business location or travel to client’s residence and commercial buildings to offer massage to their clients. After graduating from an accredited vocational school that offers a massage therapy program, the massage therapist will work to pass the licensing exam. Once the massage therapist is licensed, they may start seeing clients for massage therapy sessions.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between Swedish massage and regular massage, are you interested in learning more about massage therapy? Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career and allows you to help others that are experiencing acute or chronic pain. You work with all types of clients, from office workers to pregnant mothers-to-be. If you are interested in starting a satisfying career, then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for massage therapist is expected to grow 21 percent in the coming decade. In the face of technology and outsourcing, a massage therapist will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Many Massages Can a Massage Therapist Do in a Day?

Massage therapists training for their career.

Interested in becoming a massage therapist but not sure if you have the stamina to work a long day, standing and giving massages? Don’t worry, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare yourself and train your body to handle a long day of work giving massages. So, how many massages can you give in a single day?

How Many Massages Can a Massage Therapist Do in a Day?

As a massage therapist, that is up to you. Some massage therapist will work full-time working with multiple clients a day and others will work part-time with only a handful. If you want to work more as a massage therapist, there are some important things you can do to prepare yourself for extended time using your hands and standing throughout the day. You will need to work on your dexterity and stamina, it is important to stretch in between massages, you will want to use proper technique to keep a balanced body stance, proper breathing helps, some aerobic exercise and strength training will build your stamina, while a positive attitude and good hygiene will keep your body from getting sick during those long hours.

What Does a Massage Therapist Need to Do More Massages in a Day?

There are many things you can do to help yourself stay fit, improve stamina and prepare for a long day of massage. From good eating habits and exercise to proper hygiene and a positive attitude, everything you do during the day and while you relax at night will impact your ability to give massages. Whether you need to take breaks and stretch between clients or get a proper amount of sleep, there are ways to prepare your body and mind for multiple massage clients each day.

Dexterity

Dexterity in massage involves the use of your hands and fingers. As a massage therapist, you must use acute, slight motions to help you identify muscles that are tense, sore, or painful. This allows you to apply the proper amount of pressure to relieve the stress and tension.

As a massage therapist, you will apply pressure to a client’s soft tissue and muscles. Depending on the technique the pressure may be intense, for example with deep tissue massage. Techniques require pushing, pulling and kneading with the arms, hands, fingers and shoulders, but movements must be precise to have the proper effect. It’s a skill that requires upper body strength, flexibility and coordination. And also, a skill that requires good dexterity in the fingers and hands. Hands tend to cramp up when multiple massages are performed in the same day. Stretching the body and hands in between massages will help you stay limber and flexible to keep your body warm and stop it from getting injured.

Stamina

Stamina is the ability for you to withstand prolonged mental and physical activity. As a massage therapist, you must possess strength and energy to perform multiple massages in the same day. Massage treatments require you to stay on your feet, stand in place, reach, bend, and perform massage treatments for as long as an hour and a half. It is important to build stamina over time.

As a massage therapist, you will spend most of your day on your feet. A full body massage can last 60 to 90 minutes. You may stand, bend and kneel during the massage. Even portable chair massages require you to move equipment and travel from place to place. Massage therapy isn’t a physically grueling job, but strength and endurance are a must.

Proper Massage Technique

When it comes to proper massage technique, your feet are the foundation for all movement during the massage session. Using the lower portion of your body during the massage is more powerful. This provides you with more stability than moving the upper part of your body. Standing and applying an equal amount of weight to each foot and shifting a substantial amount of pressure to the lower portion of the body reduces your risk of injury.

The way your feet are placed provides a stable base and influences the direction of your massage strokes. This also has a significant effect on the alignment of your body. The two standard foot stances used while giving a massage that provide stability and balance include bow stance and warrior stance.

Bow Stance – used when you are standing at the head or the foot of the massage table and are applying strokes that proceed from one point of the body to the next. Position your feet at a 30 to 45-degree angle. Your lead foot will point forward with the other foot pointing off to the side. Keep your knees flexed, and the weight will shift from one foot to the other as you massage the client.

Using the Bow Stance allows you to maintain contact with the client while maintaining a consistent flow of touch. It’s important to bend at the hips rather than the waist when using this stance to avoid any back injury. Try not to twist as you bend. Bending at the hips aids in keeping your balance.

Warrior Stance – used when performing short strokes that cause friction on the body, this helps you reach to the far side of the client while maintaining balance. Using the warrior stance allows you to face the opposite side of the massage table while keeping your feet approximately hips distance apart. During this stance, your toes will be pointed straight ahead, and your back will stay straight. Your hips will point toward the table to reduce the risk of injury to your body.

Proper Breathing

Using the proper breathing technique helps you better pace yourself and your massage movements. It is important to send oxygen to your muscles. Increased oxygen helps reduce fatigue and help you stay relaxed and focused. Proper breathing technique also enhances your physical and mental health.

Aerobic Exercise & Stretching

It is important that you have the stamina and dexterity to alleviate the stress and pain of a client’s muscles, so it’s crucial for you to keep yourself healthy. Staying fit is essential to physical and mental health. Being healthy makes it easier for you to face a long day of massage. What can you do to increase your stamina and dexterity?

  • Exercise is a good way to stay physically fit. Try 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise to build stamina for increased massage output.
  • Take regular breaks during the day to stretch your muscles and get your blood flowing. Standing up and stretching a few times a day can help you avoid lower back pain.

Strength Training

Strength training can help you avoid fatigue. Massages require physical ability and strength training builds muscles, making it easier for you to manipulate the client’s muscles and soft tissue. Resistance and weight training can help you build your muscles offering you additional stamina and dexterity. However, try not to overdue the strength training so you are fresh for a long day of massage.

A Positive Attitude

When you’re healthy physically and mentally, your outlook is more positive. A positive attitude will help your immune system fight off colds, flus and other germs you may come in contact with while massaging clients. It is also good to stay hydrated. You should drink plenty of water. Maintaining hydration levels is essential for your optimum health.

Good Hygiene

Some germs are transmissible through skin contact, so as a massage therapist, you need good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of disease. Your vocational school training programs will cover health basics, including environmental cleanliness and equipment sanitation. It’s an integral part of practicing safely, and it’s mandatory in states that inspect and license massage therapy practices.

Final Thoughts

So, are you ready to offer multiple massages in a given day and make the most of your massage therapy training? It may be time to learn more about the proper techniques to allow you to work with as many clients as possible each day. Take the first step in your journey and learn about a massage therapy program today.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What Is Myofascial Massage?

Massage therapist providing a client with myofascial massage

Praised as a great way to relieve soreness and tightness, myofascial massage is quickly becoming a highly sought-after wellness treatment. The myofascial massage is a manual therapy technique that requires the expertise of a trained massage therapist. It is considered by many experts to be the best treatment for myofascial pain. By relieving pressure, this specialized massage therapy enables clients to enjoy pain reduction, better mobility and overall increases in physical wellness. So, what is myofascial pain and how can myofascial massage help?

What Is Myofascial Pain?

Myofascial pain is simply a term that’s used to describe muscle pain. The definition actually extends to both pain and accompanying inflammation within soft tissue. For many clients with musculoskeletal pain, the pain felt is technically radiating from a connective tissue called “fascia” that covers the muscles.

Myofascial pain often occurs when muscles or muscle groups are exposed to prolonged, repetitive movements. For many clients, this occurs as a result of sports, workouts, movements performed at work or improper posture. Even stress and anxiety can trigger myofascial pain due to strain and tension held within the body. While myofascial pain can impact the entire musculoskeletal system, it is most commonly experienced in the neck and shoulders. However, it is also seen frequently in the hips, lower back, jaw, calves, quads and feet. Here’s a glance at some common symptoms of myofascial pain:

  • Muscle aches and pain that feels deep within the muscle.
  • Muscle pain that gets worse over time.
  • Knotted feelings in the muscles.
  • Tension and headaches.
  • Extreme pain that makes it difficult to work, exercise or sleep.

Fortunately, clients who are suffering from extreme muscle pain have a very natural, noninvasive option in myofascial massage. This highly specialized technique involves massage and stretching with light manual pressure to help restore function to the fascia. A desire to resolve muscle pain from the source without surgery or medications is causing many people to seek out massage therapists who are capable of offering myofascial massage.

What are Myofascial Massage Techniques?

For future myofascial massage therapists, there’s quite a bit to learn about how specific manipulations can help to bring healing and relief to clients suffering from intense muscle pain. First, the phrase “myo” refers to the muscular tissue that is affected. The term “fascia” refers to what medical experts call a three-dimensional web of connective tissue. This web of tissue actually extends from the superficial layers of muscular tissue all the way to the deepest layers of tissue that touch the bone. This provides an indication of just how deep and intense a myofascial massage really is. In fact, myofascial tissue can be thought of as the framework of our bodies because it provides the mechanisms that we use to move our muscles.

When the fascia is compromised, we see a reduction in range of motion. In addition, restrictions within the fascia can reduce the flow of nutrition to our joints. This can lead to pain, extreme mobility reductions and inflammation. If left untreated, it’s common for compromised fascia to cause heightened pain sensitivity and premature tissue degeneration. Some clients also experience a narrowing of the spinal cord called stenosis that ultimately leads to muscle weakness.

How Is Myofascial Massage Performed?

First, massage therapists train in massage therapy programs to actually identify fascia problems. When fascia is healthy and functioning normally, it feels very pliable and elastic. Massage therapists begin by gently massaging the area to look for signs of stiffness and tightness.

Next, the therapist massages and stretches the area using some light manual pressure. The massage therapist then applies special manual techniques for releasing pressure and tightness using a series of repetitive motions on a client’s trigger points. A trigger point is a spot within the skeletal muscle that is the “source” of pain. The massage therapist works on a single trigger point until a release can be felt. This is where the pressure “evaporates” to relieve the tension and stress that are causing pain.

Practitioners will often focus on locating multiple trigger points to create comprehensive pain relief. This usually means working on the broader network of muscles associated with the type of pain that a client is experiencing. For the client, it may seem like the massage therapist is working on a series of “unrelated muscles” even though they are targeting associated muscle groups. However, both the immediate relief and long-term benefits make the results very clear.

Massage therapists use a number of different movements and techniques when administering myofascial massage. The massage is most commonly conducted using the hands and elbows. However, a number of massage tools that range from foam rollers to soft balls can also be employed.

What Are the Benefits of Myofascial Massage?

The most immediate and obvious benefit of myofascial massage is pain relief. Many patients experience immediate relief following a release. However, several visits are typically needed to provide muscles with the prolonged, focused healing they need to eliminate pain, strain and inflammation. There are also many secondary benefits to myofascial massage that simply contribute to a healthier body.

One of the big benefits of myofascial massage is the alleviation of knots throughout the impacted area. This helps to relieve tension that was causing reduced mobility. Even areas that were not experiencing acute “pain” can now feel freer and more relaxed. Many clients find that they are able to enjoy better range of motion and flexibility. This is important for clients who are seeking sports massage because the massage therapist is able to utilize myofascial massage to boost recovery and enhance performance. Next, massage is great for improving blood circulation. The stimulation provided during the massage experience is enough to “wake up” the blood vessels in the affected area to restore blood flow. What’s more, removing the tension caused by knots can also open up the pathways for blood flow that had been blocked by the knots. As a result, the muscles in the area are now receiving more oxygen.

Even people who are not seeking myofascial massages for acute pain can benefit from an overall reduction in muscle soreness. Many active clients seek out this form of massage to keep their muscles at peak performance. Additionally, massage is a great stress-reduction tool for both muscle groups and the full body.

What Are the Skills a Massage Therapist Needs to Be Successful?

 It’s easy to see why professionals would gravitate toward a career that allows their clients to tap into the regenerative benefits of myofascial massage. Being successful at myofascial massage requires some specific skills and interpersonal qualities.

Dexterity

A massage therapist must have a degree of flexibility to access various muscles and muscle groups on a client’s body. They must be able to reach over the massage table to vigorously apply pressure to muscles. In many cases, this means holding the pressure in place until they are able to sense the release of the trigger point. The different maneuvers needed for myofascial massage also require a good degree of dexterity. Massage is a “whole-body” application that requires a combination of fast and carefully paced movements. While the entire body is used, it’s especially important to have hand and wrist dexterity for the ultra-detailed, fine-point work that needs to be done during a massage session.

Stamina

Stamina is also important for massage therapists. A myofascial massage can last for up to 90 minutes. Due to the demand for this therapy, it’s not uncommon to book multiple massage sessions throughout the course of a single day. Ultimately, the stamina to give every message session “your all” is very needed in this field.

Communication Skills

A myofascial massage therapist needs to have strong communication skills. Clients often have many questions about how this type of massage therapy works. As a massage therapist, it’s important to share information that puts clients at ease during what can feel like a very vulnerable experience. Massage therapists must have the skills to gauge client comfort levels, make accommodations to help clients feel more comfortable and “check in” with clients regarding how they’re feeling. During an initial meeting, a massage therapist often provides a quick “briefing” on the techniques and benefits behind a specific form of massage. The communication skills of the massage therapist set the tone for the entire experience. While myofascial massage is a highly technical treatment that requires a great deal of technical skill, this is something that is ideal for a “people person” who enjoys one-on-one communication.

Final Thoughts

People are increasingly turning to myofascial massage for pain relief, muscle health and overall wellness. This form of massage can be incredibly effective for boosting range of motion and flexibility. For massage therapists, this treatment specialty opens up doors to have a steady, loyal roster of clients. Is it time to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and offering myofascial massage? You will be happy you did.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How to be a Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Self-employed massage therapist waling through a clients home with a massage table

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Have an interest in massage therapy and want to make it your career? Starting a massage therapy business can be exciting, but it is important to prepare. That is why Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers a massage therapy program to help you start a massage therapist business. Take the first step and get ready to graduate from a massage therapy program.

Step #1: Graduate from a Massage Therapy Program

The first step toward becoming self-employed as a massage therapist is to complete an accredited massage therapy program at a vocational school. Although massage is an unlicensed profession in Minnesota, part of the requirements of becoming a licensed massage therapist is first completing a specific number of hours in a diploma program to prepare you for the licensing exam.

During the massage therapy program, you learn the many techniques of massage including Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, prenatal, Thai and many other techniques. Knowing these massage techniques allows you to create a unique session for your clients with the right combination of massage for their needs. You will learn about anatomy, physiology and kinesiology as it has to do with massage. You also learn about becoming self-employed as a massage therapist or running a massage business as a manager. We help you understand light bookkeeping, how to file for different business licenses, managing costs and the other business practices that you must master to run your own massage business. The best part about attending a massage therapy program is all the lab work that you will receive to get practical experience while massaging real clients.

Step #2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Although massage is an unlicensed professional in Minnesota, you may need to become licensed at the city or county level to offer massage services. Either way, passing the MBLEx licensing exam proves to your clients that you are serious about massage and they will have more confidence in you as a licensed massage therapist. This can set you apart from your competitors.

Step #3 File for Proper Business License as Self-Employed

When you start your own business, there are many different licenses and permits you will need to get started. First, you will need to apply for a business license at your local city governmental department. Most self-employed individuals will need to apply for a special self-employed business license that comes with some restrictions. You will need to pay city business tax each year based on your gross receipts. This is in addition to state and federal income tax and any sales tax that you collect.

Step #4: Do Some Competitive Research

Once you graduate from the massage therapist program, get a license and file for the proper permits, it is time to do some competitive research. It is important to take a look at your local city and figure out how many other massage therapists are offering massage services. Is the market saturated? Can you differentiate yourself by offering aromatherapy, prenatal or sports massage? Are you going to rent a space? These are all questions that you must answer before you invest the time and money into your business.

Step #5: Purchase the Necessary Massage Supplies

Now is the time to invest in massage supplies that you can take with you to client’s homes. Do you want a portable table or chair? Do you need towels, pillows, essential oils, or any other massage supplies to give the client a unique massage experience? You may need some PPE to keep yourself and your client safe from viruses and bacteria. You are also going to need a way to charge your clients for your massage services. A great way to do this is using Square or Apple Pay on your smartphone.

Step #6: Build a Clientele

Most successful businesses have a website that offers basic information about their services, contact information and credentials. Once you have a website up and running, take the time to submit your information to local directories like Yelp. Many of your potential clients will look to Yelp for reviews and information about your business. Social media is also important to capture new clients and create loyal customers out of your current clientele.

Don’t’ forget a leave behind. Whether it is a brochure or business card, make sure that you leave something for your clients, so they know where to call you for another massage service. You can also ask them to follow you on social media so you can keep them up-to-date on any specials or new services that you may offer in the future. Social media will also allow you to reach your clients contacts and build out your clientele.

Final Thoughts

Now that you are ready for your new adventure as a self-employed massage therapist, it is time to take the first step and start a massage therapy program. Though becoming a business owner can be daunting, Minnesota School of Cosmetology is there to help. We not only teach you the techniques you need to service clients, but we have a curriculum that will help you start a massage business. If you choose to get licensed, we prepare you for the MBLEx exam. Every journey starts with a single step. Ready to start moving?

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Importance of Knowing the Contraindications to Massage?

Massage is a non-invasive way for clients to relax and reduce pain. Though massage is safe for most people, there are situations when massage should not be used on a client because of a pre-existing condition or during the use of specific medications.

Massage therapist helping a client with contraindications

What are Contraindications?

A contraindication is when a symptom or condition can cause a negative outcome because of a specific medication, surgery or procedure. There are two types of contraindications, relative and absolute.

Relative contraindications give practitioners caution when either two medications can conflict or a procedure like massage can exacerbate a condition that a client is currently taking medication for or underwent surgery for. They may interfere in some way, but it is not life-threatening.

Absolute contraindications are those situations that are life-threatening, like massage in specific parts of the body that just underwent a surgical procedure, must be avoided. An example of this is when women are pregnant, they can suffer from blood clots in their legs. It is an absolute contraindication for a massage therapist to not massage the legs so that any blood clots are not dislodged and end up in a vital organ.

What are Contraindications for Massage?

It is important for a massage therapist to inquire about a client’s health condition during the initial assessment and at the beginning of each session. Although massage therapy is safe, it can exacerbate some conditions. Don’t book an appointment for a client if they have a fever, contagious disease, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, had a recent operation, or are suffering from a skin disease. A client should always consult a physician before beginning any massage therapy or if the client has any new conditions that could be contraindications for massage.

Fever – if the client has an abnormal temperature, massage may increase it. Whether it is from a vaccination or flu, a raised temperature will indicate the body is saying that something is wrong, and the massage therapist shouldn’t exacerbate the situation.

Contagious Disease – we are all living with the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are acutely aware of the dangers of a contagious disease. It is important to take precautions before a massage treatment to make sure everyone is safe and that no one will catch a contagious disease.

Drug or Alcohol – someone under the influence may not experience the massage the same, their body may react differently, the pain threshold may be diminished, and they may make poor decisions. It is important to make sure that the client is not inebriated in anyway, as they must give consent to participate in a massage treatment.

Recent Surgery – if a client has recently undergone treatment or surgery, massage can exacerbate the injury or location that is trying to heal. Massage can tear stitches or aggravate a part of the body has undergone surgery. Always have the client consult their doctor before engaging in massage.

Skin Diseases – when you perform massage on a client and they have a skin disease, it can inflame the skin, cause abrasions or bruise areas of the skin. Many people that have skin disorders will also use some sort of ointment and this can be a contraindicator for massage, especially if you use essential oils.

There are specific areas of the body that may also suffer from conditions that can be contraindications for massage. If a client has varicose veins, lumps, excessive bruising, has cuts or abrasions, is sunburned, has undiagnosed pain or has any inflammation from conditions like arthritis. In addition, a massage therapist should not use specific massage techniques on women that are pregnant. You will learn prenatal massage techniques that are suitable for mothers-to-be during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. Again, it is important for anyone that is suffering from any condition to consult a physician before engaging in massage therapy.

There are also some medical contraindications that a massage therapist should have a client get a physician’s approval before attempting massage. Important medical contraindications include cardio-vascular conditions, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and pinched nerves, to name a few.

What is the Importance of Knowing the Contraindications to Massage?

All massage therapists will need to know the contraindications to massage to create a safe environment for their clients. This is not only tested on the licensing exam, but it is important to know as much as possible about a client’s health and any conditions they may have that can cause them distress or even be life-threatening. Take the time to fully understand what the client’s health history looks like and ask all the important questions before you create a massage treatment plan for them.

How Do You Identify Contraindications to Massage?

The best time to inquire about a client’s health is during an initial assessment and before each session for any updates to their health regimen, medications or surgical procedures they may have undergone since the last session.

Initial Assessment

During an initial massage therapy assessment, it is good to get a full health history from your client, any medications that may be contraindications and the client’s chief concern. You will also want to know where a client is experiencing pain and any place on their body they don’t want you to massage.

This is also the time to explain the risks, side effects and other information to give the client expectations for what they are getting into. During the risks and side effects, it is a good time to talk about situations that may cause complications and have them explain any health history that might suggest a specific massage technique. Each massage technique is unique and the information from the initial assessment will allow you to come up with a treatment plan with the right mix of techniques. Does the client need deep tissue massage to really work out tension in the muscles or something lighter that doesn’t cause too much pain? Do they have any allergies to latex or any other substances? Learn as much as you can during the initial assessment so you can create a best possible plan for the client.

Pre-Session Questionnaire

At the beginning of every new massage session, it is important for you to see if anything has changed with the client. Did they start any new medications, have any procedures or new aches and pains they need to focus on this session? Create a questionnaire that they fill out and include authorization forms that they need to sign. Make sure to be through about your pre-session questionnaire because the client may know something that they just forgot to share or don’t think it is relevant in this situation. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Confidentiality and Discretion

It is important for you to keep all the information a client tells you confidential and to show discretion about personal topics. The client may tell you very confidential and personal information about themselves and their medical history, that they wouldn’t want you to tell anyone else. A medical professional is bound by HIPAA guidelines to keep all medical information confidential. It is a good guideline for massage therapist to adhere to as well.

You also want to show discretion with a client. They may confide in you about a condition that they have, so don’t ask them questions that you may think are too personal. Also, don’t make comments or off the cuff remarks about something that the client may feel sensitive about. This is an easy way to lose a client. They trust you with very personal information and they expect you to show discretion.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a massage therapist is a great way to help people with a non-invasive and natural therapy. Being a massage therapist is very rewarding, especially when you see your patients experience less stress and pain. It is important to complete a massage therapy program so that you know all the benefits and contraindications that can affect a client during a massage treatment. Keep your clients safe and you will create a loyal following.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about helping keep clients safe from contraindications in massage interest you? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

Why Does Someone Choose a Career in Massage?

Student training for a career in massage

Why should you choose a career in massage therapy? Massage is a research-proven therapy used worldwide to treat tension, injury and pain. Recommended by doctors, trainers and other wellness professionals as a drug-free way to soothe sore muscles and melt away stress, it’s soaring in popularity. Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and thousands more are scheduling now. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job opportunities for massage therapists will rise 21-percent in the next ten years. If you have what it takes, there’s never been a better time to get into the field.

Why Does Someone Choose a Career in Massage?

People with a passion for wellness have many career choices, so why choose massage therapy? You’ll enjoy massage therapy if:

You’re a People Person

Massage therapy is a service industry. You’ll spend most of your working hours relating to customers, albeit in a relaxed atmosphere. While some clients are a pleasure to serve, others will be more challenging. You will have to connect with colleagues, supervisors and others to develop your practice. Successful massage therapists like getting to know people and are willing to work hard to cultivate rewarding, long-term professional relationships.

You Like to Be Physically Active

Massage therapists manipulate soft tissue to rehabilitate injuries, ease discomfort and reduce the symptoms of stress. They’re active most of the day, working with their shoulders, arms and hands. You’ll never be chained to a desk.

You Want to Help People be Healthy

Stress-related disorders are an epidemic, some of our habits have become toxic. Massage therapy offers a new approach to wellness that complements conventional treatment while addressing the lifestyle factors that contribute to illness. If you want to help people be healthier but a career in mainstream medicine isn’t for you, becoming a massage therapist is a holistic alternative.

Skills for Success as a Massage Therapist

Anyone can learn massage therapy, but being a successful therapist requires specific skills including confidence, a positive attitude, physical stamina, manual dexterity, and empathy, to name a few. Having this skill set will help build your career in massage.

Skill #1: A Positive Attitude

Working with people can be demanding. As a professional massage therapist, it’s up to you to set a positive tone for the visit. You’ll work one-on-one with clients to develop individualized treatment plans, so you need their cooperation for the best results. A friendly posture and an enthusiastic attitude engages customers, creating a welcoming atmosphere and inspiring confidence in your services.

Skill #2: Physical Stamina

Massage therapists work on their feet, standing and bending to optimize upper body ergonomics. A full-body massage can last up to ninety minutes, and you may do six or more a day. Being in good physical condition helps you avoid physical stress and prevent injury.

Skill #3: Manual Dexterity

Massage therapists use their fingers to relieve tense muscles, applying pressure to trigger points to help stiff fibers relax. Techniques must be performed precisely to have the necessary effects. As you work, you’ll watch clients’ reactions for the tell-tale signs of relief and adjust your movements accordingly. It’s a skill that requires focus, dexterity and coordination.

Skill #4: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see things from a client’s point of view, to put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their needs. It’s a skill that helps you predict what clients want and identify potential barriers to massage.

While massage therapists are used to having close physical contact with clients, being touched by a stranger is uncomfortable for some. Others may have body image issues that make them feel self-conscious and wary of undressing. Clients from other cultures may have different expectations for a massage than Americans. Foreseeing clients’ concerns helps you ask the right questions, adapt your services to their needs and turn inquirers into customers.

Skill #5: Communication Skill

Communication is the foundation of massage. You’ll need to evaluate clients to understand their needs, reviewing their health history and past experiences with bodywork. The ability to articulate ideas is essential for explaining the therapeutic benefits of your services. Clear communication upfront clarifies expectations, prevents misunderstandings and builds the rapport necessary to turn first-time customers into regular clients.

Skill #6: Active Listening

Active listening is a therapeutic technique, a medical professional learns to make communication more effective. The goal is to better understand what clients say by reading between the lines, evaluating the verbal cues and body language that reveal what they’re thinking.

It requires eliminating distractions, so you can focus on the conversation, and offer feedback that encourages them to continue to share their thoughts. Active listening ensures you and your client are on the same page.

Skill #7: Good Personal Care Habits

Massage therapists touch their clients’ skin, so personal cleanliness is a must. Germs that can cause infection spread easily through contact. Like doctors and nurses, a massage therapist needs sound hygiene habits.

Vocational school training programs cover infection control practices from hand washing to equipment sanitation. It’s a critical part of safe practice and imperative in states that inspect and license massage therapy practices.

Skill #8: Problem Solving Skills

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Clients have different needs and the more you can troubleshoot what keeps callers from scheduling appointments, the more satisfied clients you’ll have. Some barriers that could keep potential clients from booking include:

  • Price
  • Schedule
  • Handicapped accessibility
  • Too few massage therapists
  • Limited types of massage offered
  • Medical considerations

A massage therapist that can solve these problems by offering discounts, amending their hours or learning new techniques will have more clients and higher revenue.

Skill #9: A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Like medicine, bodywork evolves. Of the many states that license massage therapists, most require proof of continuing education because techniques and equipment improve over time. The most successful massage therapists keep their skills current through continuing education. Every skill learned is another service you can offer.

Skill #10: Time Management Skills

Time is money. Whether you work for an established practice or are self-employed, generating revenue is the top concern. The more massages you do in a week, the more you make, it’s a simple formula for financial success.

But, in addition to giving massages, there are other tasks to do from answering the phone and ordering supplies to sanitizing equipment and bookkeeping. The key to keeping up is to make the most of downtime between appointments so you don’t have to say no to customers or spend your off time tying up loose ends at the office. Time management is not only a good business skill, but also a self-care skill.

Skill #11: Financial Management Skills

Many new startups fail in the first twelve months because of poor financial management, and many go out of business in just two years. A self-employed massage therapist needs money skills to survive.

Accountants can help with complex issues, such as taxes, but massage therapists are responsible for budgeting, tracking income and expenses and making informed spending decisions. It’s similar to managing a household budget and balancing a checkbook. However, too many mistakes can compromise cash flow, and you’ll run out of money before being able to pay your bills.

Skill #12: Marketing Skills

Marketing is more than advertising, it’s the art of selling yourself. Customers want more than products and services, they want trusting relationships with businesses, especially those providing personal services.

It’s no longer enough to advertise, you need to build an online community of regular clients who share their positive experiences with others. Word of mouth generates leads. Most people shop online for services like hair care and massage therapy, so knowing how to reach out to clients on social media is a critical skill.

Skill #13: Customer Service Skills

Good customer service is the one skill massage therapists can’t be successful without. Losing one customer out of ten due to a bad experience lowers revenue significantly. Why? Satisfied, long-term clients spend more and are likely to refer you to family and friends, while a single dissatisfied client can ruin your reputation. The rule is the customer is always right.

What does quality service consist of? Clients rank individualized service highest on their wish list, they want to feel like they matter. Timely communication, convenient hours and choice of payment options are appreciated. Consumers’ biggest pet peeves are inaccurate advertising and surprise charges. The best way to build a lucrative client base is to provide a superb start to finish experience, built on trust and mutual respect.

Final Thoughts

Massage is an ancient holistic therapy recommended by doctors and practiced worldwide. It’s a multi-million-dollar industry – and growing. For students with the right skills, it’s an exceptional career opportunity and a chance to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is The Right Mix of Massage Therapy Skills?

Enjoying helping others? Are you a self-starter that can work autonomously? If this sounds like you then massage therapy may be a good career path. During a massage therapy program, you will build the right mix of massage therapy skills to be successful, whether you want to work for someone else or decide to build your own massage practice.  So, what are the skills you need to become a successful massage therapist?

What is The Right Mix of Massage Therapy Skills?

There are a lot of different skills that will help you be successful as a massage therapist. From good communication skills to business savvy, having the right skill set will set you up for success as a massage therapist.

Skill #1: Communication

A large part of your job as a massage therapist is talking with clients. You will need to be clear and concise so that the client understands what will happen during the massage and there are no surprises. Clear communication is the best way to set your client’s expectations for the massage and let them know what will happen during and after the massage appointment.

If you decide to work at a massage franchise business, part of communication will involve colleagues. Whether you are communicating with your fellow massage therapist, the receptionist, or supervisor, it is important to have good communication skills so there are no misunderstandings. You don’t want to double book a room or leave your client waiting while you find the right massage equipment. When communicating with coworkers, it is important to stay professional. The clients are listening and being unprofessional can push a client to another massage therapist.

Part of communication is knowing when not to say anything. Some clients will want to relax in silence. Before the first appointment, ask the client if they like to chit chat during a massage or if they prefer not to talk. Every client is different. Some will want to talk about their day, others will not.

Body language is also a good communication tool. During a massage, if your client winces from pain or jerks their body, ask them if they are experiencing pain. They may have a sore muscle or knot that needs to be worked out. Some clients will think that the phrase, “no pain, no gain” means they shouldn’t say anything during a massage, if it is painful. Once you know a client and they come back for repeat massages, you will be able to interpret the client’s body language better. You will also have a closer relationship and the client will trust you more, so they will be more likely to speak up if something isn’t quite right.

Skill #2: Active Listening

Part of good communication is actively listening to clients. It is important for you to hear what your client is saying before you respond. Ask questions and make sure your client is comfortable before and during a massage appointment. If you didn’t quite hear what they said, clarify before beginning. The client will tell you what they want, you just have to listen.

Skill #3: Customer Service

In conjunction with communication is good customer service. A client expects a certain level of customer service during a massage appointment. Make sure to always have a friendly attitude because negativity can make a client uncomfortable. If the client is uncomfortable, they may not come back for another massage.

Remember that they are your client and that you should keep the relationship professional. After a few massage appointments, you may build a relationship with the client, which is good because they will be a loyal client. Just remember that a poor experience or getting too comfortable and saying the wrong thing can hurt the relationship. If you keep the relationship professional, the client will never feel awkward or decide to stop seeing you for massages.

Skill #4: Compassion

An important skill for every massage therapist to have is compassion. Many clients will see through you if you just go through the motions. If you show a little compassion the client will feel like you care about them. They will be a loyal client.

Skill #5: Self-Starter

When you are a massage therapist, you may have a supervisor, but it will be up to you to manage yourself and your clients. You must have the initiative to prepare yourself and show up on time for your appointments. As a self-starter, you are motivated to offer good customer service and manage your time wisely. You don’t need anyone to tell you what to do and when to do it. Especially if you start your own massage practice and work for yourself.

Skill #6: Time Management

Managing your time is important, especially when working with clients. Ever kept a client waiting? Did you see them the next time they needed a massage appointment? It is important to manage your time, and equally important to respect others time. Make sure you are well organized and plan out your day. With good time management, you may even see more clients and make more money.

Skill #7: Organization

Staying focused is important. You don’t want to double book clients or run out of massage oil before the end of the day. Make sure to keep your calendar organized so that you don’t leave any clients waiting. Keep an inventory of supplies and equipment so that you don’t run out when you are unable to procure more.

Also, organizing your physical space is important. Nothing is worse than going to a massage studio and seeing everything out of place. Dirty towels on the floor, cracking massage table vinyl, or clutter can be off-putting. This will give the client a poor experience and will reflect negatively on you.

You also don’t want to show up for a massage client’s appointment without all your equipment and supplies. Did you forget to bring the pillows to put under their knees? Did you pack the massage oil? Remember to clean the massage table in between clients. Good organization skills are paramount for any massage therapist to succeed.

Skill #8: Problem Solving

Inevitably there will be a problem that you will need to solve. Maybe a massage chair will break, and you need to source a new one quickly. It is important to identify any problems and find a solution that works for the situation. If the massage chair is not ready, maybe you get a temporary massage chair until your regular chair is in stock or is ready to ship. Be methodical about solving problems. Identify the problem, figure out the many different solutions and then pick a solution that makes the most sense.

Skill #9: Adaptability

Part of working as a massage therapist is being able to adapt to any situation. When you enter into someone else’s space, you have to use what you can to create a positive experience. Clients will expect a certain level of customer service when they get a massage. The ability to adapt to your surroundings is especially important when performing massage at a client’s home.

Make sure you can also adapt to your clients. They may need to change or cancel an appointment. If they give you enough notice you can fill the slot with another client and adapt to the new schedule.

Skill #10: Dexterity/Stamina

When performing massage, you will spend most of your time on your feet. You will also be stretching, bending and working with clients an hour at a time. It is important to train for massage like you are an athlete. Being in good massage therapy shape means exercising, stretching and preparing yourself for a long day of massaging clients.

As a massage therapist, you will be working with your hands and fingers to identify tense muscles and apply pressure to relieve those muscles. This takes strong hands. If you treat yourself like an athlete, then you will spend some time strengthening your hands and fingers, in addition to working your core, legs and arms. A good exercise routine with aerobics and stretching will prepare you for those long days of massage.

Skill #11: Commitment to Learning

There are ever changing techniques, massage equipment and other massage accessories. It is important to stay up to date with all the news and new tech that is introduced to the massage therapy profession. During a massage therapy program, you will build a foundation of knowledge and skills that will help you become a better massage therapist. If you want to give your clients the best massage, with the right equipment then it is important to keep up with the changes in the massage industry. Whether it is a new technique or new essential massage oil, keeping up with the new technology and trends will make sure you are providing the best massage you possibly can for your clients.

Skill #12: Proper Hygiene

During a massage, you are in close contact with a client. It is important to adhere to proper hygiene through sanitation. Whether you wash your hands between clients or wear gloves, it is important to not pass bacteria and germs between clients. You will also want to clean off massage tables and equipment between clients, so everything is fresh and clean for each new appointment. The client will expect it of you and having proper hygiene will keep the massage area clean.

Skill #13: Business Savvy

Part of being a massage therapist is running a business. This means you need to get customers to book appointments. In addition to traditional advertising like television, radio and print, a business savvy massage therapist will be able to navigate social media. Using the latest social media will put you in front of new people. Take the time to build a following, that way when you do a good job and have happy customers, they offer testimonials without you even asking.

Good business savvy also means the ability to run your own massage business. During a massage therapy diploma program, you will learn how to start and run a massage business. You will become familiar with light bookkeeping, managing staff and marketing for new clients. After you graduate from the massage therapy diploma program and get a little experience, you will be ready to strike out on your own and work for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Do you have some or all of these skills? If not don’t worry. You will learn a lot of these skills while attending a massage therapy diploma program. You will learn all the different massage techniques, anatomy, physiology and kinesiology of the body, and proper sanitation to keep yourself and your clients safe.  If you are ready for a career that is in demand, then you may want to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What Do They Do During a Prenatal Massage?

Pregnant woman expressing back pain and in need of a prenatal massage

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist and want to help mothers-to-be with prenatal massage? During a massage therapy program at a vocational school, you learn prenatal massage in addition to other general massage techniques like Swedish and deep tissue massage. With the magic of prenatal massage, you can make a women’s stress go away, even if for an hour at a time.  

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage uses many of the techniques of traditional and Swedish massage therapy and adapts them to the strains and stress of the body for a woman that is pregnant. During a traditional massage, the client may spend most of the time face down on a massage table, whereas with prenatal massage the client is on their side with special cushioning and draping to make the client comfortable. As a massage therapist, you will have to be more careful when applying pressure to the pregnant woman’s body, especially in the leg, breast and belly areas.  Prenatal massage is safe and often ordered by a doctor as supplemental treatment for the aches and pains of pregnancy.

How Does A Massage Therapist Perform Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage can last around one hour. As the massage therapist, you will make the client comfortable in the proper position either on a massage table or other comfortable location. The first part of the massage involves learning more about the client’s history, aches and pains and any restrictions that their doctor has requested. During the prenatal massage, it is important to keep an open line of communication both verbally and through body language. The body language of the client will tell you as much about their comfort level as what they say to you.

The actual prenatal massage mirrors an adapted type of Swedish massage, where certain areas of the body are off limits since certain pressure points can cause contractions. The legs are also an area of concern for pregnant women as the pressure can dislodge blood clots that have formed from the pools of blood that may settle in the extremities. You may massage the abdomen gently to help with relaxation and stress reduction.

What Are the Other Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Research shows that prenatal massage can help reduce stress, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and improve labor outcomes, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Prenatal massage can also help regulate hormone levels, help blood circulation, and reduce swelling.

Benefit #1: Stress Relief

Pregnancy can be stressful, with the increase in hormone levels, morning sickness, swelling, aches and pain. Massage therapy is a holistic practice that relieves stress of the mind and body. Stress can come in many forms and for many reasons but an hour of prenatal massage several times a week can help a woman better deal with the stress that comes with pregnancy.

Benefit #2: Decrease Symptoms of Depression

Low dopamine and serotonin levels are associated with depression. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that is a messenger between nerve cells that can deliver a feeling of pleasure to the nerves. A low level of this hormone can cause depression in pregnant women. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer, offering feelings of well-being. Serotonin helps brain cells and nervous cells to communicate and pass the same feelings of well-being. Prenatal massage helps elevate the levels of the hormones including dopamine and serotonin through muscle and nerve stimulation, decreasing the symptoms of depression.

Benefit #3: Regulate Hormone Levels

Hormone levels are regulated better with the help of prenatal massage. This leads to a balanced mood and improved heart health. The stress hormones, norepinephrine and cortisol are reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels are increased. The balancing of hormone levels helps improve labor outcomes.

Benefit #4: Improved Blood Circulation

Pressure is created on the body during prenatal massage to help move the new blood in and old blood out of the body’s muscles and cells. During pregnancy, blood can pool in the extremities and also cause a build-up of lactic acid. Prenatal massage helps the blood better circulate and remove the waste in the muscles with new oxygenated blood.

Benefit #5: Reduced Swelling, Muscle Aches and Joint Pain

Women can experience swelling, muscle aches and joint pain during pregnancy. Prenatal massage helps by stimulating the soft tissues of the body to reduce the fluids that cause swollen joints. This practice helps remove the tissue waste to reduce muscle aches and joint pain. Prenatal massage can also help relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy by improving circulation, reducing headaches, improving oxygen saturation levels and improving sleep.

Benefit #6: Improve Labor Outcomes

One of the most common triggers that can cause stress is the thought of a poor labor outcome. The increased stress caused by this thinking can actually cause the outcome that the woman is worried about. Prenatal massage helps increase the proper hormone levels, reduce depression and help with relaxation and better sleep. All of these benefits from prenatal massage will help improve the labor outcomes.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about prenatal massage, want to help women have a less stressful pregnancy? During a massage therapy program, you will learn the proper techniques to keep the woman safe and feeling less stress during their pregnancy. It is rewarding knowing that you are helping improve labor outcomes. Start a massage therapy program today and help your clients relieve stress tomorrow.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed with full time enrollment. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

Is it Hard to Learn Massage Therapy?

students at a massage therapy school

Millions benefited from massage, it’s a billion-dollar industry and poised for continued growth. If you’re enthusiastic about wellness, there’s never been a better time to consider massage therapy as a career. You may be asking yourself is it hard to learn massage therapy? Let a vocational school program put you on the path to success, it’s easier than you think.

Is it Hard to Learn Massage Therapy?

Anything worth doing is worth working for. Vocational schools give full-time students the hundreds of hours of instruction required for licensing in under a year. The pace is brisk, and programs can be demanding. For students with a passion for health and the willingness to work with others, classes are engaging and feel less like work and more like a study group with friends. You’ll grow as an individual while learning new skills that prepare you for an exciting future.

What Qualities Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

Anyone can become a massage therapist, but it’s a better fit as a career for students with specific personal qualities, such as:

Quality #1: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. It’s essential for recognizing how the client feels about getting a massage. Many of the million-plus potential customers who say they’d like to try it don’t because of physical and psychological barriers.

Massage is an intimate service, so it can provoke discomfort, many people, for example, are reluctant to have one because of body image issues. Empathy lets massage therapists evaluate their services from the customer’s perspective, helping them anticipate concerns so they can adapt massages to meet their clients’ preferences.

Quality #2: Passion for Massage

Passion not only predicts a massage therapist’s job satisfaction, but it also helps build their client base. The ability to self-market without being overbearing is a prerequisite for success in business. You’ll need to feel comfortable reaching out to people and discussing the benefits of your services, so the customer develops the same enthusiasm. Passion shows through in everything you do.

Quality #3: A Thick Skin

Massage is a service industry, so the focus is always on the customer. Most clients are pleasant, but others may be challenging to deal with. Part of working as a wellness professional is the ability to accept criticism and use it to improve your practice, so having a thick skin is a plus. Most complaints are not personal.

Quality #4: A Positive Attitude

Clients choose massage to help them relax or relieve pain. As professionals, it’s up to massage therapists to set a positive tone that enhances the experience. Since most of a massage therapist’s income comes from repeat customers, a welcoming demeanor and an upbeat attitude improve the bottom line. Being positive makes you a pleasure to work with.

Quality #5: Open-Mindedness

The world is shrinking. Like healthcare professionals, massage therapists should be culturally competent, meaning that they’re willing to accommodate different expectations for their services.

Personal space, for example, is valued in Western culture, so it’s not unusual for Americans to feel apprehensive about strangers laying hands on their body. Clients from other countries may have strong opinions about disrobing for massages. It’s important to keep an open mind to different requests and find ways to make your client as comfortable as possible.

Quality #6: Flexibility

One of the benefits of being a massage therapist is employment opportunities. You can work for others, franchises, hotels, spas, gyms and more, or start your own practice. Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and many more are open to it if it becomes more accessible. If you’re flexible, success is waiting.

Business opportunities include starting a fixed practice, an office where clients come to you. But the initial investment can be high, so some massage therapists are taking their skills on the road with chair massage. Once you become registered, travel massage therapy gives you the ability to grow your client base beyond those who are in your immediate area. Travel massage is similar to traditional bodywork except that clients kneel on specially equipped portable chairs. Clients stay clothed, so massages can be performed anywhere with less need for privacy.

Chair massage can be a full-time business that boosts your income when table bookings are light. Why wait for clients to come to you when you bring your services to them? Malls and gyms are courting massage therapists to open kiosks to attract customers, while companies are increasingly offering massage as a wellness benefit for staff. Massage is one of the few fields with as much business potential for massage therapists willing to be flexible.

Skills for Success in Massage Therapy

Vocational schools teach practical skills plus the soft skills massage therapists need to be successful in a competitive field, including:

Skill #1: Communication Skills

Massage therapists work with clients to create custom treatment plans, it’s an information exchange process requiring the ability to listen, build rapport and communicate concepts clearly. Comfort with conversation is a must.

It’s easier said than done however but massage therapy school teach therapeutic communication techniques from active listening to evaluating clients’ body language. You’ll learn how to coax thoughts out of clients while enhancing how they perceive you through body language.

It’s also crucial in the digital age to master electronic communication. At least half of people regularly shop for personal services online, and when they have the option, they prefer to communicate via e-mail or text. Whether it’s advertising on social media or reaching out to clients by text with a special offer, messaging should be concise, appealing, timely and relevant.

Skill #2: Physical Stamina

Massage therapy is physically demanding. Massage therapists need upper body strength to apply pressure to stiff muscles, and they spend most of the day standing. A full-body massage can last up to ninety minutes with only a few short breaks. And since sessions are scheduled when clients are available, some days can be long. Being in good physical condition reduces fatigue and prevents injury.

Skill #3: Manual Dexterity

Massage therapists apply pressure to soft tissue with their hands to promote relaxation. Techniques must be precise to have the intended therapeutic effect. It’s a skill that requires both flexibility and excellent hand-eye coordination. Vocational school programs offer plenty of practice, so with time, most students’ dexterity improves. But if you don’t like to work with your hands, massage therapy isn’t for you.

Skill #4: Problem Solving Skills

Massage therapists develop individualized treatment plans for each client, no two are the same. You’ll need to adapt services for people with physical limitations, medical restrictions or time constraints. If a client can’t visit because you’re booked every evening, consider adjusting your hours to free up more time when demand is highest.

Skill #5: Commitment to Learning

The wellness field evolves. Bodywork techniques improve as researchers learn more about their benefits. Successful massage therapists embrace new approaches, honing their skills through continuing education. Membership in professional organizations, gives graduates access to online courses and other resources. Massage therapists with advanced skills attract more clients.

Skill #6: Time Management Skills

Time is money, so generating income requires sticking to a schedule. In massage school, you’ll learn about time management techniques, from prioritizing tasks to avoiding distraction, by practicing in real-world settings. Appointments are often back-to-back, requiring streamlined check-in and check-out processes plus, massage therapists who own their business have managerial responsibility. Making the most of every minute controls personal stress and maximizes revenue.

Skill #7: Business Management Skills

A quarter of business start-ups fail in the first two years because of poor fiscal management. Being your own boss is a perk for massage therapists but working independently means maintaining a financially healthy practice.

You may need to hire an accountant for complex money issues, such as taxes and investing, but you’ll be responsible for tracking income and expenses, paying bills on time and making sound spending decisions based on cash flow.

Vocational school massage therapy programs teach you the basics of business management. Students learn about accounting and graduate with the skills they need to be successful.

Skill #8: Good Hygiene Habits

Bacterial infections can occur via skin and surface contact, so massage therapists need good personal and environmental hygiene habits. Vocational school diploma programs cover the basics of infection control, from sanitizing equipment to screening patients for illness. It’s an essential part of safe practice and critical in states that inspect massage therapy practices for licensure.

Skill #9: Trustworthiness

The public views massage therapy as a wellness service, expectations are similar to those for healthcare providers. Clients trust you with their private medical information, and they want to know you’ll be discrete.

Trustworthiness also extends to the way you do business. Listening, being empathetic, maintaining competency in your field, and keeping your promises builds clients’ confidence.

Skill #10: Customer Service Skills

Serving people with integrity is the key to building a profitable client base. Satisfied customers spend more because they perceive they’re getting a good value for their money, and they’ll refer you to family and friends. Referrals power the massage industry.

What constitutes superior customer service? Punctuality and personalized attention to a client’s wish lists. Flexible hours, prompt communication and a comfortable atmosphere are plusses. Slow response times on inquires and being rushed are the most common complaints. Massage is a personal service, so the most effective way to retain clients is to give them the experience they deserve. Give them more than their money’s worth, and they’ll likely be back.

Final Thoughts

As other careers become obsolete, opportunities in massage therapy are expanding. Demand for massage therapists is expected to rise in the coming decade. The key to success is investing in quality vocational school training, your effort and dedication accomplish the rest. Your future is waiting.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.