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.

Is Massage Therapy School Difficult?

Woman at massage therapy school

Massage therapists heal through the power of touch. Embraced by the mainstream medical community as a drug-free way to treat pain and stress, massage therapy is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing. If you’re motivated by wellness, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The key to success is getting the best education but you might be wondering, is massage therapy school difficult?

Is Massage Therapy School Difficult?

Education is never easy. Learning new things and pushing out of your comfort zone can be tough. But as a student, you’re exchanging your time and money for skills, so going to school wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t challenging. For students with a passion for wellness, massage therapy programs are intense but exciting, demanding but not grueling and engaging but not difficult.

What Do I Need to Do to Become a Massage Therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist requires two steps:

Step #1: Graduate from a Diploma Program

A diploma from a vocational school in massage therapy is all you need to take the next step, passing the MBLEx exam.

Step #2: Pass the MBLEx Exam

Massage therapists are expected to be competent in their field. The MBLEx, or Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, is a nationally recognized certification exam used by most states, including Minnesota, to evaluates graduates’ understanding of key massage concepts. Administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, a passing grade qualifies students who’ve met all other criteria for certification. The good news is, vocational schools “teach to the test,” so a large portion of graduates pass on their first attempt.

What Do I Learn in Massage Therapy School?

There is a lot to learn during a massage therapy program. You will learn medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, massage techniques, kinesiology, pathology, clinical lab, and professional business practices.

Medical Terminology

Science has a language of its own, and if you don’t have a medical background, it’s challenging to learn. There are hundreds of thousands of terms, far too many to memorize. Instead, medical terminology courses teach you how to make sense of words based on their four parts, so analyzing any term is stress-free.

Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy is the study of how the body is made; physiology looks at how it functions. As a massage therapist, you’ll collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to achieve wellness for your clients, so having an understanding of the 12 body systems and how they work together is essential.

Introductory Massage Technique

You have to walk before you can run. Introductory Massage Techniques teaches you the fundamentals of massage, from draping and positioning to hygiene and hand techniques. You’ll learn about the history of massage and its most popular forms. It’s foundational to the rest of your education, and you’ll continue to build on these skills in more advanced courses.

Kinesiology and Pathology for Massage

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Since massage therapists treat problems associated with skeletal muscle dysfunction, the course also includes a pathology primer to familiarize students with the most common muscle disorders, including acute injury, weakness, and stress-related muscle pain.

You will learn how to assess patients for balance, mobility and stability, plus other factors that could affect why patients feel symptoms. Once exclusively physical therapists’ domain, incorporating kinesiology principles into massage is now an expected and holistic approach.

Advanced Massage Techniques

Once you have a grasp of massage basics, the advanced massage techniques course covers bodywork in-depth. You’ll learn more about the most popular types of massage:

  • Swedish
  • Shiatsu
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hot stone
  • Trigger point
  • Reflexology
  • Sports
  • Prenatal

It’s during this class that many massage therapists fall in love with one type of bodywork or another. By the time it’s over, you’ll be better able to envision a path for your individual practice.

Clinical Lab and Practicum

No education would be complete without a chance to practice new skills in the real world. Select vocational schools have student-run massage clinics, others partner with local practices to allow students to work with clients. It’s your opportunity to get a complete view of both the practical and business aspects of massage.

Professional Business Practices

Many new startups fail in the first twelve months because of poor business practices. Since many massage therapists work as independent contractors or own their own businesses, embracing professional business practices is a must.

Courses cover topics such as basic accounting and practice management. While an accountant may be necessary to tackle complex business set-ups and tax issues, a massage therapist should grasp the fundamentals of revenue, expenses and cash flow. Financial planning is critical to making sound spending decisions.

Vocational school programs also teach the essentials of customer service because nothing increases profits like taking good care of your clients. Because massage therapy is a holistic practice, the best way to retain customers is to offer an excellent start to finish experience.

Is it Tough Finding a Job as a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapy is a growing industry, generating billions. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says job opportunities for massage therapists are expected to grow more than 21 percent in the next ten years, it’s an unprecedented opportunity.

Employment options include working for yourself, as an independent contractor for an established practice, or for a salary in a hotel, spa or massage franchise. The American Massage Therapy Association also reports that some massage therapists work part-time hours in healthcare settings, including hospitals and hospices, with treatment goals ranging from relief of post-surgical pain to stress management for cancer patients. It’s not unusual for massage therapists to work in more than one place, flexibility is what attracts many students to massage as a career.

But while getting your foot in the door in the massage industry is easy, finding your dream job can be a challenge, everyone starts at the bottom and has to pay their dues. Seasoned massage therapists advise working hard to set yourself apart as an expert in one particular type of massage, whether it’s your passion or a niche in your community. Your skills become more valuable with experience, and soon, the sky’s the limit.

Starting Your Own Massage Therapy Business

Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and millions more would try it if it were more convenient. Massage therapists are capitalizing on that idea by starting their own business.

Vocational school programs give you all the skills necessary for success, and with a little business savvy, you can be your own boss. Business opportunities include starting a practice in a fixed location. The initial investment can be high but setting up shop in a high-traffic area can defray advertising costs, bringing clients right to your door.

Other massage therapists are making the most of portable massage chairs, taking their practice on the road. It’s a business you can start on a small budget. Chair massage is similar to conventional massage except that clients kneel forward in an adjustable chair with padded cradles for the chest and head. And because they remain fully clothed, there’s no need to maintain a private changing area.

A massage chair is inexpensive, lightweight, portable and small enough to store in a closet. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you, put it in your car and bring your services to them. Shopping centers, for example, are offering massage as a value-added service for their customers, while businesses are increasingly paying for short sessions as a wellness perk for employees. However, if traveling to clients, make sure to abide by all city and county regulations for approval and certification.

Final Thoughts

Massage offers proven relief from everyday stress. It’s growing in popularity as an adjunct therapy for stress-related disorders, and as a career opportunity, it’s just hitting its stride, there’s much more room for growth. A massage therapy program can be demanding, but anything worth doing is, and the skills you gain will last a lifetime.

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 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What Does Hot Stone Massage Do?

Woman receiving a hot stone massage

Getting a massage is a non-invasive way to relax and relieve pain. Massage therapists help their clients unwind and reduce stress, soothing aches through the power of touch and a rejuvenating sensory experience. Bodywork is scientifically proven to reduce stiffness, enhance flexibility and contribute to a greater sense of physical and emotional well-being. But of the dozens of massage types from deep tissue to reflexology, which benefits clients most? Consider these arguments for hot stone massage.

What is Hot Stone Massage?

A hot stone massage uses hot or cold stones to induce relaxation and combat pain. Techniques date back to ancient China and the South Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands. Not surprisingly, the most common type of stone used by massage therapists today is basalt, smooth, flat volcanic rocks that retain heat and are thought to channel healing energies from deep within the Earth. Stones should be smooth, so they can be sanitized and flat enough to sit securely on the body. Porous rock can harbor bacteria and is difficult to keep clean.

What’s the Difference Between a Hot Stone Massage and a Regular Massage?

Stones can be used alone or added to other types of massage for additional benefits. Massage therapists can hold them as they massage the body using traditional techniques, including kneading, long strokes and vibration.

How Does Hot Stone Massage Work?

Hot stones harness the power of heat to induce relaxation. Massage therapists place stones, warmed to the proper heat, on specific parts of the body where they illicit calm and loosen up muscles for subsequent bodywork. Heat enhances circulation and improves the quality of treatment. Locations include focal points in areas where clients feel discomfort. For someone with lower back pain, a massage therapist might place a row of stones along the spine from the base of the neck to the top of the pelvis. They may use stones on the tops and soles of feet to enhance energy flow. On the forehead, they can relieve headaches. Other common spots include the abdomen, chest, face and palms.

Massage therapists typically heat stones in a water bath. Some use slow cookers or large turkey roasters that accommodate more stones. Others prefer professional massage stone heaters because they have more accurate temperature controls. Using water and slow heat guarantees the stones reach the proper temperature throughout without overheating. Heating stones in a microwave can cause the interior to be hotter than the exterior, leading to burns. Overheating stones can also cause them to shatter unexpectedly if dropped.

Similarly, using heating pads or frying pans to heat stones isn’t recommended because the warming occurs only on the surface, and the temperature can’t be monitored. Water helps stones conduct heat on the inside, so they continue to radiate warmth for the duration of a massage. A thermometer lets the massage therapist know their stones will be safe and effective.

Is Hot Stone Massage Better Than Deep Tissue Massage?

No one type of massage is better than another, but their goals vary. Massage therapists should choose the type of massage that best suits the clients’ unique needs.

Hot stone massages use heat and moderate touch to achieve their beneficial effects. Deep tissue massage requires a more vigorous approach. Massage therapists apply their entire upper body strength to stretching muscles down to the connective tissue for deep tissue massage.

Hot stone massage may be a better choice for clients seeking pure relaxation over pain relief. The effects of deep tissue massages are often delayed, some people say they’re uncomfortable while being performed. Clients looking for relaxation and help for sore muscles may benefit from a blended approach in which heat is applied before deep tissue massage to make it more relaxing. Used in ritual healing, stones can also be incorporated into most types of massage for additional benefits.

What are the Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?

As the opioid epidemic worsens, people are searching for natural pain relief options. Massage is a side effect-free alternative therapy gaining widespread acceptance in the medical community for its wellness effects and ability to treat a wide range of chronic disorders.:

Benefit #1: Relieves Muscle Tension and Aches

Doctors recommend heat for treating discomfort related to stiff muscles or spasms. Whether it’s from overexercising or a condition like arthritis, warmth is known to improve circulation and stimulate healing. Many fibromyalgia patients who get massages experience less discomfort and better exercise tolerance.

Hot stone massages are also ideal for relieving trigger points, knots of muscle that form when tiny tears in the soft tissue don’t heal properly. Treating affected areas with penetrating heat before a conventional massage makes them more responsive to treatment.

Benefit #2: Tames Inflammation

Massage can help improve genetic responses to inflammation. Until now, the pain-relieving benefits of bodywork were obvious yet anecdotal. Massage relieves aches by reducing the body’s inflammatory response.

Benefit #3: Improves Flexibility

Joints are supported by muscles. Stiffness makes it more challenging to move knees, hips and shoulders. Massage helps relax muscles, relieving joint pain and improving flexibility. Regular hot stone massages may help people with arthritis retain their mobility.

Benefit #4: Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Feel-good chemicals produced by the brain helps the body deal with stress and anxiety. Opioid-like endorphins are stored in the pituitary gland and released in response to physical and emotional pressure. Massage has been shown to increase endorphin release helping muscles relax. Hormones responsible for a sense of well-being, such as dopamine and serotonin, rise after a massage, improving client’s mood so they can better manage pain.

Benefit #5: Enhances Circulation

Massage improves circulation, forcing blood and lymph to move in response to long strokes and kneading motions. When soft tissue is injured by overwork or chronic inflammation, the localized fluid build-up contributes to stiffness and can impair recovery. By encouraging circulation, massage reduces discomfort and makes normal activity more comfortable. Since movement is the most effective way to keep blood and lymph moving, massages that make moving easier reduce discomfort and speed healing.

Benefit #6: Boosts Immune Function

People under stress get sick more often than others. Clinical studies suggest that massage not only helps alleviate stress, but it may also increase the immune system’s ability to fight disease.

Which Conditions Does Hot Stone Massage Treat?

Physicians believe massage can help manage these conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Exercise-related and repetitive stress injuries
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sciatica
  • Autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lymphedema
  • Lumbago
  • Post-surgical pain

Who Shouldn’t Get a Hot Stone Massage?

Hot stone massages performed by licensed massage therapists are safe under most circumstances. Still, there are risk factors. Clients should consult their physicians before scheduling a hot stone massage if they have health conditions, including diabetes, bleeding or clotting disorders, osteoporosis, bone fractures, infections, open wounds or rashes on their skin. Pregnant women or clients who’ve had surgery in the last six weeks should receive hot stone massages only with a doctor’s approval.

All clients should be aware of the safety precautions massage therapists take to ensure their safety, from screening for medical contraindications and preventing burns to ensuring equipment, including stones, are thoroughly sanitized between uses to prevent the spread of infection.

Final Thoughts

Hot stone massage is a proven therapy, it’s a billion-dollar industry because it works. As more Americans seek a holistic approach to treating stress and chronic pain, career opportunities for students with a passion for wellness are growing. There’s never been a better time to become 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 5 months 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

How do I Study for the MBLEx test?

Students studying for the MBLEx Test

Ready to become a massage therapist but not sure how to start? Becoming a massage therapist involves a few steps that must be completed before performing your first massage session with a client. In order to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) test, you must first graduate from an approved massage therapy program. Most massage therapy programs take around 12 months to complete if attending full-time, but the MSC program allows students to study on a part-time schedule. The goal of the massage therapy program is to prepare you for the MBLEx test with both classroom learning and hands-on experience. Once you have passed the MBLEx test, you apply for a license from your state, county or municipality licensing board.

Who Administers the MBLEx Test?

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers the MBLEx test. The FSMTB is a non-profit organization that is comprised of state boards and agencies who regulate massage practices. Their goal is to maintain and improve the quality of massage and to administer the test that allows massage therapists to show competency in the massage craft. After graduating from a massage therapy program, you will apply to the FSMTB for an account and authorization to take the MBLEx test.

How do I Study for the MBLEx test?

There are many ways to study for the MBLEx test. The quickest and easiest way to study is by attending a massage therapy program. Not only do you get the education and diploma you need to meet the requirements, but you can create long lasting relationships with classmates, ask instructors questions and get hands-on experience.

Attend a Massage Therapy Program

A massage therapy program at a vocational school prepares you to take the MBLEx test. The curriculum around the massage therapy program is designed specifically to aid students in taking the MBLEx test. In addition to the content on the MBLEx test, the massage therapy diploma program also teaches Swedish and relaxation techniques, rehabilitation and advanced massage techniques, and an introduction to spa techniques. This program is part classroom and part hands-on training.

Create a Study Group

All of those friends you made during class will need to study for the MBLEx test as well. You can create a study group and study for the test together. Develop practice tests, quiz each other, or create flashcards to study. It is always easier to study with others, rather than alone.

Ask Instructors Questions

Another advantage to attending a massage therapy program is that the instructors are industry experienced and ready to give one-on-one attention to you while you work on your massage techniques. During your massage therapy program, you can ask questions that will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.

Get Hands-on Experience

It is important to not only read about massage therapy but to experience it first-hand. It will be easier to remember massage techniques, body systems, and client assessment when you take the time to experience massage for yourself. Using all of your senses will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.

What is on the MBLEx test?

The MBLEx test content is comprised of seven sections. You will have 110 minutes to complete a 100-item multiple choice examination. The MBLEx test will include the following topics:

Anatomy & Physiology – focused on the twelve body systems both for structure and function. Additional questions focus on tissue injury, tissue repair and the concepts of energetic anatomy.

Kinesiology – this section focuses on the body’s muscles and joints. Particular to muscles are the components and characteristics of muscles, the concepts of muscle contractions, proprioceptors, and locations, attachments, actions and fiber directions of muscles. For joints, this section focuses on their structure and function. Further emphasis is placed on range of motion, and is broken down into active, passive and resistant range of motion.

Pathology – this section focuses on an overview of pathologies, contraindications, areas of caution, special populations and classes of medication.

Soft Tissue Manipulation Technique Benefits – this section tests massage therapists on the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation, the benefits of touch, benefits of soft tissue manipulation for special populations, soft tissue techniques, hot/cold applications, and bodywork modalities.

Client Assessment Reassessment & Treatment Planning – this section focuses on the organization of massage sessions, how to consult and evaluate clients, data collection, visual assessment, palpation assessment, range of motion assessment, and clinical reasoning.

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations – massage therapists will be tested on ethical behavior, professional boundaries, what a code of ethics violation is, a massage therapist’s therapeutic relationship with clients, sexual misconduct, laws and regulations, scope of massage practice, how to communicate professionally, keeping client information confidential, and proper principles of massage.

Guidelines for Professional Practice – massage therapist will be tested on proper and safe use of massage equipment and supplies, hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness, safety practices, how to take care of oneself as a massage therapist, proper draping, how to run a massage business, and terminology of the healthcare and business sectors.

What Happens After I Pass the MBLEx Test?

Your exam scores will be sent to the licensing board and identify your state that results are to be issued to after completing the test. Every licensed massage therapist must graduate with a diploma from an approved massage therapy program, pass the MBLEx test and apply for a license. Not until all of these steps are complete can you perform a massage session with a client.

Final Thoughts

Ready to become a massage therapist? Then, it is time to learn more about the massage therapy program at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our program prepares you to take the MBLEx test through classroom learning, practice tests and hands-on instruction. Passing the MBLEx test is a requirement for becoming a massage therapist so take the time to learn everything you will need to be a successful massage therapist. You will be glad 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 with part 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by up to 17.5 hours per week.

What is Aromatherapy?: A Massage Therapist’s Guide

Massage therapist using aromatherapy on a client

Aromatherapy centers around holistic medicine that utilizes extracts from natural plants for health and wellbeing. Many massage therapists apply aromatic essential oils medicinally combined with their massage techniques to improve their client’s physical and emotional health.

How Aromatherapy Works

Aromatherapy works by stimulating receptors in the nose responsible for smell, sending messages by olfactory cells to the part of the brain that controls the drive for survival, emotions, and instinct called the limbic system. The olfactory cells recognize scents as specific aromatic molecules that fit into receptors on these cells. Although not fully understood, scientists believe that these nerve signals’ action causes powerful mood changes in response to particular smells.

Massage Therapy in Harmony with Aromatherapy

Massage therapy, combined with essential oils, candles and incense, stimulates positive emotions and relaxation, equipping clients with coping mechanisms for many other health issues. An aromatherapy massage is a popular multi-purpose way of using supplemental care for health issues. The skin absorbs essential oils maintaining suppleness, it offers pain relief, and the aroma’s mental stimulation provides clients with the ultimate massage session.

Oils to Consider in Aromatherapy Massage

These are the top recommended essential oils to start using when practicing certified aromatherapy massage, based on their effectiveness for health issues, as well as clients preferences.

Lavender or Lavandula – Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family and one of the most versatile and popular essential oils due to its clean sweet aroma which promotes relaxation. Lavender is known as balancing or adaptogenic, meaning it completes a function the body needs. It helps your client’s body to better handle stress, making it very useful in massage therapy. Lavender is also helpful in promoting better sleep, pain relief, boosting stamina, and elevating energy levels.

Peppermint or Mentha piperita – The main chemical in peppermint is menthol, used in many over-the-counter pain-relieving applications. One drop applied to the temples of clients complaining of headache symptoms, before their massage, can be very beneficial. Be sure to properly dilute the peppermint oil before placing it on larger areas of the body. To cut down the strength, use ten drops of oil to every 1 ounce of lotion or massage oil. Peppermint also contains a stimulating property that leaves a tingly feeling making it an effective essential oil for massaging sore, achy muscles, especially the legs and feet associated with diabetic neuropathy or fibromyalgia.

Eucalyptus or Eucalyptus globulus – Eucalyptus oil helps relieve painful muscles and respiratory congestion due to sinus blockage, colds, flu, and allergies. This essential oil contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. Blending eucalyptus into massage oil and lotion, or placing a few drops on a tissue beneath the massage table’s face cradle relieves sinus congestion.

Grapefruit or Citrus paradsi – Grapefruit contains a fresh, uplifting scent and is useful for toning the skin, as an addition to lymphatic massage, a mild diuretic, and in cellulite treatment. Using a citrus oil like grapefruit helps balance mood swings and decreases blood pressure. Grapefruit and other citric oils are photo-toxic, which causes burns and skin discoloration if exposed to the sun or tanning bed.

Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary contains detoxifying properties that help facilitate a healthy digestive tract, relieve flatulence, constipation, bloating, and cramps. Through massage, this oil allows the body to absorb nutrients from food better by stimulating circulation. Rosemary Essential Oil helps reduce pain, stimulate hair growth, eliminate headaches, soothe inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. Rosemary puts forth a distinctive energizing, evergreen, citrus-like, herbaceous scent. This essential oil is from the aromatic herb plant kin to the Mint family.

Clary sage or Salvia sclarea – Sage is beneficial for muscles when used as an antispasmodic. Diluted clary sage oil is also effective against several bacterial strains. Theis essential oil is extracted from the leaves and buds of the plant. Sage exudes a clean, refreshing scent that you can use as a skin balm or gently inhale as part of an aromatherapy treatment.

Geranium or Pelargonium graveolens – Geranium acts as a hormone-balancer and is indicated for premenstrual syndrome, stress, mood swings, anxiety, and PMS. Indications in traditional medicine: geranium helps improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system, and tighten tissue, acting as an astringent for a more toned look. Geranium has a pleasant floral scent that adds to the relaxing effect when used alone or combined with lavender.

Frankincense or Boswellia – This sweet and woody scent is used for grounding and relaxation and fosters stress relief during a massage session. This oil also blends beautifully with lavender. If a cold has a client feeling under the weather, Frankincense helps boost the immune system, opens up bronchial passages, deepens breathing, and soothes coughs. It also works effectively as an anti-inflammatory and aid in relieving depression.

Bergamot or Citrus bergamia – Bergamot has a spicy and citrusy aroma similar to Earl Grey tea, as it’s the flower that provides that specific tea’s flavor. Bergamot is the size of an orange, with a yellowish-green color like a lime, depending upon its ripeness. It’s unique because of its antiseptic, antispasmodic, and pain-relieving abilities. Bergamot also claims the dual effects of uplifting and calming, leaving the client feeling both rejuvenated and refreshed after an aromatherapy massage session.

Coriander or Coriandrum sativum – Coriander, derived from the Cilantro plant, is a sweet essential oil that contains relaxing and soothing properties. This oil also assists in promoting a healthy digestive and circulatory system. Some even believe Coriander helps relieve the contracting muscles in the throat that causes coughing.

Tea Tree Oil or Melaleuca alternifolia – Tea tree oil, mostly found in Australia, comes from steaming the Australian tea tree’s leaves. This essential oil contains the best antibacterial and antiseptic qualities out of all the essential oils. Tea tree oil can help acne, contact dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and head lice. However, like all other essential oils, do not ingest tea tree oil. It’s necessary to dilute tea tree oil, use one to two drops to 12 drops of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil.

Practicing Caution When Utilizing Aromatherapy

Typically, during the session, the massage therapist directs the client to breathe in essential oils through steam inhalations, sprays, or vaporizers. Massage therapists should only use essential oils by providing topical or inhaled aromatherapy treatment. Essential oils should never be ingested or placed in the mouth. Certain essential oils may interact with some medications and cause them to be less effective.

Although many essential oils are safe when used as directed, research the oils before application. Here are a few examples of reactions to watch out for when using essential oils:

  • Children younger than five should not use aromatherapy because they can be susceptible to the oil.
  • Certain essential oils irritate and cause airway spasms in lung conditions like chronic lung disease, asthma, or respiratory allergies.
  • Some oils cause skin irritations in people with allergies, especially in the nose, eyes, and mouth membranes.
  • People with estrogen-dependent tumors like breast or ovarian cancer need to stay away from oils such as aniseed, fennel, and clary sage with estrogen-like compounds.

Final Thoughts

An aromatherapy massage is a unique way to help clients achieve better health and wellbeing. Aromatherapy is a fun and lucrative modality to add to your massage practice. Learning aromatherapy takes just a small investment of time and money but will add a new dimension to the healing work. Stay well-informed regarding the uses, concerns, and necessary precautions of adding aromatherapy to massage sessions. Aromatherapy helps a massage therapy practice stand out, creating a better financial opportunity than massage alone.

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 5 months 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Using YouTube for Your Massage Therapy Practice

Massage therapist stretching out a client

YouTube is currently ranked number two in global and domestic web traffic for uploading and viewing video content. The platform boasts of more than 2 billion monthly users, with over 70% viewing from mobile devices, according to HootSuite. Creating and posting video content on a YouTube channel as a marketing tool is a great way to boost your massage therapy practice’s visibility and potentially get more clients. How do businesses, namely massage therapy practices, create content to attract followers and potential customers on YouTube?

Getting Started with YouTube

Signing up for a YouTube account is quick and straightforward. You can go through the sign-up steps with a Facebook or Twitter account or use a Google account to expedite the process. Once logged in, go to your YouTube account, settings, create a channel, choose a business name, and begin customizing your massage practice’s channel.

Before you add any content about your massage therapy practice, ensure you complete all the information sections in their entirety, these portions are an introduction and the first impression of your massage business:

  • Profile Photo – Make your YouTube channel yours by adding a profile photo to your account representing you, your staff and your massage therapy practice.
  • Header – Add your massage therapy practice’s logo as a header and make it clear-cut, unique, and distinctive. A tagline (a catchphrase or slogan) that quickly describes your business at a glance is also helpful here. Example: “We Get You Moving In The Right Direction.”
  • Information – Supply as much information about your massage therapy practice as possible regarding services offered, hours of operation, and directions. Don’t be shy, brag about yourself and your massage therapy related accomplishments.
  • Hyperlinks– A hyperlink is a direct link to your massage therapy website. You can also create and share links to articles, anecdotes, and blogs related to the massage therapy field.

Your YouTube Video Content

Most people think you need to have a film producer’s ability or be a screenwriter to make a good YouTube video. What’s essential is the concise and vital information you provide to your viewers.

Using these 12 simple tips to create your video content helps your massage therapy practice stand out from your competitors that don’t utilize YouTube to assist in their marketing strategy:

Tip #1. Introduce Yourself

Even if you find it hard to speak on your own behalf, do a section of your video or an entire video on your channel called “About Me.” Learning about you, the business owner, creates a connection with a potential massage client before ever meeting them. Mention talking points like why you became a massage therapist, where you went to school, how you first became interested in massage therapy, and the ways you feel the viewer will benefit from your massage therapy.

Tip #2. Show Off Your Staff

Build a repour with viewers through your video content by featuring your actual staff. Announce each team member with an interview. Pose questions inquiring about their position at the massage practice, a favorite massage technique, and the reasons they chose a career in massage therapy. After all, they are the people that connect with your clients from the minute they walk through the door. A massage therapist is only as good as their support staff.

Tip #3. Let Existing Patients Do the Talking

Patient testimonials are probably the best way to convince a viewer to take the first step in coming to your massage therapy practice. These videos allow existing clients to talk up your massage practice for you. Customers identify with other customers, so don’t be intimidated to ask if you can take a video of them speaking on behalf of your massage practice or about their experiences when they visited. Ensure you follow the truth in advertising laws by including only real patients, and make sure the testimonials are not misleading. Avoid offering free products, services, or compensation in exchange for testimonials.

Tip #4. Constantly Update

A popular YouTube channel consistently updates its content when using videos as a marketing tool. Update at the same time daily or weekly, but no less. If viewers see inconsistency with your YouTube channel, they may think your massage practice is the same way. Subscribers to your channel receive notifications every time you post updated content, keeping your massage practice fresh in their minds. Creating all those videos may seem a little daunting but gather the staff once monthly to produce enough content for the entire month and discuss marketing strategies moving forward. Make it fun and offer lunch or dinner, so your team looks forward to taking part month after month.

Tip #5. Demonstrate

Demonstrate techniques and products your massage therapy practice currently utilizes. These videos always interest viewers because it’s natural for humans to wonder how things work. Take this opportunity to introduce new services, trending massage techniques, or an up and coming product on the market related to your massage therapy practice. Another possible demonstration is a tour of your facility. Here you can showcase the equipment you and your staff work with to help your patients feel their best.

Tip #6. Webinars

A webinar is where speakers from a hosting business share presentations or other content with audiences located anywhere. Webinars typically have audio and eye-catching visual components that entice the viewer and holds their attention, two main objectives for engaging content. Include videos of professionals in your field, while demonstrating new techniques or products related to massage therapy, lets viewers know you’re on top of breaking innovations in massage therapy. Webinars also break up the monotony of just you and your massage therapy staff creating content.

Tip #7. Photo Montage

Create a montage of still photographs into a video for your YouTube channel. Take pictures you already have of your staff attending the annual Christmas party, picnic, or other function and string them together. These fun little videos show viewers the camaraderie and fun your massage therapy staff share. You can also utilize a photo montage of your current patients with subtitles describing what they like best about your practice. A photo montage is also incredibly helpful if a patient wants to give their testimonial but doesn’t like the video aspect.

Tip #8. Add Hyperlinks

Connect all your advertising avenues effortlessly together by using hyperlinks. A hyperlink links a file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a word, phrase, or image. Suppose your massage therapy practice has a web page or uses other social media platforms as an avenue to advertise; a hyperlink is a perfect way to direct web traffic from one of your sites like YouTube to the other, what’s commonly referred to as a “call to action.” Think of a hyperlink as a traffic cop directing cars down different streets. Use Hyperlinks when quoting particulars directly from a resource you used in creating your content as well.

Tip #9. Choose Relevant Tags and Categories

When you upload your video with YouTube, you choose a video category to list under, making your video easy for viewers to find when looking for a specific topic. There are 15 categories to choose from like Product Review, Vlog, How-to, Educational, Memes, Favorites, and more.

Tags are descriptive keywords you add to your video that assist viewers in finding your content. Utilize the tags YouTube suggests since the platform deploys suggestions based on commonly searched items. You can also add variations of tags. For example, use the tags massage therapy, Swedish massage, etc.

Tip #10. Make It Your Own

The page viewers see when they click on your account name is your YouTube home page. Your channel doesn’t have to appear like countless other YouTuber’s. Your YouTube channel is customizable with colors, images, and information to foster your business’s identity. You can also customize your channel page’s layout with a maximum of ten sections. The default mode displays three sections: Created Playlists, Uploads, and Subscriptions you’ve made viewable to the public. Make it distinctly your channel by signing into your YouTube account; in the upper right corner under your profile picture, choose your channel, and select “Customize Channel.”

Tip #11. Be Interactive

When viewers see your videos, they can rate the quality and comment. It would be best if you kept up the momentum by monitoring and responding to feedback promptly. Personalize responses to each viewer’s comments and don’t use automatic, cookie-cutter replies, which viewers often misconstrue as lazy. Ensure your answers are informative, insightful, and professional; even if the comments get a little critical, keep responses positive.

Tip #12. Don’t Confine Your Videos

Don’t hide that video under a bushel; put it out there and often. YouTube videos don’t have to stay confined to YouTube; share them on all your business’s social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. When you post a new video, write an accompanying blog entry describing it, then share the link, or post it on Facebook. You can also embed videos on your websites or emails to your massage clients, like stretching tutorials, massage technique instructions, and product demonstrations.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget your YouTube videos don’t have to be perfect. YouTube viewers come to expect imperfection, and many viewers feel it adds a sense of authenticity to you and your massage therapy practice. Have fun with the process of creating videos for your business and watch your client list grow.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about using YouTube for your massage therapy practice 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 to be completed in as little as 5 months 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What are the Qualities of a Good Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist showcasing her qualities and providing a client with a massage.

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist? Do you have the qualities it takes to be successful? If you want to obtain the qualities and knowledge to become a good massage therapist, do some research about your local vocational school’s massage therapy program. Find the school that fits your work and life style for just the right fit. You can start earning in as little as 5 months as a massage therapist. Start a career that is satisfying, helping yourself earn while helping others improve their quality of life. There are many different qualities that will make you successful as a massage therapist. Here are just a few:

Quality #1: Educated

The most important part of being a massage therapist is having the correct training. Vocational schools offer massage therapy programs for students to get the training and learn the techniques of each massage modality. With a diploma, you can confidently start helping clients with massage therapy, knowing that you have the skills and qualities needed for a positive client outcome. The curriculum focuses on massage therapy and you won’t have to take any elective or general ed courses. You will learn exactly what you need to know to become a successful massage therapist.

Quality #2: Articulate

An important part of being a good massage therapist is having good communication skills. Being articulate starts with active listening. You must listen as much as you speak. Make sure the client clearly understands what you are going to do and how they will feel after a massage. Be very detailed in the descriptions so the client understands what they are getting into. While good communication skills are key, it is also important to be articulate.

Quality #4: Flexible

You must be ready to adapt to change as a massage therapist. A client may miss a session and you must find a creative solution to the problem. You may have booked two clients at the same time and must figure out how to deal with the situation. Being open to change is an important quality for a massage therapist. Flexibility is a key quality for success.

Flexibility is also important as a physical trait. This comes from improved posture and will help lessen injuries or muscle soreness to your body during a massage therapy session. When it comes to flexibility, both mental and physical flexibility are important, for you to be able to offer the best massage that you can to your clients.

Quality #5: Friendly

Clients may talk with you like a friend as relationships build trust over time. However, it is important for you to understand what each of your clients want in a massage session. They may want to talk, or they may enjoy the relaxing quiet. Take a moment to ask the client at the beginning of each session to better understand the amount of conversation they are comfortable with during a massage. Happy clients are return clients.

Quality #7: Comforting

In addition to a friendly attitude, you must create a comfortable atmosphere. The use of scents, candles or lotions can help clients become more comfortable during a massage. While removing every pain, knot and sore muscle, you are making the client comfortable. This can have both a physical and mental calming effect for clients during massage therapy.

Quality #8: Careful

While you are comforting your clients, it is important to be careful. A good way to gauge your client’s comfort level is to observe their body language. As you use more strength in your massage stroke, watch for the client’s reaction. They may feel like pain is part of the massage, but if you understand the level of pain a client is in, by their body language, you can make sure that you are being as careful as you need to soothe their pain and muscle soreness.

Quality #9: Methodical

Being methodical takes carefulness one step further and involves thoroughness and order. Part of being a good massage therapist is performing massage in an organized manner. Massage therapy has a method or systematic approach and adhering to this will allow you to provide a comfortable experience for your clients.  This systematic approach is taught during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. Understanding the proper process will allow you to help your clients with a thorough and thoughtful massage.

Quality #10: Hygienic

As a massage therapist, part of your job is keeping clients healthy and preventing disease. It is important to keep a clean and sanitary massage table and working space. Good hygiene means proper hand washing, as well as regular hair and body washing, teeth brushing, and wearing clean clothes daily. Massage therapy involves touch and making sure you practice good hygiene is important to keep clients safe and healthy. Nothing is worse than a foul odor coming from you during a client’s massage.

Quality #11: Trustworthy

Building trust is important for your relationship with the client. Make sure you are positive, friendly, comforting and careful during a massage therapy session. Make sure you offer consistent technique that the client can count on every time they get a massage. Building trust is important in a relationship. Having your trust will allow the client to let one mistake go because they trust you to have their best interest in mind.

Quality #12: Self-Confident

Another way for you to build trust is through self-confidence. If you are confident in yourself, then the client will also be confident in you. The client must have a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement. This confidence will create a comfortable and trusting atmosphere so that the client can relax and enjoy the massage.

Quality #13: Punctual

A client’s number one gripe about a massage therapist is being late for an appointment. Nothing is worse than sitting and waiting for someone. Don’t keep the client waiting, make sure you show up on time and are ready for the client’s appointment. Every once in a while, you will be running late or get stuck in traffic, but make sure you are punctual and respect the client’s time.

Quality #14: Discreet

When you are a massage therapist, you learn intimate details about a person and work with them in a very personal manner. By being discreet, you build trust with them. They can tell you about their health concerns or comprising situations and you will keep the information confidential. That way the client is completely open, and you can help them to the best of your ability.

Quality #15: Curious

Massage therapy techniques and knowledge evolves over time and a good massage therapist is curious. You should be curious about new technologies and techniques and curious about the world of massage. As a good massage therapist, you will need to continue to learn and evolve with the industry. That way you can offer the best massage therapy technique for your clients.

Quality #16: Ambitious

Some massage therapists want to start their own business or go to their client’s home to perform massage. This involves having a strong desire to succeed. A self-employed massage therapist will need to get a business license, massage supplies, and the ability to manage clients. To be a good business owner, you must be self-sufficient.

Quality #17: Self-Sufficient

Whether starting your own massage therapy business or going to work at a spa, you must be self-sufficient to succeed. Although you will create friendships with fellow massage therapists, it is up to you to create your practice, inspire repeat customers and offer the best massage you can for your clients. Being self-sufficient will give you confidence and that breeds client trust.

Final Thoughts

There are many different qualities that make a good massage therapist. These are some of the qualities you can obtain or learn during your career that will help you succeed as a massage therapist. With these qualities you will enjoy what you do and help others at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have the right qualities be a successful massage therapist? 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 5 months 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

The Role of Communication in Massage Therapy

Massage therapist using communication to connect with her client

Communication is the foundation of therapeutic relationships. Only by listening and speaking with authority can massage therapists contribute to their clients’ wellness. A skillful give and take are not only essential for successful treatment; they’re the key to building a loyal customer base and a rewarding career.

Characteristics of Effective Communication

Communication with clients is a two-way street, but as wellness professionals, massage therapists should take the lead. The person communicating is responsible for the interpretation of what they say and how it is received. Massage therapists can enhance the power of their messages by ensuring they’re concise, concrete, courteous, timely, and correct.

Concise

Concise messages are brief and to the point. While not forgoing the friendly chit chat that establishes a certain comfort between clients and massage therapists, essential points should be condensed. Eliminating redundant or irrelevant information helps the client focus. Brief explanations of the types of massage a therapist offers, for example, narrow down the choices and makes decision-making easier.

Concrete

Concrete messages go beyond written or spoken words. They appeal to a broad range of senses and learning styles. When massage therapists discuss the benefits of massage, the use of props such as charts, models and video presentations reinforce the message. They appeal to visual, auditory and tactile learners alike and enhance their overall learning experience.

Courteous

Communication has emotional facets. Today’s massage therapists will work with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, each with unique expectations. Considering a client’s age and background helps massage therapists frame conversation in a respectful and engaging way, opening the door to a natural two-way dialogue.

Timely

Therapeutic relationships are built on trust. When a client reaches out to their massage therapist, timely responses establish reliability. Returning phone calls and email is a must as well as approaching clients with helpful information when necessary. Letting regular customers know when a vacation is approaching is one example.

Correct

Spelling and grammatical errors detract from the credibility of communication. Messages should always reflect a massage therapist’s education and professional status. If a client imagines a massage while reviewing an ill-written brochure, they’ll assume the massage therapist will be equally careless and move on.

Types of Communication

Massage therapists use different methods of communication to relate to customers and to connect with the community through advertising. Massage therapists use verbal, written, and non-verbal communication.

Verbal Communication

The term verbal communication refers to spoken words, usually a person-to-person chat or a conversation over the telephone. Whether clients call or visit, it’s the most common type of interaction for massage therapists.

Verbal communication skills to master include confidence, humility and authenticity. Mirroring clients in their rate and tone of speech improves their comfort with a conversation.

Written Communication

Written communication comes in many forms, texts, e-mails, social media posts, brochures, letters, advertising, and teaching materials.

Qualities that make written words appealing to clients include simplicity, avoiding jargon and technical terms, and an easy-to-follow conversational tone. Sloppy grammar, spelling and punctuation reflects poorly on the writer. Proofreading really matters.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is a way of conveying emotion using body language. Gestures, posture and facial expressions can say more than words alone. But while body language can be used to make a point, it’s more often something people do subconsciously, and if the message is negative, the results can be disastrous.

Almost all communication is nonverbal. Making eye contact, for example, demonstrates caring and focus. Avoiding it suggests disinterest or guilt. Clients take cues from the body language they observe, so for a massage therapist, it pays to be aware of the signals they convey. A warm smile and a relaxed but upright posture can set the mood for a successful session.

With Whom Do Massage Therapists Communicate?

Massage therapists communicate with a wide range of people in both the therapeutic and business parts of their practice. They speak with clients, colleagues, managers, vendors, and communities.

Clients

Massage therapists communicate with clients before, during and after a massage. Each point of contact is an opportunity to connect and inform.

It begins by making an impression through advertising and promotional materials and continues when the client visits in person or makes an appointment over the phone. Massage therapists use their skills to gather the health information needed to create a treatment plan while communicating their professional expertise.

During the session, massage therapists communicate based on the client’s preference and therapeutic goals. Silence is relaxing if the objective is stress relief, but chit-chat could be preferable if the intent is to invigorate. It’s always critical, however, to ensure that massage therapy is achieving its goals. Massage therapists should ask clients if their techniques are hitting the mark.

Colleagues

A massage therapist at a spa or resort may work with dozens of colleagues, each with a different communication style. However, while it’s true that birds of a feather flock together, it’s important for everyone to get along.

A massage therapist’s relationship with coworkers can make or break their practice. Squabbles create workplace tension, leading to lost customers and staff. Getting along and working together generates a soothing atmosphere and sets the stage for mutual referrals. Constructive professional relationships benefit everyone.

Managers

Managers serve as leaders in multi-therapist practices, and like colleagues, they have unique ways of communicating.

Charged with the financial health of the business, they may make decisions that are not always popular. Massage therapists should communicate regularly with managers to stay on the same page, addressing concerns promptly and respectfully. Coordination is critical.

Vendors

Massage therapists with private practices work order their supplies with a vendor. Building rapport through mutual trust can lead to more favorable terms.

Communities

Massage therapists shouldn’t underestimate their impact on their communities. As wellness professionals, they’re ideally positioned to serve as resources. Outreach in the form of public service is a type of mutually beneficial communication. Examples of outreach opportunities for massage therapists include offering adult education classes and hosting informal seminars on the benefits of massage. It’s a way to establish a good reputation and meet potential clients.

What Role Does Communication Play in Massage Therapy?

Communication is a give and take. Massage therapists use their skills as communicators to promote themselves and to help clients better articulate their needs using professionalism, comfort, customer service, assessment, education and discretion.

Professionalism

Professionalism means living up to clients’ expectations. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) believes this concept is so important that it has created a code of ethics for the industry.

What does it say about communication? It requires massage therapists to:

  • Follow all regulatory requirements for the state in which they’re licensed.
  • Promote only those services for which they have the education and training.
  • Advertise honestly.
  • Avoid engaging in activities that may violate clients’ rights, including confidentiality.

Professionalism is also expected in dress, demeanor and attitude. Each is a form of communication and says something loud and clear about a massage therapist. It should always say something positive and authentic.

Comfort

A comfortable conversation can only occur when someone feels at ease. From the point of initial contact, it’s up to a massage therapist to make their clients feel relaxed. Relaxation enhances communication, which in turn builds rapport and trust. Clients who feel uncomfortable interacting for the first time with a massage therapist are unlikely to schedule services or ever come back.

Customer Service

Customers consistently rate service over price as their top criterion for choosing a massage therapist. Not surprisingly, their definition of “service” encompasses communication, prompt replies to inquiries and a friendly attitude as top the list of must-haves. Lack of personal attention and indifference to special requests are clients’ biggest pet peeve.

Massage therapy is a holistic art. More than a treatment, it’s an experience, any communication from the massage therapist should be a positive, affirming contribution.

Assessment

Assessing what the client wants and needs is paramount to a successful massage. Some people seek bodywork solely for stress relief while others want a targeted massage to heal an injury or reduce musculoskeletal pain.

While massage therapy is generally well-tolerated, there are medical considerations. A client on blood-thinning drugs, for example, will bruise easily, requiring a light touch and a gentle style of massage.

Before the first session with a new client, a massage therapist reviews their medical conditions and therapy goals. It requires a frank discussion and active listening, focusing on what the client says out loud as well what their body language suggests.

Most clients undress for massages, and for some, there are body image concerns, such as weight and scars. Courteous communication, making an effort to see barriers from the client’s point of view, is necessary to gain their confidence.

Education

Clients seeking massage are usually aware of some of its many benefits. They may have been referred by a doctor or a friend, but they rely on a massage therapist’s professional advice in choosing the most effective type of massage and how often to have them.

Massage therapists are educators at heart. They listen to clients and help them understand what to expect from a session from start to finish.

Discretion

Massage therapists aren’t bound by the same confidentiality laws as healthcare providers, but there are few circumstances short of cooperating with law enforcement officials that would justify divulging clients’ names without permission. In the personal service industry, it’s essential to protect clients’ privacy.

Communicating with Clients During a Massage

Experts agree, the amount of verbal communication that occurs during a massage should be based on the client’s preferences. Beyond that, professionals have different thoughts on how much talking is too much.

The unwritten rule is to converse as little as possible because, for clients who process emotions via touch, speaking can disrupt the process. They prefer to feel the benefits of massage.

However, select clients like to chat occasionally, letting their thoughts flow freely, while others need the constant drone of conversation to feel comfortable. The best way for massage therapists to approach the issue is to ask in advance, or simply respond to physical and verbal cues.

Final Thoughts

Communication is both an art and a science. Ideas are only valuable to clients if they’re articulated clearly, yet conversation should be approached skillfully and with sensitivity. Loyal clients are those who feel both heard and understood.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have the communication skills to be a successful massage therapist? 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 5 months 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.