As a licensed massage therapist, I can’t imagine why more people don’t choose the career of massage. According to a very reliable source*, the massage industry has boomed in the last ten years, doubling its yearly revenue from $6 billion to over $12 billion since 2005. Yet, while this is true, skilled massage therapists are still hard to find. I often hear from those who work in the SWIHA Success Center that there are many more listings for massage therapists positions than graduates actively seeking those positions.
With this in mind, let's consider the top five ways a career as a licensed massage therapist can help you create a life you love:
#5 - You get to create own schedule!
One of the reasons I became a licensed massage therapist is because I needed a career that had flexibility so I could be more present for my son. I now have the luxury of creating my own business and setting my own schedule. This is not to say that being an entrepreneur hasn’t been challenging; however, I have found that all my hard work and determination has made the experience worth it. Having more time with your family or being able to shuffle things around in your schedule to better suit your needs is certainly more appealing than a 9 to 5 job! When you own your own business, you get to call the shots.
#4 - You can make a real difference in people’s lives every day.
Touch is such a powerful way to connect with people while assisting them in their healing. Many of our graduates feel as if their massage practice is their own little ministry. Positive touch releases a cascade of powerful hormones, such as oxytocin and serotonin. Therapeutic touch produces a feeling of well-being and peace. It doesn’t matter if the client understands the science behind a good massage. What they do understand is that the massage therapist makes them feel better. The really amazing thing is that after you give a massage, you feel more energized than when you began. Very few people can say that their work makes them feel better when they are finished!
#3 - Massage therapy can be a full-time career or used as additional income!
There are so many options for making money as a massage therapist. You could work for a resort, spa, or healing center. Some people are even drawn to this work as a secondary career, as it’s a great way to make additional income. You could work for a massage company and have them make appointments for you, although they will get a percentage of the fee the client pays. Or, if you are slightly daring, you can choose to build your own business and keep 100% of what you collect from your clients. Full-time, part-time, employed or self-employed are all available options to massage therapists.
#2 - You are interested in being a part of the holistic health care movement.
There was a time when having a massage was considered a luxury. Now massage is a regular part of many people’s overall health care routine. In fact, since 2015, more people go to massage therapists who work out of offices rather than spas. This speaks to the public’s understanding that massage is beneficial for their health and not just an extravagant treat. Health care is changing, and people are realizing that they must take responsibility for their own health, especially if they want a more holistic approach versus traditional allopathic medicine. More than ever, people are seeking qualified and skilled practitioners for personal connection and healing.
Personally, I can’t tell you how great it feels to see a client come into my office with tension, pain, or anxiety and watch them transform into ease and lightness! I am overcome with gratitude for having found such a rewarding career.
Physicians are aware of these benefits and have been supportive in referring patients to bodyworkers. Here is what the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has to say:
- In July 2015, more than fifty-one million American adults (16%) had discussed massage therapy with their doctors or health care providers in the previous year, consistent with past years' data.
- Of those who discussed massage with their doctor or health care provider, 69% of their doctors or health care providers referred them to a therapist and strongly encouraged them to get a massage.
- While physicians led the way in recommending massage (54% vs. 59% in 2014), chiropractors and physical therapists also recommended massage therapy when their patients discussed it with them.
#1 - You feel drawn to massage therapy as a "true calling" more than just a career!
The most important reason to become a massage therapist is that you are just "called" to become a healer!Have you ever been rubbing someone’s shoulders and known intuitively where they needed to be touched? Or maybe you have had someone say, “You have an amazing touch... You really should be a massage therapist!” Consider this a message!
If you are drawn to serve those in pain or in need of some relief, either physically or emotionally, you are probably a massage therapist in the making. The most successful and fulfilled massage practitioners are those who know that, on some level, this field of work is their calling in life. Sometimes I actually hear a new graduate say, "I love doing this work so much, I would do it even if people didn’t pay me.” While that is the passion we hope all the great graduates from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts feel, one of the most important parts of our curriculum is teaching massage therapists to value their skills and confidently make a profitable living doing what they love to do!
About the Author, Suzie McLaughlin
Suzie McLaughlin graduated from the Massage Therapy program at SWIHA and has been licensed for eleven years. She has been in education for over twenty-five years, and a valued instructor at SWIHA for the last nine. She enjoys helping students gain confidence along with knowledge in the sciences specific to massage therapy. Suzie is trained in oncology massage and has most recently become a certified manual lymphatic drainage therapist. She enjoyed assisting in the development of the school’s Medical Massage certificate program and has taught an array of courses in life coaching, public speaking, CPR, anatomy and physiology, and pathology.
SWIHA Mission ~ Our mission is to inspire individuals to discover their gifts and graces, and support them as they share their talents with the world in a loving and profitable way.