Massage Therapy Jobs
Massage therapy is a diverse profession that allows for either conventional employment or independent practice. Sandra Bennett, an independently employed and highly respected veteran massage therapist of many years, spoke with Allied Health World to help explain what can be expected in terms of hours, setting, and job outlook for both salaried and independently employed massage
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Where do massage therapists work?The places one would expect to see massage therapists working would include hotels, spas, resorts, physical therapy clinics, chiropractic offices, health clubs, universities with well-funded sports programs, or in the offices of independent practices of their own. In fact, according to information published by the Bureau of Labor statistics, 64% of massage therapists are independently employed.
Some massage therapists who are independently employed are more nomadic with their practice, and either make house calls by bringing the massage table to their client’s homes, or by actually taking their practice to the public. Some of the more unusual places where massage therapists have been known to sell their services include airports, shopping malls, flea markets, farmers markets or fairs. With prior arrangements made with the property manager and tenants, massage therapists may even find work in office complexes giving chair massages at the rate of $1.00 per minute.
Unique opportunities are also available to those who wish to travel with professional or collegiate sports teams that staff massage therapists to help with injury rehabilitation therapy and injury prevention techniques. Some large corporate employers, like Apple and Boeing, have been known to staff massage therapists at their offices to make the services readily available to members of their corporate staff.
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What is the job outlook like for licensed and accredited massage therapists?The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects stronger than average job growth for massage therapists, projecting a 20% increase in the number of gainfully employed therapists over the next several years. An increased public awareness of the benefits of treating the whole person by holistic means, coupled with a growing acceptance by the conventional medical community, has lead to an increased demand for the healing art of massage therapy.
What are work schedules like for massage therapists?Massage therapists who work in one of the many places where they are commonly employed like hotels, spas, clinics, etc, work standard hours with very little deviation.
Among the many great benefits of being self-employed as a massage therapist is the ability to create one’s own work schedule. Sandra Bennett explained, “Working for myself I can set the schedule that suits me. This has changed according to the needs of my family. Currently, with no children left at home, I can work whenever I want. I find that for the type of massage I give, I don’t like to do more than five a day. Some days I’ll schedule only mornings; sometimes I want the morning to do other things. I used to avoid scheduling on Wednesdays so I could golf. Or if I want to give myself a four-day weekend, I can. Generally I like to split them up and give three massages in the morning, take a two or three hour lunch and do two more in the late afternoon to catch the after work people.”
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How is working as a massage therapist personally rewarding?Sandra was wistful and modest in her description of the personal rewards she reaps as a massage therapist; giving most of the credit for wellness to her clients themselves: “I don’t care what field one is in; I believe the greatest contribution we can make to society is to serve others. And yes, it’s very fulfilling to have people tell me that they are no longer in pain and have seen tremendous improvement, even though I know that the healing is innate.”
Independently employed massage therapists also enjoy the freedom to work the hours of their choosing allowing them more time to devote to family and social life. They also enjoy a comfortable income as well as all the other freedoms and financial benefits that come with self-employment.