Massage Therapy Programs
What can I expect from a massage therapy program?Massage therapy programs have been refined over the decades so as to provide students with the essentials for a successful career. This means that beyond exhaustive training in the various techniques of the more commonly used modalities of massage, students who attend massage therapy schools will also find themselves learning how to operate an independent practice of their own.
In order for massage therapists’ businesses to thrive, they need more than just a refined expertise in their chosen modality of massage. These very often self-employed entrepreneurs also need some professional training that allows them to successfully establish, maintain, manage, and market their independent practice.
What types of non-bodywork classes can I expect from a massage therapy program?The fastest and most common way of entering this profession has always been through a certificate program. These programs
Ultimately, the more comprehensive the massage therapy training, the better the trained professional is prepared to serve the needs of the clients, both in a direct hands on capacity, as well as from a business perspective. The following represents a sampling of massage therapy classes specific to business operation and professional conduct that will be a part of most all massage therapy programs:
Professional Ethics- Massage Therapy Classes in professional ethics bring to the forefront a discussion of the best way to conduct a massage practice professionally. These classes explore obvious related topics like patient confidentiality, maintaining a professional relationship with clients, how to facilitate massage without sexual contact, and how to set up the studio and structure each visit such that clients have an opportunity to disrobe in privacy. A massage therapy program would include these classes so that students can better understand state and federal laws and regulations that govern the conduct of bodywork professionals, including legal precedents and frequently breached codes of professional conduct.
Communication- It may seem at first look that a massage therapy program would teach that massage is much more about doing than it is about talking. On the surface this may be true; however, when working with clients to resolve specific issues, communication becomes the most important aspect of a massage therapy practice. Massage therapy classes in communication are vital to the assessment of client conditions and to the resolution of these conditions. Though the word communication typically connotes speaking, students of massage therapy schools will soon find that these classes place at least as much focus on listening. Listening is vital to understanding the personal nature of the client’s physical problem and often reveals clues as to how to approach the therapy. Good listening skills will also help massage therapists avoid the potential to cause pain or injury, which is so counterproductive to their practice.
Business/Marketing- Massage therapy programs include classes in business and marketing. Though this may seem to take the focus away from the client, these classes also keep the client’s needs in focus in addition to creating a forum in which to train massage therapists in how to operate a business. As much as these classes are about maximizing profits, they are also about being available to the client. Business and marketing classes train would-be massage therapists how to conduct their business without compromising their clients’ scheduling needs. Expect these classes to introduce you to bookkeeping, scheduling, management of employees, as well as professional services marketing. Without some fundamental understanding of the business side of running a practice, massage therapists could be overwhelmed by handling the needs of the business so much that the needs of the client is compromised.