Massage Therapist ★ Find a College
A massage therapist helps a person relieve stress, increase relaxation, improve circulation and gain relief from pain, by massaging and manipulating the soft muscle tissues in the body. They help rehabilitate injuries, through touch, and aid in the general wellness of a patient. They assist in the betterment of postural improvement, stretching techniques and other rehabilitation exercises with the use of therapeutic equipment and massage.
How to become a Massage Therapist
To become a massage therapist, an associate's degree is usually preferred with the course work in physiology, anatomy, pathology, ethics and body and motion mechanics. You must earn a certificate and be licensed in your state of practice with a hands-on training of massage techniques of up to or more than 500 hours.
Job Description of a Massage Therapist
A massage therapist lends a general wellness to a client through therapeutic massage to the joints and soft tissue muscles of the body. They help give relief from pain, rehabilitate injuries, improve poor circulation and teach relaxation techniques, as well as, helping to reduce stress through massage therapy. They determine the treatment of a client by obtaining medical history and pain or stress problems. They develop a course of action to aid in the healing of the injury or problem area based on the collected information and keep records of all progress or adjustments to the treatment through massage therapy.
He or she would identify specific areas of the body to apply hand and finger pressure. They evaluate a patient's muscle strength, function and joint ability, range of motion and condition of soft tissue, in order to give them information and assistance about helpful techniques, such as, stretching, rehabilitative exercises, postural improvement and/or relaxation.
A massage therapist would consult other health care professionals, like, chiropractors, physicians, psychologists or physiotherapists to aid in a patient's successful treatment and give the client a referral, if necessary, to a specialized health professional. They use tools to aid in therapy, such as, balance beams or boards, rockers, bolsters and hydrotherapy equipment, such as, in baths or tanks. They use treatment tables, both stationary and portable, as well as, mats, heat lamps, massage stone sets, cold and hot packs and other equipment.
They need to have knowledge of psychology, medicine, biology and customer and personal service. They need the skill of speaking clearly to others and to listen attentively to what is being communicated to them. They need to be able to gather and sort information and maintain accurate documents or records. They should be able to make decisions and solve problems among other skills and abilities. They need dynamic strength, arm-hand steadiness, manual dexterity and trunk strength in this occupation. A massage therapist can be found working in private homes, offices, hospitals, spas and fitness centers.
They can work a variety of hours depending on the scheduling needs of a client. The Bureau of Labor Statistics project a 23 percent growth in 2012-2022 in this career field.