According to some therapists, the decision to become a massage therapist comes from a calling deep within and that placing their hands on someone makes them instantly feel better. Indeed, healing through touch is one of the oldest forms of therapy in existence, practiced as far back as the times of Ancient Egypt and by Jesus Christ in the Bible.
Many cultures around the world have as part of their traditions a form of healing touch – the Polynesian royalty of Hawaii performed what is now known as kahuna bodywork as a rite of passage and initiation process into adulthood. The Japanese have incorporated the art of Shiatsu as a daily ritual to be shared between family members. But deciding to turn what is a natural inclination amongst humans – that of healing one another through touch, into a viable career may for some take a bit of consideration. A potential therapist must decide if they have the right disposition, appropriate motivations, and also the physical stamina to carry out anywhere between three and ten treatments a day.
Qualities of a Good Massage Therapist
Many things combine to make a good massage therapist, whether it is their ability to create rapport with their clients, or the little touches they add to their treatments such as a flair for proper client draping, but ultimately each person’s style and energy is unique. Someone considering a career in massage therapy might ask themselves if they have the following qualities:
- an interest in health and healing, and how the human body works
- the desire to work closely with people and an empathetic, compassionate nature
- a passion for helping and healing others through touch
- the ability to maintain client confidentiality
- an active and healthy lifestyle that is supportive of a physically demanding job
- an entrepreneurial bent
Some Helpful Hints When Deciding Whether to Start a Career in Massage Therapy
Before enrolling in a costly and time-consuming course, there are some things a potential therapist can do to help them discern if they are well-suited to a career in the massage therapy industry.
- They might enroll in a short course such as a weekend workshop as an introduction to the industry, gain insight into the profession, learn basic techniques, and test their own natural aptitude.
- Go for a massage in a clinic or spa to get an idea of the kinds of working conditions to expect and have a chat to the therapist about both the perks and pitfalls of the job.
- Realize that the income of a massage therapist is not always stable, particularly in the process of establishing themselves. A potential therapist should decide whether they are prepared for this and what measures they can take or safeguards to put in place, or whether they will have other work as a supplement.
- Consider if the prospect of ongoing education is viable and inspiring. There are numerous modalities, styles of massage and healing techniques on offer. Therapists have the opportunity to continually broaden their base of skill and knowledge in the form of additional courses, workshops, and seminars to be able to offer a greater range of techniques and services for their clients and stay up to date on the latest findings.
- Be aware that massage therapy can be a very physically and energetically demanding job which in some cases has a limited shelf life. Being prepared to take good care of oneself will ensure longevity in the industry.
- Both females and males should be aware that there may be times in their careers when they face possible incidences of sexual harassment as some clients continue to misunderstand the distinction between asexual and therapeutic service.
Massage therapists ultimately hold a great deal of responsibility. As a massage can involve a great deal of intimate touch, and ethical practice should be observed as well as respect for the privacy of clients.
Not only is it believed that massage therapists can be healers on a physical, emotional, spiritual and energetic level, they can also become counselors who have a great capacity to educate the public about their health and wellbeing. If a person is prepared to take on these roles then they are some way to being well suited to a massage therapy career. An awareness of some of the finer details involved in the practice of massage is what will set apart an average therapist from a great one.
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