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Want to know how you can become a massage therapist? The job involves a dedication to your chosen career which reaches beyond simply your qualification and daily practice. In massage therapy, your body is your tool, and professional development is a must. That said, it can be a highly fulfilling career with many rewards.
Massage Therapist Training
Massage Therapy is a highly competitive area of expertise: simply look up 'Massage Therapy' in your local phone book and note the entries. Most therapists work alone, although there are those who work from a salon or spa. In massage therapy, hands-on training, literally, is a must. Your first step is to find a reputable training school. There are plenty of training courses available, so always check that the qualification is nationally accredited. Make sure the course is endorsed by a professional association: you can find the association's stamp of approval on the school's website and/or in their office. Check on-line for your national professional association of massage therapists: they will often list courses in your area. Technical colleges and private colleges often offer night classes; this is a fantastic way to qualify while earning a living elsewhere.
Types of Massage Therapy
There are many different styles of massage. A good course in remedial massage will prime you in the main types, usually: Swedish, remedial, relaxation, lymphatic drainage, and sports. There are also massage and natural therapy schools that run short courses in individual styles, should you wish to expand your repertoire. There is no such thing as a 'pure' type of massage, as such: the more styles you learn, the more your ability to treat a client will improve. A good course will also include training in Anatomy and Physiology, Health and Safety, Pathology (skin diseases), customer service training, and business training (there's a good chance you will be working for yourself at some point in your career). Every client is different, and one style will likely work where another fails. It is also very worthwhile taking a class in a complementary discipline, such as aromatherapy, reiki, etc.
Professional development is absolutely essential. First of all, when you graduate, join your national association. The membership will require you to keep your skills up to date. This involves developing your skills as a therapist further, by engaging in further study, writing about your work, buying professional texts, attending lectures, etc. Even after you start working as a therapist, keeping your skills up-to-date is essential.
Experience, of course, is essential. You can do as many courses as you like, but without time spent applying your new skills, it all comes to nought. An excellent training course will operate a student clinic out of its premises. The trainers will also encourage you to practice on each other, and will give each student treatment themselves. This is done because it's important to know what the treatment feels like, when expertly delivered. There's a world of difference between experienced hands and the hands of a nervous, inexperienced student.
You certainly work hard, but one of the perks of this career is you will never want for a great massage.