Massage therapy is defined as the scientific way of manipulating the soft tissues of the body. Its purpose is to normalize the tensioned muscles and tissues of the body. Massage therapy consists of a variety of manual techniques, which include causing movements to different parts of the body, applying movable or fixed pressure, or even holding.
Either it is to relieve body pains or to relax, massages makes people feel more as ease and comfort after a long day’s work. Massages can be therapeutic to some, and to others, it may be a way of rehabilitation after having experienced an accident.
To others, massages are already their partners in relieving day to day stress and long hours of work. Whether it be just for relaxation and luxury or for therapeutic reasons, being a massage therapist requires great skills and knowledge in order to render great services for clientele satisfaction.
Massages are crucial because it targets body muscles that are why being a massage therapist requires a specific set of skills suited for the type of service they render.
There are different types of massage specialism, such as deep tissue massage, Indian head massage, baby massage, pregnancy and post-natal massage, shiatsu, aromatherapy massage, Swedish, sports massage, hot stone massage, and Thai massage.
Massage therapists are required to be knowledgeable of whichever massage specialism they want to perform because clients must be assured of quality service every time.
The history of massage therapies dates all the way back to thousand years ago, where the first written records of massage therapy were traced in Egypt and China.
The first known records of massage therapy traditions are traced from India during the years 1500 and 500 BCE. Certainties of the dates are unsure because some research is saying that massage therapy traditions may have originated during around 3000 BCE or even earlier. Hindus have been using the art of healing touch in practices of Ayurvedic Medicine. This comes from the word “Ayurveda”, a word that translates as “life health” or “life science.” It is said to be the basis for combining aromatherapy, meditation, and relaxation and for developing holistic medicine.
Dating all the way back to 270 BCE, the first book in China, “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine” was believed to be the prime staple for massage therapy training and nowadays still being used as textbooks for teaching even other forms of alternative medicine such like herbology, acupuncture, and acupressure. This book was translated to English during the year 1949.
In 2500 BCE, traces of massage therapy were discovered in Egypt through their tomb paintings, which show how it was part of their medical traditions. Egyptians were said to be the pioneer of reflexology, and their studies are said to have influenced Greeks and Romans, among others.
At present, many can say that massage therapy is a growing industry, with many aspiring therapists wanting to learn its arts. As more years pass, the art of massage therapy becomes people’s resort to relaxation and comfort, even as a way of therapy for health issues. Because of this, massage therapists grow in demand, and many find the art of massage therapy interesting and a great avenue to learn. So, you may ask, how do I become a massage therapist in the UK?
What Massage Therapists Do
To be a massage therapist, one must know the importance of being ready for any type of client. Each client has a different need. One important job of a massage therapist is being able to check medical histories before conducting massage therapy. Before starting the therapy, therapists must first check the client’s background. This refers to the client’s day to day diet, medical history, and lifestyle. This is important to note because a therapist must know the right type of massage to do for the specific needs of every client.
Massage therapists must also inquire as to why the client would like to have a massage to identify the suited therapy for the client. They must also have a planned course of treatment to chart the progress of every client. Massage therapists can also advise their clients with regard to their well-being. If the client’s health issue is beyond their capabilities, they can also refer the client to a health professional that can address the client’s needs.
Massage therapists are the ones who conduct the therapy. They manipulate the soft tissues and the muscles to help ease the pains, aches, and tension of the body. Most people turn to massages in order to relieve muscle aches. Massage therapists conduct treatments to those requiring:
- Rehabilitation due to injuries
- Therapies for those who have body pains
- Provide service to those people with health issues who seek relief
- Also to provide relaxation and relief to those who wish to relieve body tension due to a full day’s work.
Massage therapists are also responsible for taking full-time services to people who require a specific need regarding their health.
Requirements to Become a Massage Therapist
Basic training is a must in order to build a good name in the industry of massage therapy. The more experiences in training, the more skilled they become in massage therapy. To start training, aspiring massage therapists can first try undergoing complementary therapies. It could be aromatherapy and reiki or reflexology.
In order to become a massage therapist, one must complete the qualifications of a 6-month training. After such, the course of training for the aspiring therapist must now undergo an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship can be conducted in a health spa, GP training center, or to other facilities offering massage therapy services.
A massage therapist must also be accredited by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) or by the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). Accreditations from said councils would give clients added reassurance of the quality of service that the massage therapist has to offer. It would show clients that they are being handled by someone with the right amount of knowledge and skills in massage therapy. Registering to be accredited can make clients sure that they are in safe hands.
Massage therapists must also be knowledgeable of other related skills, such as skills in physical fitness, communication, business management, and interpersonal skills.
What to do to become a massage therapist
If one truly aims to become a massage therapist in specialized areas, London School of Massages offers courses that can kick start your career in massage therapy. Taking courses specifying on massages is a good step to making dreams of becoming a therapist come true.
Here are routes that a massage therapist can take to guide them. The academic route of a massage therapist can be taking up a course like GCSE in Biology or Human Biology. Aspiring massage therapists’ vocational route can be taking up courses that are recognized by the professional bodies specializing in massage therapy. One example of this is The Council for Soft Tissues Therapy.
In becoming a massage therapist, one must complete a series of training and need to complete a qualification that sometimes lasts for about 6 months. An aspiring massage therapist must also complete a series of qualifications such as the ITEC (Level 3 RQF) Diploma in ranges of different styles of massages.
Building the training qualifications can be through CPD and other more advanced training courses that will help a therapist a higher-level experience. Such an example of training course certification is the BTEC level 6 Professional Diploma, which is said to be a degree-level program in massage therapy.
Those who wish to become therapists can aim courses in the London School of Massages and at the UK University. Another school that can be an option is Cardiff Metropolitan University, which is a university that offers BSc (Hons) Degree in Rehabilitation and Massage, and Sports Conditioning. There is also an option where those who wish to study may take courses online.
After taking such massage courses and training, one can now try applying for apprenticeships in order to test their skills in massage therapy. If a massage therapist wishes to apply and register for apprenticeships, the government site is where massage therapists can find centers offering apprenticeships that can help them find one that would be suited to their specializations and skills.
Skills and Qualities of Massage Therapists
Being a massage therapist takes more than having skills of being good in applying pressure to the body. It also takes being a good listener so that one may understand what the client needs and what specified the client needs therapies.
As a massage therapist, one must have the utmost sensitivity and understanding of catering to different types of clients. To make sure that there is a boundary between the therapist and the client while maintaining a comfortable interaction, a massage therapist should be sensitive and careful of what they might say. Different clients mean different personalities. Massage therapists must be good at handling all sorts of people with utmost respect, understanding, and patience. One must also have great skill in verbal communication.
Massage therapists must also have the ability to work well with others, must have customer service skills, and must have the ability to be calm in handling stressful situations. Handling every client with patience is a must as well. Being a massage therapist also means that one must pay thorough attention to details and carry out tasks while carrying a relaxed ambiance.
Lastly, given our society today, it is important that massage therapists can handle taking tasks and answering clients through computers, laptops, or phones. This is important because most clients want things done faster. Massage therapists will also have the chance to promote their services through the use of these devices and using the power of social media platforms.
Reasons to Become a Massage Therapist in UK
If one is truly aspiring to become a massage therapist, there should be great reasons as to why you want to become one. Surely you have your own great reasons, but here are additional reasons why becoming a massage therapist in the UK is a great career where you can be successful.
The actual work and schedule
As a massage therapist, you will be able to contribute to the well-being of a client. Some clients are not just looking for physical therapies but also sometimes to relieve emotional pains. Being a massage therapist means you will become part of a healing journey of a client. People who are suffering from anxiety and depression sometimes turn to massage therapies as their way of relieving the pain. It is a fulfillment to become part of the process of healing in a person.
Schedules as a massage therapist are very flexible. You can decide when to open and accept clients at your own convenience. Appointments of clients can be set up at your own time when you would like to see them. A massage therapist sees an average of 5 clients a day for at least 60-90 minutes per therapy session.
Deciding Whether to be Employed or Self-Employed
Massage therapists have the liberty to choose whether they would like to be employed in massage centers or spas or even to choose if they would like to be self-employed. This is a great privilege because you have the decision to do whatever path or career you choose. Both ways, there are perks.
Being employed means having a set of clients every day, sure that there will be appointments daily that will avail your services. Being self-employed means, you have the freedom to choose the schedules and set the appointments at your own time. Either way, there are perks between the two options.
The Pay of a Massage Therapist
As a massage therapist, you will get good pay, depending on your set of skills. Either way, as you start, being a massage therapist gives the chance of being paid good money for your services. In the UK, the wages per massage therapy is at an average annual salary of at least £20,044 and £10.16 an hour. For those who choose to be self-employed, calculating it a week, 15 hours of massage per week can have the potential to turn over to a good £900 for every hour you can be charged with at least around £60.