Is Massage Therapy For Me?

Gila Strauch
August 31, 2003
By Gila Strauch
You are seriously considering a career choice, perhaps changing careers, or advising potential massage therapists. 

You are looking for a meaningful endeavour that will enable you to work at something you really like. You think a Massage Therapy (MT) program is the right choice for you!

What next? First, verify that this is really what you want to do …
  • Check an MT website for schools in your area;
  • Visit as many schools as you can to get an impression of them
  • Get a massage at the student clinics at three schools (if possible);
  • Talk to students to assess their perception of the school, the program and how they are managing their studies;
  • Contact students that graduated from the school and see how they are doing professionally and how they managed study in the program.
massage hands

These acts should provide you with an overview of the schools and evaluate what each has to offer. In addition, you will be able to assess whether the profession appeals to you and will suit your personality.

Asking appropriate questions will assist you in determining whether you would enjoy and successfully complete the program.

Questions to consider asking.
  • What made you decide to study massage therapy?
  • Are you happy with the choice you made, and why?
  • What are the difficulties you encounter in the practice of MT?
  • What difficulties did study in the program pose?
  • What is your evaluation of the school you graduated from?
  • Does it provide an adequate source of income?
Next, having decided to study Massage Therapy, consider your choice of schools and eliminate one. Further ‘investigate’ the remaining schools and apply to at least two (if possible) that you think are the best. Prioritize your choices. Don’t be tempted to choose a school for mere convenience …
  • it is close to home;
  • a friend chose this school;
  • tuition is a bit lower;
  • it is known as an ‘easy’ school.
Note … you are training for a profession that you will engage in for many years. And, as with a choice of university, you want the best! Make sure the school you choose has an extensive student support system and preparatory courses and an active student body.

At this point you have decided that massage therapy as a health-care profession is what you want and have determined which school(s) you are going to apply to. You have decided that touch is something you are very comfortable with … being touched and touching others.

What do you need to know about the program?
It is not a walk in the park …
  • it is an arduous two-year program (at a minimum);
  • the science subjects are medically oriented and include anatomy, physiology and pathology – they require serious study;
  • the practical component, massage, requires physical stamina;
  • communication and relationships are an integral part of the program and the practice of MT;
What does it take to be successful on a personal level?
  • Motivation to sustain a two-year grind. Being able to remind yourself, “I want to do this, I can do this!”
  • Tenacity – stick to the task like a pit bull;
  • Commitment – the resolution to complete the program in spite of difficulties you may encounter;
  • Desire to maximize your potential – be the best you can;
  • Hard work to achieve the goal – becoming an excellent MT;
  • Tools to deal with disappointment – if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up… try again;
  • Time is of utmost importance - most people cannot manage school and a job, even a part time one;
  • Put personal concerns ‘on hold’ – problems will seriously hamper your ability to succeed;
  • And last, but not least … a supportive network – family, friends, other students.
Are you a little wary of taking on an intensive two-year program of study? What will you need to do to be a successful as a student?
  • Good study habits – the ability to manage your time well, and ‘juggle’ the various obligations you have in, and out of, school;
  • Study skills – know how to study and effectively use your ‘brain power’ – study skills can
  • be acquired and honed;
  • Excitement – knowing you will be able to help others and further your development as a person;
  • Have fun learning – enjoy your newly acquired knowledge and skills.
What will you need as a health care professional?
  • Care and compassion for others;
  • Ability to separate your person from the MT – maintain professional boundaries;
  • Abide by a set of rules and regulations set by the College governing MT in your jurisdiction;
  • Desire to continually learn and upgrade your knowledge and skills;
  • Patience to accept people as they are and help them get to where good health resides;
  • And… the motivation and commitment that sustained you during your time at school.
Massage therapy is likely the most rewarding health-care profession. As you spend more time with each person, and you can positively affect lives and well being. Many have graduated in the past, and you can as well!

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