Are you thinking of becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist? Not sure what or where you need to study? Or maybe you already are a LMT but would like to diversify your know-how? Either way, in this article I wanted to talk about the different subjects that, in my opinion, you should study in order to become a truly successful massage therapist with an ability to make a real difference in people´s lives.
The basic studies for becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist
As I know that our readers and followers are from all corners of the world, I need to generalize this information as the requirements in one country or state might differ very much from another. In general terms, usually the massage therapy studies (at least in the Western world) are regulated, and this means that you need to study a certain amount of hours and certain subjects in order for you to qualify as a massage therapist.
For in example in the US, you can study a massage therapist program at a massage school, but in order to become a Licensed massage therapist you then need to take a licensing exam at state level. Different states have different requirements as to the length and contents of the study program so you really need to inform yourself well in advance. Then you also have the option to become board certified, by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), which essentially means that you fulfill additional qualifications in education, massage hand-on practice, etc. This is the highest education you can get in the US as a massage therapist. The NCBTMB also promotes Continuing Education in massage and accredits individual training providers as well as organizations to offer CE courses to Licensed Massage Therapists who earn CE credits for this training. For example our online massage courses are accredited with CE hours, so that LMTs can earn their credits with us while expanding their knowledge.
A typical massage therapy program contains the following subjects: anatomy and physiology, massage theory, hygiene, massage health benefits, indications and counter-indications, ethics, self-care, business skills, etc. Again, the contents of a massage program might vary from school to school but they should include at least these subjects which are crucial for becoming a massage professional. Usually you study the program in a massage school, but there are also some online programs available that teach you the theory and then you can do the practical training hours separately. In any case, normally you will need many hours of hands-on practice in order to get your degree, which obviously is a good thing as this is what you will be earning your living on!
The complementary studies in massage that will make all the difference!
So now let´s say you have studied massage for 1-2 years and have earned your title as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Good for you! This is without a doubt a great achievement and will allow you to start your career as a massage therapist nearly anywhere you like. There is, however, one thing that sets aside a LMT who has “only” studied the basics, and a LMT who has had an interest in becoming something more, of making a real difference in his/her clients life; the holistic dimension.
Yes I know we are all a bit tired of the holistic thing by now…You can call it holistic, integrative, whatever you like, but the truth is that a massage therapist that can look beyond the mere physical, and see the human being in a broader perspective, really has the chance to treat his/her clients in a holistic manner that will improve their quality of life, as well as bring more and better business!
Just think of it; a client comes in for a massage, complaining about pain in the shoulders and neck. She receives a massage, and feels a bit better within 2-3 days, but then the pain returns. She comes for 2 more massage sessions, but as she sees that it really does not help in the long run, she does not come back. In another, more holistic scenario, the client comes to the massage center, and first thing the massage therapist does a simple diagnosis questionnaire in which he discovers that the client is very stressed and also has a very poor posture at work, and this is most probably causing the pain in the neck and shoulder área. He recommends her to come for several massage sessions but also gives her tips on how to relax through meditation and breathing excercises, as well as teaches her better ergonomics. Not surprisingly this results in that the client is cured on many levels, she feels more relaxed and happier in her life in general. She is also very thankful for the dedication and effort her massage therapist has showed her, and so she keeps returning for biweekly relaxing massages and has recommended him to work colleagues as well as her friends, and his center is getting busier and busier.
Bottom line is, its always a good idea to study holistic modalities such as for example Tibetan massage and diagnosis, meditation, Ayurvedic massages and treatments, reiki, yoga, etc…that will really make the difference, both for your clients as well as for yourself. Would you not want to feel that you really are helping people live better lives? Apart from obviously growing your business considerably.
So take the leap, look for programs or courses on holistic treatments in your area, or even online, and start studying, its never too late! If you want some more tips feel free to contact me!
As always, we just love to have your input, so could you share with us a holistic technique that you recently have studied?
Wishing you a meaningful day ahead,