Many lovers of massage therapy at one time or another find themselves considering whether or not they might go ahead and become a professional licensed massage therapist (LMT).
This is a good place to come from, because I’ve actually met a number of individuals already enrolled in massage school who don’t even like to receive massage! In my view, that’s not a good place to start!
But aside from a love of receiving massage, there are many, many different things to consider when making this decision. It’s not like picking up a new hobby. We’re talking about a career decision, not to mention tuition fees as high as $10,000 or more and many months of classes, studying, and some pretty challenging licensing exams.
As someone who has worked not only as a massage therapist myself, but also as the operator of an on-site massage service that has contracted hundreds of LMTs, I have a good idea about the kind of people who are going to make it, and those who won’t. Frankly, it’s not an easy business to thrive in. There are many challenges – some fair and some quite unfair – that just about any LMT will encounter at one point or another.
For example, there are issues related to gender that are unique in the massage industry. In general, most industry insiders would agree that men face more hurdles than women, simply because they are male. Why? While there are many exceptions, in general it’s safe to say that more women and men prefer to receive a massage from a woman, for various reasons that are not difficult to imagine. There are certainly plenty of successful male therapists; however in general, the odds are not in their favor.
A similar example is the issue of looks or personal appearances. While no one really cares what the dentist looks like, many people do actually care when it comes to massage, and that includes, by extension, the people who are hiring massage therapists. Just imaging the brochures for a fancy spa – all nice looking, young and physically fit men and women. Massage is a very personal and somewhat intimate service even within a therapeutic context, and people generally prefer someone who has an appealing appearance – and at the least well groomed and reasonably physically fit.
There are also some things an aspiring LMT can do to help him or herself, and others that simply cannot be controlled. For example, therapists can take all kinds of classes to learn different specialties and techniques to address specific problems or perform various styles of massage, and this could be useful. On the other hand, if someone just doesn’t really have that good raw talent – a nice sense of touch – (and not everyone does) – that is something that can be hard to learn. It’s just like how some people have rhythm and can dance, while others simply possess none.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of things prospective massage therapists should be thinking about before making the big decision to enroll in massage school and become a massage therapist. If you are thinking about becoming a massage therapist and would like to hear more on this topic, please take a look at an e-Book I wrote specifically for people considering going to massage school: 101 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Massage Therapist.
Thank you and good luck!