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9 tips to extend your career in massage therapy.

Cropped shot of chiropractor massaging back of patient that lying on massage table in hospital

A career as a massage therapist can take its toll, both on our bodies and our minds. So how can you keep yourself healthy and reduce the strain on your body whilst still delivering fantastic treatments? And when you're completely worn out how can you stay in the industry? Below we share 9 tips to extend your career in massage therapy and keep doing what you love for longer! 

 

1. Opt for clothed treatments.

 

If you are struggling with pain in your fingers, switch to clothes on treatments. Ideal for more modest clients as well, they can wear a t-shirt and jogging bottoms.

 

 

 

Not only does this technique requires way less pressure from you to deliver a deep tissue massage, creating fewer repetitive strain injuries, it also increases client mobility and creates a more clinical atmosphere to your treatments, ideal for sports massage therapists looking to demonstrate their value to clients. Best of all, removing the need for oil saves money on equipment and time as you don’t have as much clean up between treatments!

 

2. Choose pull over push.

 

Massage is a constant balance between pushing and pulling. As therapist when working in the prone or supine positions we tend to be using a lot more push which can be damaging to our hands.


When working on clients constantly challenge yourself to think of ways you can use a pulling technique rather than a pushing one. For example when clients are in a side-lying position brace a hand on your client’s leg to create an opposing pressure whilst using your other hand in a pulling motion to work on a variety of muscle groups.


Which leads us nicely to….

 

3. Switch to side lying.

 

By making the switch to giving clothed massage treatments you also open up the possibility of working on clients in a side-lying position. Removing the need to constantly strain yourself stretching over clients in a prone or supine position, you will be working from a place of proper posture and can massage arms and legs with greater ease. Make sure you keep your clients comfy with pillows and bolsters!

 

 

4. Grab a seat.

 

Many clients will come into your massage therapy clinic with a particular condition they want treating and will ask you as their therapists to focus on specific areas for most of their session. Whenever possible, give your back and feet a break when working on specific areas of the body by grabbing a rolling stoolGreat for your posture, it will stop you from stooping over your client and reduce the amount of time standing on your feet which over time can lead to aches and pains like plantar fasciitis. Removing these uncomfortable distractions will help you focus on delivering a kick-ass treatment!  

 

5. Protect your thumbs.

 

We all have those clients who seem to always want a lot of pressure regardless of whether this is what is best for them!

 

Facebook comment about clients wanting deep tissue massage

 

Whilst it always our job as massage therapists to listen to the needs of our clients and offer the best course of treatment, if over time the amount of pressure you are able to give reduces dramatically you will no doubt lose clients who cannot reap the benefits of a more rigorous form of massage.

 

The good news is this can be avoided with this inexpensive tool. Deceptively simple, the value it provides cannot be underestimated! It eases the strain on your thumb whilst still enabling you to deliver a deeper treatment. Ergonomically shaped it is particularly useful for trigger point therapy and working away on those tricky knots!

 

6. Did you do your homework?

 

How often do your clients do their homework? Getting clients to do their exercises between sessions can feel like an impossible task but use your own health as another motivator to get this working for you. At the end of the day if clients are working on their tissue issues at home you will have less tension to work out in your next massage treatment, leaving them feeling even more fabulous and causing less strain on your body.


When providing exercises to clients ask them how much time a day they can spare to fix this issue. For most clients, suggesting a whole regime is unlikely to fit with their busy schedules so keep any exercises short in hopes they will be more likely to get done!


During their next session, be proactive and create a connection with an empathetic ear. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients directly “I know it can be hard to find time but did you find the exercises I gave you useful?” Most people will be honest and say if they didn’t which will give you another opportunity to show off your knowledge and prove your value with some alternatives!

 

7. Introduce quick exercises into your daily routine.

 

We all know our calling takes a toll on our bodies! As well as encouraging your clients to take care of themselves between sessions, make sure you are taking time to stretch out any aches and pains between treatments.

 

Facebook post from Lea Phan about experiencing pain as a massage therapist 

There are many common ailments that can be faced by massage therapists as their career progresses but the good news is there are quick and simple exercises that can help reduce the symptoms or prevent them entirely! With no need for expensive equipment, put the time between treatments to good use with these easy exercises to cure what ails you and extend your career as a massage therapist!

 

8. Pick a strategic specialism.

 

For therapists on the verge of quitting, there can be a way forward without leaving the industry!

 

Facebook post from Beth Fessenden about pain cause by working as a massage therapist

 

It may seem counterintuitive, but by picking a niche and reducing the number of massage treatments you give each week you can actually earn you more money! The key lies in promoting yourself as a specialist. As you earn yourself a solid reputation you will be able to charge more for your treatments, promising a solid solution to your clients’ ailments.

Work smarter not harder and pick a specialism which allows you to focus on areas of the body which put less stress on you as a therapist. For example focus on promoting yourself as a specialist for headaches, migraines, RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome or temporomandibular disorder. Get yourself established in your local community by networking with GP’s and dentists, asking to put flyers up in surgeries and working out a discounted rate for referrals. Learn why your massage therapy business needs a niche and how to implement one in our in-depth blog post.

 

9. Hire some help

 

As therapists, we all have a desire to help people and having to pass on our clients never feels great. If your aches and pain have become too much to work through it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to step out of the game altogether.


Instead, hire other therapists to deliver the treatments and focus on creating an incredible atmosphere in your clinic. Spend your days' networking with health professionals, community groups and local businesses to bring in more clients and introduce more people to the benefits of massage! Find a niche or an ailment you are particularly passionate about helping clients to resolve and become a specialist treatment centre. Create support groups online and give back to the community, posting helpful articles and discount offers on treatments.

 

Have you tried any of these methods to help extend your career as a massage therapist? Let us know what worked for you and what didn't in the comments below! 


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