The right stuff: what it takes to become a massage therapist

December 8, 2014

Having natural skill alone isn't enough to practice massage therapy. If you're considering a career in this field, here's how to know if you've got what it takes to become a certified massage therapist.

The right stuff: what it takes to become a massage therapist

Help yourself before you help others

You must be willing to practise at least some form of self-awareness in order to achieve emotional balance.

  • If this is not already the case, prepare yourself by improving your nutrition and engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Since you’ll spend a good deal of energy engaging in repetitive motions, you’ll also need to get massaged. Massages between therapists are not only common practise, but essential for training. Services between therapists are exchanged for free, since both parties benefit.

A people person

You’ll be in constant contact with others and work in an intimate environment, so you must feel comfortable close to people. Remember:

  • Though you must be an empathetic and compassionate person, you are not meant to be the world’s saviour.
  • You’ll come by people from all walks of life. If you have any friends who are massage therapists, they will likely tell you that not everyone shares the same concept of hygiene. Occasional awkwardness can be part of the daily life of a massage therapist.

Be open-minded and a good listener

Communication skills are necessary in order to understand and meet the needs of the client.

  • Massage is touch therapy, and is a very personal experience, which sometimes leads people to confide in their practitioner.
  • When you see clients regularly, you’ll start to gain their trust. You must develop open relationships without judgment or opinions.

Have passion for what you do

In addition to basic training, you must hone your skills, especially if your clients experience chronic problems. Massage courses are available, and there are numerous seminars and conferences.

  • A willingness to collaborate and an ability to accept your limitations is crucial,becauseyou may need to recommend to your client anothercourse of treatment, such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath or even a psychologist.

Have confidence and trust your judgment

Beyond promoting well-being through touch therapy, you need to answer people's questions.

  • Keep up to date and remain informed in order to better assist them.
  • Be confident when recommending massage techniques and exercises.
  • If the treatment you’ve opted for is not effective after more than one session, consult your books or seek outside advice to find a solution. It’s important to note your client’s progress in their file.


First and foremost, client confidentiality must be respected. People will share with you their worries and problems. They will confide personal information that should be included in their file.Keep in mind that your attitude and the quality of your work must answer to a code of ethics.

Understanding your limits is also important. Some massage therapists can manage eight massages per day, while others can manage four. Be sure to notice if fatigue is creeping up on you and causes the quality of your treatments to suffer.

Although communication is an integral part of the profession, you need to keep quiet when performing a massage.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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