How to Become a Freelance Massage Therapist
Massage Therapists are essentially professionals who provide a number of body care treatments and therapies such as body scrubs, massage, therapeutic baths, and whatnot. These therapists also additionally provide skin care treatments such as waxing, manicures, aromatherapy, electrotherapy, makeup, nail treatments, facials, etc, and that is what makes them among the most favorite professionals in the world. The benefits of massage therapy have been universally acknowledged, and that is why you find spas in almost every major tourist destination, as they are a great source of money and relaxation.
Now you know massage therapy is not just another beauty treatment but makes a potential career option, let us know how to become a freelance massage therapist.
1. Educational qualifications required to become a massage therapist
Massage therapy does not necessarily require formal education; however, there are many courses available to help hone one’s healing skills. These courses provide necessary training to students, making them aware of fundamental anatomy and physiology of human body. So, even if you have planned to start without any formal education, it is highly recommended you enroll in some course of massage therapy. To know more about educational requirements of a massage therapist, read below:
- There is an array of institutes in India which provide professional courses in spa and massage therapy. These courses include certificate courses, diploma, postgraduate diploma, etc. The eligibility criterion is the successful completion of 10+2 for pursuing a certificate or diploma course.
- The time duration of these courses differ from one institute to another and generally falls between one to six months. There are courses with even shorter time duration of one month or even 15 days. Much of it will depend upon what the course intends to cover and who the target audience is.
- Some of the institutes in India include International School of Aesthetics and Spa, Pune that provides a year-long postgraduate Diploma course in Spa therapy; Ananda Spa Institute, Hyderabad, which offers international certification from ITEC or CIBTAC; Puretouch Spa Academy, Ernakulam provides a year-long spa therapy through its virtual learning program; Espana Spa Academy, Kochi provides short-term postgraduate Diploma courses in Spa Management, etc.
- While a certification in spa therapy will do, many people prefer to obtain a bachelor’s degree in complementary health care such as shiatsu, yoga, chiropractic, Ayurveda, acupressure, etc. You can go for courses in personal training, nutrition following 10+2.
2. Skills needed to become a massage therapist
Under this head, we shall learn about certain skills which every massage therapist must possess. These skills are most required in the freelance massage therapist community; hence, pay keen attention to what follows:
- Patience: Therapeutic treatment takes some time to work since it is not a one-go There is the interplay of a number of techniques from stroking to oiling, and therefore, you must keep patience. Apply the techniques in the most effective order and for the duration best suited to yield utmost results—this may take a while but certainly works.
- Physical fitness: Massaging requires a lot of continuous physical effort. There are so many techniques at work such as hydrotherapy, muscle stimulation exercises, stone therapy, etc and each requires regulated muscle work.
You must not grow tired and be able to handle a number of customers at a stretch without compromising with quality.
- Exemplary communication skills: While massaging, you have to engage the customer as much as possible. For that, you require really good and entertaining communication skills. Often, the customer would ask you about the benefits of a particular technique, and you should be prepared to answer as informatively and unambiguously as possible. This way you will build a rapport with the customer and the techniques will work even more.
- Personal hygiene: It is extremely important on the part of the therapist to maintain personal hygiene.
- Management skills: As a massage therapist, you should be able to manage the treatment area smoothly. Everything in the room must be in your knowledge such as the place for ointments so that there are least hurdles to effective therapy.
- Etiquettes: Professional attitude is a must. One should not become overly friendly or too indifferent to the customer and must maintain a professional conduct throughout. Your etiquettes must be refined, respectable and appropriate to the setting.
3. Work opportunities for massage therapists
There is no gainsaying that spa therapy is among the most lucrative businesses in the world, and naturally one can expect a lot of work opportunities in this area.
- Trained massage therapists are required in multiple spa settings such as medi-spa, resort spa, day spa, club spa, etc. In fact, most luxury hotels, beauty salons, health centers, nursing homes provide massage facilities and require massage therapists.
- Massage therapists are employed along with health care professionals, especially in multidisciplinary clinics. You can work as freelance therapists at these clinics and earn a handsome chunk.
- If you feel that your comfort lies with the idea of self-employment, then go for it. You can start up your own spa center (and trust me that often do not require a hefty investment). In fact, you do not really need a physical clinic; you can be available on call and work at the client’s home—it is as simple as that.
- In case you want to maintain regular access to job opportunities, you should join the online freelance platforms such as freelance.com, worknhire.com, upwork.com, guru.com or linkedin.com. These websites provide a common platform for massage therapists and clients to work together and mutually benefit.
- To brighten your career prospects, you can join various associations and councils of massage therapists such as the Advanced Spa Therapy Education Certification Council, the World Standard for Beauty & Spa Therapy, etc. These councils and associations act as the hotspots of massage therapists from across the world and help in the fortification of inter-personal and business connections.
4. The Pay rate
As a massage therapist, your primary concern must be the customer’s satisfaction. Once you become popular, your business will boom and money will flow in like a river. The pay rate will normally depend on a number of factors such as the location of the spa center, experience, qualifications, etc. If you are starting afresh, you may earn in the range of Rs. 10k-15k per month and sometimes, Rs.20k. The higher your experience graph goes, the higher the pay scale jumps. With time, you will be able to bring into your bank account as much as Rs.80k per month and even beyond. Massage therapists working at top-notch resorts earn handsomely, but to go up there, you will have to go through years of hard work and dedication.