Massage Therapist Video: Educational Requirements in Massage Therapy

Massage Therapist Video: Educational Requirements in Massage Therapy Transcript

The medical benefits of 'friction' and muscle manipulation have been well documented since 400 BC. This form of physical therapy is still used today by massage therapists. Licensed masseurs use more than 80 different types of massage to reduce stress, heal injuries and condition the muscles of the body.


Massage therapists use a combination of new and traditional techniques to treat a variety of aches and pains. These techniques may include deep tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, Swedish massage, sports massage and neuromuscular massage. Individuals who want to work as a massage therapist need to be educated, professional, licensed and willing to work with people in an intimate setting.

Job Skills and Duties

A massage therapist must have a thorough understanding of the body's muscle groups and the science of human movement. These skills allow them to identify physical problems with muscles or joints and apply appropriate techniques. Certain massages call for exaggerated strokes across the body, while others use short, percussive strokes on certain areas. These strokes help to improve circulation and release waste from muscle tissue. Massage therapists need to understand what these strokes do and when to apply them.

Training Required

Most massage therapists receive their training at one of the 1,500 massage therapy postsecondary schools, college programs and training programs located throughout the country. Programs can vary and may last anywhere from six months to two years. After graduation, massage therapists typically elect to take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). Most states require massage therapists to pass this test or a state-sponsored examination to receive a license. Out of the 50 states, 38 have laws that regulate massage therapy and require licensure or certification. Therapists who do seek out certification must renew it every four years.

Well Known Jobs within This Field of Expertise

More than half of all practicing massage therapists are self-employed. The rest work in spas, salons, physicians' offices, medical clinics, sports centers and hotels. Although many massage therapists are trained in multiple specialties, nearly all choose to specialize in one area. For example, sport masseurs specialize in working with athletes and healing sports injuries, while medical masseurs focus on using massage in conjunction with or in place of traditional medical treatments.


Massage therapy is a diverse and delicate field. To become a massage therapist, one must be comfortable with the human body and able to stand for an hour or more. A good massage therapist needs to build relationships with clients--a fact that makes attitude as important as skill. People who enjoy working with the body and regular interaction with a variety of people might find massage therapy to be the perfect career choice.


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