From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Massage Therapist

The Real Poop

Yeah. Right there—that's the spot.

 
You don't need a rockin' mustache…but it helps. (Source)

Massage therapy's never been more popular in this country than it is these days. You can thank toiling in the economy of the new millennium for that. With so many people stressing over a desk or standing for twelve hours a day, it's natural for them to seek a remedy to the pain. 

People rely on massage therapists to ease their minds, relax their bodies, soothe their souls, and eliminate those ridiculous knots.

Therapeutic massage can be administered to clients with injuries or other health conditions, and prenatal massage can be offered to expecting mothers. You can achieve a real sense of accomplishment as a massage therapist—what greater feeling than to know you're making others feel better?

Well, knowing you're getting paid for it is a pretty great feeling too. If you're average, it's only a so-so feeling at $37,000 a year; it feels a whole lot better if you're one of the top ten percent making over $70,000 working on those tight muscles (source). 

There are, of course, some downsides. For one, that starting pay of less than $20,000 a year's a pretty scary number. For another, the job can be tough on your hands and feet. You'll spend much of your day standing bent over your clients, and carpal tunnel is a major career hazard. 

On the plus side, you'll be whiling away the hours in a relaxing work environment, relieving your clients' stress and discomfort with calming music and scented candles.

We should warn you now: you're going to have to get used to pan pipes.

Being a massage therapist isn't for everybody, but especially not for those who have issues with human interaction or personal space. A massage therapist must be genuinely interested in their clients' well-being. 

You can't just phone it in while poking and prodding someone on your table at random for half an hour; you have to connect on an intimate level with each and every person who puts their muscular health literally into your hands.

 
If you hear the snap, the body's telling you to stop pulling. (Source)

To be a good massage therapist, you've got to pay attention to what they're physically telling you. If you're truly engaged, you'll notice when their body responds to you being too aggressive, and you'll pick up on problem areas that need more focus.

Of course, if the idea of kneading away at complete strangers grosses you out, there are other, similar options. Some people practice Reiki massage, a Japanese healing technique that can involve light touching or possibly no touching at all.

Alternatively, you could consider becoming an acupuncturist. Acupuncturists sometimes combine the practice of acupuncture with massage, but not necessarily. They also stick people with needles. We're not sure if this is more for your stress or your clients, but we do know someone's going to end up as a giant pincushion at the end.

Massage therapists can start up their own business, or they may work for a medical facility, spa, or athletic organization. Where you work may determine the nature of the muscle groups you'll be working on. 

For example, at a spa you may be focusing on working out knots and relieving stress from clients' neck, shoulders, back, and feet. If working for a football team, you may be spending a bulk of your time on calves, thighs, and biceps. If you own your own place, you can massage whatever muscle groups you feel like—as long as your client is cool with it.

Even though you're working during the massages and don't get to enjoy all of the benefits of it yourself, you do get to work in a calm, soothing environment, with relaxing music, peaceful lighting, and pleasant aromas.

And if there are any unpleasant aromas, you can always ask your client to shower before they come in next time.

Advertisement