massage and bodywork professionals

a community of practitioners

Greetings All!

I am currently in the research phase of deciding which school to attend to obtain my education to join the field of massage therapy.  Since 2010, I have been working in the field of real estate in various administrative roles.  Since June, I've been a licensed Realtor and am completely miserable in this profession.  

While doing my research about deciding what school to go to and what to study, I've tried to keep one thing in mind: my purpose. What is my  purpose? What I truly want to do is help people and feel that I'd be able to do that as a massage therapist.

I have visited a school in another city near by and have pretty much decided that that is where I will go in order to obtain my education.  I do worry a bit about taking anatomy and physiology as I've never taken classes in either realm.  Was this daunting to any of you in your beginning stages? Any tips to a woman in her mid-thirties heading back to school for this certification?  Any and all input is welcome.

Views: 217

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Learning how our bodies function is beautiful process. Sure there can be some memorization and lots of new vocabulary in anatomy and physiology, but it is information that can be used everyday because it's all about us, the body human.
Many of the students in my class were 30+ and a lot are still in practice today, 12 years later. While some other classmates allowed the profession to guide them into other medical fields: chiropractors, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapy, etc.
It's a great profession with lots of flexibility and most therapists are very passionate about the work they do.
Suggestions: Don't be afraid of A&P, you know most of it already; and find a few good study partners to practice with, it makes the learning more fun.
When I went to massage school many moons ago( 30 years) the anatomy/physiology class was easy. It was at a junior high level. Very basic. No where's near a college level anatomy/physiology class or current massage school level. Of course over the years I've learned a lot on that subject, almost through osmosis, just from my own studying and reading over the years on related massage subjects. What I would do is try to find a junior high level anatomy physiology book. There must be one around? Read that just to get a basic idea of how the body functions and to become familiar with the language and terms involved. You will go into your massage school with as good of knowledge or higher level then most of the other students you will be studying with. I know it can be a daunting subject. But everybody on these forums went through it so.....You will be fine. And massage is a very very good way to help people.

I am also a career changer, went into massage therapy after 25 years of IT.  Loved school, love my second career!  I was pretty much an anatomy geek prior so the A&P wasn't a big deal for me (plus I had a lot of it during yoga teacher training a few years prior).  As far as school goes, what ever works for your schedule and is cost effective.  I went the community college route as it was part of the allied science/health school (being an anatomy geek, that was a plus) and much cheaper than the private MT schools...

Oh, I see you are in Virginia.  I went to NVCC!  I think some of the other community colleges in Virginia also have massage therapy programs.

Laurie, I see you're in VA Beach. Did you happen to attend the Cayce Reilly School there? That's also one that I'm contemplating.

Alexis, therapeutic massage-- emphasis on "therapeutic"-- is a fabulous profession.  I was 60 when I received my ASc in therapeutic massage; one of my grandchildren, following in granddad's path, became a licensed massage therapist at 18.

You are unlikely to become wealthy as Croesus providing massage.  But the rewards are many.  When a client hobbles into your treatment room in too much pain to stand erect, and one hour later stands erect, moving freely and smiling broadly, tears of relief in her eyes...well, that's worth a lot more than mere dollars and cents.

My advice?  You can learn enough "to get by" and pass the license exam in a few weeks.  But please don't set your sights so low; aim high.  Enroll in a school that provides a thorough grounding in anatomy & physiology, kineseology, pathology, psychology in addition to instruction and plenty of hands-on practice in neuromuscular therapy (NMT), myofascial release (MFR), deep tissue massage, shiatsu-- there are many, many more modalities, each involves several techniques.  Strive to learn as many as you can as early in your career as you can; this will pay off for you throughout your career.  

And do think of it as a career-- it is so much more than a way to earn a decent living.  So invest wisely. 

Before you enroll in the school nearby, look them up online, examine closely the school's curriculum.  It'd be wise to talk to graduates of the school; ask for their honest opinions of the school's instructors, the textbooks provided, the equipment provided to you as part of the package.  Certainly before you graduate the school should provide with a first rate portable massage table, for they can be expensive.  Now, as soon as you become convinced that you made the right choice in choosing this profession, you should begin building up a supply of fitted sheets and fitted face rest covers for the table; in my opinion, flannel sheets are best, for they are warm to the client's bare skin and the sheets don't wrinkle... you will need at least ten sets.  Other items for your practice, a gallon of massage lotion or gel or oil, a couple of small pump bottles and a holster to carry one in.  Long before you graduate, get prepared!

Of all the subjects a curriculum should include, kineseology is the most important to a massage therapist.  Kineseology = the study of muscles and how they move, and where and how they attach to the bones they move.    If you locate a school that includes at least a couple of quarters of instruction and clinical practice in treating trigger points, jump on it-- not many do.  To become the go-to guy in your area, strive to become the very best.

Good luck.  Send me private message for more detailed advice. 

-- Gary Addis

 

 

Alexis - i graduated from another local school, but I have taken classes at Cayce-Reilly and visit the campus often (it has a wonderful bookstore and an extensive library). The school has an excellent reputation, an long history in wellness and you can't beat the location, one block from the oceanfront.
There is some great advice posted here. Now is the time to go out a get a few massages to confirm you are making a great career choice.

When I enrolled, I had never had a massage, didn't have a clue what it was about.  Our first massage class, eight of us were  shy as hell about laying hands on a stranger, three of whom were female to five males.  A lot of nervous laughter especially when we had to massage the glutes.  But in no time we got into it.  My first full session with the instructor, I put him to sleep on my table!  Great for the confidence!

Massage therapists enjoy the opportunity to help a rookie, so visit a few, ask for a discounted rate and advice-- what are you doing now, and why, etc.     

Hi Alexis,

I have a few thoughts, and I hope they will help.  :)

First, even though you don't like Real Estate, please don't let your license go.  You never know when you will need to fall back on it.  I've seen this happen with young people over the years, where they get a license, don't like or need the work anymore, let the license go and then loose that safety net.  I saw it happen with a friend of mine who was an LMT years ago.  She married up, and let the license go, only to find out that when she needed it back, she was going to have to return to school and take a whole lot more hours and re-take the exam, because in her deciding to let the license go she lost the ability to be grandfathered into the current rules and regs.  This can happen with any profession, so please keep it in mind.

If your purpose is helping people, I would also suggest you consider looking into some other professions as well.  For example, if you are very smart with numbers, you may want to consider looking into Dosimetry (I never knew about this profession until I met a client, many years ago. He loved his job. He said it can be hard to deal with the patients facing cancer, but for the most part, you are leaving your work at work. What is Medical Dosimetry?.)  The need is great and the pay is good.  Also, if you haven't thought about it, you may want to look into Speech Pathology or Audiology.  You may consider X-Ray Technology or Mammography (both can provide easy to find work depending on where you are located and can be full or part-time. Things to remember... people don't bathe like you think they would, when coming in for a mammogram, and depending on where you rad tech for, you may be dealing with immediate injuries and illness. If you don't want to deal with trauma and sickness, you may want to look into doing your rad tech for an x-ray center to minimize this.)  Perhaps you could consider an Opthamalogic/Opthalmic Tech or a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

OK, so now, if you are still pretty interested in massage, please know that it can seem as though there is a lot more money in it than there is.  Now, that doesn't mean you can't make a good living at it, but making a good living at it is not ultra-common.  Too many people see the price of massage in a studio or office and don't translate that into that the cost of keeping a business open / or loss of fees by working for someone else.  They also don't realize that if three people want a massage at 1pm and can't come in at another time, two sessions may be potentially lost, if you don't have a different and convenient time available for that person.  That can make it to where you may have to work until 8pm at night to make enough to keep your doors open for another day (if you are in business for yourself and don't have anyone else to lean on).  And, the list goes on.  So, I don't want to create fear, but I do want to you be aware.  It doesn't mean you can't be successful, and there are plenty of us who are.  But, you should be aware that it may take years to get a practice off the ground.  Then again, you may end up like a practitioner I know in Florida who had a full spa generated and running in the black within 2 years.  I can't say that is how things happened for me.  ;)

If you've already decided on the school you like, then just make sure that you are in a personal place where you can do the work.  You don't want to waste your money, by dropping out because you weren't in the right head-space.  I used to teach Anatomy & Physiology for a number of massage schools and saw this happen frequently.  Students would even go through the entire program and then decide to not take the state/national exams.  In my actual massage class, we only had 2 people take the exams. 

As a prior teacher, I can tell you that most people who are teaching A&P in a massage school are good at it, and enjoy it.  It doesn't pay well in a private school, and so usually the instructor is trying to make ends meet themselves.  But, it is rare that they will do a bad job, because the vibe of the school makes teaching fun.  Make sure and meet the person who is going to be teaching you A&P before making the commitment to the school, if this is an area of concern for you.  You want to be confident that your instructor will walk you through the information and bring it down to a level where you can digest it.  If you don't get that feeling after meeting the A&P instructor, it could well be grounds for seeking out a different school.

I'm certainly happy to get with you on "chat" in the Main Room, here at the forums, and give you some pointers if you need them.

Think of A&P in a basic format.  You will get deep, but as long as you grasp the basics well, you can build upon it relatively easy, by changing the learning format.  If you have an instructor that is all book and no hands-on, and you *need* hands on, then look up things on youTube, or create a study group with a few classmates who learn like you.  If your instructor is too hands-on in class (rare that this would be a problem for someone taking classes in massage school), then just get more cerebral with your learning at home.

I have only run across one person in my years of teaching who couldn't pass one of my A&P/Biology classes.  And, that was because he had a lot on his plate and it was getting in the way of his school.  That was also not in a massage school, but in a Junior College for a Biology class.

As a side note, I am a huge fan of the Student Forum at BWOL.  I encourage you to look around there. 

We're here to help.  Let us know how we can!  :)



Pueppi, a great, detailed response. 

Pueppi Texas said:

Hi Alexis,

I have a few thoughts, and I hope they will help.  :)

First, even though you don't like Real Estate, please don't let your license go.  You never know when you will need to fall back on it.  I've seen this happen with young people over the years, where they get a license, don't like or need the work anymore, let the license go and then loose that safety net.  I saw it happen with a friend of mine who was an LMT years ago.  She married up, and let the license go, only to find out that when she needed it back, she was going to have to return to school and take a whole lot more hours and re-take the exam, because in her deciding to let the license go she lost the ability to be grandfathered into the current rules and regs.  This can happen with any profession, so please keep it in mind.

If your purpose is helping people, I would also suggest you consider looking into some other professions as well.  For example, if you are very smart with numbers, you may want to consider looking into Dosimetry (I never knew about this profession until I met a client, many years ago. He loved his job. He said it can be hard to deal with the patients facing cancer, but for the most part, you are leaving your work at work. What is Medical Dosimetry?.)  The need is great and the pay is good.  Also, if you haven't thought about it, you may want to look into Speech Pathology or Audiology.  You may consider X-Ray Technology or Mammography (both can provide easy to find work depending on where you are located and can be full or part-time. Things to remember... people don't bathe like you think they would, when coming in for a mammogram, and depending on where you rad tech for, you may be dealing with immediate injuries and illness. If you don't want to deal with trauma and sickness, you may want to look into doing your rad tech for an x-ray center to minimize this.)  Perhaps you could consider an Opthamalogic/Opthalmic Tech or a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

OK, so now, if you are still pretty interested in massage, please know that it can seem as though there is a lot more money in it than there is.  Now, that doesn't mean you can't make a good living at it, but making a good living at it is not ultra-common.  Too many people see the price of massage in a studio or office and don't translate that into that the cost of keeping a business open / or loss of fees by working for someone else.  They also don't realize that if three people want a massage at 1pm and can't come in at another time, two sessions may be potentially lost, if you don't have a different and convenient time available for that person.  That can make it to where you may have to work until 8pm at night to make enough to keep your doors open for another day (if you are in business for yourself and don't have anyone else to lean on).  And, the list goes on.  So, I don't want to create fear, but I do want to you be aware.  It doesn't mean you can't be successful, and there are plenty of us who are.  But, you should be aware that it may take years to get a practice off the ground.  Then again, you may end up like a practitioner I know in Florida who had a full spa generated and running in the black within 2 years.  I can't say that is how things happened for me.  ;)

If you've already decided on the school you like, then just make sure that you are in a personal place where you can do the work.  You don't want to waste your money, by dropping out because you weren't in the right head-space.  I used to teach Anatomy & Physiology for a number of massage schools and saw this happen frequently.  Students would even go through the entire program and then decide to not take the state/national exams.  In my actual massage class, we only had 2 people take the exams. 

As a prior teacher, I can tell you that most people who are teaching A&P in a massage school are good at it, and enjoy it.  It doesn't pay well in a private school, and so usually the instructor is trying to make ends meet themselves.  But, it is rare that they will do a bad job, because the vibe of the school makes teaching fun.  Make sure and meet the person who is going to be teaching you A&P before making the commitment to the school, if this is an area of concern for you.  You want to be confident that your instructor will walk you through the information and bring it down to a level where you can digest it.  If you don't get that feeling after meeting the A&P instructor, it could well be grounds for seeking out a different school.

I'm certainly happy to get with you on "chat" in the Main Room, here at the forums, and give you some pointers if you need them.

Think of A&P in a basic format.  You will get deep, but as long as you grasp the basics well, you can build upon it relatively easy, by changing the learning format.  If you have an instructor that is all book and no hands-on, and you *need* hands on, then look up things on youTube, or create a study group with a few classmates who learn like you.  If your instructor is too hands-on in class (rare that this would be a problem for someone taking classes in massage school), then just get more cerebral with your learning at home.

I have only run across one person in my years of teaching who couldn't pass one of my A&P/Biology classes.  And, that was because he had a lot on his plate and it was getting in the way of his school.  That was also not in a massage school, but in a Junior College for a Biology class.

As a side note, I am a huge fan of the Student Forum at BWOL.  I encourage you to look around there. 

We're here to help.  Let us know how we can!  :)



I don't have much to add to the great posts here, but I do want to address the comment that you made about wanting to "help people".  A lot of us get into massage for that reason, and it will eat your lunch!  Like myself and so many others, you will beat your body up and exhaust yourself in an attempt to "help" each person on your table.  As a whole, MT's are giving and caring individuals and that's a beautiful thing!  Bear with me while I explain my thought process. I want to caution you against maintaining the mindset that you are helping people.  At a psychological level, it's damaging to you and them both.  It puts you in the position of doing all the work, and causes the client to be a passive participant to your active work, rather than being an active participant in their own health.

It's more useful to think of yourself as a "facilitator", one who makes a process easier.  If, as therapists, we facilitate each client's process, this then becomes active for both therapist and client.  You will be less drained and more appreciated (by most clients.  Some will want you to do all the work for them and I recommend that you not be OK with that!). Do your absolute best for each client, but if your goal is to help people you will become focused on outcomes and will feel like a failure if you can't "help" someone - and we all have those clients!

Having said all that, when you make a positive difference to people it's amazing!  I've been doing massage (and MFR and CranioSacral Therapy) for more than 8 years and it is a rewarding career for sure.

You are right Therese. After failing to help a client, I've gone home depressed. Not healthy. However, wanting to avoid that feeling as much as possible, has spurred me on to do some serious study in order to become a better therapist. I kinda hate to admit it. But I've learned a lot from my failures. I wish I could call all those patients/clients that I couldn't help all those years ago. Because I think I can help them now.

Therese Schwartz said:

I don't have much to add to the great posts here, but I do want to address the comment that you made about wanting to "help people".  A lot of us get into massage for that reason, and it will eat your lunch!  Like myself and so many others, you will beat your body up and exhaust yourself in an attempt to "help" each person on your table.  As a whole, MT's are giving and caring individuals and that's a beautiful thing!  Bear with me while I explain my thought process. I want to caution you against maintaining the mindset that you are helping people.  At a psychological level, it's damaging to you and them both.  It puts you in the position of doing all the work, and causes the client to be a passive participant to your active work, rather than being an active participant in their own health.

It's more useful to think of yourself as a "facilitator", one who makes a process easier.  If, as therapists, we facilitate each client's process, this then becomes active for both therapist and client.  You will be less drained and more appreciated (by most clients.  Some will want you to do all the work for them and I recommend that you not be OK with that!). Do your absolute best for each client, but if your goal is to help people you will become focused on outcomes and will feel like a failure if you can't "help" someone - and we all have those clients!

Having said all that, when you make a positive difference to people it's amazing!  I've been doing massage (and MFR and CranioSacral Therapy) for more than 8 years and it is a rewarding career for sure.

Attachments:

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2017   Created by Lara Evans Bracciante.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service