What Exactly Do Massage Therapists Do?

The job description of a massage therapist varies based on a number of factors. For instance, the niche the therapist has specialized in and the establishment he/she is working for are pertinent factors to be taken into consideration when determining the job description of the therapist. That being said, the basic purpose remains the same: the therapist has to perform massages. Many people feel that the job description of massage therapists don’t really matter since the work all of them do is basically the same.

Yet, the field of massage therapy is so versatile that having a single job description does not justify the work a therapist does. This is why it is important to understand what exactly massage therapists do; and this is not just crucial for aspiring therapists but also customers.

If a customer knows how the job description of a massage therapist has been determined, he/she can choose the best massage therapist who can fulfill their needs. The core component of the job description of a massage therapist is the field they have specialized in.

As a therapist, your job description is often determined by the type of school you had attended. There are many types of massages taught at massage schools but, usually there is one type of massage a therapist focuses more on than others.

This is your specialty and what you are generally considered to be an expert of. The job description changes if you decide to specialize in a different type of massage. Yet, that doesn’t provide a conclusive answer to the main question: what does a massage therapist do?

What Massage Therapists Do

The basic job description of a massage therapist is to provide different types of massages using their hands and fingers. The purpose of their efforts is to release the stress from the patient’s muscles as well as relieve any pain or discomfort they may be suffering from. Any person who has suffered an injury can see a massage therapist about alleviating the pain and discomfort.

Massage therapists know how to work on different parts of the body to ensure the pain can be relieved. This is the basic job description of massage therapists but, a fraction of what they actually do.
It all comes down to the purpose for which people seek the massage therapists’ service. For instance, if you are working as a massage therapist on a cruise liner, over 90% of the people who opt for massages would be seeking relaxation rather than the treatment for some ailment they may be suffering from.

On the other hand, some massage therapists are asked to help people battle their mental ailments. In some cases, you may have to help your patients recover from serious injuries. However, nearly all patients coming in for a massage are looking to release stress.

These are the different purposes for which a person may visit a massage therapist. Apart from this, there are some other things that as a massage therapist is expected to do. They too, become part of the job description. This includes:

  • Providing consultancy to patients and analyzing their medical history
  • Identifying the areas of the body that need to worked on and providing the solutions needed to treat the problems
  • Advising patients on how they can lead a healthier life while also caring for their muscles
  • Performing massages and showing their expertise by using their fingers and hands to relieve stress and pain

This is a basic job description of a massage therapist. It clearly highlights the responsibilities of the massage therapist, and what patients expect them to do. However, this doesn’t mean that the job description is rigid and cannot be flexible.

There might be some variation based on the environment of the place you are working in. As mentioned above, the types and techniques of massage you specialize in will also influence your job description to a certain extent.

Job Description by Modality

The type of massage you specialize in will also influence your job description. The different techniques of massage are known as modalities. If you specialize in any modality, it would be clearly added to your job description.

Some of the modalities that massage therapists usually specialize in are Swedish massage, sports massage and deep tissue massage. If you work at a place where you are expected to show your expertise of the modality you specialize in, it will be a part of your job description. In case you are working with a sports team, your description may be that of a sports massage therapist.

At massage school, you will learn about different types of massages. If you feel that there is a particular modality that excites you more than others, you can opt to continuing education in that particular stream and enroll in a training program to master that particular technique. On the other hand, there are some massage therapists who learn about a number of different modalities and with practice, develop a grasp on performing different types of massages. They are able to service a larger number of clients as they can fulfill their needs.

Knowing about the job description of a massage therapist is a good way to get a grasp of what you will be expected to do once you step into the professional space. The job description can be restrictive and also flexible at the same time.

For example, even if you don’t specialize in a particular modality, you may to perform it to meet your clients’ needs. Moreover, you may also have to treat the ailments suffered by your patients. The needs would vary from person to person and it is only with knowledge and experience that you can be a successful massage therapist.

You can expect to do many of the same things once you receive your license and start working as a massage therapist. It doesn’t matter whether you are self-employed or working for someone. What you do would remain pretty much the same regardless of the establishment where you perform massage therapy.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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