Life after Massage Therapy. What’s Next When You Retire or if You Burn Out?

Massage Therapy, working as a massage therapist is a rewarding career.

You not only help people get rid of their pains and aches.

But also improve their overall health and well-being.

It is a lucrative profession, the demand for which is constantly growing.

This is why there are many people who are seeking to become professional massage therapists.

All you need are some years of vocational education and a license, and you are good to go.

After that, you have the option to start your own massage therapy business or be employed at a massage facility. The possibilities are endless.

However, there may come a time when you might say enough is enough.

Even though you may still find it fulfilling to treat people and help them lead a better and healthier life.

You also have to keep in mind that this profession can take a lot out of a person – both physically and mentally.

You have to be on your feet at all times, which can be exhausting.

On some days, you might have to perform massages on more than 6 clients, each session lasting a whole hour.

Moreover, there is a considerable strain on your hands.

You have to be mentally active to ensure that you render the massage properly.

Over time, this can add to a lot.

Not everyone has the mental fortitude to persist with a career in massage therapy when their heart isn’t in it.

This is why it is important that you give some thought to a life after massage therapy.

What if you wake up one day and decide that you don’t want to work as a massage therapist anymore?

What are you going to do then? It is quite likely that you would have spent your entire career working in the massage industry.

Needless to say, taking up a whole new career, especially after the age of 30, is a challenge.

Given the state of the economy, it is not ideal either.

The great thing about being a massage therapist is that you needn’t work as a masseuse if you want to keep working in the industry.

There are many other job opportunities you can take up.

Let’s go over some of the options available to you.

The Ability to Switch Jobs – Massage Therapy

This is a practical option if you want to keep working as a massage therapist.

If you have been working at Massage Envy or any other similar massage facility for some time.

It is possible that you have gotten bored of the place.

You might interpret it as being tired of working as a massage therapist.

In this case, you should try switching jobs while still working as a massage therapist.

You can look for work in a spa or health club.

There are plenty of opportunities available out there for qualified massage therapists.

You can also seek work on a cruise ship.

In other words, a change of location might rejuvenate your desire to be a massage therapist.

You Can Consider Teaching

Since you are a professional massage therapist, you would have spent a few years in massage school receiving the education required to work in this field.

Now that you have some experience in addition to the knowledge you gained while studying, you can become a teacher.

There are many massage schools across the US where you can seek a teaching position.

You can look for courses that relate to the niche you were working in.

Having been performing massages for some time, you will be able to teach more effectively.

You Can Become a Consultant

Newer massage therapists and their clients may require consultancy from qualified massage therapists.

Use your experience in the industry to provide them guidance, advice and support.

They may come to you with any issues they face and you can address them.

This way, you don’t have to give massages anymore, just help the people who are working in the industry.

Sometimes people don’t know which type of massage they should opt for. Others need information on the things to consider before going for a massage. You may be able to help them in all such cases.

You Can Start Your Own Massage Business

If you have been working for an established massage facility all these years, maybe it is time that you consider starting your own.

As mentioned above, massage therapy is a lucrative field.

You may have made decent money while working as a therapist.

You can use the money you have saved up to get yourself a place where you can start your own business, along with the equipment and supplies you need.

And also, you may already know some people who come in frequently for massages.

You can also get in touch with your regular clients and service them through your own business.

You can contact other massage therapists you know and offer them a job.

This way, you can run the business, and not have to work as a massage therapist.

Having worked in the industry for some time, you may have the acumen necessary to run a business and make it a success.

Therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to get the business started up and running in no time.

This is an option you should definitely consider if you have the capital needed to start your own business.

Even otherwise, you can secure the funds you need by getting a bank loan.

You can show that you can start and establish a viable massage therapy business based on your qualifications and experience.

You May Consider Freelancing

Last, but not the least, you can consider freelancing as a massage therapist. Instead of working at a facility.

You can provide your services from home or go to other’s homes and provide massage.

You can take your massage table and supplies to the client’s home or get them to come over to your place.

This is a viable option if you have a number of regular clients you can bank on to turn this into a substantial livelihood.

These are some options you can explore in your life after a full-time massage therapy profession.

We are not suggesting that you will definitely get tired of the work.

In fact, many therapists successfully practice for decades into retirement.

However, in the event that you might want to change things around in the future.

We wanted to provide you with these viable options that many therapists have successfully switched to in the past.

Note: You can pursue any one of these while working full time as well.

For example, if you just need some supplemental income while expanding your footprint in the industry.

Any of the above options can be a viable solution to get started.

You can always switch to it full time later if you choose to.

This profession is not only lucrative but very flexible as well – leading to the work-life balance and flexibility that you desire in your life.

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+

28 comments on “Life after Massage Therapy. What’s Next When You Retire or if You Burn Out?
  1. David Waters says:

    I’m currently giving up massage after many years and now happily working online. I thought I would teach by my techniques and what I have learnt has been very hard to put into words. Used to work with football teams and badsket ball teams and enjoyed the private clients. But now retiring giving my hands a rest

    So happily working online enjoying my retiring years

    • Neal Lyons says:

      David, congratulations on retirement. Can you share with us in detail what it is that you are doing online and how you are leveraging your years of practical experience in massage in your online work?

    • Delia Caranci says:

      I came upon this article really looking for guidance as to where my skill sets and education as a massage therapist could take me towards new careers that don’t involve manual labor. Unfortunately all this article provided was options for how I could change my scenery and workplace while still doing the therapy that pains me on a daily basis. Has anyone else found success in retraining in modalities around the realm of Massage Therapy that are left taxing on the hands? If so has that been financially fruitful? Alternatively has anyone used their educational background to start a different career

      Your advice would be much appreciated. thank you

      • Neal Lyons says:

        Delia – read our article on the various options you can consider as a LMT – the article discusses teaching, opening your own massage school, insurance/supplies related professions, writing/publishing as well as continuous education providers. each of those topics further has a article dedicated to it. let us know if you have any questions after having read this material.

    • What sort of online work do you do? I have been doing massage for 22 years and I am definitley feeling burned out and juat starting to dread working. I own my own business and have been very grateful to have loved my job…till lately. I am just over it for some reason. I am also clueless as to my next step…I just don’t know.

      • Neal Lyons says:

        Krishna, we have several articles that walk you through next steps, how to teach massage or own your own massage business, including a massage school. Have you read those?

  2. Branson says:

    I am retiring after 18 years. I an nearly ancient in massage therapist years. I have tendonitis in both hands and find myself torn because of my loss of my livelihood and the love of helping clients. I can no longer DO massage, I am heart broken.

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Branson – sorry to hear about your situation. your passion however is clearly visible. what have you decided to do going forward? there are so many alternatives that can still keep you tied to this profession/industry. what are your thoughts?

    • Melissa Van zandt says:

      I’m in the same boat Branson 17 years for me I have been shaking in my boots scared massage is all I know. Scared and heart broken

      • Neal Lyons says:

        Melissa – what alternatives have you tried? What are you considering and what would you like to do? We an provide some suggestions

      • Maria Baffo says:

        Melissa, while my hands are okay, I just feel that I can’t do this until I am 65 and I need to do something else. I tried to go to physical therapy assistant school while working and became so stressed that I had to drop out. I have also previously been a personal trainer and didn’t feel that it would be steady income either. What are you doing currently?


  3. Colin says:

    My fiancé has had nothing but 5 star reviews and nothing less from over 30 past clients, booked solid for nearly 2 months in advance and loves her career. However do to her deep tissue technique has suffered some serious injurious to her hands and wrists and is now at the point of looking for a career change or options as she is only 25 and been in the business 5 years. What are your options to keep her in the RMT world without massaging? Any help is very very much appreciated! Thank you

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Colin – please read our article on alternative careers for therapists, as well as what many therapists do later in their careers. We have plenty of information on this topic – some examples are teaching, assisting in schools, becoming counselors in this field, work for a supplier/manufacturer (oils, tables, towels, etc), CPE provider/teachers, running massage conferences, etc.

  4. Thando says:

    Hi im a spa therapist but i am loterally done with therapy. Im struggling to figure out what i want to do from South africa and i also dont have means financially to go back to school.

  5. Ally Day says:

    I really appreciate the insight here in this post and confident it’s going to be helpful to me and many others. I’m wondering if you or anyone else has additional sources for me to read further and to be able to dig a little deeper?

  6. Cori says:

    Ive been a Professional Massage Therapist for over 18 years and Ive been teaching Massage Therapy in Schools for 15 years. Now Im going out on my own providing continuing education in Advanced Injury Massage and Functional Assessment. I feel like those of us with this much time in practice should be passing our knowledge forward.

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Cori – absolutely and congratulations. glad you have found the next logical place in your career. any advice for the rest of us? what has your experience been like so far?

  7. Adonna says:

    Massage therapists who are ready to move on should also consider a lateral move into heathcare. Physical therapy assistant, occupational therapy assistant, medical assistant, and LPN (licensed practical nurse are all good options that could put your knowledge of anatomy and physiology to good use. Personal trainer, yoga teacher, pilates instructor, or health educator are also additional options. If you’d like to continue in the spa industry, consider looking for a spa manager position.

    I’ve been doing massage therapy for 17 years so this is what I am considering doing aswell. Good luck to you all!

  8. Vera says:

    Hello. I just started massage school in California. I’m 47. I have background at medical field as a certified nurse assistant, management. I also have my small business.
    Im a karate practitioner brown belt. Karate helps me to be strong,in good shape.
    I’m a mother of 2 school age kids.
    I work part time at 2 jobs to pay my massage school tuition.
    After graduated and get license, I’m planning to work as a medical massage therapist part time and run my own medical massage therapy business.
    I’m not scare to start my new career. Never give up and never retire!

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Vera – you are a super mom and a super woman. all the best to you and i hope you update us on your progress and what you learn along the way as you pursue this goal

  9. Brian says:

    Can you link these other articles please

  10. Angel says:

    I’m on my 24th year as a Massage Therapist, mentally I’m 100%, but my thumbs & elbows are done :(. I am also a hospice volunteer & love working with the older population. I’m self employed also doing Natural Nail Care & Reiki with the majority of my business being Massage Therapy which I love most. I have been a dental assistant & a Pharmacy Tech & at 51 I’m not sure which way to turn. Massage fufills all my needs as far as a career. Reiki has been an added bonus for my clients so I’m not sure I could transition them. I do a fair Pedicure business but it is still hard on my hands & arms. I just want arm transplants 🙁

  11. Shelly Taylor says:

    I’ve been retired from the massage industry for about 10 years now and this was due to body pain . Early on, as a LMT; I realized that one of my abilities was empathy, which helped me tremendously when sensing pain. I’ve decided to use my sensitive gift in a more spiritual context and realized that shamanism could fulfill my desire to continue helping others. Healing work, after all, is what makes me most happy.

    • Fiona says:

      Hi Shelly, I really resonated with your comment on this article. After 10 years as a sports masseur I have a herniated disc and have been told by every psychic I’ve seen that I’m an empath and realise this is the case.

      My question is – how could I look into/study/train as a shaman?

      Also is it working out for you? I currently work in an Osteopathic clinic and I doubt they’d rent a room to a shaman 🙂

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