Author Topic: Choosing a massage course  (Read 6421 times)


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Choosing a massage course
« on: September 25, 2010, 10:52:55 AM »
The world is constantly evolving. Right now people are doing more at a faster pace and leading more stressful lives, doing catch up exercise after sitting at a desk all day and consuming fast food far too often for one main reason, because it saves time.

As a consequence of this, one industry that is growing at a faster rate than most is health, specifically the area of treating pain and injury and taking stress from the body.

Traditionally Physiotherapy or Physical therapy (PT) and to some extent Chiropractic have been the preferred methods of treatment for people who suffer from pain. People are usually referred by their doctor, giving these modalities a decided advantage over other methods they compete with, but in recent years that domination is being eroded away because of two important reasons.

Firstly, both Chiropractic and PT often fail to provide the lasting results, or any result in many cases, (see this study for proof ) and secondly, there is an ever increasing number of new therapy options popping up that are competing strongly for the work as people search to find something that will be successful for them.

This new order are slowly watering down the dominance of the more established two, and as time goes on, the battle for supremacy in this part of the multi billion dollar health industry continues to heat up.

To the average man in the street the competition for the business is not important, what is however is finding a fast and effective solution for their pain that will allow them to get back to doing the things they want to do.
For the therapist who can consistently provide these results: there is abundant regular work providing a good steady income, plus an ability to work the hours and location of their choosing.

Whether it’s running a large clinic or a one man operation out of their own home it doesn’t matter, because the therapist who can provide spectacular results can pick and choose and the people will be happy to fit in.

Being proficient at diagnosing and fixing pain is a sound secure long term career providing a great second or part time income or a well paid, prestigious career, so long as the patient’s single most important criteria is met, providing a fast effective and solution to their pain.

For therapists who don’t possess a high level of skill, work is harder to find, advertising costs eat into the weekly income and choosing a more prominent and expensive location becomes much more of a necessity.

As this industry starts to boom, many businesses can see the writing on the wall and so everywhere you look, bodywork or manual therapy courses are being offered making big promises about the skills they can pass on to students, for fees that are often very high for what you get. Colleges have sprung up everywhere churning out hundreds of qualified therapists every year to cater for this booming growth industry. But when all is said and done most people graduate without many of the practical skills they really need to succeed or the important marketing skills required that will give them an edge at capturing much of the work that is available in their area. Without these two critical components mastered, the job of building a successful practice is much more difficult.

For the new student contemplating a career in this area, the amount of choice is scary. Off the top of my head I can think of a number of massage therapy/ bodywork type methods that offer courses, such as Alexander technique, Aromatherapy, Body Harmony, Core Energetics, Hellerwork, Feldenkrais, Rolfing, Bowen therapy, Shiatsu, Acupressure, Myotherapy, Myofascial Release, Myopractic and of course many different massage styles within those broad categories like Remedial, Sports, Swedish, Therapeutic or Deep Tissue, Chinese, Thai, Indian Head etc.

Then of course there are the more established ‘professional’ qualifications like Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Osteopathy or Acupuncture, plus dozens of lesser known styles.

Although they all make similar claims as to the effectiveness of their method, most offer very little after training support or business building assistance for the student to combine with their limited manual skills.

As a result, many graduates end up working for a more savvy business minded therapist, being paid 30 to 50% of what they could earn on their own.

By the time they find out there is a lot more required to becoming a successful therapist than simply getting a certificate and opening a clinic it is too late and in this very competitive field, many go out of business before they really get started.

So how is a student therapist expected to decide which therapy method is going to give them the job satisfaction they seek and all the skills they need when starting a career in this industry so that they don’t end up graduating confused and disillusioned.

Because of this multitude of choices for new students, much due diligence needs to be done. They need to be aware that what you get from these courses is not always what is promised. Doing a few basic checks before committing to the cost and time of a training program is really good advice and this can be done quite easily. For example having a few treatments from past graduates of the course you are considering, both to ask some questions about it and experience first hand the level of skill you can expect to achieve on graduation. Many of the colleges offer student massage as part of the course hours and anyone can attend for a discount massage. This small amount of effort and expense is well worth the frustration it can save later when it is really a bit late to change your mind, especially if your training takes many months or years.

Successfully fixing pain using massage and bodywork is a rare talent rather than the norm and much more difficult than many text books or course sales material would have you believe. You only have to look at how many chronic pain sufferers are still out there searching for a solution to their angst realise that.

Generally, a student will only be as good as their teacher, at least to start with,  and so if the teacher has their own practice a really good idea would be to visit them for some treatment before handing over your money and signing up for them to train you.

It is called doing due diligence and especially these days, it’s an important step to take before handing over money for anything you are investing in.