Duties and responsibilities
Clinical massage therapists use hands-on manipulation of muscles and tissues through the skin to treat injuries of dysfunctions and alleviate pain. This type of massage focuses on the medical benefits of massage to treat conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis or neck pain. Lots of the patients that come to a clinical massage therapist will have been referred by doctors. The typical duties and responsibilities of a clinical massage therapist include:
- Massaging the soft tissues of the body
- Using techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy, Sweedish massage and hydrotherapy
- Talking with clients about their symptom
- Checking a clients medical history
- Evaluating clients to locate their painful or tense area(s) of the body
- Manipulating muscles and other soft tissues of the body using various techniques
- Providing clients with guidance on how to improve their condition
- Documenting a clients’ conditions and progress
A high school diploma is typically required to apply to most massage schools and programs. Private schools are common, although you can find programs in some community and vocational colleges. Classes include medical terminology, anatomy, kinesiology and pathology, which aren’t always required of relaxation massage therapists. You’ll learn to treat health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, circulatory problems and sports injuries, and spend many hours in practical, clinical work or internships.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as the above educational requirements, clinical massage therapists will need skills such as:
- Written and verbal communication skills, as clinical massage therapists will need to communicate with patients and keep reports up to date
- Empathy, as massage therapists will have to treat patients in a great deal of pain and need to be understanding
- Time management skills, as massage therapists in clinical settings are likely to have a packed schedule, that the must adhere to
- Physical fitness, as clinical massage therapists need to be able to keep up with the demands of the job (e.g., standing up or bending over for long periods of time)
- Problem solving skills as clinical massage therapists will need to find ways to treat a wide range of issues using massage therapy
Many clinical massage therapists hours will vary each week because therapists work by appointment in most cases. Moreover, because of the strength and endurance needed to give a massage, many therapists cannot perform massage services 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
According to salary.com, the average median salary of a massage therapist in the United States is $52,380 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $41,892 and the highest 10% earned over $67,281.
Job opportunities for all types of massage therapists are expected to be in abundance over the coming years. This is because more states are regulating massage therapists, and therefore more people are seeing them as effective ways to manage and treat pain. Clinical massage therapists can progress to becoming self-employed, which gives them more control and flexibility. Clinical massage therapists may even decide to set up their own business, where they will have other massage therapists working below them.