Wondering if pursuing a career in massage therapy is really the right thing for you? Interested in knowing more but not sure that you're ready to take the plunge into picking a school and starting classes? Here are some ways to determine if becoming a massage therapist will jive with your experience and expectations.
1. Talk to massage therapists
Chances are, you're considering massage therapy because you like getting massages yourself. Or maybe you know someone who works as a massage therapist and loves it, so you're intrigued. If you're thinking about this career for yourself, you should do your research, starting with talking to massage therapists! You can pick the brain of your massage therapist (when you're off the table, of course) or make time to meet for lunch or coffee. Ask them about their training, their work schedule, their experiences getting a job...even their income, if they're willing to share. You could even see if shadowing one or more therapists for a day or a few hours is a possibility. While experiences can be vastly different, just hearing from others in the field should be both interesting and beneficial, not to mention insightful!
2. Ask yourself serious questions
There's a lot of things involved in massage therapy that aren't necessarily part of other jobs. It can be very intense and intimate to work on people's bodies, so ask yourself if you're comfortable with skin-to-skin contact, a physical job, and seeing, touching, and talking to lots of different people each day. Question your interest in healing, in anatomy, and in other modalities connected to massage (like aromatherapy, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, and more). How do you feel about working alone? Is your body up to the task of being on your feet much of the day? being honest with yourself will yield useful answers, helping you make a strong decision.
3. Check out an informational session
Some massage schools have an informational session or even an "Intro To Massage" mini class. Going to one of these can help you get a good idea of what things you might learn in massage school, as well as what it might be like when you've graduated and out working. If there's not one in your area, you might try to check out some classes on YouTube or in online learning environments like Udemy.
4. Consider where you've been...and where you're going
Maybe you're considering massage after a long carer in office work, or the military, or many years of raising children. Think of what skills from your past you can bring into massage work...maybe you're good at marketing, or doing your own accounting. Think about all your strengths and weaknesses in previous positions and experiences, both in and out of your career. And don't stop there...think about the future, too. Why are you interested in massage? What can you see yourself doing with it? Maybe you're intrigued by the flexible hours (so you can travel or spend more time with family) or maybe you're hoping massage training will complement some other goal you want to pursue.
Being honest with yourself about your history, goals, and personality will go a long way in deciding if massage is the right thing for you, as well talking and learning from those currently in the field. Massage can be an incredibly stimulating and rewarding career, so start digging deep to find out if it's the fit you're looking for.