Considering a career in massage therapy? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a massage therapist?

Massage therapists use a range of massage techniques to help improve the general health and wellbeing of their clients. Most massage techniques involve the application of fixed or movable pressure to the soft tissues and muscles of the body to promote relaxation, healing, flexibility and improved circulatory and lymphatic function.   

A brief history

Massage therapy has been used as a medical treatment for thousands of years. It is thought to have originated in India around 3000 BC and was mentioned in ancient Chinese texts dating back to 2700 BC. The practice of massage was also depicted in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings around 2500 BC, which served as inspiration for its adoption in ancient Rome and Greece.

However, its journey into modern Western culture would take much more time. While Hippocrates – known as the ‘father of medicine’ – wrote about massage in 400 BC, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that the newly developed Swedish massage technique would sweep Europe, and eventually the rest of the world.

A growing industry

Today, massage therapy is a rapidly growing industry. The number of Massage Therapists grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 19,900 in 2018 to 23,900 by 2023. Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 15,000 job openings over 5 years (that’s about 3,000 a year).

More than one-third of massage therapists work full-time – or an average of 45.6 hours per week – and almost two-thirds of practising massage therapists have attained a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in massage therapy.

Benefits of massage

Massage therapy offers a range of benefits that help improve the overall health and wellness of clients. Massage therapy can help to:

  • Relax muscles and relieve pain
  • Assist healing from soft tissue injury
  • Improve flexibility and range of movement
  • Reduce stress and mental tension
  • Promote more restful sleep
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate