Massage therapy 101: What you need to know

Massage therapy 101: What you need to know

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. Long-term employment in the industry has grown by 62.3 per cent over the last 10 years and will employ around 20,000 people across Australia by 2019.

More than one third of massage therapists work full-time – or an average of 45.6 hours per week – and almost two thirds of practicing 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