Massage therapist

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Massage therapists manipulate clients’ muscles and soft tissues, treat sports injuries, and give relief to people with health issues.

Salary Range: Variable

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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You could take a Level 3 Diploma in Massage or Complementary Therapies.

The Council for Soft Tissue Therapies (GCMT) is the governing body for massage therapy, and it sets the standards for the profession. GCMT suggest you take a course that lasts at least 6 months full time, or 12 months part time.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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You could start in this job by taking an advanced apprenticeship in beauty therapy massage.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Career tips

You can specialise in a particular form of massage like baby and infant massage, or sports massage. You’ll need to take extra training to do this.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the voluntary register of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council or the Federation of Holistic Therapists.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

A typical session will include:

  • checking the client’s medical history, diet and lifestyle
  • identifying the client’s reasons for wanting massage therapy
  • planning a course of treatment
  • applying pressure to areas of the body
  • giving advice to clients about their wellbeing
  • referring clients to medical professionals

Working environment

You could work at a hospice, from home, at a GP practice, at a health spa, in an NHS or private hospital or in a therapy clinic.

You may need to wear a uniform.

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With experience you could build up and maintain a reputation and client base, and set up your own business.

You could also train in other complementary therapies like aromatherapy, reiki or reflexology.