Massage Therapy: The Perfect Career

The list of reasons why massage therapy is a perfect career is long.  To name a few:


You choose your schedule to be flexible or structured

You make enough money to be comfortable without working 40 hours a week

You can be self-employed or an employee

You get to make people feel healthier and happier (which makes your life healthier and happier!)

You can design a job within the profession that is perfectly suited for who you are as a person, and what you identify as your life’s purpose


While these reasons are all great ones, the last one is particularly exciting.  Designing the perfect massage therapy job is a fun, creative, and self-explorative process. Whether you are considering massage therapy as a career, currently in school for massage, or already a practicing massage therapist, you can find a niche that brings your gifts into their fullest light.

Let’s play with this for a moment.  Following are questions to guide you and hopefully inspire you to learn more about a career in massage therapy or change things up from what you are currently doing within the profession.


Ask yourself:

  • Do you want to work for someone else or be your own boss? Depending on your answer to this and the following questions, you can determine which avenue is right for you.
  • Do you want a flexible schedule that changes from week to week and works around your personal life?
  • Do you mind having an income that fluctuates from week to week?
  • Do you like talking to people, marketing yourself, and inviting them to schedule an appointment at your office?
  • Can you keep track of income, expenses, and records related to money?
  • Are you interested in building your own website, designing marketing materials, developing and tracking promotional campaigns, and writing policies for your business?
  • Does being a businessperson in conjunction with being a massage therapist excite you?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, self-employment is a great option for you. If no, you will likely be happier letting someone else do the marketing, scheduling, bookkeeping, policy creation, and business management, and be best suited as an employee.


There are many environments in which you can provide massage therapy. It can be medical/clinical or simply a wellness practice purely for relaxation and stress relief.  Which is right for you?

Medical/Clinical Environment

  • Do you want to develop detailed treatment plans for each client to set short- and long-term goals for progress?
  • Do you like tracking a client’s progress over time?
  • Does analyzing a client’s posture, range of motion, and movement patterns, and creating a treatment plan appeal to you?
  • Do you enjoy researching pathologies?
  • Does supporting injury rehabilitation interest you?
  • Do you want to work with a team that might include athletic coaches, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and chiropractors?

Wellness Environment

  • Does releasing clients’ stress and muscle tension without the need to prepare detailed treatment plans sound appealing?
  • Do you prefer to not track a client’s progress over time?
  • Do you want to use aromatherapy, hot towels, rice bags, and soft music to enhance the client’s relaxation experience?
  • Is your focus more on pleasing the senses to promote mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness rather than working with specific injuries?
  • Do you want to work with a team that might include skin care specialists, cosmetologists, dermatologists, yoga instructors, and spiritual coaches?

If the medical/clinic environment speaks to you, these are perfect options:

Chiropractic office

Physician’s office

Nursing home

Hospice care

Pain management clinic

Physical therapy office


Sports medicine clinic

With a sports team

If the wellness environment sounds more pleasing, you’ll likely enjoy these options:

Day spa

Cruise ship

Yoga studio

Resort spa

Hot spring spa

Beauty salon

The bottom line is, if the tasks within the environment call to you, follow the call.


Massage therapists have something to offer almost anyone.  As you read through the following list, notice if any of these tug at your heart and create a spark of excitement.


Burn victims

Cancer patients


Clients with chronic pain or injuries

Clients with HIV/AIDS


Mental health patients

Pregnant and/or postpartum women

Seniors in assisted-living facilities and/or memory-care facilities

Survivors of abuse

Terminally ill

Several of these special populations are untapped—or better said, untouched. Massage therapists have great gifts to offer, and the benefits are very rewarding for client and therapist alike.


What will best serve you, your life and your passion for helping others? You are the designer of your life, so ask these questions to inspire and design a career you love. After all, when you love what you do, it no longer becomes work. It becomes service to your clients and to you! Massage therapy is the perfect avenue.


Want to support others in their health and wellness? Become a massage therapist at Indiana Academy of Massage, conveniently located on the north side of Indianapolis in beautiful Zionsville!

Article originally published in Massage & Bodywork Magazine, July/August 2018

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