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Massage Therapy Training: Five Questions

Massage therapists believe in their work. They love what they do, and they continue to grow professionally during the course of their careers, adding new techniques to their practice as they grow their client base. If you're considering entering the profession, there's great news: The Department of Labor predicts that jobs for massage therapists will increase by a stunning 20 percent during the decade 2006 through 2016.

In 2006, there were 118,000 practicing massage therapists in America, compared with only 24,000 in 1999. More than 60 percent of all working massage therapists are self-employed. Before enrolling in massage therapy training, it's a good idea to see if you're committed--and if you'll like the job. Consider the following:

Do you like helping people?
Many of your clients may be ailing or in chronic pain. The work may not be for you if this makes you uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you love helping people recover from stress or injury, massage could be a perfect fit.

Can you work independently, without supervision?
Most of your working day, you'll be concentrating on your clients. Aside from some clinical talk or casual chat with customers, you'll probably work in silence (or to soothing music).

Do you have solid ethical and personal boundaries?
You'll be touching people and you'll be around emotional as well as physical trauma. Do you have the ability to be compassionate without compromising your own emotional well-being?

Are you interested in alternative medicine?
Often massage therapists will expand their knowledge into other methodologies that contribute to healing, including nutrition, exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, or acupuncture. While you won't necessarily learn these now, you may want to expand into them later.

Are you in sound physical condition?
The work is physical. Massage therapy school will teach you shortcuts to applying pressure while conserving energy. But you'll be on your feet all day long.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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