Marty, I'm a Massage Therapist, Now What?!
So, you just graduated and got certified (or licensed) as a Massage Therapist. Congrats!
You might be wondering, “now what?!”
I’ve had many former students ask me this quest
ion. Some students are interested in pursuing a specialized training right out of the gate or going into studying a different modality and I tell them they should do these two things instead:
1. Go out there and do work! At this point it doesn’t matter 100% if you get a job at a spa, a chiropractor’s office, or at a clinic. The purpose of this is to get your hands on as many clients as possible. If you’re not interested in getting a job, then volunteer at different events/locations. What this does is not only give you more hands on experience, it will inform you as to what kind of work you do or don’t like to do. This will help guide you in the direction of any further training. I’ve seen too many new bodyworkers go off and pursue specialized training right out of massage school only to realize it wasn’t for them or it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I’ve w
orked at all three types of settings (I currently only have a private practice) and I learned a lot from each one. I eventually realized my work was moving more towards a more ‘Structural Integration’ direction and that led me to get training at The Rolf Institute.
2. Go out there and receive work! This is an extremely important part of being a bodyworker, in my opinion. I tell new practitioners to go get work from lots of different modalities and even get work of a same modality from different practitioners. Bodyworkers learn not just from observing, listening, and doing, but also from receiving. When we receive bodywork, we actually get a sense of what we like and don’t like, and what our client experiences from bodywork! This will also help us determine what direction we want to take. You might receive bodywork from XX modality for example and you might think, “oh wow, this is what it’s actually like to receive this work?!” This might completely change things for you or it might reinforce a direction. Either way, get bodywork! When I realized I wanted to pursue Structural Integration, I went out and received a ten session series from a Certified Advanced Rolfer®. Once I realized what the work could do and how I felt from it, I was convinced that was the training for me.
As a side note, I see so many new practitioners feel like they’re ‘done’ with bodywork training after they’ve finished their first massage therapy program. I understand that 600 hours or even 1,000 hours of training seems like a lot in the beginning but consider that a practitioner who has been working for around ten years probably has close to 8,000 hours of on the job experience. I’ve been doing bodywork and teaching for twenty years and I absolutely feel there’s still a lot for me to learn. My advice would be to be open to doing, learning, and receiving and be open to having all that show you the way.