So You Want to Get a Massage License Part 2 – Q&A
Yesterday’s blog about getting a massage license brought on some great comments, concerns, and questions from colleagues in the field. Rather than answering them in the comments section, I decided to start a new entry pertaining to their thoughts as I think they are important and others may benefit from reading them as they may have some of the same questions.
Very interesting blogpost about massage therapy, answered a lot of questions I’ve had.
Regarding “getting the license”, is it really just a case of going to any suitable MT school, making the grade, and then after that is when you can start adding to your skills with things such as Graston techniques, Gua Sha etc.?
Or do you have to pick a direction you want to go with first e.g. NMT, SI etc.?
A few comments from a long-time massage therapist and new personal trainer:
Thanks for bringing up the licensing issue. I often see trainers doing things that I know are explicitly forbidden by massage regulation. Being legal is always a good policy, although there is little chance of getting in trouble- unless someone claims you hurt them and it is discovered you weren’t licensed for what you were doing. This will likely mean your liability insurance won’t cover you as well.
Next, it bothers me to have someone study massage “just for the license.” It’s a real career, and it takes a lot of skill to do it well. While it may seem trivial if you have a degree in physiology, it was far harder to earn my bodywork certification than my NASM cert.
There is a large range of expertise in the profession, just as in training. Unlike training though, the minimum education and scope of practice are (in most places) legally defined. There are therapist who go far beyond the minimums, studying things like orthopedic massage and myofascial release(who do you think Tom Myers has been teaching to for years?)
I think there is very good potential synergy in being good at both, which is why I’ve started offering training. Patrick is of course another example. But please take the profession seriously and unless you really want to help people by touching them, refer out.
Patrick, perhaps some of these things will be covered in your next post, so sorry if I’m jumping ahead.
Steven, great comments! I agree with you 100%! There are a lot of hacks in this field, as well as the training field, and it is not my intention to flood the field with more! In fact, I want to do just the opposite. I would rather see these fieldsgrow into something more professionally accepted.
Unfortunately, massage education in this country is a pretty watered down level of education. Although you are correct, getting a massage license in most cases is more work/time and more studying than getting a personal training certification! Like you stated, there are many who go far and above the minimum level of education and try and improve their knowledge. I am all for this!
My statements about “just get a license” were applying to those in the training field who are heavily motivated to continue their education into a different field (massage therapy). For those individuals, I expect them to be already reading and absorbing everything they can to advance their knowledge. For that reason, they will find massage therapy school to be rather boring as the level of education will be below what they are already used to. So, they need to just suck it up and do what they have to do to get the license, so that they can go out and learn the stuff that they really want to know. Does that make sense?
I care about these field very much and want to see them improved to a higher quality. If you are going to go into this field, you need to ensure that you really know your anatomy/physiology and know what you are trying to do.
Good article Patrick – I often think trainers have their head in the wrong place and just feel that doing tissue work, be it massage, ART or something else, is a quick way to earn extra money. Few have any idea what is involved not only from an education perspective, but physically as you touched on…doing what we do is not easy
Dr. Shawn Thistle
Great points, Dr. Thistle. What you are saying goes along with Steven’s comments above. This field is not as easy as “just get licensed and do massage”. There is a lot that goes into as far as improving your knowledge and developing a skill. It isn’t for everyone which was one of my reasons for writing the article. Some people will do better by finding a professional to team up with, rather than trying to do it all themselves. You need to really have a thought process in line to make it work as this isn’t just a way to “earn extra money“, but rather a way to add to what you are already doing.
As a trainer, I would never think of doing this myself! That is why I refer out and am very lucky to have amazing MT in my area! I even got MORE appreciation and respect for MT after attending a Level 1 Anatomy trains course, not to use massage on my clients, only to get a greater understanding of how I can apply that to my rolling and dig deeper into Anatomy Trains because obviously that is how we move! That course made me realize even more how talented MT are and how amazing massage is! Leave that to the experts!!!!
Thank you for your comments, Catt. It is great to see that you acknowledgethat this is not something that you want to do yourself and that you would rather team up with a professional. Hopefully others can understand this path as it is impossible to be all things to all people. If you want to just be a great strength coach/trainer, then focus your time on that and find other professionals to compliment your service, as you have done. It is awesome to hear that you spent some time taking these classes to increase your knowledge and understanding! You are a true professional. Please email me your massage therapists information or have your therapists email me. I am always looking for good professionals in other areas, as I frequently get emails asking for referrals, and I hate when I am unable to help someone because I don’t know a therapist in their area.