What does a Remedial Massage Therapist do?
Remedial massage therapy is a complementary therapy. This means that remedial massage generally accompanies other forms of therapy to assist with maintaining the health and wellbeing, and reducing the symptoms of the client’s specific health issue. By studying remedial massage, you will learn to successfully assess a client's physical condition through the means of physical tests and conversations about the history of their health problems.
After assessing the issue, remedial massage therapists use a variety of massage techniques to help relieve muscle tension. These are sometimes known as health massage and techniques including deep tissue massage, Muscle Energy, trigger point and Myofascial release technique. Remedial massage therapy also improves circulation and promotes relaxation.
Remedial massage can be especially helpful for health problems such as:
- Sporting and dance injuries
- Muscle cramps
- Muscular Atrophy
Most clients seeking remedial massage services range from the ages of 20 - 70 years old and work in a range of environments including anything from office work to professional sports.
Remedial massage therapists will often find that their clients return to become regular clients. Besides providing treatments, therapists will often advise their clientele of helpful stretches and relaxation techniques that assist in reducing pain.
Massage therapy is a multi-faceted job where you will not only gain experience in massage but also in skills such as communication, decision-making, demonstrating empathy, whilst improving your physical stamina and strength. You will gain experience in infection control practices, reception and client record keeping procedures. . This skillset may broaden further when taking your knowledge to the next level. Many remedial massage therapists choose to advance into business management, going on to manage and maintain all aspects of their business and client base.
What is the average income of a massage therapist?
Massage therapy is a booming industry all over Australia with therapist jobs growing strongly over the past 5 years with projected growth. The average annual income for a massage therapist is $50-60k with pay shown to increase with experience. Massage therapy is flexible, abundant, indoor work for those with a dedicated passion for helping people maintain their health and wellbeing goals, and a willingness to continue learning.
Choosing the right course to learn massage
If you’re considering a career in massage therapy but are uncertain of the level of education you’d like to take on, South West TAFE offers many carefully tailored pathways into remedial massage therapy. Courses on offer have varying levels of prerequisite requirements to cater to our diverse student body.
If you aren’t 100% sure you’re ready to commit to a career in massage therapy, there are a handful of short courses on offer that can help you to explore your interests before further commitment, including Hot Stone Therapy Massage, Indian Head Massage Cupping Therapy and Aromatherapy Massage.
For those who want to study massage, South West TAFE offers the following pathways:
- Certificate IV in Massage Therapy - HLT42015 | SWTAFE
This course spans 6 - 12 months depending on your pace, and covers massage techniques, running your own business, anatomy and physiology, small business planning, reflexology, and first aid.
You also get hands-on experience with a total of 80 hours of clinical placement, 60 hours of which is in-class and the other 20 hours directed by the student in their own time.
This is also a stepping stone into the Diploma of Remedial Massage.
- Certificate IV in Massage Therapy (Traineeship) - HLT42015 | SWTAFE
This course is part-time and is dependent on the applicant being employed as an apprentice or trainee. This course spans 2 years and is self-paced with applicants able to apply at any time of the year. This course includes the same criteria as the previous course, with an exception to clinical placement, which is replaced by the students own traineeship.
- Diploma of Remedial Massage - HLT52015 | SWTAFE
This course can be taken full-time or part-time for 12 - 18 months. The Diploma expands on the skills gained in the Certificate IV and provides students with an opportunity to learn athlete-related skills with the inclusion of physical tests, advanced anatomy, and physiology knowledge. These skills help students to assess soft tissue dysfunction, musculoskeletal imbalance, and restrictions in range of motion.
Students will be equipped with the skills for a massage career in areas including sports, rehabilitation, disability, pregnancy, post-natal, palliative care, Lymphoedema and Lymphatic drainage and oncology.
This course includes 200 hours of clinical placement, 150 hours of which are in-class, and 50 hours of which are student-directed. This ensures that all South West TAFE graduates are sufficiently equipped for their future working environment.
The Diploma is an all-encompassing course with extremely helpful additions for those students who wish to potentially develop into their own independent business.
All courses except for short courses and the traineeship include a wet lab excursion in Melbourne conducted in the mid-semester break.
Hands-on Skills: Massage Therapy Clinical Practice
Remedial massage offers a broad selection of career pathways and avenues allowing for flexibility and higher employability. Remedial massage can also lend itself to a more adventurous lifestyle with the potential for mobile business and employment at holiday locations. Alternatively, for those who wish to work from home, South West TAFE offers courses that provide you with the knowledge to safely and efficiently conduct business from your own residence.
Career outcomes include:
- Sports Therapy
Taking on a career in sports therapy means hands-on experience with athletes and sports teams, assisting to reduce the risk of injury through pre-emptive warm-up exercises and providing useful therapy towards injury recovery. This also includes collaboration with other health professionals to ensure that your clients are at peak performance.
- Day Spas/Wellness Centres
Day spas see a more varied client base than sports therapists and a more relaxed work environment. This career path generally offers numerous opportunities due to a large variety of businesses seeking to expand the services on offer in their respective clinics.
- Mobile Practice
Mobile massage therapy offers independence and variety with self-employment presenting the ability to cater to many types of clients in varying locations.
- Working from Home
Like mobile massage therapy, working from home allows you to apply your qualifications in a way to develop your own business. Working from home may be preferable due to lifestyle constraints or as a way to establish your business and/or save funds for a future commercial space.
Subcontracting is essentially running a business out of a pre-established facility and paying rent for the space used. Like working from home, this allows you to run and develop your own business and client base prior to owning a commercial space.
Sports Therapy is especially lucrative with remedial massage therapy being regularly adopted by professional athletes as part of their health routine. Remedial massage can improve athletic performance and also assists in the recovery and rehabilitation of damaged muscles. Massage has also been shown to help with blood flow and endorphins, giving athletes the best mindset to get results in their profession.
Once you’ve picked a pathway to pursue, it’s simply a matter of having the relevant qualifications, a police check, and a working with children check. There are also options for joining massage associations that offer support, guidance, updates on industry changes and regulations, employment, and legal advice. These associations also provide support if you wish to start a business with discounts on insurance and health fund rebates to reduce the cost to your clients.
Starting your Own Massage Practice
Building a business is an opportunity available to all remedial massage therapists and one that is bolstered by the available courses, through units such as:
- BSBSMB404 - Undertake small business planning
This encompasses researching market needs, financial planning, marketing strategies, staffing requirements, risk assessment, and risk response.
- HLTMSG001 - Develop massage practice
- HLTWHS004 - Manage work health and safety
- CHCLEG003 - Manage legal and ethical compliance
- CHCPRP003 - Reflect on and improve own professional practice
- CHCPRP005 - Engage with health professionals and the health system
Running your own massage practice includes many considerations including the flexibility of your location and hours and the clientele you wish to attract. This includes consideration about the location of your practice and how this affects demand. You may also assess the risks that come with work such as mobile therapy, where you will put more focus on ensuring that the client’s selected space is safe and hygienic for business.
Once you have a vision for how you would like to run your business, it’s time to develop a business plan, this means you must consider for factors such as:
- How will you source your logo, business cards, and website?
- What do you want your brand to embody? Do you have a specialty or a specific clientele in mind?
- Marketing strategies
- Uniforms for employees
- Is there competition in your area?
- Is your target group located close to this area?
- Do you want to sub-contract, work from home, rent, etc? What does your ideal space look like?
- What will the ambience for your clinic be like? Music, decor, fragrance, etc.
- What is your ideal employee?
- OHS Guidelines & Code of Ethics are integral to your business
- Develop a checklist for essential equipment that you will need to start your business
- Health Fund Rebates (registration requires a Diploma of Remedial Massage, 1-year full time or 18 months part-time)
Whilst it may seem daunting now, South West TAFE will provide you with the tools, support network, and resources to successfully plan your own business but with that being said, here are some helpful tips.
Business Tips for Massage Therapists
At the core of every thriving business are strong marketing skills and an understanding of your client’s needs. By combining marketing and customer interaction, the entrepreneurial massage therapist can put themselves ahead of the competition with the following strategies:
Ease of access and streamlined booking processes are integral to most businesses these days as more customers prefer to book online. By outsourcing work to hired professionals, you can allow for an easier point-of-access on a well-designed website.
Retaining customer details for mail lists can be helpful as you are then able to send out promotional material and follow-up emails encouraging customers to rebook after a certain amount of time. This automates the process, making it easier for you to focus on your business whilst remaining relevant in the customer’s mind. Through email marketing, you can also use well-designed branding and images to make your emails stand-out.
Consistent posting on social media channels enables a quick and powerful way to keep customers engaged. By posting useful information such as quick tips and health advice you can keep your clients interested in maintaining their health and trusting you as their massage therapist.
It is integral to your growth as a massage therapist that regardless of your business endeavours or educational qualifications, you always remain up-to-date with massage industry standards and seek to learn new and helpful skills.
It is also a requirement that Remedial Massage Therapists maintain a specific number of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) points if they wish to remain registered with a Massage Association and with private health funds.
If you go the route of selling therapy-related products, you can run an online shop through your website. If you want to increase website traffic, post a blog or articles on your website which include keywords to help increase search hits.
Here at South West TAFE, we strive to provide our students with the tools and information to thrive upon graduation. Through determination, a willingness to learn, and a passion helping people, remedial massage therapy offers various career opportunities. As a robust industry with high flexibility and comfortable working conditions, massage therapy can be a lucrative career path.