Health Options Institute

Empowering Students to Succeed for Over 34 Years


Can I Succeed?/FAQs

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What are the personal characteristics of a person who will make a good massage therapist?  How do I know if I would be any good at it?

The most important factor is that you are motivated to help other people.  The people on the massage table want to feel that you care about them.  It doesn't matter whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, but that you are able to convey concern about your clients and to make them feel special.

Another important factor is that you find it fun to do massage. You like making people feel better. However, there are quite a few excellent massage therapists who never did massage prior to massage school.

The third most important factor is that you are in touch with yourself and your own body.  When you are in touch with yourself and your own body, you can relate better to other people and to their bodies.

If you feel you need to be more in touch with yourself and your body, you will find that you will experience a lot of personal growth in massage school through giving and receiving massage and through interacting with your instructors.  On graduation, if you continue to exchange massage with another massage therapist, you will further your own self exploration.  Being in touch with yourself and your body is a life long process that massage school and doing massage facilitates. It is exciting to realize that you will become a better person through doing massage.

Another important factor is that you have a healthy level of stamina.  Therapists with stamina generally have a better energy flow through their hands and can naturally do more clients in a week effortlessly.

If you are good on most factors except stamina, consider exchanging massage with another massage therapist on a weekly basis in order to increase your stamina and ability to see more clients.  You will make a lot of friends in school who may become lifelong buddies and who also will be looking for someone to exchange massages with.



I don’t think I have a lot of energy to do many massages. Isn’t this job tiring?

Actually it is much less stressful than most jobs, due to substantially less mental stress on your body. Also, many massage therapists feel energized and invigorated, rather than fatigued after doing a massage. They may actually find their energy level going up as the day goes on. It is really fun and rewarding to make a huge difference in others’ lives. With the excellent training you will receive in school on how to come from your core and on applying correct body mechanics, you will be amazed at how many clients you can easily do! In fact, some therapists do 40+ one hour massages a week without a problem! Even should you choose to do way fewer, with the hourly compensation being high, you can still make a very nice and enjoyable living to sustain yourself and your family.

I don't have strong hands.  Can I still do massage?

Most massage therapists who now have strong hands did not start out that way.  The muscles of the hand, like any muscles of the body, develop strength through use.  The best preparation to become a massage therapist is to keep practicing.  Your hand strength will develop naturally.

An important thing you will learn in massage school is to use your entire body strength behind your hands when you do massage.  You will be trained to have almost all massage strokes originating from your belly.  Your knees will bend and you will often move using your legs and belly to put the power behind your hands.  Your lower body muscles will develop as well as your arm and finger muscles.  Additionally, you will learn techniques using your forearms and elbows that save your hands.

Sometimes a therapist goes from doing just a few clients a week to doing many clients a week over a very short period of time.  In this case, your thumbs will likely feel sore for a few weeks, as any muscle will when it is doing exercise that it is not used to.  This soreness will only be temporary.  Stretching your fingers and thumbs in between massage clients will shorten the duration of this transitionary interval.

Can I make enough money doing massage?  How viable is this career?

Not only is it viable; in today's changing times it's a very wise choice!  With so many people getting laid off, job security is at an all time low.  Working in massage for either yourself or for an employer will give you the security that you need.  Currently, throughout most of the country there are more job postings available than students to fill them!  Massage is on the rise and there are more and more employers looking to hire massage therapists.  A recent survey showed that over half of Americans still have not received a professional massage and that the majority of these people would be willing to try it!

Massage is becoming more and more recognized as legitimate in this country. It is now licensed in almost all states. The credentialing that goes along with licensing is making it a quite respected profession. As its established legitimacy and wellness benefits are becoming more well known, more people are seeking out massage.  Who will they go to?  It could be you!

The most common massage therapy settings include gyms, beauty salons, day spas, resorts, chiropractors, medical centers, casinos, elderly homes, and private practices.  Many therapists do a combination of working for someone else and in their own private practice.  As their own private practice builds, they will often drop their massage employment elsewhere.

For those of you who are wary of taking a big leap all at once, consider maintaining your regular employment for a little while when you start practicing massage. Once your massage clientele becomes large enough, you will have the option of dropping your regular job.

In their first year of practice graduates of our Massage Therapy Program earn $50 to $85 per hour plus tips working in their home or office. If a student is working for someone else, the employer usually receives $60 to $85 per hour or more for a massage and pays therapists 50% plus tips. After you are working for a number of years you will want to raise your rates due to your increased experience and due to increased demand for your services as you build up a good repeat clientele and referrals.

Additionally, if you are an entrepreneurial type, once you yourself are solidly booked, consider hiring other massage therapists to help you with your client load. In addition to what you are making for the massages that you personally do, you can expect to make $25-$30/hour for each massage done by a therapist that you hire!  Depending on the number of therapists you hire as the practice builds, you can prosper beyond your wildest dreams!  Is massage a viable career?  Yes!

I don't have a lot of capital to start my own business, yet I want to be self employed.  Is that possible?


Yes!  You may want to start working in your own home, either just temporarily until your clientele builds or permanently.  Many practitioners use a small spare room or put a room divider in a larger room or re-model an area of their basement or garage.  Many clients actually feel more relaxed coming to a home office. Other practitioners don't have a space to do massage at their home, but do outcall and charge more money.

If you are working in your own home or apartment, do not overly concern yourself with how your living space looks.  If you conduct yourself in a professional manner and do an effective massage, your clients will re-book.  The actual area you work in should have music playing and be clean and noise free. Once you have a steady cash flow, either continue to work in your own home or consider opening an office.

The least expensive way to open an office is to share a rental space in an office complex with one to five other therapists.  Each massage therapist will pick their time slots over the seven days of the week. In many cases therapists just share one treatment room with no waiting room. In other cases two small rooms are used, including a waiting room and a treatment room.  Your only expenses would be shared rent. Additional optional, but not absolutely necessary expenses include a shared answering machine and contracting with a linen service.

Of course, many massage therapists work in their own single office space rather than sharing a space.  Some rent a small space with a chiropractor or gym which provides referrals to them.

There is almost no overhead involved in running a massage business!

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Massage is one of the fastest growing industries in the country

Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new openings for massage therapists.
– Bureau of Labor & Statistics

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