The best thing about massage school

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The best thing about massage school

Postby Taoist on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:59 pm

Lately I've been pondering a lot on social perceptions about people going back to school. I get a lot of calls from prospective students who are maybe single moms, parents whose children have all moved out of the house, people looking for a career change... and all of them over 40. I get the same question from most of them:

"Am I too old to be a massage therapist?"

My answer? A firm, resounding, universe-quaking (or so I'd like to think) NO!! I'm sure many of you here may have gone to massage school as older students. I look back on my gigantic class of 45, about 10 of my classmates were older (that's 20%!). As a massage educator and school administrator, this is what I've come to embrace as the single greatest thing about massage school. Sure, some will have admissions requirements like a H.S. diploma/GED, but no matter who you are, what your age is, what your religion is, your race, who your parents were, what end of town you grew up on, even your reasons for going to school, there's no restriction on who can find their path in massage and bodywork. It's never too late to pursue your dream and nothing that anyone tells you should EVER stop you!

Just felt like sharing this. Does anyone have any stories of nay-sayers or obstacles you may have encountered during your schooling/licensing process that you've been able to overcome?
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby JasonE on Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:09 pm

I decided to enroll in massage school while working a lucrative career with nice benefits and regular hours. Part of the benefit package was an education reimbursement program. :) Unfortunately, my work schedule partly conflicted with the class schedule. I was a top performer, had some seniority, blah-blah-blah... none of it mattered. HR wouldn't even discuss varying my work schedule, and my superiors wouldn't go to bat for me. They wanted me right where I was, and no where else. :smt013

So I enrolled in classes anyway, took some paid days off during the first week, and quit my job the moment they refused to let me take any more days off. Given a choice between (A) newfound unpaid passion and (B) lucrative drudgery, I felt no hesitation about walking (running?) away from that job. :mrgreen: There are days when I fondly remember the paychecks and benefits package, but it'll be a long, cold day in hell before I go back to that line of work.

One other satisfying thing: Before I took the final step out their door, I had found a loophole in the education benefit. They ended up paying for over $2000 of my massage school before that option was exhausted. :twisted:
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby Taoist on Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:31 pm

Jason, that reminds me of a little video my brother shared with me about motivation. It might be a bit off-topic, but it makes me think of the handful of MT students I knew who enrolled just because they wanted a fatter bank account. Well it turns out that those few people ended up being very unhappy as MTs and my best guess that it was either disappointment in the lack of a great income or even if they were very successful in monetary terms, I don't think the money was the proper motivation for them. Massage was just not for them no matter how well they did, just as you say you'd never go back to the job you had even though it was very lucrative. Anyway, here's the link if you're interested in watching it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby JasonE on Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:29 pm

I LOVE THAT VIDEO!! It dovetails PERFECTLY with some other things I've been working on/studying. Thank you so much for posting the link! :D
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby TouchofGrace on Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:57 am

I entered massage school at the age of 40. It was the best move I ever made. I feel as if I took a gigantic leap of faith into the perfect job for me. My support system was lacking totally from husband for quite a while, but we're on the same page now. This town was uneducated about massage and is still being educated one by one, but that, in itself, has also helped me build. It's new and outstanding. Thankfully, I have little competition so they don't know any better. ;)
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby Taoist on Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:34 am

JasonE wrote:I LOVE THAT VIDEO!! It dovetails PERFECTLY with some other things I've been working on/studying. Thank you so much for posting the link! :D


You're welcome!
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby pueppi on Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:43 pm

TouchofGrace wrote:I entered massage school at the age of 40. It was the best move I ever made. I feel as if I took a gigantic leap of faith into the perfect job for me. My support system was lacking totally from husband for quite a while, but we're on the same page now. This town was uneducated about massage and is still being educated one by one, but that, in itself, has also helped me build. It's new and outstanding. Thankfully, I have little competition so they don't know any better. ;)


:massage: :smt023
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby pueppi on Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:14 pm

Taoist wrote: Does anyone have any stories of nay-sayers or obstacles you may have encountered during your schooling/licensing process that you've been able to overcome?


My story takes a little different direction, but I did have nay-sayers and looks of utter "aghast"-edness (<-- I doubt that is a word, but you get the idea) by the bundle.

I actually had people tell me becoming an MT was "below" me. :shock:

  • "You can't become a Massage Therapist!"
  • "What are you thinking?"
  • "Your patients will think less of you!"
  • "That's so beneath you."
  • "Just hire someone to do that grunt work."
  • "You're not really serious, are you?"
    "Your a doctor for _'s sake!"

Not only have I found that my patients appreciate the work I do, but I have opened my practice to a whole new set of people. Some like massage, some like chiropractic, some like both. :)

When I practice massage, it's just like any MT would. Nice room, lowered lights, relaxing music. There is no reason it has to be a problem and yet my colleagues still are confused and wonder what's wrong with me. :P

It was a good plan and I have never had a patient or client think the bodywork I do is "beneath" my original training. Maybe they are just smarter than my colleagues. :grin:


The skill it takes to work with the body, in its various states of need, is like a tree with many branches, and branches with many leaves. The more you learn, the more you are able to help. Chiropractic, bodywork, massage, emotional work, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medicine. They are all practices that have to do with the body. Different parts, but the body no less. I don't practice them all, but who says I have to do just one?
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells... Houston Massage Therapy - Advanced Massage Therapy - Lucas & Lucas, LLC
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby TessKB on Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:00 pm

The best thing for me was getting a second family. I was the baby in my class since I was fresh out of high school and I've met so many great people of all ages. It just goes to show massage therapists have each others back. It's always nice to be in an environment with people who share their need for helping in common.
Also it was nice to not be judged for not picking a 4 year college and going with my heart instead.
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby softy515 on Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:30 pm

Many folks around me thought I would never make enough money to do it as my full time job. Yet, here I am! I have been doing massage exclusively for 6-7, heck maybe 8 years now.

I had to deal with a full time job while I was going through school. At one point they did allow me to have off a few Mondays to go to class. However, when I had gotten busy with massage clients, I asked them if I could work there part time to devote more time to massage, they absolutely said no. I immediately handed them my 2 week notice and didn't look back. I remember my boss/supervisor offering to act like I didn't hand it in. He kept saying Are you SURE about this??

Now that company is down to a few employees. The nature of what I did there MIGHT have kept me employed but doubtful. So thankful I listen to my heart!
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby TouchofGrace on Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:04 am

pueppi wrote:
Taoist wrote: Does anyone have any stories of nay-sayers or obstacles you may have encountered during your schooling/licensing process that you've been able to overcome?


My story takes a little different direction, but I did have nay-sayers and looks of utter "aghast"-edness (<-- I doubt that is a word, but you get the idea) by the bundle.

I actually had people tell me becoming an MT was "below" me. :shock:

  • "You can't become a Massage Therapist!"
  • "What are you thinking?"
  • "Your patients will think less of you!"
  • "That's so beneath you."
  • "Just hire someone to do that grunt work."
  • "You're not really serious, are you?"
    "Your a doctor for _'s sake!"

Not only have I found that my patients appreciate the work I do, but I have opened my practice to a whole new set of people. Some like massage, some like chiropractic, some like both. :)

When I practice massage, it's just like any MT would. Nice room, lowered lights, relaxing music. There is no reason it has to be a problem and yet my colleagues still are confused and wonder what's wrong with me. :P

It was a good plan and I have never had a patient or client think the bodywork I do is "beneath" my original training. Maybe they are just smarter than my colleagues. :grin:


The skill it takes to work with the body, in its various states of need, is like a tree with many branches, and branches with many leaves. The more you learn, the more you are able to help. Chiropractic, bodywork, massage, emotional work, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medicine. They are all practices that have to do with the body. Different parts, but the body no less. I don't practice them all, but who says I have to do just one?


So glad you didn't listen to the nay sayers and limit yourself and cause your clients to be limited in their treatment as well. Your collegues are sure missing out on a wonderful branch of bodywork. Thankfully, for your and your clients, you weren't blind to that. :)
~Sandra

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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby Taoist on Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:03 pm

Chiropractic and massage really do go hand-in-hand.. it makes sense for you to offer that benefit to your patients.
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby jeffscottlmt on Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:27 pm

My story takes a different route. SImilar to Jason in the former BIG paychecks and benefits, but different. I have always been self-employed (since I was 19), it runs in my family, and I can't imagine anything else. I owned a Home delivery company from 97-2005, in which I was a contractor for a large chain in the Northeast (Namco Pools). I did the majority of their home deliveries in MA, NH, and RI, and I hated every second of it. But, I was trapped. I had just built a big house, my wife owned her families construction business (took over when her dad retired), we were living large...and miserable. One day I got the call, the contract was being pulled from all contractors for deliveries, and Namco was going to keep it all in-house. At first I was furious, then depressed, then felt like a failure. I was able to collect unemployment, because I was incorporated and an employee of my company (thank God). I started thinking, "what am I going to do now?" I have a brother who has been a massage therapist since 1986, so I called him and asked tons of questions. The end result was, if I did it, I would probably never again make the same money. But, I would probably be a lot less stressed, as well as healthier and happier. I figured the latter was far more important, and I enrolled about 2 weeks later. I have never looked back. After the real estate market went south, my wife's business also closed. We got rid of the big house, rented for a year, and last year bought our own income property where we live in one of the apartments. It's smaller, but all the kids are moved out. My wife is in her last year of nursing school, and we have never been happier. Business is booming, and growing, but the stress is just not there in this business. I love it.

To answer the question on "Nay-sayers" what I got was a lot of "the massage market is saturated, they are everywhere, will you be able to compete?" Thankfully, I have done just fine. The market is saturated for sure. Massachusetts has well over 8,000 licensed therapists, but apparently there are enough clients, because we are doing great.

If anyone ever asked me, I would say "listen, if you like to help people, being around people, and like working hands-on..GO FOR IT"
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby TouchofGrace on Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:27 am

jeffscottlmt wrote:My story takes a different route. SImilar to Jason in the former BIG paychecks and benefits, but different. I have always been self-employed (since I was 19), it runs in my family, and I can't imagine anything else. I owned a Home delivery company from 97-2005, in which I was a contractor for a large chain in the Northeast (Namco Pools). I did the majority of their home deliveries in MA, NH, and RI, and I hated every second of it. But, I was trapped. I had just built a big house, my wife owned her families construction business (took over when her dad retired), we were living large...and miserable. One day I got the call, the contract was being pulled from all contractors for deliveries, and Namco was going to keep it all in-house. At first I was furious, then depressed, then felt like a failure. I was able to collect unemployment, because I was incorporated and an employee of my company (thank God). I started thinking, "what am I going to do now?" I have a brother who has been a massage therapist since 1986, so I called him and asked tons of questions. The end result was, if I did it, I would probably never again make the same money. But, I would probably be a lot less stressed, as well as healthier and happier. I figured the latter was far more important, and I enrolled about 2 weeks later. I have never looked back. After the real estate market went south, my wife's business also closed. We got rid of the big house, rented for a year, and last year bought our own income property where we live in one of the apartments. It's smaller, but all the kids are moved out. My wife is in her last year of nursing school, and we have never been happier. Business is booming, and growing, but the stress is just not there in this business. I love it.

To answer the question on "Nay-sayers" what I got was a lot of "the massage market is saturated, they are everywhere, will you be able to compete?" Thankfully, I have done just fine. The market is saturated for sure. Massachusetts has well over 8,000 licensed therapists, but apparently there are enough clients, because we are doing great.

If anyone ever asked me, I would say "listen, if you like to help people, being around people, and like working hands-on..GO FOR IT"


Awesome! :)
~Sandra

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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby ColoradoKitsune on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:16 pm

This is a little wonky but I did want to share my nay-sayer/obstacle.......

I'm a very touch motivated person ...I was told that anytime I put my hands on someone that I needed to be a massage therapist but I thought I was better than that! because I wanted to do something more "prestigious". That if I perused massage I would just be settling for a career that would be easy for me. ( seriously where do i get these ideas?!?!) and went about doing other things.

As soon as I decided to apply for school a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and my brain seemed to lighten up. I can think clearer, concepts make more sense, I have more energy, etc..... Even though it's still a little scary it's like my spirit is going "well duh, of course this makes you feel awesome.Thanks for finally joining the rest of the class."

While it's not the answer for everything and it will still be difficult and I will probably still end up being that annoying Hermione Granger kid in the front row... I feel that getting out of my own way was the best thing I could have done.
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby MTSI on Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:26 pm

very nice message thank you for sharing.

other similar facets that get a lot of attention are:

-age
-weight
-physical strength
-being an introvert/shy

in my years in this profession i have found that there is a place for everyone. massage therapy can be a very lucrative and a rewarding career for anyone who is dedicated to making others feel better
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Re: The best thing about massage school

Postby coelbren on Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:41 pm

To me, the best thing about massage school was the healing space environment and chances for self-development. It really created the ideal environment for me to focus on my own health and self-care, so that I can provide that for others.

In my city, it's a college town, so it's a very cerebral, academically-oriented environment where people are not "feelers". I feel like there is kind of a stigma about massage and massage therapists that I've had to overcome, luckily being in the massage school environment pushed aside those ideas but now that I'm out, I'm a little sensitive to being judged about what types of careers are "acceptable" "challenging" or "academic", which is what I feel is typically expected of my peers.

I enjoy massage, practicing and receiving, and believe deeply in its therapeutic value. Because of these previous stigmas and fears, I delayed entry into massage school when I could have gone years ago. I am still happy that I went, and happy that I can now practice for the rest of my life.
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