I am a Licensed Massage Therapist at a small spa. I work 4-5 days a week and have anywhere from 1-5 clients per day, about half of whom are clients I work with on a regular basis. On an (ideal) typical day, I have 3-5 one-hour treatments, with half-hour breaks scheduled between treatments to cool down and to turn over rooms. For each treatment, I use a combination of Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques to address a client’s physical complaints, which can range from tension to recent injuries or occasional ailments to chronic illness. Although my job is primarily physical, I also need to be sensitive to each client’s emotional state and adjust my verbal interaction accordingly; some people enjoy conversing throughout their treatment, while others, especially those who are depressed and/or very stressed, prefer quiet. I generally enjoy my job, as the environment is very relaxed, my co-workers are easy-going, and clients are usually happy to see me. Here are a couple of examples of my schedule:
9:05AM – stroll into work, stretch a little, drink my coffee, read my client’s paperwork
9:20AM – bring client to treatment room, do quick interview (standard questions include: “Is anything specific bothering you today?” “Have you had any recent injuries or surgeries not listed on your paperwork?” “Are there any areas you don’t want worked?”), leave client to get ready
9:30-10:40AM – perform gentle Swedish treatment on client
10:45-11:00AM – ring up client, turn over room
Repeat 3 or 4 times until I go home at around 5:00 or 6:30.
9:00AM – wake up to be on-call during the morning and early afternoon
11:15AM – my boss calls me to ask if I’ll take a 5:00 client, and I say yes
4:20PM – I leave the house to go into work for the one treatment at 5:00
5:00PM – client is very particular about the way he wants his physical issue treated and I end up sweating my butt off for the remaining hour because he’s stressing me out with his demands
6:45PM – go home pissed off and tired because I came into work for less than two hours for an annoying client
I definitely have more good days than bad, but the bad day happens about once a month. My job is mostly straightforward and pleasant, but I have run into a few challenges. The first is that some clients are hard to read and are not forthcoming with their preferences. For example, although I encourage clients to speak up if they would like me to adjust my pressure, some do not give any feedback then complain to my boss afterwards. Another challenge is that the tasks can be tedious, and on a bad day, I feel as though I’m on autopilot. In general, I perform a modified Swedish massage with focused deep work (especially on the back, which tends to be the problem area for most people), and if I have a full day of clients who do not have specific complaints, I feel like I’m performing the same massage “routine” over and over, which is far from mentally stimulating. One more thing: in this line of work, safety can be an issue, as I’ve found myself on the phone screening out perverts who ask for happy endings. Shows like The Client List perpetuate the very wrong idea of massage therapists as sex workers, and that kind of misconception undermines massage therapy as a profession.
I became a massage therapist after becoming a registered nurse and quickly realizing that working in such a high-pressure environment was not for me. After leaving my first nursing job, I turned to massage therapy because it seemed to combine the parts of nursing I liked best (one-on-one interaction, helping people heal, using knowledge of anatomy and physiology) with a quiet, calming atmosphere where I felt I could perform optimally.
In a nutshell, massage therapy is a great option for people who truly care about other people, don’t mind touching people’s bodies without gloves (yeah, that’s a big one), and want to understand the human body and use that knowledge to help others; however, it is NOT a great option for those who need a steady schedule or paycheck.Add to favorites