Alternate Careers for a Licensed Massage Therapist?
February 5, 2015 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Asking for my partner: I’ve been a licensed massage therapist since 2011 and have been working full time (24-28 hours/week hands-on) since then. Over the past two years, my body has been protesting more and more when I work.

I have additional certification in deep tissue, myofascial release, trigger points, clinical/medical (carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, and similar), some sports massage, and swedish massage. Currently I make about $40k, varying with tips and hours.

What career/job can I pursue that will:
- not waste my current knowledge/training
- provide comparable income
- be significantly less hands-on

I’d definitely pursue more education if that’d help me into a better career.
posted by HermitDog to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First thing that comes to mind, since he/she is willing to pursue more education, is Physical Therapy. It is hands-on, but not in the same way or to quite the same extent (in my experience) as massage.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:33 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

How about esthetician? You can do facials and do some massage in the bargain. Facials are awesome because there's part of them where you're just laying there, listening to Enya and letting the mask do it's work. It's a lot easier on a person.

You can go further and do laser and injectables and work in a medispa. There's a lot of money in Botox.

I get my hair done at the Aveda Institute. It's a pricy option, there are others that are less expensive, but I like the experience I have at Aveda.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is there something you could do that involves teaching people how to do things to make themselves feel better in some of the ways that a massage helps them feel better? Or how to prevent such things - how to have better posture, how to help them move their body in a healthy way, etc?
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2015

I'm a massage therapist. I've been doing this for 6 years or so now. I've had my own business, worked for chiropractors, and worked for salons. I've never tolerated low pay or poor working conditions for long, but have watched numerous good-heartened colleagues and former classmates do so, especially when working for massage chains like Massage Envy and Hand and Stone (a pox on them all!).

I think your partner can do significantly better with regard to money made per contact hour, unless he/she lives in the podunkiest backwoods nothing town--in which case, other careers probably won't pan out much better.

Working 24-28 contact hours per week and only making $40k is a problem. That works out to $30 or a little above per contact hour, *with tips*. Not acceptable. Someone is making too much money off of your partner's hard labor. This has to stop.

Before quitting massage entirely, your partner should try to make more money per contact hour and reduce those hours. I PROMISE this is possible. S/he could also migrate to modalities that are easier on the body, such as Reiki (I don't personally believe in it, but there's a market for it) or lymphatic drainage. Better self-care and body mechanics could also help reduce stress on the body.

I could probably help more if I knew what kind of workplace(s) s/he has worked in.

I'd also suggest joining a massage organization such as AMTA or ABMP, as s/he will find a community of other therapists to discuss strategies with.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 1:52 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Cut some of the contact hours and start holding workshops, like "simple massage techniques for couples" or something.
posted by erst at 2:26 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Toddler Jungle is seeing a massage therapist that specializes in her disorder and is $150/ 30 minutes*. Could your partner look into specializing in something like that?

*She works for herself and brings a table to us and is worth every penny of relief she provides with her expertise.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

We found her through Toddler Jungles doctor, he had a list of recommended people and she was mid range for pricing.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 2:33 PM on February 5, 2015

I pay $100/hour + tip for my registered/licensed massage therapist. I think your wife charges too little.
posted by saradarlin at 2:47 PM on February 5, 2015

I am a former massage therapist who had to quit due to carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome. I feel your partner's pain. I would suggest she look into different modalities like Thai massage or Watsu. The bonus is that you can usually charge more for these specialized services.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:21 PM on February 5, 2015

I had a facial from someone who was also a massage therapist, and it was heaven.
posted by radioamy at 4:50 PM on February 5, 2015

Odd as it may seem, massage videos seem to have the ability to garner a large amount of views on youtube, and they tend to be longer videos, which as far as I'm aware is a very good thing when it comes to the algorithm determining how much you are paid per video (viewing session length is now a significant factor).

You would, of course, have to build a fan base and become a youtube partner. It also requires the purchase of decent equipment (HD camera and microphone, perhaps lighting equipment).

You might think "would people really watch videos of massages?" The answer is a resounding yes. Especially if you have a soothing voice and are willing to "talk through" the massage. As an example, consider the extremely popular channel "MassageASMR." He has over 175,000 subscribers, and, according to this, is perhaps making up to six figures for his videos (though the number is likely toward the lower end, still conceivably near the income you want).

This individual is part of the "ASMR" community, a fairly recent phenomenon that has been featured as a story on NPR on several occasions and has a surprisingly large community.

Of course, this is somewhat an uncertain prospect, but if you made it work it would fit all your job criteria. You could, conceivably, eventually be making what you are while utilizing your skills and doing the actual massage portion much less, though you would still be "hands on" occasionally. Most of the work will be promoting your channel (aka marketing) and dealing with the technical aspects of cameras, lighting, sound, and editing video. But this work is much less physically demanding.

Perhaps something to consider.
posted by hypercomplexsimplicity at 11:39 AM on February 7, 2015

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