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Body Therapist Job Description, Career as a Body Therapist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Body Therapist

Education and Training Professional Certificate

Average Salary $69,000 per year or approximately $15.36 per hour, depending on tips

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

Body therapy, otherwise known as massage therapy, is a form of natural healing, relaxation and body rejuvenation. Body therapists work to heal ailments in patients bodies through pressure, massage, acupuncture or through the use of herbal remedies and medicines. They can heal chronic or acute pain, relax strained or overworked muscles, and promote better overall health. Many therapists are employed in health spas or private clinics and rent a room for their business. Others can work out of their home or work as an in-house specialist that does personalized home visits for the elderly or those with disabilities. With the gaining popularity of natural healing therapists, some are even becoming employed in hospitals to work with specific patients suffering from ailments that could be cured or calmed with the use of different natural therapy techniques.

Education and Training Requirements

Body therapists generally take a formal training program at a school specializing in massage therapy and other body therapy techniques. These programs usually take about 8 months to 1 year to complete. Classes include anatomy, kinesiology, massage, ethics and legal issues, business, therapy techniques and other specialized classes that focus on specific areas of the body or specific techniques. The programs offer plenty of hands-on tactics and often allow practice on actual patients and other classmates to get a realistic feel of how a procedure is properly done. Once a program is completed, students will take a national or state certification exam to become licensed to practice and work in a clinic or spa. Many employers or states require a therapist to renew their license every few years by re-taking the test to make sure they are up to date on all the latest practices and legal issues associated with the field.

Getting the Job

In order to get a job as a body therapist, candidates will have to be licensed to practice in the state which they are applying for jobs. Ideal candidates will be highly skilled in their specific concentration, have a vast knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, and be comfortable working very closely and intimately with new clients of all ages, sizes, and genders. All candidates must also have a firm grasp on the ethics and legal standpoints behind working in natural healing and working closely with patients.

The attitude and personality of a body therapist is also important in landing a successful career in body therapy. Many patients who come in for the first time to receive treatments will probably feel uncomfortable or intimidated since many procedures require the removal of clothing or to wear nothing but a towel or robe. They will also be touched in sensitive places that will cause sensations that can be slightly painful or uncomfortable at first. In order to make the patient feel completely comfortable and relaxed, a therapist who is calm, welcoming, friendly, professional and shows they are confident in what they are doing will help to calm the nerves of most patients. A therapist should make it clear to patients that they can request to stop a procedure at any time or speak up if something is uncomfortable or doesn’t feel right. A good therapist will always have patient needs as a top priority and the patient will be well aware of that.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Most body therapists work in a private clinic or health spa. They will rent a room and bed to conduct their business and work with clients. Some therapists start their own private practice by working directly out of their home if they have already built a steady amount of clientele who trust them and plan to continue receiving treatments.
The body therapist industry is continually growing, and the need for natural healing and therapy is on the rise. This high demand is even causing some hospitals to hire body therapists to work with specific patients suffering from ailments that can be healed through certain holistic therapist practices.

Once a therapist has been in practice for some time, they can further their education by becoming a physical therapist, chiropractor, herbalist or esthetician. Many body therapists are trained in these fields as well, but are also certified to do body therapy and offer treatments such as massages or acupuncture to their patients.

Working Conditions and Environment

Body therapists generally work in a clinic or spa environment, and work to keep the environment calm and serene so patients can feel relaxed and comfortable from the moment they walk in.
Therapists also have to be comfortable working with patients of all shapes, sizes and genders. Not all patients are easy to work on, particularly the elderly or the obese, and a therapist will need to be able to comfortably work with different body types even if it seems unpleasant at first.

There is a lot of physical work involved in being a body therapist, particularly one who does massages. It takes a lot of physical strength and tolerance to be able to do a one hour deep tissue massage without causing hand cramps, arthritis or joint problems. Many therapists keep their bodies limber and strong by doing yoga exercises and hand stretches, otherwise there is a risk of causing permanent damage. Education and training classes for body therapists often teach ways to prevent injury when giving a massage.

One of the biggest benefits of body therapy is that the job can be done anywhere in the country. There is a need for body therapists everywhere. It is even possible for a therapist to get a job working in a spa in a luxury hotel or on a cruise line, giving massages and performing relaxation remedies for vacationers who want to unwind and relax. This part of the career can allow for many travel opportunities, and even give the opportunity for employment on tropical resorts and hot vacation spots.

Salary and Benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a body therapist is $15.36 per hour. Many therapists have the potential to make significantly more since they depend on personal tipping as a significant part of their income.

Building a significant amount of clientele is key to keeping a successful therapy business. The more clientele a therapist builds, the more income they can potentially make. Clientele is built by satisfying customers and building trust with them so they come back to you for procedures, and even recommend you to family and friends. The salary is also affected by location. A therapist working in a luxury resort has the potential to make significantly more than a therapist working in a hospital based on tipping alone.

Where to Go for More Information

Body Therapy Institute
300 Southwind Road
Siler City, NC 27344
(888) 500-4500

McKinnon BTC
2940 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 465-3488

Irene’s Myomassology Institute
26061 Franklin Road
Southfield, MI 48033
(248) 350-2400

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine