Massage therapist

Anyone a proper massage therapist? What's life like? Seriously considering this as a career option. Thoughts? The course for Cert IV is about $5000 but if you do land a job (or start a busines) the hourly rate looks ok.
I am qualified Massage Therapist, but non-practicing. Pretty tough to make a break into it and get full time work.

I did the course with my Uncle about 3 years ago and he has since set up a dedicated room for his business and done other training with hot rocks, etc. and he doesn't have enough business to give up his day job yet.

If you just want to do it because the hourly rate is good, forget it... you really have to love massaging and be good at it (and/or be great at marketing) to make a living off it.

And I won't lie, it definitely wouldn't hurt business if you're an attractive female - you cater for both clients, the females who want to be massaged by another female and it is for more relaxation and then you have the males who want to be massaged by an attractive female and get a relatively hard massage.

Btw, when you look at the hourly rate of running your own biz, don't forget to take into consideration super, holidays, sick leave, your costs of oils, towels, heating, rent, etc... it may not be as crash hot as you thought.
Thanks Bon, great info.

It's not just the hourly rate, I've always loved massage, aromatherapy etc. Not in a real hippy way, just that it feels good you know?

Look I used to be a vet nurse and TBH with all the training and hard yards I put in for that, the pay was dismal! That's partly why massage appeals. You have more options than nursing (animals or humans) with regard to starting your own business. It seems quite flexible - in comparison.

I'm just looking for something extra for play money and to keep me busy as being a mum for nearly 6 years is just not enough anymore.

Good points about the expenses involved.. another one would be insurance too. Maybe a nice job in a day spa or something would be good too. I just like the idea of my own business and working around kids, school etc.

LOL @ attractive female thing! Attractive females will always get more money, no matter what they do but thanks for the 'heads up'. Unfortunately, I tend to fall into the 30-something mum category (pony tail, jeans, t-shirt, no time for makeup, you get the picture).

I'm just researching at this stage and totally understand how competitive it all can be. I have years of office experience (as well as vet nursing) but can't see myself going back to sitting on my butt all day dealing with the office politics etc.
My sister in law has done it for years as a side to her normal paye job. Good Cash work.

Think she said one of the worst things is the amounts of farting people do when they get a rub. Just something to maybe bear in mind if you're not of strong stomach.
Thanks Spectre, you've given me quite a giggle. :)

My stomach is pretty strong really. Years of experience in dealing with all things stinky and disgusting. Puts another spin on the whole "aromatherapy" part to it! :D

I know many a folk that did the courses

id say if you can get into the teaching side of things there does appear tobe money there.

from the folks that I do know that do it pretty much ft,its HARD manual work

Thanks Rolf. I guess i am looking for something that keeps me moving and physically fit (as did vet nursing, I used to have big biceps in those days and thin as a whistle!). This is even more important to me now as I get older and see my fitness level dropping.

I reckon the good ones doing all the sporty people and doing the deep tissue massage (that have a Diploma, not just the Cert) would find it fairly hard manual labour.

Teaching would be good, but yes highly competitive, no doubt. You'd have to be really good and passionate about it all. I'm realistic enough to realise that wouldn't be for me with my life at the moment (kids are priority).

I'm just looking to do it part time, maybe in a day spa or working in places like pallitive care, retirement homes etc.?

I'm getting more information in the post tommorow and also more news of the "Returning to Earning" grant so will keep everyone updated on what i decide.

Thanks for all the replies so far :) No ones been rude or insulting yet, which is nice ;)
hey casserole..

One of my best friends is/was a massage therapist.

She found that a lot of her clients fell pregnat at once ...(obviously someting about "relaxation" :D )

anyway.................she now has a THRIVING biz in teaching Mum how to massage bub.

She doesn't have the physical strain of massaging a tense body for 60 mins...but rather has the pleasure of showing 6-8 willing Mums how to massage bub for the same or similar price......(EACH 4-8 times the turnover :D )

Her business has grown and grown from Mums RAVING about how great massage helped bub....

She is happy because she earns a bucket load more $$$$ for a really basic 30-60 minute "lesson" with NO stress on her own body (massage is HARD work)

something to ponder :)
I can tell you this baby massage bizo is going to be a hit! Baby industry is worse than the wedding industry. New parents LOVE these things!
I do agree that the baby massage thing seems popular.

Sad thing is my little girl had to wear a hip harness as a newborn, and when the massage lady came to our 'first mum's group' it took me so long to take it off my lil girl I had missed half the massage lesson. Also my girl was tired and cranky by then and didnt want to be stripped off at all. Bad first experience.

That aside, I can understand why it is popular with mums (and dads).

this is all good though, my brain is ticking ticking ticking... thanks!
I am a physio. Massage done well, is not only demanding physically, but psychoemotionally. This is a difficult thing to explain to someone who has not worked with the human body before. You will feel a lot more drained after massaging 5 people over 6 hours, than sitting at a desk from 8 to 6.

Further, you want to consider whether you are strong enough to massage large men.

If you have long delicate fingers and double jointedness (lax ligaments) I'd recommend you not do massage. Your hands will not manage it. Many female physios who are now in their 60s have had to have their first thumb joint fused in an operation.

If you are not mentally and emotionally 'strong', I'd also recommend you not do it. You will eventually be drawn into people's negative issues, and sucked dry, if you do not know how to 'protect' and conserve your energy.

Remember the barriers to entry for massage therapy are low.

If you have any other redeeming qualities, I'd recommend you think longer term about building a more durable income stream from them.

I am in my 50s, and still do massage. But it is only for breaking adhesions and trigger points, and stretching tight fascia. there's nothing feel good about it. It is very painful. This is the sort of massage that can do people a lot of good, and the only sort I consider to be part of legitimate health care.
a few people have touched on what i was thinking. you have to find a niche market within the massage industry to really make any money. these markets might be:

baby massage
pregnant mothers
pet massage (starting to get popular)
corporate massage

i am sure others can name a few more. ww is right about having to protect your hands. i also am trained but never practices. my lecturer was quite big on showing techniques to protect your finger joints, and some of the horror stories about practitioners damaged hands over years of massage was quite offputting - especially if you get in with footballers or other muscly sporting types.

corporate massage was starting to get big before the gfc - don't know how it's going now. it operates best if you are part of a team (or run the team) with contracts to go into large businesses, ie, ato, bank hq etc and provide 10min massages at the desk (the client sits up with their head leant forward in a special rest).

i have a few friends that massage professionally, but they are not the primary income earners of the family. the hourly rate might seem good, but you have to factor in washing 4-5 towels per session, room hire or travel, purchasing a quality bed, heating pads etc.

find a niche and you might just make a real go of it.
Hmm, really not sure now...

I've got to say (and anyone reading my posts will know) I AM quite an emotional person and do sometimes take on others 'baggage' and dramas if only for a while till I snap out of it.

Also, no i am probably not physically big enough to massage a huge man, I'm only 5'3" and my hands are strong but small.

This gets me back to where I started, which is probably more the 'feel good' stuff ie. a nice quiet massage and aromatherapy. Not the life changing, fix your back, deep tissue professional massage. So like, WW said, not really 'legimate health care' more a luxury treat (like in a day spa etc).

Pet massage is a cute idea but that would be hard to do properly I think and I've had it with animals to be honest (still love 'em, just don't want to work with them).

Not sure now... still thinking....
Not sure now... still thinking....

Gee, I feel like I've got to help you open up a few other options Cass. :)

Have you thought about accounting type work? will always be a big demand for it. start out bookkeeping, consider doing an accounting degree part time, or full later. always a big demand for accounting skills and something you can do part time and well into old age.

If you want something more physical, personal carer in a retirement village. though the pay is very baseline. THis can lead towards physiotherapy assistant type work where you conduct exercise classes for the elderly. If you don't like elderly though, stay away.

How about veterinary wholesale product sales. WOUld require travel and full time work though.

Just keep in mind you can make a lot more money with your brain than your body, unless you have Elle McPherson's brain. ;)
WW -> interesting you talk about bookkeeping. I have an accounting degree, industry experience only not public practice. And I have always been in forecasting/cash flow/budgeting etc .. wonder there's a market for that. I looked into Jim's Bookkeeping franchaise and they cost a fortune!

BTW i'm sorry to hijack.
Well I thought I'd post an update on my life since everyone was so helpful about things...

I've decided to stick with what I know and have experience in but expand on that a bit. I'm doing a Medical receptionist course (thanks to the grant) and will then look for work locally and possibly in temp positions since this offers me the most flexibility.

With two kids and a shift worker of a husband, my hours will have to work around everything else. My husband's roster is never the same so can't really have set hours until both kids at school, and even then I'm not sure how I'll work it out. Other mums do, so it is possible I know.

So at this point in my life I've decided that rather than embarking on a new 'career', I really just need a 'job' IYKWIM.

Thanks again for everyone's help and suggestions they really made me think realistically about it all and I feel I'm in the right direction again. :)