What Skills Are Needed to Be a Massage Therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist is not as easy as one might think, but the effort is well worth it, as massage therapists are in high demand these days. With the current emphasis on health and wellness, the demand for massage therapy is only going to grow.

But what exactly does it take to be a good massage therapist? Learning massage techniques is a necessary and important first step, but that is only half the battle. The skills needed to be a massage therapist extend far beyond the technical aspects of massage. There is an array of qualities that one must develop in order to provide clients with the best experiences. Let’s take a look at some of the essential massage therapist skills and qualities you’ll need in order to succeed in this growing industry.

6 Skills and Qualities Every Massage Therapist Should Have

Here are some of the skills and qualities you’ll need to succeed as a massage therapist:

1. Good sense of judgment and perception

It’s important that massage therapists be able to use their good judgment and perceptions to provide an enjoyable experience for their clients. For example, they need to judge whether a client is comfortable with a certain type of massage or not.

Since massage therapy involves touching clients, it’s important that therapists be able to tune into the non-verbal cues that their clients give off during a massage session. With these skills, you can judge whether a client is comfortable with certain types of maneuvers, allowing you to adapt quickly throughout a session.

2. A passion for learning and improvement

Passion is one of the key qualities that every successful massage therapist should have. A passion for learning and improvement drives therapists to keep up with the latest techniques and trends in the industry. It also helps therapists stay motivated to provide the best possible service to their clients.

Here at the IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy, we provide an array of continuing education courses and programs for our students to grow their skillset. For example, students who are passionate about the field often transition directly from our basic Swedish I program to the advanced Kinesitherapy program to further expand their knowledge.

3. Solid communication skills

The therapeutic aspect of massage therapy involves having strong communication skills. Successful massage therapists must be able to listen carefully to clients and understand their needs. They should also be able to explain the benefits of massage therapy in a way that the client can understand. As a massage therapist, clear communication will help you build trusting relationships with clients and provide them with the best possible care.

For example, if you’ve just started working with a new client, and you’re trying to get a sense of their needs. What kind of questions would you ask them? Some of the questions might be:

  • What brings you in today?
  • What exactly are you experiencing pain or tension?
  • What are your goals for this session?
  • What type of massage do you prefer?

After asking these questions, you should have a good understanding of the client’s needs.

Communication skills are also important during the massage. For example, when asking whether your client wants you to increase or decrease the pressure, or if they are comfortable with the position of the headrest, and even when instructing clients to turn over, proper communication skills are important to make sure clients fully understand what you are saying.

4. Empathy

Empathy and compassion are two important qualities that every massage therapist should have. Empathy is the skill to understand and share other persons’ feelings. Compassion is the ability to express a caring attitude towards others, even when they are going through a difficult time.

As a massage therapist, you’ll be working with clients who are dealing with a variety of issues, from pain and tension, to stress, anxiety, and even suppressed emotions and blockages. It’s important that you have empathy for your clients so that you can understand their needs.

Empathy will make your clients feel heard and understood, creating a connection with you. This will increase the chances of re-bookings because of the trust you have developed with them.

5. Manual dexterity and stamina

Since massage therapy involves using your hands to manipulate the muscles and tissues of the body, it’s important that therapists have manual dexterity. This means having the ability to use your hands in a skillful way.

It’s also important that therapists have stamina so that they can perform massages for long periods of time without getting tired.  A skilled and experienced massage therapist can compensate for lack of stamina with the use of body mechanics. However, being in better shape will always make you a better massage therapist.

6. A valid education and certification

In order to work as a massage therapist, you’ll need to have a valid education and certification from an accredited massage therapy school. Completing a massage program from a vetted and well-recognized school, which can be found on the Quebec Federation of Massage Therapists (FQM) website, you can ensure that you can become certified immediately upon graduation. IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy for example, is a privileged partner of the Quebec Federation of Massage Therapists (FQM) and the majority of associations of certified massage therapists in Quebec and recognized by all associations of certified massage therapists in Quebec.

These are just a few of the, “what skills are needed to be a massage therapist,” that is needed to be a successful massage therapist. If you have these qualities, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in this field.

Here at the IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy, our basic Swedish I program teaches all of these skills to our students. By the time our students have completed their training with us, they will have developed all of the above skills and will be ready to enter the workforce as fully-skilled and professional massage therapists.

Master Your Massage Therapy Skills at IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy

If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist, or if you’re already a massage therapist and you want to improve your skills, consider enrolling in a massage therapy program at IKRA Academy of Massage Therapy. We offer programs for both beginners and experienced professionals.

Our programs are designed to help you master the skills needed to be a successful massage therapist. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you achieve your goals.

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