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Massage Therapist Home Businesses

What Does It Take to Start a Massage Therapist Home Business?

By Ron Dicker

(LifeWire) - Overview of this Business

The massage therapy business, which aims to ease stress and alleviate pain after illness or injury, has tripled in the last decade. It should grow by 20% through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, which indicates strong growth potential for message therapist home businesses. Masseuses can earn between $40 and $70 per hour on average.

The self-employed message therapist can purchase a portable massage table and opt for the low-overhead housecall route. However, competition is fierce, and the strenuous nature of the job often limits one's hours.

Message therapist clients are nearly all ages. Some customers of both genders report feeling awkward with male contact, which is perhaps why women message therapists outnumber males by more than 3 to 1.

There are dozens of types of massage that message therapists offer, including deep tissue, acupressure, reflexology and Swedish massage. Thirty-three states now recognize the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and a handful more employ relatively stringent regulation of message therapists. The national test's administrator, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, is a fine resource for business advice and reputable training programs. Note that some jurisdictions require licensing only for certain techniques.

Pros of Massage Therapist Home Businesses

  • Satisfaction in alleviating others' discomfort
  • Word of mouth can build quickly by offering massages at a discount to family, friends and acquaintances.
  • Legitimate classes and websites devoted to all kind of massage therapy are easy to find.
Cons of Massage Therapist Home Businesses
  • After computing recovery and travel time between jobs, masseuses earn an hourly median wage of $16.06.
  • Risk of repetitive-stress injuries to hands and joints is a factor that budding message therapists should consider.
  • Clients may have bad hygiene or try to make sexual advances during a message therapy session.
  • You still have to nurture your clients even when you don't feel so well yourself.
What You Need to Get Started in Massage Therapist Home Businesses
  • A business plan, with perhaps a specialty or two
  • Licensing and insurance, if necessary
  • Good networking skills to navigate cocktail parties, health and fitness fairs, local gyms, and medical practices and hospitals
  • The basic advertising tool kit: business cards, low-cost or free advertising online, a website and flyers to leave where potential clients might congregate
  • Patience and enthusiasm
  • Good hygiene and professional demeanor
  • A portable massage table ($200 and up), lotions and oils, pillows, paper sheets
  • Proper credentials. Check with local, state and national authorities such as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

Massage Therapist: Real-Life Example

Katherine Scholl, a nationally certified massage therapist in Skaneateles, N.Y., who specializes in Swedish massage, charges $60 for one hour, according to her website.

Cool Company Names for a Message Therapist Business

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Ron Dicker is a New York-based freelance writer who covered sports for the New York Times from 1996 to 2005.
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