If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist, it’s smart to be aware of the challenges of being a massage therapist before committing.
I’m not trying to put you off, quite the opposite in fact.
I think the benefits of being a massage therapist far outweigh the cons or challenges.
That said, here are the challenges most massage therapists face on their way to becoming fully qualified, successful therapists.
10 Challenges of Being a Massage Therapist
1. Funding Education and Licensing to Become a Certified Massage Therapist
The road to becoming a licensed massage therapist can be costly.
Not only do you have to pay for things like tuition, books, and other school supplies, but you also need to factor in the cost of licensing.
In some states, the cost of licensure can be as high as $500.
And that’s not counting the thousands it’ll cost to go through all of the training and earn the certifications.
2. The Physical Demands that Come with Being a Massage Therapist
One of the challenges of being a massage therapist is that it’s a physically demanding job.
You’ll be on your feet for long periods of time and pretty much using your hands all the time while working on clients.
This can lead to health issues like carpal tunnel, back pain, and other injuries over time.
The physical demands are one of the main reasons why being a massage therapist has such a short lifespan.
Related – How tired do massage therapists get?
3. The Mental Demand of Dealing with Difficult Clients
Not every client is going to be a dream to work with.
In fact, you’re going to encounter your fair share of difficult clients, and dealing with difficult clients can be mentally and emotionally draining.
It’s important to have thick skin and not take things personally if you want to succeed as a massage therapist.
Some clients will be no-shows, some will be rude, and some will never be happy – it’s all part of working in a role where you’re dealing with the public!
4. Inappropriate Behavior from Clients
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for massage therapists to have to deal with inappropriate behavior from clients.
This includes things like lewd comments or advances, seeing more than you’d like, and just being made to feel uncomfortable.
It’s important to be aware of the risk of inappropriate behavior before starting your career as a massage therapist so you can be prepared to deal with it if it happens.
If you’re employed by a company, make sure they have a zero-tolerance policy for such behaviors and you know the proper channels to go through.
5. Dealing with Coworkers – if Employed in a Spa or Clinic Environment
If you work in a spa or clinic environment, chances are you’ll be sharing the space with other therapists.
This can lead to its own set of challenges, like dealing with coworkers who are difficult to get along with.
It’s important to be professional and try to keep the peace, but if all else fails, don’t be afraid to speak to your manager about the situation.
Working in a spa or clinic environment can also be challenging because of the high turnover rate.
This means you’ll constantly be training new employees and trying to maintain a good working relationship with them.
6. Managing All the Moving Parts of Running a Business – if Self-Employed
If you’re self-employed, you’ll have to deal with all the moving parts of running a business – from marketing and finances to scheduling and client management.
It can be a lot to handle, and it’s not for everyone.
Before taking the plunge into self-employment, make sure you’re prepared to wear all the hats that come with being a business owner.
It’s also important to have a solid support system in place, whether that’s a family member, friend, or professional service.
Running a business is tough, but there are some awesome rewards when you make it work!
7. Being Asked All the Same Questions by Friends and Family
Being a massage therapist seems to attract all the same questions and comments from other people, such as:
- Have you ever had a client make a pass at you?
- Do people really take their clothes off?
- How much do you make?
- What’s the weirdest/most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you while working?
It can be frustrating having to answer the same questions over and over, but try to remember that people are just curious and want to know more about your job.
8. Burnout Is a Real Problem
Working as a massage therapist can be emotionally and mentally draining, and it’s not uncommon to experience burnout.
This is why it’s so important to have a good support system in place and to make time for yourself outside of work.
It’s also important to set boundaries with clients – know when to say no if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Burnout is a real problem in the massage therapy industry, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and take steps to prevent it.
9. The Physical Toll on Your Body Over Time
Not only are the day-to-day physical demands tough, but most massage therapists also deal with long-term injuries.
This is due to the repetitive nature of the work and the fact that you’re constantly using your hands, arms, and shoulders.
It’s important to take care of your body while working as a massage therapist and to listen to it when it’s telling you to slow down or take a break.
10. Partners Always Want Free Massages
One of the (downsides) of being a massage therapist is that your partner always wants a free massage.
While it’s nice to be able to give your partner a massage whenever they want one, it can also get old after a while – especially if you’re not in the mood.
It’s important to set boundaries with your partner and explain that while you’re happy to give them a massage, it’s not always possible.
There are some challenges that come with being a massage therapist, but it’s also a rewarding and satisfying career.
If you’re thinking about becoming a massage therapist, make sure you’re prepared for the challenges that come with the job.
But remember, the rewards outweigh the challenges! So if you’re up for the task, go for it!
Header Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.