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Massage therapist careers

Working on patients' bodies, massage therapists use their hands, elbows or feet to help relieve physical or emotional problems.

There are various types of massage, including:

  • Swedish massage. This covers the entire body, with particular emphasis on the limbs and back. Indian head massage. A relaxing massage of the neck, shoulders, head and face using therapeutic oils.
  • Sports massage. Used for recovery, rehabilitation and preparation of athletes.
  • Baby massage. Used to calm infants and support their immune system.

While there are no specific entry requirements for massage courses, GCSEs in biology, anatomy or physiology would be useful.

Although there is no legal certification needed to work as a massage therapist, it is important to look for a qualification that is recognised by one of the principal awarding bodies. The principal organisations are:
  • The Federation of Holistic Therapists
  • The British Register of Complementary
  • Practitioners
  • The Scottish Massage Therapists
  • Organisation

Courses are usually a combination of training weekends or days, with home assignments in between training sessions. Total time is typically a minimum of 100 to 150 hours including theoretical study, observed treatments and a written exam. The Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) and the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) offer courses at a variety of locations throughout the UK.

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