What do massage therapists do?

9th October 2019

Employment and business opportunities for massage therapists are currently in a state of rapid growth — and expected to increase even more over the next 3-4 years. So in this article we will take a close look at the massage therapy career path. We’ll focus on realistic employment options, essential qualifications, complimentary certifications, and recommended memberships.

CAREER QUICK FACTS: Massage therapists who are just starting out earn on average $54,000 per year — but statistics indicate that income immediately increases with experience.


What does a massage therapist do?

Massage therapy is recognised as an important treatment for increasing blood flow, improving joint mobility, and stimulating tissue repair. Massage therapists help their clients recover from injury or just relax in their corporate down-time.

As a massage therapist you’ll have an advanced knowledge of human anatomy and physiology — and be skilled in a range of remedial and relaxation massage techniques that generally include Shiatsu, acupressure, assisted stretching, deep tissue, and Swedish.

A career in massage therapy suits people who are committed to their own physical fitness and flexibility, and have a heart for helping people to live their lives pain-free and with less stress.


Massage Therapy Career Path

Massage therapists can follow a range of exciting career paths — everything from having your own local massage business, or travelling while working the world’s top resorts and day spas. Here are a few ideas:

Independent massage therapist
Start your own business as an independent massage therapist providing services to clients in their own home or office (mobile practice) — or in your own private practice (home or public clinic). Independent therapists work their own hours and have a great work/life balance.

Sports medicine masseur
Sports medicine masseurs help elite athletes, sportsmen and women, or students relax and recover after sporting activities. You’ll be delivering massage therapies and assisted stretching to relieve pain and increase flexibility. Specialise in specific sports (eg, swimming, triathlon, tennis), or work within niche areas (eg, disabled athletes, sport injury rehabilitation, over 50s).

Day spa therapist
Day spa therapists usually have nationally recognised qualifications in both massage and beauty and deliver a range of relaxation and beauty treatments to clients, guests and members of the spa. Apart from independent clinics, day spa therapists are often hired by resorts, cruise ships, health clubs, and gymnasiums.

Myotherapists use a combination of massage, hot, and cold therapies to treat arthritis, joint pain, myofascial pain syndrome, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Myotherapists often have adjacent qualifications in physiotherapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy.



To work as a professional massage therapist in Australia you will require any or all of these qualifications:

  • Certificate IV in Massage Therapy (HLT42015)
  • Diploma of Remedial Massage (HLT52015)
  • National police check
  • First aid certificate

Complimentary certifications
To extend your client reach and employability, you might also consider nationally recognised certifications in Beauty, Physiotherapy, Alternative Therapies and Holistic Medicine, or Nutrition.


Professional Membership

Many day spas, sports medicine clinics, and natural therapy clinics require their massage therapists to obtain and hold professional membership. It will also be beneficial to get a health insurance provider number.

You may want to consider:

  • Association of Massage Therapists (AMT)
  • Massage & Myotherapy Australia
  • Australian Natural Therapists Association Limited (ANTA)
  • International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT)

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