October 21, 2007

Growing number of Massage Therapists and Longetivity

As a massage therapist and instructor at Ashmead college, I find it interesting it seems like the Seattle area massage community is saturated. I hear concerns from current practitioners as well as from students to the effect of "Am I gonna be able to make it out there?" or "It seems like there is a massage therapist everywhere I look, I find it hard to build a clientele."

Another seemingly obvious situation is that more places are offering massage now. Chiropractors are offering massage to complement their spinal adjustments and injury treatment. Spas are not only offering foo-foo type massage but are really looking into the revenue generation that massage brings in. Even high end hair salons are coming to the same conclusion, if I offer in a massage service I can generate more. And while all these examples may be good business type decisions, where does it leave us practitioners? Is supply getting ahead of demand?

And yet there are more and more massage students going through school. Massage schools are aggressively advertising to increase their enrollment. They are offering special referral programs to their alumni to increase their numbers. There are so many new students coming into the field everyday! With so many new practitioners coming into the field, what is happening with the more seasoned practitioners? Are we healthy and practicing or are we hurting ourselves; are we only doing massage part time; is the community actually supporting the increase of practitioners in this area?

I guess I am trying to get a handle on what is really going on with more and more people entering our field. Does anyone have a thought on this? What is the biggest concern current therapists have regarding longevity in this career?


Anonymous said...

I began my career working for a physical therapy company, and was never very busy. Now I work for an established chiropractor (still an employee) and I am having difficulty getting all my clients in. I come in early, stay late... I am completely swapped. I can't throw a stone without hitting 10 other massage therapists in practice... so what makes me so busy? I think that it's the reputation and the loyal clients coming from my chiropractor, also, he has the money to hang very large banners outside advertising massage therapy (as most do). But the difference that stands out between my previous job and this one? Massage is a huge priority to my doctor, and physical therapy was the focus of my last employer. So, yes, salons and spas are now offering more injury/medical type massages, maybe even taking insurance, but if that is not their main goal as clients, those people will start looking elsewhere!

As far as the mass of students going through massage schools, there are also a lot of current practitioners in some form on retiring, or striking out on their own, which also limits their clients, depending on the wording of their contracts. So I think that there will always be a place for all those new hopefuls out there.

Lara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lara said...

So I run a successful multi-therapist practice and I agree that it helps that our focus is massaage.

What I have noticed, most importantly, is that our busiest therapists are the ones that 1) are patient enough to stick around to build up their practice and 2) are good at forming relationships.

Massage is such a personal service, clients seem to crave a connection with their massage therapist. No connection = no repeat business