Monday, November 5, 2007

The Business of Massage: An underdeveloped aspect of career success

Recently I have been scouring the web and talking to massage schools about their business programs. There seems to be a wide range of interest and number of hours dedicated to this topic. The business portion of the massage curriculum is often passed around amongst the teachers. Without enthusiasm, they will attempt to teach students who also have little interest in this portion of their leaning. This lack of engagement is interesting when you recognize poor business savvy as a leading cause for therapists departure from the industry.

The following was taken from ABMP’s 2006-2007 Professional Statistics

Attrition an Ongoing Concern:
Practitioner attrition continues to be cause for concern in the massage therapy profession. ABMP estimates some 50,000 massage therapists leave the profession each year. One primary factor that drives this defection;

  • As most professionals indicate they wish they had more clients, it is reasonable to conclude that at least some practitioners leave the field because of insufficient economic reward. Contributing to this may be unrealistic expectations of new graduates and a simple lack of business skill and confidence. It proves difficult for sole practitioners to reconcile their sense of higher purpose with the more mundane aspects of self-employment and the competitive realities of self-promotion.

I found some schools only dedicate between 6 – 12 hours to business. I cannot imagine this will equip therapists to thrive in their practice. I did run across one school, Body Wisdom Massage Therapy School, with an impressive 58 business hours. On average, most schools dedicate between 20 – 25 hours. Still, this does not afford a lot of time to equip a therapist with the business aspects of their practice.

I am looking for input from therapists on this topic: What do you feel you need upon graduation to be successful? What did you learn in school that was useful?
What did you feel you missed out on?

You can respond via email at or feel free to post a comment.

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