Job as a Masseur

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Steven Guy works for Connect Physical Health Centres in London. Steve enjoyed sport from an early age and was fascinated when he saw a therapist massaging an athlete. He decided to learn more about it and has made it his job.

How does each session start?

I go through a full health questionnaire with new clients and ask them specific questions about the problem, when and how it started and how it restricts their activities. I make sure that they are suitable for treatment, as people with certain conditions should not have massage.

I explain the treatment to new clients, then leave them for a few moments while they remove clothing from the area to be treated, cover themselves with towels and lie on the couch.

What happens next?

I make sure that the client is warm and comfortable. Next, I warm my hands and apply oil. I start the massage by moving my hands in circling, fanning or T-shaped movements across the client's skin. The aim is to help them relax as well as spread the oil, increasing blood flow and warming the tissues.

Then I use techniques like rolling and kneading which relieve tension, promote good muscle tone, stimulate the nervous system and remove waste products from the muscles. The third stage involves percussion - controlled slapping of the muscle using my fingers and the side of my hand.

Do you do anything else?

If there is an area of scar tissue from a pulled muscle or torn ligament I use my thumb, tip of finger, base of hand or elbow to apply controlled force across the direction of the muscle line. This creates heat, improving the blood flow which removes waste and brings healthy nutrients to the area to encourage healing.

How did you train for your job as a masseur?

I learnt massage as part of my degree in sports rehabilitation. As well as core subjects like anatomy and physiology, I did two or three case studies each year to learn which massage techniques were best suited to which sports and types of injuries. I also had to do assessed massages throughout the course.

What do you like about your job as a masseur?

The variety and the one-to-one communication with clients. You also see results very quickly. Clients arrive in a lot of discomfort but they leave feeling much better.

What hours do you work?

I usually do four-hour shifts which could be in the morning, afternoon or evening. I also work with a basketball team from 6pm to 9pm on Saturdays.

Is there anything you dislike?

The work is physically tiring, but that is part of the job and you get used to it.

What makes a good masseur?

You must be very confident and a good communicator. It is important to make the clients relax and learn to trust you.

Steve's route to his job as a Masseur

  • HND Biology.
  • HND Physiology and Health Science.
  • BSc Sports Rehabilitation.
  • Worked in a gym and did voluntary work with a basketball team while studying.

Steve's masseur tips

  • Contact a masseur and ask if you can watch them working.
  • Biology is a useful school subject.

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Salary of a Masseur

  • A new entrant could earn £12,000. This could rise to £16,000.
  • An established masseur with a large client list could earn £20,000 or more.

Job as a Masseur

  • There are many massage courses, but to join the General Council for Massage Therapy (GCMT) National Register of Qualified Massage Practitioners, you must have completed a course approved by them.
  • Approved courses last a minimum of six months.
  • There are no formal entry requirements for many courses but you must be over 18 to begin training.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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