How to Become a Massage Therapist

Do you dream of a job in a peaceful environment where your work makes a real difference in the lives of others? Do you enjoy working with your hands? Can you connect with people and put them at ease while still maintaining a professional demeanor? If so, massage therapy may be right for you! Read on to learn how to become a massage therapist in Oregon.

Figuring out that you want to become a massage therapist is the first step. Next, you must apply to accredited massage schools in your preferred area, and with the academic programs you desire. Following acceptance into a program, you must complete the classes and hands-on clinical work required by your state. Each state has unique requirements for massage therapist licensure. The last step is to pass state licensure test. Below, we cover these steps in more detail.

An Eagle Eye’s View of How to Become a Massage Therapist

  1. Take our Massage Career Readiness Quiz.
    This is the beginning of your self-inquiry about massage therapy. We also recommend that you speak with family and friends, read online articles about becoming a massage therapist, and thoroughly educate yourself on the pros and cons of this healing career path. Understanding your own dreams and goals is important at this stage, as you visualize yourself working in one of the many environments where massage therapy happens (everywhere from spas and clinics to sports fields and cruise ships). Finally, you’re ready to reach out to admissions departments and begin touring massage school campuses.
  1. Complete the Admissions Process at Accredited Massage School(s)
    Get in touch with the admissions departments of the schools on your list. Admissions team members can answer questions, discuss your eligibility, talk about transfer credits, and more. As you pencil out your readiness for massage school, tour campuses and compare facilities. We recommend prioritizing accredited schools with on-site massage clinics. There, massage students can hone their craft under the guidance of experienced teachers. Finally, once you’re certain on which schools will work for you, it’s time to apply. At East West College, we offer an online application form.
  2. Complete Classes and Clinical Work for an Accredited Massage Program.
    Having been accepted into a program of your choice, it’s time to hit the books! While each school’s approach is different, there are certain quality signposts you should see in all programs, including clinical work, classes grounded in body science, and a high ratio of program graduates successfully passing state exams.

East West College’s prestigious COMTA-accredited massage therapy program kicks off with introductory classes on Swedish massage techniques, kinesiology and anatomy foundations, and how to create healthy therapeutic relationships with clients. In the second term, East West students dive deeper into physiology, pathology, and anatomy while also adding western massage and bodywork modalities. The third quarter sees East West College students expanding and applying their learning to conditions and disorders often found in massage practice. Eastern and energetic massage techniques are also covered in this quarter, as students also prepare for clinical work in quarter four. This last quarter includes plenty of clinical practice as well as bodywork electives and massage therapy business basics. Fourth quarter East West College students also learn about providing massage therapy to special populations, such as athletes and the elderly. Learn more about our massage school’s program here, where you’ll find our list of goals for students as well as more on class options.

  1. Pass State Licensure Requirements.
    Having graduated from an accredited massage school, the final obstacle to working as a massage therapist is to pass the state’s licensing exam. Earning a massage therapist license in the state of Oregon includes three components: 1. 625 hours of required massage education; 2. A passing score in a national massage certification test such as the MBLEX or the NCBTMB; and 3. A passing score for the Oregon jurisprudence (law) exam for massage therapy. Oregon also requires background fingerprinting for first-time massage therapy license applicants.

We hope that this basic outline has spurred your determination to achieve your massage therapy career goals! Massage therapists are famous for enjoying their work. To learn more about how to make this rewarding career path your own, call us today at 503-233-6500.

Cammie Toloui

Cammie TolouiWill you please introduce yourself?

I’m Cammie Toloui. I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, doing work for publications and shooting weddings, family portraits and events. Around the time I was turning 40, I decided I needed a change and I chose to study massage. I graduated from East West from the 801-hour program in 2010 and immediately started working in the clinic at school and did that (in addition to starting my own practice) for about a year. I rented a room with one of my former classmates and built up my business for about 2 years and then my life changed radically! My son went off to college and I went on a trip to England to do some street photography, which is when I met the man who eventually became my husband. So I moved to a small town in southeast England and had to figure out how to start my business up again in a foreign country.

What drew you to massage therapy?

When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do besides photography, I took a class designed for women of a certain age who were thinking of re-entering the workplace after kids. One of the exercises was to make a list of all the things I like and find interesting and want to learn more about. I made my list and then narrowed it down until it was distilled into this one very exciting-sounding profession: Village Witch. I figured that massage might be a good entry-level position on my way to becoming the village witch, so I looked into what was available in Portland and found East West College. After the intro day, I knew I had found the next phase of my life and that massage would be a perfect fit for me. I’m still not the village witch, but I’m very happy to be helping people to feel better through therapeutic massage.

Why did you select East West College?

I could tell that East West had very high standards and was well organized. I had gone to another school for their intro day and to me they seemed less professional and the intro day at East West was compelling, fun and helped me decide to follow the path to being a therapist.

Since graduation what has been your biggest professional challenge? How were you able to overcome it?

Currently my biggest challenge is marketing, especially on social media. I’m told it’s what I should be doing, but I feel that the personal nature of finding a massage therapist isn’t a great fit for social media. I find most people want to find a therapist recommended by a friend. That is at least true here in England. To encourage this, I tell my clients that for every person they send to me for a massage, they get £10 off their next massage. This turns out to be an effective motivator and it’s how I get most of my new clients.

The other big challenge is the number of clients I’m able to see in a day or a week. When I first started out I would schedule 4 or 5 clients in a day and would sometimes see 20 in a week. That ended up being way too many for what my body was able to handle. But I had a son and rent and all those things and had to work as hard as I could.

These days I see a maximum of three clients a day, but not on consecutive days because I need time to recover my energy. It makes me wonder – how I will sustain this as I head into my 50th year on this planet? How many more years do I have as a massage therapist and what do I do once I can’t sustain it anymore? I don’t have retirement savings. Maybe I need to start thinking about retraining to learn something else? Big questions that I haven’t figured out yet…

Since graduation what is the best part of your professional career?

Without question the best part is watching people walk out the door feeling 10 times better than when they walked in. To be able to make people feel better is like having a superpower!

What words of advice would you give future students at East West College?

Don’t undervalue yourself by lowering your prices to substandard rates.

Don’t work yourself to the point of pain and injury – figure out what you’re comfortable with and then get a job doing something else on alternate days if you need to so you don’t burn out.

Take your time and let your hands find their way around the client’s body to assess what’s needed – don’t just do your massage routine, giving a one-size-fits-all massage to every client. I know you probably don’t think you will, but after a while that can start to happen.

Interview With Alumni Kevin Faris

Will you please introduce yourself?Kevin Feris

My name is Kevin Faris I graduated from East West in October 2013

What drew you to massage therapy?

The Thing that drew me to massage was an old construction injury. I had some treatments and it was the most helpful thing.

Why did you select East West College?

I found East West by chance. I was searching good massage schools around the area and I knew some LMT’s and they said East West is the best.

Since graduation what has been your biggest professional challenge? How were you able to overcome it?

Since I have graduated from school my biggest professional challenge has been grounding. The way I have overcome it is by breathing exercises and stretching before each client and also making sure I eat enough food.

What words of advice would you give future students at East West College?

Some words of advice: while in school study everything that you can, ask as many questions as you can, and work on as many people as you can, and last but not least ask yourself how can you get better and what purpose it holds. For this reason you will succeed further in your career.

Alum Interview — Vanessa Shumate

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Vanessa Shumate, I was born and raised on a farm outside of Eugene Oregon. With constant manual labor in order to maintain the farm I found giving and receiving massage and body work to be vital in sustaining this lifestyle.

What drew you to massage therapy?

After years of interest in massage therapy, I started realizing how passionate I was about the intricate web that makes up the human body and the steps we can take to support our highest levels of functioning.

Why did you select East West College?

I was drawn to East West College due to the supportive community and greater level of training than required. One of the greatest challenges as an LMT is creating a sustainable successful business and East West College goes above and beyond to provide the resources and support that is needed to begin a career.

Since graduation what has been your biggest professional challenge? And how were you able to overcome it?

One of the greatest challenges as an LMT is creating a sustainable successful business and East West College goes above and beyond to provide the resources and support that is needed to begin a career.

Since graduation what is the best part of your professional career?

I am grateful for the opportunity to work at Our Massage Clinic at East West. Upon graduating I was overwhelmed with all the different avenues, the clinic has been a wonderful place to gain confidence and find direction before entering the vast world of massage. Throughout my time at East West I have found each treatment experience to be unique and full of lessons to carry with me in my practice. Massage therapy so far has surpassed my expectations as a rewarding career and I only look forward to the ability to grow and contribute what I learn to my community.

 

 

 

 

 

Massage & Self-Care: Marketing the Necessity of De-Stressing during the Holiday Season

Holiday stress: It’s so ubiquitous, it’s practically cliché. Yet few people actually fit in an extra wintertime massage or day at the spa. How can Portland massage therapists come to the rescue? By effectively marketing their offerings during this darkest, and often busiest, part of the year.

We all know that the holidays are a time of stress. Consider a Healthline study which found that 56% of Gen X-ers, 61% of millennials, and 62% of Baby Boomers feel stress during the holidays.

Yet few people actually set aside time to destress. The 2016 American Time Use Study found that, on average, a woman with children spends just 11 minutes per day on self-care activities such as exercise or recreation. Married men spend just 15 minutes per day on such self-care. The bottom line? Americans aren’t prioritizing self-care. And we’re betting that tendency is exacerbated during the holiday season. Yet this “most wonderful” (read: busiest) time of the year is exactly when we most need self-care to help us deal with skyrocketing stress levels.

Massage: An Enjoyable Antidote to Holiday Stress
Is massage a luxury? Or self-indulgent? Absolutely not! Holiday stress can rob us of sleep, increase our blood pressure, and leave our hearts and minds racing. Not to mention the nosedive our best dietary intentions take at this time of year! With all these stressors, our minds and bodies are not operating optimally. Massage battles stress in multiple ways, allowing us to better enjoy the holidays while cruising through the season’s challenges.

How Massage Helps Offset Stress

Feel-Good Hormones. During this time of the year, many people slack on their exercise routines. Who feels like working out when it’s dark and icy outside? Massage can help! Massage produces many of the same soothing “happy chemicals” one gets from a good run, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Improved Sleep. Indulgent parties, crammed schedules, holiday change to routines: It all makes regular sleep challenging. Again, massage to the rescue! As the AMTA reports, multiple studies suggest that regular massage improves sleep. Consistent ZZZs can help zap holiday stress, as well as seasonal anxiety and depression.

Soothe the Sympathetic Nervous System. From a medical perspective, stress is “up-regulation,” when the body turns on the fight/fight/freeze response in the face of external stimuli. Up-regulation is performed by the sympathetic nervous system. We experience stress when the body is “stuck” in a sympathetic response. The other half of the autonomic nervous system is the parasympathetic side—its job is to help release the stress of upregulation. As discussed in Massage Magazine, massage helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, turning off the fight/flight/freeze response and helping the recipient feel less stressed.

Target Acupressure Points. Reflexology, Tui Na, and other styles of Eastern-influenced massage therapy increase energy by alleviating blockages along energy lines, or meridians. By focusing on acupressure points throughout the body, massage therapists can decrease stress. A 2013 study from Georgetown University found acupuncture to be an effective way to fight stress; acupressure uses the same energetic principals without requiring needles.

Holiday Marketing Tips for Therapists

Fight the good fight against holiday stress! Entice clients to your door with these marketing approaches.

  1. Say “Thank You” (and “Hello” to new customers) with Gift Certificates. Acknowledge your most loyal clients by giving them each a complimentary massage gift certificate. Here’s the catch: They must spread the joy of the season by passing on the certificate to a friend. It’s a win-win for massage careers and massage-seekers alike: You get a new referral, your customers feel appreciated, and new clients find your exceptional services.If full gift certificates are too much, offer your clients free add-on treatments, such as an extra 10 minutes of massage, or aromatherapy. Sending hand-written holiday cards to your top 25 clients, and emailing 50 more clients, is another excellent way to celebrate your success while growing customer loyalty. Throw in a New Year’s special and watch your appointment book fill.
  2. Use Social Media to Inform and Entice. Twitter, Facebook, and your blogging platform are excellent tools for connecting with holiday customers, but the “hard sale” rarely works. Certainly, posting your holiday specials is wise—but this sort of promotional material should make up no more than 20% of your overall social media content. With these messages, include a call to action, such as “Give the Gift of Health! Purchase one gift certificate and get a massage for yourself at half off.” Throw in a link to your online store. The other 80% of your messages should be conversational in tone. For instance, you can post tips for holiday self-care, such as this article from Psychology Today, and ask how your followers are committing to their own health this holiday season. As the conversation unfolds, you will likely have an opportunity to mention your services.
  3. Promote Gift Cards Early and Often. Portland massage therapy gift cards make great gifts, particularly when they are for individual therapists. For would-be massage recipients, a massage gift card is more than an enjoyable present: It’s also a time-saver, since they don’t have to spend weeks searching for a talented therapist. For dazzling holiday season sales, start early: Set up events for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Place gift card displays in your practice space. Have your online store setup by September. Plan ahead for the best results.

Of course, Portland massage therapists are just as susceptible to holiday stress as everyone else. So to conclude, we’d like to encourage all our alumni and students to set aside time for themselves this holiday season. Arrange a trade or set up an appointment in our Portland massage clinic. Just as an hour of blissful body work can help your clients sail through the season, so can massage help you maximize your appreciation of the wonder of the holidays.

Staff Profile: Robyn Baehler, Alumni Services Coordinator and Sports Massage Therapist at the Track & Field Olympic Trials

A massage therapist career can take you in whatever direction you wish. For East West College grad Robyn Baehler, sports massage therapy specialization lead her to treat athletes at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene this past July. Now, Robyn is also working in our Oregon massage school as our Alumni Services Coordinator and has a chance to help tomorrow’s LMTs find work after graduation. Today we’re delighted to share the story of Robyn’s connection to the massage world and working with athletes, including how she ended up providing massage to world-class running stars. Robyn also provides insight into how a budding massage therapist can steer her or his massage therapist career toward treating athletes at national and international competitions.Robyn Baehler is a sports massage therapist and Alumni Services Coordinator for East West College

As a high school student, Robyn ran around Coos Bay, her hometown. She explains that running is “in her blood.” Today, she considers herself an avid runner; indeed, she has competed in running for the past 25 years. Since 2001 she has also coached track. So it’s no wonder that, after completing East West College’s 800-hour massage therapy program, Robyn decided to specialize in treating track athletes.

Providing Sports Massage Therapy at the 2016 US Olympics Track & Field TrialsEast West College alum Robyn Baehler, a sports massage therapist for the 2016 Track and Field Olympic Trials

Robyn calls working at the trials “special,” and “an honor,” explaining that she has “always looked up to the athletes who, with hard work and dedication, realize their dream to represent the USA.” For her, working on Olympic trial track and field athletes is a “win-win”—she gets to use her massage skills in an incredible atmosphere of competition and camaraderie.

Kicking of A Sports Massage Therapist Career at East West College

After twelve years in the corporate world, working for companies such as Nike, Robyn decided to go back to school to become a massage therapist. She chose a career in massage therapy because she wanted others to feel the same benefits of healing, preventative care, and rehabilitation that she herself enjoyed through regular massage. Robyn explains, “EWC provided me with a great foundation for treatment-based massage.”

Specializing in Sports Massage Therapy

To track her career toward sports massage therapy, Robyn has “worked as a volunteer at sports events; taken sports massage specific CE classes; and worked in a chiropractic office where athletes (from recreational to professional) would come in.” She explains that these activities helped her gain experience. They also allowed her to make an informed decision to move forward on the path toward sports massage.

Sports Massage Benefits for Athletes

In her work with track athletes, Robyn has observed the following benefits of regular sports massage:

  • Warming up. Faster strokes will help get blood moving, preparing muscles for performance.
  • Cooling down. Slower strokes, stretching, and flushing techniques can help athletes enjoy faster recovery from competition.
  • Manage Soreness and Stiffness. Multiple competitions over several days can leave athletes’ bodies tight and sore. Massage can soothe tense, tender muscles.
  • De-Stress. Athletes must deal with travel, strenuous workouts, and intense competition; massage helps them de-stress so that they can perform at their best.
  • Facilitate Healing. Massage can help with pain management and healing for any injuries that may occur during competition. Finally, Robyn emphasizes that the track athletes she treated benefitted from the collaborative care model at the trials. She worked with an international sports medicine group that included physical therapists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, and chiropractors.

Serving Tomorrow’s Sports Massage Therapists

In her role as Alumni Services Coordinator, Robyn helps EWC grads navigate the post-graduation world. She advises hopeful sports massage therapists to get experience through volunteer and professional sports massage work. With some sports massage training, therapists can work at sports events, which are excellent for networking. Robyn also recommends learning how to work with tools (cupping, fascial adhesion tools, etc.), which many athletes prefer. Having multiple massage modalities is also popular with athletes.

We are thrilled to have Robyn on the East West College team!

Massage Chairs: Massage Marketing Tools for Booking Table Sessions

What would you consider your most important massage marketing tool? Social media? Word of mouth? A massage chair?

massage chairs are an important tool for massage marketing
Photo from touchpro.com/story-of-the-first-massage-chair/

Yes, a piece of furniture can serve a critical role in massage marketing. While completing their massage therapist schooling at East West College, our students have the opportunity to envision the next five years. They think about where they want to go next, after spending months gathering the right skills, tools, and knowledge to thrive as LMTs. A massage chair is incredibly helpful in building a robust massage business.

Massage chairs may seem innocuous, but they are exceptional for marketing massage services. Let’s examine

how savvy use of massage chairs can help push forward massage careers.

 4 Ways to Use Massage Chairs to Market Massage Services

  1. Maximize Portability by Providing Chair Massage at Events.

When David Palmer introduced the first massage chair in 1986, massage instructors and experienced LMTs almost immediately recognized its potential for growing massage therapy as a whole. Massage chairs are easily transported. They’re easy to assemble and take down, and their sleek designs fit almost anywhere. This is the main advantage of having a massage chair for your business: you can set up at various events, including:

  • Conferences
  • Offices
  • Athletic Events
  • Airports
  • Festivals

Massage chairs are light enough to tote almost anywhere; one of the most popular massage chairs clocks in at just 18 pounds. Yet this lightweight chair can support clients up to 300 pounds in weight.

Clients who would be hesitant to book a table massage are far more comfortable slipping into a massage chair in a familiar location. Coffee shops, stores, and corporate settings are a few more locations where chair massage may be offered. After enjoying a chair massage session, potential clients are far more likely to book a follow up table session. That’s why it’s key to have your scheduler and a stack of business cards at hand when providing chair massage.

  1. Connect with “Warm Leads”—H.R. Directors, Event Sponsors, Etc.

While providing chair massage at events, look to make connections with individuals who would be likely to contract with you for future chair work. If someone mentions that they work in HR, suggest that you could offer chair massage for their office.

Let the referral process work both ways. In your table massage space, post a sign reading, “Ask me about chair massage in your workplace.” This will spark conversations and deliver “warm leads,” i.e. connections that are far easier to convert into table massage contracts than a cold, out-of-the-blue marketing contact would be.

  1. Volunteer at Like-Minded Events.

Sports, festivals, benefit yoga events, and employee wellness events— these are all excellent opportunities to market your massage services. While volunteering to provide short chair massages won’t immediately bring you income, it is a great way to make connections with future clients. Regular clients being the lifeblood of a sustainable massage practice, earning just one or two new regulars per volunteer event can make a huge difference in your business’ long-term success.

  1. Contract with Event Planners.

Reach out to conference and event planners. Ask for the opportunity to provide on-site chair massage for agreed-upon blocks of time. This will put attendees at ease while burnishing the event’s reputation. Work with each planner to arrive at a good hourly price for your services. If the second party isn’t willing to pay, consider offering small chunks of service at affordable rates. After walking on a concrete expo floor for hours, conference attendees will see $10 for ten minutes of massage as downright generous.

When you promote table massage to chair massage clients, you build a stronger, more flexible massage business. As you gain more massage chair clients, you’ll find some crossover in the other direction, as chair massage customers book table sessions.

Marketing is all about getting your services in front of a wider audience. A massage chair greatly increases the locations where you can demonstrate your massage skills. Consider adding a massage chair to your business assets. The East West College bookstore employees would be happy to review different chair features and options, just stop by during business hours, or call us at 503-233-6500.

Tips for Creating an Elevator Pitch for your Massage Therapy Work

Having basic marketing skills is essential to expanding any massage therapy practice. Succinctly delivering an “elevator pitch” is a key practice for gaining new clients. An elevator pitch is a compelling introduction that is short enough to deliver while ascending or descending floors in an elevator. The idea here is to create a polished, interesting statement that draws in listeners. Then, you can hand each listener a card and mention your new client special before the elevator doors open to the destination floor. Of course, there are many occasions outside of elevators where this pitch will come in handy—networking events, dinner parties, volunteer events—basically any time you need to make a good impression for your business.

Included in this post are some dos and dont’s for a successful pitch. Also included are some simple formulas for crafting an elevator speech with minimal effort.

Massage Therapist Career Tips: Creating an Elevator Pitch

1.) Avoid jargon and internal language.

In any profession it is easy to start using an “internal language.” With our colleagues we naturally use terminology or concepts of the profession. Perhaps we learned these in our massage certification program or picked them up around the clinic. Keep this internal language out of your elevator speech! Practice your pitch with someone who knows little to nothing about your massage license and ask them if what you said made sense. Similarly, avoid jargon or buzzwords in general. These words such as “streamline,” “synergy,”  or “paradigm shift” can make you seem pretentious, or can cause your listener to preemptively tune you out.

2.) Keep it concise and to the point.

It can be very challenging to sum up your professional practice in a few sentences. It’s what you live and breathe every day! Here are a few formulaic suggestions that you can alter as needed to suit your style:
“I support” I support ______ in their desire to ______ by means of ____________. Example: I support athletes in their desires to stay on top of their game and heal injury by means of regular maintenance massage and rehabilitation.

3.) “You know how”

You know how name a problem of your target market ? I tell them about your simple, fast, effective solution to that problem.
Example: You know how everyone seems to have tense, painful shoulders from working at a desk all day?  I help people relax and enjoy life through regular massage therapy.
“People tell me” People tell me that I list the benefits that you provide or the problems that you solve.
Example: People tell me that I listen to their needs about their body and healing massage therapy to resolve their aches and pain.

4.) Try utilizing a question.

When someone asks about what you do, it is often helpful to ask them a question to gauge their interest and to engage their attention. For example, you may ask them something like, “Have you ever received regular massage?” and proceed to tell them about the benefits your clients enjoy from weekly massages. You can tailor your answer to match the listeners’ interests or prior knowledge.

5.) Know your “product.”

Along with a snazzy elevator speech, it is important to be ready with broad knowledge of your profession and be able to answer questions from your “audience.” Try to anticipate questions and diversify your knowledge of the massage field. Your ability to answer complex questions will draw new referrals to you.

Though it might seem silly, practice your elevator pitch in the mirror and with friends. Take the time to create a clear, engaging, and concise elevator pitch.  Next time you are asked about what you do, your carefully crafted pitch will fluidly roll off your tongue and impact your audience, and your practice, for the better.

Massage Therapy: Flexible work in High Demand

Wondering if you should become a massage therapist? If the answer is yes, now is a great time to make your move. The industry is growing quickly, proving careers in massage therapy to be quite valuable. Beyond the strong work outlook, therapists enjoy flexible work hours in a variety of settings—all while doing a job that really makes a difference by helping people feel good.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy work is projected to grow 23% 2012-2015, a rate that is light years ahead of the average occupation. East West College of the Healing Arts has had extensive feedback from employers to support this. Many employers agree that it’s challenging to find LMTs employees because the demand for massage is so high. We are constantly fielding requests for LMTs from local spas, massage therapy centers, and medical clinics. In other words, if you’re looking for a stable career that will be in high demand for years to come, massage therapy is a great choice.

Depending on your preferred work style, your massage therapy career can offer either flexibility or structure.  Perhaps you’re interested in private practice, in which case you have the option and ability to schedule clients as you wish.  If you prefer to have a regular schedule and appointments set for you, consider working for a spa, healing center, or gym. There are many different avenues you can take as an LMT.
The first step in making the transition to become a massage therapist is to find a school that will support your growth and provide you with a sound education.

If you are looking for a massage school in Portland, contact East West College of the Healing Arts. Here you’ll find the key to learning whatever type of massage interests you.

The Benefits of Volunteering Your Massage Therapy Services

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.” LMTs have many opportunities to volunteer, from providing hospice massage to providing massage therapy for homeless youths. But why would you want to practice your craft for free, when you can get paid for it? Well, that’s a totally legitimate question. Read on to discover some of the many benefits massage therapists can enjoy from volunteer work.

Portland Massage Therapy School’s Top Benefits of Volunteering:

Volunteering Zaps Stagnation.

Every profession includes boredom from time to time. If you feel stuck in a rut in your massage practice, sign up for a volunteer event. It will give you a new perspective and leave you feeling fresh and energized.

Volunteering Leads to Networking.

Volunteering gives you the chance to connect with other massage therapists as well as potential new clients. Moreover, you may have the chance to connect with professionals in other fields who may be willing to partner with you on new projects and referrals.

Volunteering is Good for Your Health.

As Harvard Health explains, volunteering can keep you healthy. It wards off depression and loneliness. Regular volunteers often report getting more out of the volunteer experience than what they put into it. A Carnegie Mellon study even found that volunteering can improve your physical health, finding that those who volunteered more than 200 hours per year had lower blood pressure than those who did not.

Volunteering Promotes Massage as a Healing Modality.

When you volunteer your massage therapy services, you expose new people to the wonders of massage. You are helping to promote the profession as a whole by giving massage to the uninitiated—people who probably wouldn’t pay for a massage normally. After just a few minutes of healing touch, those individuals are more likely to make a massage appointment in the future.

Volunteering Opens New Professional Pathways.

Volunteering is an excellent way to break into a new style of massage. Let’s say Swedish massage is old hat for you, but you’d like to break into sports massage therapy. Volunteering your time for sports massage can give you a chance to build confidence in this new healing modality.

Looking for an engaging, fun volunteer opportunity? How about the Portland Dragon Boat races? On September 12th and 13th, East West College will be participating in the famous Portland Dragon Boat Festival by facilitating on-site sports massage. We are currently looking for East West alumni LMTs and advanced students (terms 3, 4, and 5) to volunteer their services at this memorable event. Please contact Dara Bryant at dbryant@eastwestcollege.edu or 503-233-6500 ext. 225 to sign up for a volunteer shift.