Lessons from a Licensed Massage Therapist

How to become a massage therapist

Massage Therapy is a field in which Carol Lee found her true calling.

Have you ever thought about how to become a massage therapist? Here, Carol Lee, massage therapy program chair at Globe University-Appleton, dishes on everything from the history of massage to the advantages of massage today. Carol brings knowledge and success to the Globe University team after realizing her true calling in the field over a decade ago.

Q: How did you get started in massage therapy?

I became interested in massage about 10 years ago.  I cannot say that there was one event that sparked my desire.  I have always been pretty active and was never one to run for the medicine cabinet to grab a quick fix for a muscle or headache.  I have also always been interested in how the body works and how it is ‘put together’.

When I moved to Wisconsin from Chicago in 1992, I was quietly searching for a new career path.  I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1995.  Though I never fully utilized this degree in the field, I knew that working with people to better themselves was something I was drawn to do.  After I moved to [the Appleton] area, I started working at a natural foods store where I met a veteran massage therapist who ultimately became my inspiration and mentor.

I enrolled in massage therapy school and graduated in June of 2007.  I started teaching in the massage field in April of 2008.  In addition to teaching, I also maintain my own practice.  I specialize in chronic pain relief from repetitive use or injury.  I love that I can blend my love and belief in massage with my passion to teach.  Bringing real life stories into the classroom keeps things interesting and current for me as well as my students.

how to become a massage therapist

Q: What is the history of massage therapy?

Massage and bodywork have been around since the beginning of time and are practiced throughout the world.  I am blessed to be part of this ancient tradition.  This is something that I never lose sight of and I try to instill in my students.   However, with that being said, we are very lucky to be massage therapists today in our society.  There is a strong movement in our Western medical world with physicians and researchers exploring the many benefits of massage.  This gives great creditability to our field.  Massage is no longer just seen as an indulgent activity in which one participates once a year over a holiday or birthday.  Rather, it is being seen as an adjunct therapy to complement medical treatments and/or prescriptions.

Q: What are the career opportunities in massage therapy?

Because of the demand for massage, there are many more job opportunities for massage therapists.  Hospitals and offices of dentists, chiropractors and physical therapists are all hiring massage therapists as part of their medical team.  In addition, the value of massage as a preventative form of treatment to reduce the effects of stress also is being highlighted.  This is giving a boom to spas and resorts that offer massage therapy. The vast amount of continuing education classes and topics is making the independent massage therapist limitless with his or her techniques of choice within the realm of private practice.

Q: What do you love most about being a massage therapist?

What I love the most is not only helping people on the road to prevention or recovery, but the fact that this ancient form of healing puts the responsibility of those things back into the hands of the client/patient.  Being proactive in our own health care management can take what seems to be a helpless or out of control situation less daunting.  Working together, doctors, nurses, and massage therapists can create a treatment plan that is holistic and all encompassing.  In essence, a treatment plan that can better serve the individual on all levels thus is bringing the mind and spirit back to the body.  Everything and everyone working together for the greater good is what massage therapy is to me!