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How to Make a Lucrative Living as a Massage Therapist

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Massage therapists use the power of touch to help ease pain, provide comfort or help clients relax. Joining the massage industry can be a smart move, since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that demand is expected to increase by 20% between 2010 and 2020, a rate that is higher than other occupations. Make a lucrative living while kneading backs, massaging shoulders and working out kinks by creating a diversified business approach and sharpening your people skills.

Spread Your Message

Therapists can’t just sit next to their empty massage tables and hope that someone walks through the door. To make money with your massage business, place an ad on a relevant company’s website – for example, a chiropractic office or yoga studio – or create your own website. Distribute business cards at hair salons, doctors' offices and college campuses during finals week. Run special promotions during gift-buying rushes, like the winter holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or college graduation season. Phone or email your local newspaper and ask to be considered as a source for future articles related to health, wellness, massage or alternative medicine.

Get the Goods

Purchasing cheap body oils and discount sheets might save money in the short term, but for long-term branding, it’s better to invest in quality materials, according to :Massage" magazine. Attractive business cards, massage tables that don’t squeak, organic cotton and high-quality massage oils help project you as professional and discerning to well-heeled customers. Massage sometimes gets a bad reputation for sleazy salons and out-of-work hippies masquerading as licensed therapists, so you’ll want to establish yourself as part of the professional pack.

Diversify Your Offerings

Another way to make a lucrative living as a massage therapist is to appeal to multiple client types by offering different kinds of massages. Some individuals might want a short chair massage when they’re on-the-go; others might want to receive massages in the privacy of their own home. Specializing in girls-night-out massage events, sports massage, holistic or yoga-themed massage that incorporates chakra balancing can help you appeal to a diverse client base. Don’t advertise or perform services for which you aren’t licensed, though. If you don’t have training in sports massage, you can’t market yourself as experienced in this area.

Membership Programs

Consider starting a membership program for your massage therapy business. In this model, clients pay a preset amount each month in order to access massage services. Enrolling high numbers of clients into automatic payment programs can help generate regular income, and not all the clients may take advantage of their monthly massage availability. Discounts and other incentives can help get first-timers through the door. As the program grows, consider renting booth space to other masseuses or expanding to create a franchise program.


Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.

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