Food for thought – The newly qualified Therapist

Increase circulation, increased recovery rates, flexibility enhancement, are the many benefits of massage that you are taught. Entering a new career for the first time can be quite daunting. Here a few little tips to consider for when you qualify. There are so many different pieces of advice you can take, so if I have missed anything out do not bite my head off, I’m new to this blogging business!

  1. Sell yourself well.
    “The customer does not respond to the background story of the seller, the consumer reacts to the product and the value it poses”, is what most entrepreneurs would have you think, but what if the service proposed involves the background story of the Therapist? In order for somebody to book in and allow another person to touch you, there has to be an element of trust there, as effectively, you’re putting your body in someone else’s hands, so naturally you would want to know as much about this
    person as possible right?
    It all comes down to one thing: value and how it benefits the customer. Is that client, who is booking in with you, going to get out of it what they pay for? Simple as that.
    Marketing plays a big part in selling yourself; “Here are the benefits to massage therapy” …. “Become injury free” … “Limited spaces available, get in touch to book today”. These are the many social media posts that most Therapists direct to their audiences, instead of putting posts that are INFORMATIVE and MEANINGFUL to the reason you need a massage. Does it help what they post this? Does this give value to what the client needs? If all you need is a “rub down” then probably yes! If you are somebody who is mainly stressed and just needs to relax and loosen up after heavy volume (me), then probably not. The way your content is produced can
    reflect how the customer perceives their treatment with you.
    Let me let you into a little secret: when student massage therapists enrol onto their Level 3 Sports
    Massage qualification, they are given the essential skills based on massage only- what techniques to use, stretches, post advice treatment, the general stuff. When you qualify, the Therapist is absolutely on
    their A game giving advice and may a be a little wet behind the ears (as I was when I qualified), but hard working and full of necessary knowledge respectfully. But (and there is a but here), massage therapy is a business for the majority- unless you work for a sports club or organisation that pays you for your services, I run a business (B.E. Sports Massage, check out my page here). The Therapist essentially leaves the course with limited (or no) business knowledge. Which puts these potentially hungry therapists focusing on developing and building their skill base up, working for free or offering their credible services which mainly get exploited by sports teams for free labour. I have done it in past, if you are recently qualified and enquire to work in sport, you will have it too. It is a vicious system that takes advantage of credible Massage Therapists for free labour, which the Therapist does under false pretences for a potential career avenue, which they will just let you go and recruit another therapist.
    Again, it is a horrid cycle, all that training and hard work to work for free giving “rubs before a game”, but it is what it is.
  2. Explore & realise your potential.
    There are many ways that you can instil value into your sessions and still use your skills that you have trained so long to. All you must do is find that right avenue that you want to go down as a therapist.
    Here are a few avenues I explored in my years practicing:
  1. Know your stuff

 Sports Clubs: I offered my services on a voluntary basis to sports clubs, offering sports massage and injury prevention treatment to players with the sole proviso of getting them through the RTP phase efficiently, liaising with management regarding play time, home rehab etc. This gave me the skill set of being able to use initiative and learn more of different style of injuries. If you want experience thinking on your feet, working in a high tempo environment and under high expectations, then this might be something worth exploring. Career prospects? Very slim as majority of time they just seek voluntary therapists. Why hire someone when you can just get someone in for free? No brainer that! Some clubs do offer paid roles (I think Sheffield United offer paid positions) but they are rare for SMT’s.
 Events – This, for me, is a very successful avenue to look at in my opinion. Maybe it fascinates me about how unpredictable it is? I don’t know. You can have some events that are flat out busy and you’re working until your hands are numb, and you get some where you are literally standing around because its cold and wet and nobody wants a massage. The outcome always depends on the day, so it is very difficult to prepare. The thing with events is that you get out what you put in. I am a residential Massage Therapist for UK Triathlon Events and have also led the Massage Team (supervising up to 5-9 Therapists) for Run Through Events – Tatton Park 10k/Half Marathon and Cheshire 10k. If you are just focused on the short-term gains (money for the event, getting through the event rather than embracing it) then this is not for you. If you appreciate the fact that you are pretty much the main attraction (in my opinion) offer your services and ASK FOR ADVICE. Then you would enjoy this avenue. Things I look for when choosing my staff for events are: initiative, drive, positivity, hard-working ethic.
 Clinics- This is something I have briefly worked under, mainly for them to look at me, it never worked out. Maybe I was not a good fit? I don’t know. I got looked at by one physio clinic who gave me a few clients and have me some honest feedback which I took on board, and it made me a better practitioner. This avenue depends on how focused you are on your skill set. If you are not too fussed on the business side of things but just want to showcase your skills, then this might be a good avenue.
 Working in gyms- I have experience as a PT which I used as a side venture whilst building my massage business. Some would say that Massage is perfect for a PT perspective, if somebody gets injured whilst training them, you can do packages? In my experience, I found them very separate, potentially this might have been how I positioned myself? Perhaps, this depends on your client base, location of practice and mindset for the business. In the end I sacked off the PT, continued as a paid spin instructor and focused more on my massage side of things.
 Festivals. Two words. Love it. This was a unique opportunity that I could not turn down. A company approached me from my events social media posts and offered me the chance to work at Kendal Calling for 2018. 3 days of carnage (massage, dancing and just overall positive vibes). I got paid and got free entry to the festival which was brilliant.
 Teaching- This was a dab hand opportunity that I had shadowing the Level 3 Sports Course at a local college to me. I did this to gain a bit of experience, did not get much experience to give an honest opinion but it is an interesting avenue to go down.
There are other ways you can flourish your massage skills those are just a few I have experienced. Know any more? Let me know if you do!

There is the element of naivety amongst the newly qualified Therapist, but they are so god damn hopeful to build their skill base and grow their portfolio. The course provider will tell you how to massage and stretch the gluteus maximus but won’t talk about the absolute pain in the glutes (ass) that follows qualifying and building your profile. The basic things to consider and prepare such as:
 Time management
 Budgeting and how to manage finances
 WHERE TO BUY OIL FROM – if you are lucky you’ll get a discount code from Physique
 Customers wasting your time
 Customers that just don’t show up to a booked appointment
Take home message
There are many ways you can explore your potential as a Sports Massage Therapist. All the above is based on my experience, this doesn’t mean it will or will not apply to yourself. You only start learning your trade when you qualify, but don’t let that stop you from asking questions when you’re learning.
Send emails to clubs, build your connections, go onto Linkedin and message every single sports club for some voluntary work if you want to. You’re in charge of where you want to take your skills. Use the time wisely, stay positive, and most of all, just have fun. Massage is such a fun skill to learn about when used towards something you’re positive about.

About the author.
Ben is a Level 4 qualified Soft Tissue Therapist based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. He has worked with Elite athletes and also Crewe Alexandra FC, he has also worked with local community clubs offering injury prevention advice to help improve performance. He now practices privately under the business name
B.E. Massage Therapy which can be found on Facebook and instagram

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