Career Profile: Massage Therapists and Physiotherapists
Although massage therapy and physiotherapy both use massage as a form of treatment, the two roles are distinctively different. In this post, we will help to explain the differences between these two career paths and help you choose which is the position for you!
What do massage therapists and physiotherapists do?
Massage therapists have a strong knowledge and understanding of the human anatomy and use various massage techniques to manipulate soft tissue muscles. Massage therapists work with their clients to provide relief from pain, as well as supporting them in their recovery from injuries. Some massage therapists also provide massage services to help their clients reduce stress and increase relaxation.
A physiotherapist may also use massage, however, they hold higher qualifications than massage therapists and have the ability to diagnose, treat and provide methods to prevent further injuries. Physiotherapists often work closely with general practitioners to ensure that a patient’s health is managed holistically and will prescribe exercise and physical aids in addition to hands-on treatment. Physiotherapists sometimes specialise in specific areas, some of which include sports, paediatrics, occupational health, aged care and women’s health.
What qualifications or accreditations do I need to become a massage therapist or a physiotherapist?
If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist, there are a couple of different paths you could take. You could start your career through an apprenticeship (within the field of beauty therapy) or you could complete a certification through one of the professional bodies for massage therapy – check out a full list of professional bodies here. http://www.therapy-directory.org.uk/content/accreditation.html You may then choose to become registered through one of these bodies and can include this information when promoting your services.
To become a physiotherapist, you will need to complete a science degree in physiotherapy, which will take three to four years of full time study. You will then need to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council http://www.hcpc-uk.org/which is a regulatory body set up to protect the public by ensuring that health professionals meet a required standard.
What about insurances?
As a massage therapist or physiotherapist, you will need to ensure you have adequate professional insurances to protect yourself and your career. If you are employed directly through a massage or physiotherapy practice, these insurances may be provided on your behalf, however, we would recommend speaking to your local professional body to find out more about insurance requirements and where you can seek advice if needed.
What career opportunities are available?
Although there is not a lot of career progression for massage therapists and physiotherapists, aside from practice management and/or ownership, there is the opportunity to specialise and become an expert in a niche market. By having a niche, you can not only develop your skills in one particular field, but you can often charge more for your services.
To choose a niche, you should consider the specialist nature of the services you are providing or the type of client you serve. For instance, as a massage therapist you may only provide relaxation massage in a spa setting, or you could provide massage services for the elderly. As a physiotherapist you might focus on dry needling and acupressure or you could serve professional sportspeople. Either way, this allows you to build your reputation and client base in a more targeted and profitable manner.
As a massage therapist or physiotherapist, how much will I earn?
According to Payscale.com (link to: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Massage_Therapist/Hourly_Rate), a massage therapist in the United Kingdom will earn anywhere from £6.92 to £36.06 per hour (£14,063 to £63,995 per annum). This depends on your location, qualifications, experience and whether or not you are serving a niche market. A massage therapist for celebrities will earn a lot more than someone who is providing massage services at a local spa! The average salary for a massage therapist is about £20,000.
The median salary for a physiotherapist (link to: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Physiotherapist/Salary) is £27,000, however, it is important to note that this also varies based on skills, qualifications, years of experience, location and specialisation. Physiotherapists who specialise in certain fields may have the opportunity to earn higher salaries, for example, a sports physiotherapist who treats a professional football team, or a women’s health physiotherapist who works with patients in an upper-class location.
Still have more questions about becoming a massage therapist or physiotherapist? Hit us up in the comments section and we will be sure to answer your questions!