As a massage therapist in Australia, your ability to prosper hinges on your ability to set yourself apart from the competition. With the number of massage therapists projected to exceed 15,000 by 2020, the key to achieving this goal is to develop the skills and qualities possessed by top therapists in Australia. Fortunately, most of these qualities can be developed with minimal expense and relative ease. Below are eight qualities that make a good massage therapist.
1) Superb Time Management
The ability to manage time is essential to a massage therapist's success. Even the top-tier therapists only have 24 hours in a day to tend to take care of their responsibilities at work and at home. Here area few of the specific time management traits that the best massage therapists possess:
- Appointment scheduling: Maintaining an organised schedule of appointments is critical to avoid overbooking and lags in activity
- Work-life balance: Effectively balancing a busy work schedule with family activities and personal interests is essential to avoid burnout
- Responsive: Returning phone calls, emails, and texts as promptly as possible is important to producing a high level of client satisfaction
2) An Empathetic Approach
"Empathy requires us to put aside our learning, culture, knowledge, opinions, and worldview purposefully in order to understand other peoples' experiences of things deeply and meaningfully. It requires a strong sense of imagination for us to be able to see through another person's eyes...It requires that we have a heightened awareness of other peoples' needs, wants, motivations and goals." - Interaction Design Foundation.
Therapists who are empathetic seem to have an innate understanding of each client's specific needs and desires. They refrain from judging others and strive to see things through their clients' eyes. While empathy is not always easy to exhibit, massage therapists often find that it is easier to empathise if clients are contending with situations that are similar to their own.
3) Dedication to Training and Professional Development
Ongoing training and professional development is often the difference between a good massage therapist and a great one. Workshops, continuing education, and professional development courses help keep a therapist's skills sharp and offer the latest in cutting edge techniques. In order to make sure that you receive the highest quality of education, it is best to receive guidance from an approved training provider.
4) Physical Stamina
Massage therapists are on their feet for the overwhelming majority of the work day and the typical business day can be very physically demanding - especially for therapists who lack stamina. Aching muscles, sore joints, and repetitive strain often combine to produce chronic fatigue in therapists. In addition to physical strain, massage therapists work in very close confines with their clients, placing them at a greater risk to develop contagious infections.
5) Soft Skills
Massage therapists spend virtually all of their time in a one on one setting with clients. Developing soft skills enables a therapist to engage harmoniously and professionally with clients, colleagues, and members of the public. Here are some of the soft skills possessed by many of the most successful massage therapists:
- Active listening skills: Top massage therapists focus on their clients and acknowledge their concerns and needs
- Clear communication: Speaking with clarity and using language the client can understand is important
- A positive attitude: Clients often appreciate a massage therapist with an optimistic and cheerful demeanour
- Self-control: Massage therapists need to be prepared to handle the difficult customers and unpleasant situations that may arise
6) Financial Management Skills
The ability to establish and manage a budget helps to set the most successful massage businesses apart from those that struggle to stay afloat. They review their income and expenses on a regular basis to determine whether they are running ahead or behind the budget they forecast. Therapists who operate their own business maintain a healthy cash flow so they can afford the oils, equipment, marketing, and utilities they need to provide a safe, comfortable environment for customers.
7) A focus on the Client as a Whole
Top massage therapists view massage as one means of achieving "whole client wellness." Harvard University Health Services David S. Rosenthal Center for Wellness and Health Promotion, massage is offered as a means of helping to treat a variety of conditions that affect the body. The centre invites customers to relax their minds, and "bring comfort to your whole body through massage therapy." The centre notes that massage goes beyond the ability to promote relaxation by helping with specific conditions such as "back pain, repetitive strain conditions, and headaches."
8) Active in Professional Organisations
"With all the new technologies and rapid changes in today's society, belonging to a professional association can help you meet and conquer changes and be in on the brainstorming about where your industry is going." - Evolve College
Membership in professional organisations such as the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists (IICT) offer a host of benefits that help massage therapists stay abreast of the latest industry developments. Many host professional meetings for during which their members receive valuable continuing education and access to lectures by leading massage experts.
What is the Best Path to Becoming a Great Massage Therapist?
As described above, there are certain qualities that help make a massage therapist outstanding. However, the single best path to becoming a great massage therapist is to join the International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT). As a professional member of the IICT, you will receive the highest level of professional support and access to a host of approved training programs that will help you thrive as a massage therapist. Some of the other benefits of IICT membership include the following:
- Discounted insurance rates for 80 different massage modalities
- Ability to use the IICT name
- Free access to useful newsletters and other educational tools
- Discounted rates on training courses and workshops
To find out how IICT membership has helped massage therapists across Australia prosper, we invite you to complete our new member application. Our membership application is simple to complete and is the first step on the path to becoming a top massage therapist.