Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. With their touch, therapists relieve pain, rehabilitate injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients.
Massage therapists typically do the following:
Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissue of the body to treat injuries and to promote general wellness. A massage can be as short as 5–10 minutes or could last more than an hour.
Therapists also may use lotions and oils, massage tables or chairs, and medical heat lamps when treating a client. Massage therapists may offer clients information about additional relaxation techniques to practice between sessions.
Massage therapists can specialize in many different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage are just a few of the many modalities of massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques.
Usually, the type of massage given depends on the client’s needs and physical condition. For example, therapists may use a special technique for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes. Some forms of massage are given solely to one type of client; for example, prenatal massage is given to pregnant women.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition