It is not enough to have the knowledge of massage therapy. A good massage therapy school program will have hands-on activities for practicing massage. Most programs begin with students regularly practicing on each other. Massage tables and chairs should be set up for use. There should be a set of lessons where the instructor talks while students use their hands to locate or stroke muscles as directed. Proper draping is another major element of massage that is mastered only by practicing on a person.
The program should provide clinical experiences in different settings, such as hospitals, health clinics, and businesses. It should be an assigned setting and supervised clinical practice. The advantage of this is that students are exposed to a diverse population of clients and routines that a massage therapy clinic would encounter. This practice allows students to explore different individual areas of interest or techniques. There are more than eighty modalities of massage. There is room to specialize and find a niche. Besides the hands-on massage work, there should also be an exploration of the basics of business management.
Internships let students shadow a professional massage therapist mentor during a typical day. It also begins the process of networking with other colleagues, which is essential to any small business. It provides expert advice from a veteran massage therapist who knows what works and does not work. Practice lets students develop theory and book-learned skills to an actual application level.
Practical training and internships are not standard in massage therapy schools across the nation. The time in practical training varies from hours to a few months. Receiving adequate, practical experience will make the transition to professional massage therapist easier.