Bookkeeping & Taxes in Massage

Massage Therapy Bookkeeping

The dreams of owning your own business are layered with the benefits of doing so: making your own schedule, doing something you love, being your own boss, leaving the time clock and name badge to the annals of history. You may not, however, be prepared for the required work that must be done as owner or co-owner of a business.

If you purposely or accidentally neglect massage therapy bookkeeping requirements, you may have to pay for it later. It is better to be prepared, organized, and aligned with both state and federal requirements for entrepreneurs so that you can focus even more of your energies on the mission of your massage therapy business.

Tips for Massage Therapy Bookkeeping and Tax Requirements as an Independent Massage Therapist

  • Get educated, knowledgeable, and licensed in the field. There are great massage therapy programs available to you wherever you are located. To be in compliance in most states, you will have to provide licensure. A good massage therapy program will also give instruction about how to run a business, how to file with the state revenue departments and the IRS, and how to keep the paperwork under control.
  • Taxes – Taxes can be the bane of any business owner, yet they are mandatory. It is best to have a system that works for you. While some massage therapists may choose to do their own personal taxes or quarterly business taxes, many also contract with a licensed tax professional. There are books and online courses available for learning the process of taxation, but as other therapists therapists for advice.
  • Keep accurate and precise financial records – The key to efficiency in massage therapy bookkeeping is routine. Figure out a system that works for you on a daily basis and then keep it. Having accurate, precise records of your business expenses, appointments/sessions, and income will save you both time and money when the records are needed. Whether you are using a computer-based system, cloud-based system, or file folder system, keep it organized. Poor record keeping inevitably leads to lost time, and as a small business owner, time has financial value.
  • Keep thorough records – No one ever wants to be a part of a legal suit, but it can happen. Medical and health services professionals are often called as trusted witnesses for a variety of legal suits. When this happens, you want to have records that explains the specific reasons each patient was treated, the ailment or reason for their making the appointment, and the level of comfort after.
  • Estimate monthly expenses – One of the basic demands of owning a business is estimating your projected expenses so that you can create a reasonable, reliable budget. Many business owners estimate both monthly and annually, adjusting based upon need.
  • Familiarize yourself with accounting software – If you do decide to save on the cost of hiring a tax professional, you will need to look at various accounting software packages that keep your massage therapy bookkeeping accurate and documented. The good news is that you have many options. QuickBooks, Sage, and FreshBooks are three of the leaders, but there are others that may work best for you, depending on your need and level of detail.

You’re going into business, in part, for financial reasons. You want your own work to result in your own profit. To make this dream real, you have to be concerned with implementing organization and accuracy in your massage therapy bookkeeping from the first time you turn the sign in the window to say “We’re Open.”

Benefits of Small Group Instruction

Benefits of Small Group Instruction

Small Group Massage School

When selecting which massage school to attend, many people do not think to ask about the program’s class sizes. Research has shown repeatedly the benefits of smaller class sizes in the primary and secondary grades. These benefits can be seen in licensing programs as well, especially in hands-on programs, such as massage therapy. Students receive many advantages from attending a massage school which recognizes the importance of smaller class sizes.

Individualized Instruction

Every student learns a little bit differently than their peers. When there are fewer students in the classroom, it is only logical that the teacher will have more time to devote to providing individualized instruction to each student. This valuable one-on-one teaching time allows the massage school instructor to observe and correct each student’s technique before bad habits can be formed. This is so important in massage therapy, as poor techniques can cause injury to the patient or therapist.

Increased Confidence

Studies have shown that students in smaller classes tend to be more knowledgeable and perform better on standardized assessments than those enrolled in larger classes. This leads to increased confidence for these students, a very important and desirable attribute for anyone who is just getting started in a new professional career.

If you are interested in becoming a message therapist and would benefit from studying in a smaller class setting, contact Northwest Academy by calling 206-932-5950. Our massage school offers the smallest class sizes in the Pacific Northwest, so you always get the individualized attention you deserve.

Massage Therapy; Choosing a Lotion

massage therapy lotion seattleWhat natural ingredients help a massage therapy lotion glide with ease?

Some of the best natural ingredients you want to make sure your massage therapy lotion contains are jojoba, grapeseed, avocado or almond oil. These oils are light and airy, but are not heavy and greasy on the skin. Overtime as you are massaging, they will absorb into the skin, but they will not absorb so fast you have to stop to constantly grab more lotion to continue providing a nice gliding massage to your patient. After all, a massage therapy session is all about constant smooth flowing touch that provides healing to the body.

What massage therapy lotions are best for what skin types?

Choosing the right massage therapy lotions for the particular skin type is essential for giving a quality, yet beneficial massage therapy massage. For example, acne prone skin would benefit best from massage lotions that contain not only the oils of jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, or almond oil, but also tea tree oil since it contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Skin types that are sensitive and need nourishing during massage therapy to help relax the mind and body are ones that contain lavender, rosemary, rose absolute or chamomile. Skin types with stress marks, scars, signs of aging will benefit from massage lotions that contain mango, shea, or cocoa butter. Feel free to use massage therapy lotions that contain arnica in them, as it is a natural pain reliever.

What scented lotions are best to use during massage therapy sessions?

Picking out the right scented massage lotion before giving your patient a massage is important as well. Many patients are sensitive to scents and therefore we always provide an unscented lotion. However, sometimes your patients might be interested in the pleasant addition of a scented lotion. For patients that are feeling stressed, anxious, panicked or depressed lavender or patchouli scent lotions are best. Patients that want an uplifting massage might enjoy a therapy session with peppermint, or citrus could be beneficial. Picking a scented massage oil that is pleasing to your patient’s senses is beneficial for the outcome of their massage too. After all, you want their massage to feel healing and nurturing to them.


For information regarding lotion ingredients visit:

You can also contact Seattle Massage Schools 

Top 10 Reasons to Consider Attending Massage School

Top 10 Reasons to Consider Attending Massage School


You are someone who has thought a lot about massage therapy. You may have even benefited from it. You know its advantages, and you like the idea of helping people feel better. What you now need to transition an interest into a career is a massage school.


  • To acquire the newest knowledge and cutting edge techniques – A quality massage school education will keep you abreast of the leading industry news, trends, and skills.
  • To help people feel healthier – If you have a giving spirit and you have empathy for those in difficult health situations, a massage therapist can literally be the healing hands someone needs.
  • To be your own boss
  • To make your own hours – You can tailor your life around your work or your work around your life.
  • Ever-expanding job opportunities in a growing field – The US Department of Labor estimates that massage therapy positions are growing at a rate of between 18-26% annually.
  • A belief in natural health – Many people are engaging with non-pharmacological health alternatives.
  • To help others live a more stress free life
  • Rapid education-to-work turnaround
  • To be taken seriously – If you want to be a legitimate hand (or two) in an industry some mistakenly see as seedy due to the unlicensed, non-therapeutic practitioners, a license and certification will do just that.
  • Have a career – A licensed massage therapist from a respected massage school isn’t a job, it’s a career.

For more information about massage school or a list of ten more reasons to consider attending a massage school or massage therapy program contact us at: or 206-932-5950.

Physical Benefits of Receiving Massage Therapy

Physical Benefits of Receiving Massage Therapy

Human-Body-Anatomy-Infographic.jpgMost people you ask will generally regard getting a massage as a positive experience. Granted, there are a couple of folks that can’t get over the hurdle of accepting a stranger touching them. Fortunately for those seeking a career in massage therapy, there are fewer people like that and more who are falling over themselves to get another minute on the table. Once you investigate a bit below the surface, at an anatomical level, there are many distinct benefits to receiving massage therapy treatments.

A major benefit of regular massage therapy is the positive impact it has on your blood pressure. According to the CDC, about one in three adults in the US struggles with blood pressure difficulties. The tricky and scary part about high blood pressure is that there are usually no physical symptoms. Regular blood pressure checks paired with massage therapy are the best ways to know what is happening with your body and prevent high blood pressure before it becomes a major threat.

If you’re one of the 45 million or more Americans who struggle with chronic headaches, you’ll want to circle back and take a closer look at massage therapy, if you’re not already. A massage focused on the neck, head, and shoulders is the type you’ll typically receive when you report headaches to your therapist. The reduction of tension and nervous system strain that is accomplished through a massage is the key to reducing the frequency of headaches and also the severity.

Back and neck pain doesn’t have to be such a mystery. If you want to know why your back and neck hurt in the first place, take a look at how you’re sitting right now. Are you sitting in a way that your grandmother would approve of? Massage therapy is an excellent way to help your body naturally realign towards a healthy spinal alignment. From there, it is definitely up to you to maintain and improve your own posture with regular attention and effort. In time, regular massage therapy can actually help you to require fewer massage therapy sessions.

It might be a dangerous misclassification to consider massage therapy as a leisure or luxury service. When you really spend a little time investigating the science associated with massage therapy, it becomes clear that massage is a great form of health maintenance. Rather than treating yourself to one massage per year, perhaps you can try to find a budget for at least a monthly massage. The reduced stress alone should pay for the massage, not to mention a reduction of future doctor co-pays and prescription expenses. It definitely feels better to get a massage than it does to take pills or get shots!

More information about the Benefits of Massage Therapy or attending Massage School 

How to Succeed in Massage School – Step by Step

How to Succeed in Massage School – Step by Step


If you’re considering going to school to become a massage therapist, you may be as excited as you are worried. Whether massage therapy would be your first experience in a full-time job or a career change after already being in the workplace, going to school for a new skill and profession can be daunting.

But it doesn’t have to be! With a little information on your side, you can feel comfortable and even enthusiastic as you embark on this new adventure. Here are three tips on how to succeed in massage therapy school—and to be happy while doing so.

  1. Commit to the goal of graduation. Before you even sign up for your first class or attend your first lecture, you should decide that this is what you want to do. After that decision has been made, you will find the energy and focus that it takes to accomplish your goal. It’s just like your parents (or grandparents) always told you: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If you want to achieve the goal of becoming a licensed massage therapist and actually believe that you can do it, then you will, whether it takes six months, a year, or more.
  2. Find a study partner or group. In massage therapy school, you’ll likely be learning about the human body in more detail than you ever have before. And when it comes to memorizing huge lists of terms in anatomy or studying a bunch of new vocabulary, having a study partner makes all the difference. Even if you think you study better alone, it’s still wise to find a fellow student or two and exchange contact information. You never know when a copy of someone else’s notes will come in handy or when you’ll need help with an assignment. Plus, when you’re in massage therapy school, it’s always nice to have a buddy to give your shoulders a nice rub when you’re feeling stressed!
  3. Take time for self-care. Just like an airline flight attendant will tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else, you’ve got to take care of your own body and mind before you’ll be able to help anyone else through a career in massage therapy. This applies to your time in massage therapy school as well; you won’t be able to fully apply yourself and focus on your coursework if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. This self-care might come in the form of meditation, scheduled time off from schoolwork, time to prepare a healthy meal, or alone time to just decompress and watch a favorite show. Whatever it is, set aside the time to do it and honor that commitment to yourself.

If you can mentally commit to massage therapy school, find a support group in your classes, and make time to take care of yourself while you do it, you’ll be prepared to succeed not only in school but in your career in massage therapy as well. And as you undertake this new journey into massage therapy school and beyond, you can feel confident that your career choice will help other people as much as it helps you.

Click here for more information about attending Seattle Massage School

Taking Your Massage Therapy Career on the Road

Massage_Therapy_Beach_Travel.jpgIf you’re thinking about career options, you probably have a list of qualities you’d like in a future job, and chances are good that job flexibility is at the top of your list!  What’s better than a career that allows you to work in places you’ve always wanted to visit, that lets you choose from among numerous industries?  You may not think of massage therapy as a career that involves much travel, but a career in massage not only allows you to work almost anywhere as a licensed therapist, but also qualifies you to work at resorts, on cruise ships, and in other parts of the travel industry to help vacationers enjoy their stay in the world’s most beautiful locations.

At Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts, we’re concerned with giving you the practical skills you need to start your own career in massage therapy or to work for a well-accredited business.  Through residencies and our special “externships,” you will be able to observe and participate in different practices while earning credit towards their certification.  Professionalism, communication, and experience are just as important to us as the theory of massage therapy and bodywork.  Upon completion of the program, massage therapy graduates will be licensed to practice their art anywhere in the state of Washington.  Students of our program gain real-world experience before they receive their certification and are immediately eligible to put their knowledge and skills to work.

Massage therapy is a skill that you can take to a private practice or use to work for a number of industries such as health, alternative medicine, travel, fitness, corporate services, and hospitality.  You’ll have the freedom to choose the type of workplace that you want, to find an environment that you truly enjoy.  Qualified massage therapists have found fulfilling careers at luxurious resorts, at airport spas, on the decks of cruise ships in the Pacific, and in specialized athletic facilities.

If you’ve already been practicing massage therapy and wish to gain additional knowledge, skills, and flexibility, we offer advanced training, as well as certified massage instructor programs.  Massage Therapists are free to take their career on the road without the need of a physical clinic.  If you’re looking for an exciting job that allows you to relate to and help others on a personal basis, and you value flexibility and the ability to travel, to work in multiple locations and industries, and to determine your own practice, massage therapy could be a very rewarding career.

Ask us questions now about massage school or a career in massage therapy.

Which Massage to Choose: Massage Types and Techniques

Which Massage to Choose: Massage Types and Techniques

Thai-Massage.jpgEvery person on this planet could benefit from receiving a massage.  It’s true!  Even for our nimble athletes, the rigors of training push their muscles to  the limits.  To heal up quicker, massage can do the trick.  But more than our athletes, our pregnant mothers, our injured grandmother, those with constant stress, and those looking to maintain their aging bodies long into the golden years.  Massage helps people to feel and live better and to do this work is an important calling.

When attending the Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts, students learn a variety of massage techniques.  With courses led by instructors who care about you learning the proper techniques, you will be able to provide the following massage therapies for clients in your very own clinic:

Swedish Massage- This style focuses on relaxing the entire body by using long strokes along the muscles to get the blood flowing back to the heart.  It helps the body by increasing oxygen in the bloodstream and releasing toxins.

Deep Tissue Massage- The primary focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and areas nearest to the bone.  For people who suffer from chronic muscle tension, Deep Tissue massage therapy can do wonders for the comfort and long term health.

Myofascial Release- For those who suffer from pain and limited motion in the body, myofascial release can help reduce the discomfort.  This treatment is performed by applying gentle sustained pressure into the connective tissue, known as fascia.

Injury Treatment Massage- By using combination of Swedish, deep tissue, and orthopedic technique, more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered into injured tissues, while releasing tissue restrictions thus aiding in the healing process.  The improved circulation and relaxed muscles will get people back to feeling great again after enduring the challenge of an injury.

Pregnancy Massage– Those mommas out there are working hard and their body’s feel the stress of all of it.  This causes pain, discomfort, numbness, not to mention the headaches and nerves of even having a baby!  Gentle massage can help relieve all of those issues and provide some peace of mind to Mom as she prepares to bring her newborn into the world.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage- This massage technique encourages the drainage of the lymph, whose purpose is to carry the waste products in our body away from the tissues.

At the Northwest Academy, you will also learn the basics of anatomy and physiology, kinesiology to understand the mechanics of motion and joint anatomy, and more.  You’ll also be taught the skills and given the first-hand experience of running and operating a clinic.  The goal and mission of the Northwest Academy is to support you in your endeavor to passing the national exams and receiving your massage therapy license in Washington State.  We aim to do that by providing you the lowest student to teacher ratio in the area, first-hand experience, mentoring and guidance as you learn the ropes of running a clinic, and even continuing education opportunities to keep you informed on the advancements in the field.

To be a licensed massage therapist is a real honor as you share in the lives of so many.  The career can give you a balanced lifestyle and the ability to shape your own day.  We want to help you get there.

Now enrolling for all massage school campuses – Apply Now!

Seattle Massage School | Tacoma Massage School | Bellingham Massage School

Anatomy of a Massage Session

Massage Career or SchoolJust as the human body has a very specific anatomy that only varies slightly from individual body to the next, so does a massage session. If you are going to become a massage therapist, you might be wondering what the various necessary components are to most standard massage sessions.

  1. Introduction / Meet & Greet: When your client first walks into your massage environment, you want to present a positive and happy attitude to assist in guiding their energy towards a relaxed and uplifted place.
  2. Paperwork / Check-In: In most cases, you’re going to want to have your customer fill out a basic worksheet detailing any known medical issues, seeking to learn about the specific pain or discomfort they are experiencing. In this phase, be sure to find out if your client has received professional massage treatment previously and if so, what the frequency of that treatment has been.
  3. Hand-off / Room Entry: If you are in a larger facility, someone else might be doing the registration process and will then hand off the client to you as the massage therapist. In the case where you are operating a freelance practice or where you are the only person in the studio at the time, you’ll be greeting and welcoming the client to their room.
  4. Environment Test: While indicating to the customer that it is your goal to make the environment perfect for them, use your own professional guidance to make educated assessments about the state of the studio. Is it drafty? Is it too hot or is the air stagnant? Many environmental issues can be fixed with only minor modifications.
  5. Manipulate Environment: Make any logical modifications to the massage environment to ensure it is as comfortable to the client as possible.
  6. Ask Questions: Some clients will appreciate some quiet music or some ambient sounds, while others will want near-complete silence. Ask the client questions about the environment and then depending on the answers, try to give the customer the environment that they request.
  7. Reiterate Details: Take a moment to repeat the details you’ve received from your client and make sure you didn’t misunderstand anything. By letting the client know they were heard correctly, you prepare them for even greater peace of mind. Make sure you’ve asked them about their trouble areas and what level of pressure they prefer.
  8. Check Readiness: The final step to ensuring you are entirely on the same page with your client, and once they are fully situated on the massage table ask them if they are prepared to begin. It might seem like a trivial step, but it shows respect and also helps to bring the energy to a relaxed and comfortable place.
  9. Massage Phase: depending on the type of massage service discussed and desired, begin to give that treatment. While massaging your client, try asking a few questions about the pressure and various other environmental elements to make sure you haven’t gone astray of the client’s wishes.
  10. Resolve: After the massage, you’ll want to offer your client a glass or bottle of water and some time to get back in order. Leave the massage area and allow them time to put clothing back on and come back to a fully alert state.

Payment collection was not specifically added to this walk-through, due to the fact that it can be inserted in the beginning or the end of the treatment, as preferred by the studio or establishment offering the service. Obviously, this guide is not going to be universally applicable to every single massage studio or institution, but it is a great start.

For additional information about what to expect during a massage session please contact our massage school clinic.

Massage Therapy Career Outlook

Massage Therapy Career Outlook

What is Massage Therapy?

With mentions in medical texts dating back more than 4,000 years ago, massage therapy is one of the oldest holistic methods of healing. Involving the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments), massage therapy induces a state of healing and enhances a person’s overall well-being. There are many different areas of study within massage therapy and if you have a strong desire to help people, you will flourish in this career

Benefits for Clients Receiving Massage Therapy

While there are many concentrations within the study of massage therapy, your clients will receive many common benefits:
• Relax the muscle tissues and therefore may lead to decreased nerve compression and better range of      motion
• Increased ability for their body to heal itself
• Faster recovery from injury or illness
• Improve circulation and enhance oxygen delivery to muscle cells
• Provide relaxation to the point of lowering heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and stress levels

Good News for Massage Therapists after Graduation

According to the U.S. Department of Labor , employment prospects for massage therapists are increasing 23% faster than the average for all occupations. Wages vary depending on where you find employment but the average wage was 43.00 per hour including tips. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) states that nearly 96% of massage therapists believe that massage therapy should be considered part of the health care field, so further opportunities may arise in time.

Very few areas of study allow so much flexibility since you can work for others or you can be your own boss. Either way, your chances of success are great. Your knowledge and abilities will allow you to seek employment practically anywhere you wish. You might have to meet differing licensing requirements if you choose to work outside of Washington, however your curriculum and practical knowledge gained during your studies at Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts will follow and sustain you.

Career Opportunities Massage Therapists May Entertain

Not only does a career in massage therapy allow you to help others, it is a field with stable employment and plenty of flexibility. Your toughest decision may be where to focus to begin your new career!

A small sampling of some of the people you might want to help include:

• Women in pregnancy
• Injured workers and athletes
• Patients will disabilities or debilitating illnesses
• Corporate employees
• Spa lovers

Just as there are countless types of people you may choose to work with, there many different types of workplaces to choose from:

• Spas or fitness facilities
• Hospices
• Medical and healthcare facilities
• Corporate offices
• From your own home or rented space
• In clients’ homes

Now is a Great Time to Start!

Massage therapy is a holistic means of achieving optimal health and people are recognizing its value. As more people move away from potentially harmful drugs and seek natural alternatives, the field of massage will continue to grow. Now is a great time to begin your studies at Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts to become a massage therapist so you can join one of the fastest-growing careers in America.

To learn more about a career in massage therapy click here!