Massage School vs. Traditional College

Massage School vs. Traditional College

massage students, community college students

Are you thinking about adding a massage license to your list of qualifications? Those who want to train in the massage field can choose between a traditional college or schooling with an academic focus or a school that specializes in massage training. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks. Which one is right for you depends on your timeframe, current educational goals, and previous training and experience.

What Are the Legal Requirements for Massage Training Programs?

Laws governing massage training and licensing vary by state. Currently, forty-five states and the District of Columbia regulate massage therapy activities. General requirements include:

  • Between 300 and 1000 hours of instruction
  • Passing grade on an official exam: MBLEx
  • Periodic license renewal or continuing education credits
  • Criminal background check

Some states require active liability insurance prior to receiving your license. There are often other requirements as well, such as CPR certification and blood tests proving you are not a carrier of certain contagious diseases.

Read the state and local requirements for your area thoroughly, and understand them before you start your school search. That way, you won’t waste time investigating programs that don’t fit your specific needs.

What Is Taught in a Massage Therapy Program?

Like licensing requirements, the mandatory educational content for massage training programs also varies by state. Most programs will include the following elements.

  • Instruction in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, and nutrition
  • Hands-on training, with a knowledgeable teacher present, in a classroom setting
  • How to assess clients’ needs and determine proper treatment
  • Information on ethical concerns, communication skills, and legal issues
  • Business management and accounting

If you are studying for a specialty certification, like prenatal or myofascial release therapies, additional courses will be necessary.

College Courses vs Massage School

Whether you choose to pursue an Associates of Applied Science degree from a traditional college or a Certificate of Completion from a vocational school, the information and guidance you receive will be similar. There are other major differences that can help you decide which path to take.

  • Nearly half of students pursuing an associate’s degree take 4 years to complete their studies. Massage training programs can usually be completed in less than a year.
  • The average degree seeker will pay $7,020 in tuition and fees. Add in the cost of books and other supplies, and that number can easily reach $10,000 or more. The cost of massage programs can range from $6 to $17 per hour, depending on factors like location, special offerings, and clock hours. That means you pay between $3,000 and $8,500 for a 500-hour course.
  • Many massage schools offer online or self-paced instruction. This allows for a more flexibility when compared to scheduled lectures and labs.
  • Practicing professionals who already have a degree don’t need to repeat general education courses that are irrelevant to their current goals.

Which One Is Right for You?

Your choice depends on your goals. Are you planning to use massage therapy as a starting point for a career in specialized therapies? In this situation, college might be the right path for you. Academic institutions offer more opportunities for experimentation and inspiring new experiences.

If you are an established therapy professional who wants to offer clients a safe, natural, and effective addition to existing methods that promotes healing and reduces stress, a massage school program is your best choice. You can get the knowledge you need more quickly, and with a smaller investment of time and money.

Kinesiology Taping in a Massage Practice

Kinesiology Taping in a Massage Practice

Kinesiology Tape and Massage Therapy

Since the 1970s, athletes have been using kinesiology taping to help them heal faster and build stronger muscles. Therapists have recently started using taping methods to bring those same benefits to their clients. Massage therapists can use taping to prolong relief and increase the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

What is Kinesiology Taping?

Kinesiology studies the body, and how it uses each part to move. Using knowledge of physiology, biomechanics, and psychology, the kinesiologist seeks to improve strength and muscle condition.

Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy fabric that adheres to the skin with acrylic adhesives. The adhesive itself is mild on the skin but very strong. The tape is waterproof and can stay in place up to five days. Usually made of brightly colored cotton, it has the same thickness and elasticity of healthy skin. It is designed to not cause any pinching, binding, or restrictions.

When applied to the skin, the tape gently lifts surrounding skin, allowing for a better flow of interstitial and lymph fluids. These fluids help remove dead cells and other waste caused by injury or a hard workout. They also deliver vital nutrients that cells need to repair themselves.

Interstitial fluids are also responsible for facilitating intercellular communication. When muscles cells are able to easily send and receive the electrical impulses that stimulate muscle movement, coordination and flexibility are dramatically increased.

Benefits of Taping

When applied around problematic joints and muscles, taping increases the healing and pain relieving properties gained from other therapy methods.

  • Reduce painful inflammation by allowing the removal of cellular waste.
  • Reduce pressure on nerve endings by lifting the skin away from pain receptors.
  • Relax hypertonic muscles that make proper movement and posture impossible.
  • Revive dying or inhibited muscles by restoring needed nutrients and fluids.

Taping allows the body to repair cell damage caused by injury. This allows muscles to restore or improve strength and proper function.

Kinesiology tape is a useful addition in the treatment of many common disorders.

  • Sprained or strained muscles and ligaments
  • Bruising
  • Joint realignment and instability
  • Rounded shoulders or spine
  • Recently healed fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia

Taping and Massage Therapy

Patients with chronic conditions benefit most from a combination of massage therapy and taping. When tape is applied after massage:

  • Muscles that have been stretched and warmed by massage will stay loose longer.
  • The body can remove lactic acid more easily, which decreases soreness after deep tissue techniques.
  • Softens scar tissue and fascial adhesions so future sessions can be more productive.
  • The natural pain relieving ability of massage will last longer.
  • Added stability will keep muscles from moving out of alignment.

Tape can be safely applied to any body part. Different application methods encourage pain relief, structural support, and other therapeutic goals.

Kinesiology taping is an effective addition to any physical therapy routine. It can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries in a noninvasive manner. When therapists add taping as a final touch to their therapy process, clients increase healing, flexibility, and muscles strength while reducing pain, swelling, and possible injury.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Massage Therapy

In our fast-paced, technology-addicted world, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common complaint. The stiff muscles and shooting pain sufferers experience can have a significantly negative impact on daily life. As a professional therapist or bodyworker, it’s likely you will work with a client who has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Understanding this increasingly common condition will allow you to help your clients achieve maximum relief.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when pressure is exerted on the median nerve that runs through the arm and wrist. This nerve controls motion and feeling in all digits except the little finger. When the nerve reaches the wrist, it runs through a narrow structure of bone and ligament called the carpal tunnel. Constant pressure on the nerve causes it to press against the bony parts of the structure. If left untreated, the nerve will sustain damage that can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Numbness
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Tingling
  • Pain in fingers, hand, or forearm
  • Many sufferers first notice their symptoms at night.

Getting a Diagnosis

As always, patients should seek an official diagnosis from their primary medical physician. The doctor will start with a medical history. People with arthritis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes are at higher risk of developing the condition. The doctor will ask about recent injuries or accidents affecting the head, shoulders, arms, or hands. They will also examine your daily routine. Those with jobs that require small, repetitive movements of the hands and wrists have a greater chance of their symptoms being caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The doctor then performs a physical examination. They will check muscle strength, sensation (the ability to feel), and the general appearance of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. Some specialists may order blood or nerve tests to verify results.

Traditional Treatment Methods

Depending on the severity of symptoms, conventional treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vary. Milder symptoms can often be treated effectively at home.

  • Stop any activities that may be causing symptoms. If that is not possible, try to rest your wrists and hands often.
  • Place an ice pack on wrists for 10-15 minutes at a time up to 2 times per hour to reduce discomfort.
  • N-SAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium, reduce painful swelling.
  • Wearing a wrist splint while sleeping can lessen pressure on the median nerve.

If symptoms are allowed to progress, more severe interventions may be necessary. Powerful anti-inflammatory medications, called corticosteroids, can be prescribed in pill form or injected directly into the wrist. While these medications can significantly reduce pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, they do not provide permanent relief. Surgery is an option for the most advanced cases.

Other Self-Treatment Options

There are some simple steps everyone can take to decrease the intensity of symptoms and frequency of attacks caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Regular Stretching 
  • Get treated for contributing conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.

In addition to lifestyle changes, sufferers should take measures to protect their wrists and hands.

  • Keep wrists elevated when using a keyboard.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and at the sides while typing or working.
  • Use the whole hand to grip items rather than just fingers.
  • Switch hands during repetitive motions.

Massage Therapy for Natural Pain Relief

Certain massage techniques have been proven to relax tight muscles and fascia in the arm and shoulder and reduce pressure on the median nerve. For clients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a muscle specific massage will help address holding patterns associated with repetitive use while also increasing blood flow to the affected region. Leaving your client feeling loose, refreshed, and hopefully pain-free.

Contact us today to learn more about how massage therapy can be an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

Low Back Pain Relief with These 8 Tips

Low Back Pain Relief with These 8 Tips

low back pain seattle

Low back pain is experience by over 80% of Americans during their lifetime. It is one of the most common complaints medical professionals hear. You’ve probably had clients complain about a stiff, achy lower back. Therapeutic massage and any other types of bodywork can relax stressed muscles and temporarily relieve pain from acute attacks. But if your client has chronic low back pain issues, they may need more structured interventions. Offer these tips to help your clients achieve a strong, flexible and injury-free back.

Causes and Impact

Low back pain can result from many causes.

  • Injury
  • Improper posture
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Strained ligaments
  • Medical conditions like disk disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and some infections

Regardless of the cause, the impact on daily life can be immense. Stiff, achy muscles and swollen ligaments make it difficult to perform normal activities. Persistent pain can lead to lost work hours and a lower overall quality of life.

Get Moving

When the pain is at its worst, your client will be looking for fast relief. After therapeutic massages, exercise is the single best solution to muscle pain and tightness.

  • Sitting or standing in one position for too long cause tension and pressure that can add up over time. Encourage sedentary clients to get up and exercise. Aerobic activity triggers the release of endorphins. These chemicals reduce your perception of pain, and acts a mild muscle relaxant.
  • Regular exercise strengthens weak muscles, which reduces strain on the lower back. Suggest some simple exercises to strengthen your client’s core muscles.
  • In addition to aerobic and strengthening exercises, advise your client to include stretches to increase flexibility in tight, knotted areas.

Correct Posture

Talk to your client about using good posture throughout their day.

  • Educate your client on the benefits of ergonomically correct workstations and lumbar supports. Maintaining a healthy curve in the spine reduces stress on ligaments, discs, and joints.
  • If you do not offer chiropractic services, refer your client to a trusted colleague. Periodic spinal adjustments, in conjunction with therapeutic massage and exercise, will correct misalignments that cause lower back pain.

Relax and Heal

After your massage session, suggest some self-care procedures your client can do at home to help them relax overworked muscles and let their bodies heal.

  • Alternate ice and heat. Heat increases the flow of warm, nourishing blood to speed healing. Ice calms irritated nerve endings and decreases painful swelling.
  • Talk to your client about sleeping positions. Lying on the side with a pillow between the knees reduces strain on the lower back and hips. Those who prefer to sleep on their backs should place a pillow under their knees. Sleeping on the stomach should be avoided.
  • Some lower back pain has been linked to mental or emotional stress. Suggest balancing activities that soothe mind and body, like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Talk to your client about their pain. Take a few minutes to help them make a personalized plan, tailored to their current level of physical ability, pain tolerance, and commitment.

Low back pain doesn’t have to take over your client’s life. With the right combination of self-care and professional treatment, you can help your clients achieve a strong, flexible, and healthy spine.

Learn more today about how you can help people with low back pain with a career in massage therapy

Easy Spring Exercises for Summer Preparation

Easy Spring Exercises for Summer Preparation

easy spring exercise running

With winter’s end looming near, the thoughts of many are turning to shorts and bikini season. After months of thick, shapeless sweaters and holiday indulgence, your clients are probably looking for simple spring exercises to shed extra pounds and firm up neglected muscles. Offer these easy spring exercises to help your client achieve a their beach-ready body.

The Basics

Before starting any workout plan or routine, have your client check with their primary physician to make sure they are healthy enough.

The effectiveness of any exercise routine depends on commitment and consistency. Even light, low-intensity workouts can have a significant impact on general health and physical appearance, if done on a regular basis. Workouts should be done at least 3 times per week. For faster results, do spring exercises up to five times per week.

Most fitness experts suggest 30-60 minutes of vigorous activity each day. Those who can’t commit to a large block of time will still see benefits with a series of 10-15 minute workouts.

  • Always start with a light warm-up, like jogging in place.
  • Fat-burning aerobic activities are just as important as muscle-toning moves.
  • Start off easy. Weight and repetitions can always be added later. Don’t overdo it!
  • Finish your spring exercises with some easy stretches.
  • You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Caution clients to limit calories for ultimate results.
  • Hydration is important. Health experts suggest at least 64 ounces of water each day.

Easy Spring Exercises

A beach-ready body has toned arms, legs, buttocks, and a strong core. These simple moves can add some perk to your clients’ spring exercises. All of these easy spring exercises can be done without special equipment.

  • Burpees

Burpees are a wonder exercise. There are variations for every fitness level. When done correctly, Burpees hit almost every major muscle group in the body, but are especially good for the quads, abs, and shoulders. They also increase heart rate to aerobic levels when done quickly.

  • Lunges and Squats

Sleek, muscular leg and gluteal muscles are the best accessories for summer outfits. Lunges and squats sculpt and strengthen the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. Add in some weighted arm motions to increase heart rate to fat burning levels.

  • Curls

Bicep and triceps curls focus on two out of three major muscle groups in the arm. The triceps sit at the back of the arm and can become loose, flabby, and unattractive from disuse. Curls with hand weights, or using a machine at the gym, can reduce unflattering pockets of cellulite.

  • Planks

One simple spring exercise that is guaranteed to challenge is the plank. Planks can sculpt abs without a single crunch or sit-up. They also work the glutes, back, and chest for an all-over toning session. This move can be easily modified to avoid pressure on injured body parts.

  • Bridges

Bridges target gluteal muscles, where stubborn pockets of fat can be hard to shape up. They also strengthen the hamstring muscles in the back of the leg for a smoother looking limb.

The number of sets and repetitions depends on current physical condition. Those who are just starting their fitness journey should shoot for one set of 15 repetitions of each move (hold plank for 15 seconds), and add sets as strength increases. Those who are more active should add 3 to 4 sets of 15 repetitions to their regular spring exercises.

Help your client achieve their best summer body. Get them started with these easy spring exercises today, and they will be sure to thank you in a few weeks!

8 Tips to Ensure a Motivated and Productive Spring

8 Tips to Ensure a Motivated and Productive Spring

Spring Massage school Stretching

Spring has sprung! With the nice weather, it may be tempting to run outside and enjoy the spring weather. Now is the time to rejuvenate your career. Here are eight spring tips to stay motivated and productive this season.

1. Evaluate

You made it through Q1 but how did you do? Whether you have an official quarterly review or you are performing a self-evaluation, it’s important to look back and reflect. What were your accomplishments? What did you struggle with? And most importantly…what did you learn?

Consider not only your career but also your personal life as well, they often correlate with your overall state of well-being.

2. Start an Exercise Routine

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside. Create a workout schedule and hang it up in your home. Switch up your routine to stay in shape and motivated. Click here to learn how to build your own workout routine.

3. Refresh Your Style

What better time to upgrade your style than in the spring? Clean up your work wardrobe and change your hairstyle to feel refreshed and new.

4. Create New Challenges

Challenge yourself to get out of a your rut. Work to expand your career skills by taking a class or seminar. Learning a new skill can motivate you this spring to push your career to the next level.

Healthcare professionals can significantly benefit from broadening their skill set. Massage therapy can be applied to a wide range of career paths including nursing, physical therapy, yoga or palates instructing.

5. Spring Clean

Spring cleaning is not just for your home! It’s reported that productivity can rise by 5%  with a clean working environment. Whether you work in an office, cubicle or unconventional workspace, take some time to clean your space.

Pitch the trash, organize your files and wipe down those areas that get dusty. You will feel refreshed and ready to tackle your new projects.

6. Revisit Your Resolution

You are a few months into the year, how are you doing with your New Year’s Resolution? Take some time to revisit your resolution and monitor your progress. You may even need to alter your goals to fit your new plans.

7. Make a List of Goals

Make a list of three to five goals you would like to accomplish during the rest of the year. These can be based on your New Year’s resolution or something that has developed since. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

A great example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be: Complete a massage therapy program and receive a certification by the end of the year.

8. Plan your Next Vacation

What is more motivated than working towards a vacation. American workers took 16.2 days of vacation in 2015, nearly one full week less time off than in the year 2000. Take some time this spring to plan your summer vacation. Print some photos to hang up so you can stay motivated throughout the day.

Conclusion

Are you ready for spring? Take these spring tips and set yourself up for a successful year. Start your Spring on the right foot by enrolling into a personalized massage therapy program, contact us today.

5 Important Questions to Ask Every New Massage Therapy Client

5 Important Questions to Ask Every New Massage Therapy Client

Successful massage therapy begins before your massage therapy client touches the table. A pretreatment client interview will help set expectations, increase the effectiveness of your treatment, and relieve any anxiety on the client’s part.

Interview Basics

  • When clients schedule a first appointment, let them know that you will be conducting a short interview before treatment begins. Ask them to make a list of any questions or concerns and bring it with them.
  • Provide a pre-interview questionnaire. Your questions should focus on general health conditions and medical history.
  • Have a private space to conduct interviews. Your massage client will be more willing to share personal information.
  • Be ready to probe for details. Some clients need to be encouraged to share information about their health.
  • Give the client some general information on your practice before you start asking questions. This is especially important for first time massage clients who don’t know what to expect.

Building Trust

A successful therapist-client relationship is based on trust. The client has to believe that you will relieve their pain. Build trust with your client by using active listening skills.

  • What is your experience with professional massage therapy? Find out if your client has ever visited a massage therapist. Ask what they liked and didn’t like about it. If they haven’t, ask them what made them decide to come see you. This is a great time to determine and manage expectations.
  • How does your pain affect your daily activities? While pain may be a deciding factor, many clients only seek treatment when their pain starts to limit their abilities. Find out what your massage therapy client wants to see happen in their bodies. Use that as a reference point throughout the treatment process.

Finding the Source

Pain or stress relief is the goal of most massage clients. People with long-term, chronic pain issues may have trouble pinpointing the source. Help them guide you with open-ended questions.

  • Where does it hurt? Ask the massage therapy client to physically point out problem areas on their bodies. Ask what it feels like. Do the muscles feel tight and sore? Is it more of a stabbing, radiating pain? Offer descriptive words (hot, sore, numb, tingling) to help the client express themselves.
  • What do you do for a living? Ask them about their job. Talk about how they sit, stand, or move. Do they take regular breaks? Do they have access to ergonomically correct seating or tools? Ask about sports and hobbies as well. Knowing what muscles they depend on regularly lets you know what major muscle groups to focus on.

Discovering Treatment Options

Every massage therapy client is different. Ask searching questions to tailor your techniques to their specific needs.

What do you do to address the pain? Ask about exercises, self-massage practices, use of heat or ice, or other methods they use for relief. This will help you develop a long-term treatment plan that corrects underlying structural issues. It will also help you decide what techniques you can use for maximum relief.

At the end of the interview, give your client some time to ask questions. Answer them thoroughly and truthfully.

The client interview is an essential part of creating customized treatment plans for your clients. It is also an ideal time to educate them. Asking the right questions before massage begins brings better results and more client satisfaction.

Attending Massage School as a Healthcare Professional; 8 Questions to Ask

Attending Massage School as a Healthcare Professional; 8 Questions to Ask

massage school questions

Massage therapy is a great additional service for any healthcare provider including; physical therapists, yoga instructors, fitness trainers, or holistic practitioners. Thinking about adding licensed massage therapist to your list of qualifications? Here are eight questions to ask yourself.

Business and Career Value

  • Do I need help with networking? Massage therapists are a diverse group. The contacts you make will introduce you to new clients and opportunities.
  • Would this service bring people back? Independent practices live and die by repeat business.
  • Is your field slightly crowded? An extra certification helps you outshine the competition.

Client Value

  • Can massage therapy really help my clients? Think of the ways increasing blood flow and reducing stress can benefit your regulars.
  • How will studying massage improve my understanding of the therapy process? Massage school curriculum includes comprehensive studies in anatomy and physiology. How can that information improve what you do?
  • When could I start using what I learn?.
  • Do you need to make any changes to your workspace or procedures? Portable massage tables are easy to store and can fit almost anywhere!
  • How does massage improve your existing programs and techniques?

Personal Commitment

Finally, ask yourself, do I have the time? This is a serious course of study. Calculate your time to get the most out of your studies.

Massage has many proven health benefits. As a licensed massage therapist, you can use these benefits to improve the efficiency of your existing services, help your clients feel better, and increase your bottom line.

Contact us today to learn more about our massage therapy programs!

Evaluating Massage School Cost

Evaluating Massage School Cost

Seattle massage school instructor

When evaluating massage school cost at a leading massage school or any college, you may calculate the costs of college through the typical “Room & Board” or “Per Credit Hour” cost advertised by colleges throughout America. However, a bulk of your massage school costs may not often be associated with the advertised price of your massage school education. Massage school, like life, can add up in many ways unseen, unexpected, and sadly, unplanned for. Knowing what the costs can be and strategizing how to limit them are vital skills any college student can and should learn.

What Are Some Examples of Hidden Costs Not Advertised in the Price of a Massage School Education?

  • If you ever get in a bind financially and you have to use a credit card for your school fees, the interest payments are added costs. They could range from 3% – 30%. You could be paying for an extra semester or two alone just in interest payments.
  • Some colleges and universities charge extra fees for extra services. Find out if your massage school has any added-on fees for services that you want or need. These could include health center fees, athletic center fees, student activity fees, graduation fees, academic transcript fees, etc.
  • Books and media can be one of the largest added costs. There will be required texts, but you will also have recommended texts that are used to enhance your knowledge of the material.
  • Technology can be as pricey as you want or need it to be. Do you need a new desktop, laptop or tablet? Do you need a more advanced phone? Do you need to purchase a software package such as Microsoft Office?
  • If you drive a long distance to massage school, gas, tolls, auto insurance, general wear and tear on the automobile, and parking can all add up.
  • It’s no surprise to anyone who has lived life in a dormitory that the staples of the college cuisine are ramen noodles, microwave popcorn, and pizza. If you buy one pizza per week, it can add up to $2000 in pizza costs over a four-year education.
  • Outfitting a apartment or dorm room can be expensive when you add up the costs of televisions, bedding, cable or satellite fees, lamps, linens, posters, waste baskets, toiletries, hygiene, bulletin boards, and the rest.

How Can You Save Money and Still Get a Great Massage School Education?

  • Go local! – One of the major ways you can save on any school is to attend a school in your area. Not only are toy helping the local economy, but you can save on full-time parking costs, dormitory costs, eating on campus, eating out daily, laundry service, mailing expenses, etc. Going local may be the best way to save the most money on college expenses.
  • You may be able to rent or trade texts on campus or online, depending on the course, your region, and the site. Trading, borrowing, or buying used may be the way to save hundreds of dollars on books.
  • Take advantage of student discounts such as specials on computers, software packages, and other technologies.

It has been estimated that students spend $250 to $500 per month on costs not directly associated with the advertised price of the school. Staying local can not only assist you in saving money, it can also help you stay focused. Being away from home for an extended period of time can be hard on the psyche and the emotions, as well as time consuming dealing with the everyday demands of dormitory life. Staying local can be a key factor in maintaining a focus that will make you a success.

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.”