A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Albuquerque

New Mexico healthcare leaders know that massage is indeed healthcare! Massage practices tend to reflect what is taught in the local schools as well as what’s needed in the community. Medical massage – doctor-prescribed treatment – is big here. In this area, New Mexico may be seen as a leader.

Massage therapy has some presence even in hospital systems. The UNM Health' Center for Life includes massage among its patient services.

Small practices and sole proprietors sometimes choose to focus on special populations. Chi Medical Massage, for example, notes Alzheimer’s and dementia among the specialties. The Albuquerque area boasts multiple LMTs who can perform oncology massage.

Popular Massage Schools in Albuqueque

The Universal Therapeutic Massage Institute boasts a 720-hour program that includes 100 hours of Swedish massage and 16-32 hours in each of the following: myofascial release, trigger point therapy, reflexology, shiatsu, sports injury massage, and craniosacral techniques. Clinicals comprise 150 hours. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Students earn 35 college credits.

The Universal Therapeutic Massage Institute also offers a therapeutic medical massage program that builds on basic massage training. Students can opt for a 1,080 therapeutic medical massage program. Included is a 160-hour regional medical massage course that focuses on assessment and treatment of different body regions and a 60-hour advanced internship.

The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics has a 45-year history. The curriculum encompasses a blend of Eastern and Western techniques: Swedish massage, sports massage, Shiatsu, reflexology, acupressure, polarity. The school even offers a whiplash technique based on polarity. Students have flexible scheduling options.

The Albuquerque Spa and Wellness Industry

The Albuquerque area has a variety of spas and wellness centers.

America’s Massage is – whatever the name may imply – a local Albuquerque practice. It’s been around since almost the start of the millennium. Included on the massage menu are therapeutic massage, medical massage, hot stone massage, and reflexology. One massage is characterized as ‘detox’.

Albuquerque Baths is a spa with a range of services. Several massage styles are available, including hot stone massage and customized therapeutic massage. Add-ons include hot oil scalp massage, aromatherapy, and foot massage. Guests can purchase massage in combination with other services.

The Oriental Health Spa offers a range of massages including Swedish, pressure point, and ‘walks on back’, as well as massages that are designed to provide relief for sleep issues and aches and pains.

Some utilize practices that were traditionally thought of as spiritual but are now gaining attention in the medical community. Among them are meditation and yoga.

Several New Mexico spas offer flotation therapy in Epsom salt float tanks. Fountain of Health is one such practice. It was started by a massage therapist. She’s got far more than massage available at her business. Services include flotation, infrared sauna, and even vibro-acoustic therapy, which capitalizes on the therapeutic potential of sound vibrations.

Self-Employed Massage Therapists

Some successful Albuquerque massage studios are solo ventures. An LMT may choose to focus on a niche market such as sports massage or corporate/ chair massage. One Albuquerque massage therapist has the dual focus of medical massage and prenatal massage.

ABQ Massage and Myofascial lists one bio in early 2019: that of an LMT who found his way to a therapeutic massage career after experiencing relief himself from massage. He had injured himself lifting weights as a young man and found that pain medication didn’t agree with him physically. The suggestion that he try massage for came from a chiropractor. A note on his website informs clients that he doesn’t post a massage menu because it’s his job to determine what the client needs.

An LMT who starts as a sole practitioner may eventually build a team. ABQ Massage Studio, a separate Albuquerque practice, is headed by another individual who credits massage with personal recovery: in this instance, from the physical toll of playing semi-professional soccer. A job ad placed in early 2019 said the ABQ studio was looking for a new massage therapist to join an “expanding team”.

Rio Grande Body Works began as a sole enterprise that, like many, bore the practitioner's name. As the clientele grew, it became necessary to bring other practitioners onboard. There are now seven. They, too, were advertising in 2019, with payment to be based on commission and tips.

Business Models

Massage therapy is a career where it can pay to attract a clientele. It is not uncommon for massage practices to publish bios of their LMTs and allow clients to select; decisions may be made partly on specialized trainings the therapist has had. Some clients want to see the same LMT again and again.

Some LMTs are in a standard employee relationship while others are independent contractors. There can be different payment models. A massage therapist may receive a commission in addition to the base rate.

The big name franchises can often provide predictable income, though the earning potential will not be as high as in some set-ups. Client reviews tend to be solid but not stellar. Elements Therapeutic Massage has a Google rating of 4.8 – running ahead of much of the pack. A recent posting was for a massage therapist with competency in deep tissue and chair massage and weekend or evening availability.

Massage Envy sometimes advertises that it’s a place where an LMT can focus on massage (as opposed to finding clients). One will find franchises in the area touting the benefits provided.

Massage Therapists as Innovators

The Albuquerque Journal recently published an article about a long-time massage therapist who had developed two devices to improve training and patient care (https://www.abqjournal.com/998672/rio-rancho-startup-creates-standardtouch-for-massage.html). One was designed to help massage therapists apply standardized pressure. (After all, ‘deep pressure’ and ‘light pressure’ – terms used so often in the massage industry -- can mean slightly different things to different people!)

Massage Therapy Earnings

The median wage for an Albuquerque massage therapist was $18.08 in 2017. Those at the 90th percentile made about three times what those at the 10th percentile made ($28.69 vs $9.80).

Additional Resources

New Mexico Massage License Requirements

Massage Schools in New Mexico