A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy Schools in Birmingham, Alabama

Massage therapy is on the rise throughout the country, and Alabama is no exception. Occupational growth for the 2016-2026 decade has been estimated at 17%. The sheer number of people in Birmingham make it fertile ground. Local massage therapists are beginning to bring in specialized therapeutic massages and develop their spa techniques.

Popular Birmingham Massage Schools

The Massaged Life & Wellness Academy program is 800 hours – 150 beyond what’s required by the Alabama Board. Students gain some foundation in clinical and medical techniques, spa techniques, and Eastern modalities. The Massaged Life & Wellness Academy is an organizational member of several massage therapy organizations including Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals and the American Massage Therapy Association.

The Birmingham School of Massage offers a 650-hour program that prepares a student for neuromuscular certification as well as massage credentialing (http://birminghamschool.com).

Wallace State-Hanceville has certificate and degree options (http://www.wallacestate.edu/programs/health-division/massage-therapy). A student can earn a short-term certificate in therapeutic massage or pursue a longer certificate program or associate’s degree program that includes the required coursework; the associate’s option is salon and spa management.

About Therapeutic Massage in Birmingham

One can look to the University of Alabama-Birmingham to get a sense of the different functions that massage serves and how much it has entered the mainstream. UAB students are invited to take a little “you time” and schedule a massage through campus recreation (https://www.uab.edu/students/universityrecreation/programs/fitwell/massage-therapy). Options include Swedish relaxation massage and sports massage, among others. Therapist bios are posted on the campus recreation website; prospective clients can read about their various certifications and specialties.

Massage therapy is also available through the physical therapy clinic at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. A UAB massage therapist provided the public with basic information about four evidence-based modalities, noting that the type of massage mattered (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130129171341.htm). Swedish could have stress-busting effects while deep tissue had more potential for "aches and pains". Neuromuscular and trigger point also had demonstrated effects.

Licensed massage therapists are helping the public understand the benefits of massage and guiding them in finding the type of massage -- or licensed therapist -- that will be most effective. Good therapists make it their business to know what their patients need. Some become adept at helping athletes stay in peak condition. An article in the Cullman Tribune describes the role massage therapists are playing within the Alliance of American Football. Eight Alabama massage therapists share the seasonal responsibility for providing weekly massage for the Birmingham Iron, which starts its training camp with 52 players (http://cullmansense.com/articles/2019/01/22/birmingham-iron-chooses-local-woman-massage-coordinator).

Many Birmingham massage practices offer prenatal massage. Some massage therapists have the advanced training to work with special populations such as those with cancer.

A Tuscaloosa patient, meanwhile, noted that deep tissue massage benefited her rheumatoid arthritis, but stressed that different patients had different needs and might respond to other styles. (https://www.healthline.com/health-news/massage-for-arthritis-joint-pain-091414#2).

There is still work to be done in bringing massage to some specialized populations. Massage therapists may use continuing education and post-licensure certificate programs to develop expertise in specialized areas.>/p>

Innovative Spas are an Option for Talented Massage Therapists in Birmingham

Innovation can draw a large clientele. The Spiro Salt Room and Massage has been in the news more than once recently. The spa attracts people from across Alabama (http://blog.al.com/press-releases/2016/06/find_out_why_some_people_are_d.html). People come here for the salt rooms, which are believed to provide remedy for conditions such as asthma. Massage is among the other services they enjoy.

Tao Massage offers “deep” and “calm” massage packages (https://www.taomassage.com/). This is in addition to other services such as infrared sauna and flotation therapy.

Innovation is about creating an enjoyable experience as well as a therapeutic one. Birmingham Magazine recently featured some of Birmingham’s top spas (https://www.al.com/bhammag/index.ssf/2016/08/check_out_these_5_great_spas_i.html). The Retreat Day Spa draws on the beauty -- and healing potential -- of the land around. The signature therapy is a poultice massage that uses what's in season. The Retreat Day Spa is among the many practices where massage is paired with beauty treatments. Herbs are also used in facials. A Retreat Day Spa proprietor notes that she enjoys it when folks take time to sit on the deck and watch the sheep.

The Poseidon Spa at Grand Bohemian also makes use of natural elements, some of which change with the seasons.

Highly Rated Birmingham Massage Practices

The following is a look at some of the highly rated massage practices in the Birmingham area:

Evolve Massage and Alternative Healing has a varied massage menu (http://www.evolvebham.com/). Evolve offers sessions that focus on pain in either of two areas: the neck and shoulders or lower back and hips. Among the other options: prenatal massage, deep tissue massage, Reiki treatment, and massage that uses aromatherapy or crystal balancing.

Life Touch Massage also has varied offerings (https://www.lifetouchal.com). Included are some less common modalities like Thai yoga massage as well as the more common Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone styles. Life Touch is another option for those seeking prenatal massage.

Birmingham Wellness boasts Swedish, deep tissue, cupping, neuromuscular massage therapy, sports massage and stretching.

Some Birmingham massages practices do outcalls. Massage Magazine featured a local Birmingham business in an article about breaking into the chair massage industry (https://www.massagemag.com/getting-started-in-seated-massage-24055).

Massage Therapy Earnings

Birmingham massage therapists had a median hourly wage of $17.62 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The vast majority made between $10.05 and $23.80.

Additional Resources

Alabama Massage License Requirements

Alabama Massage Schools