A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy School in Memphis

Memphis is dotted with small massage practices. Practitioners are often self-employed. They are not all going it alone, however. A Memphis LMT may go into business with like-minded practitioners, whether massage therapists or other fitness or health professionals.

LMTs may also seek employment at massage franchises, spas, or small studios. Giants like Soothe (massage on demand) have entered the market. Some LMTs work in healthcare. Professionals here are working to give massage the place in healthcare it deserves. Pain management is an area of focus.

The state as a whole has been projected to see 37% massage therapist occupational growth across the 2016 to 2026 decade, well above even the national average for this hot field. LMTs may have a better time in Memphis right now, though, if they can bring opportunity to themselves. Job concentration is lower here than in many parts of the country, according to the most recent BLS figures. When it comes to envisioning the many opportunities, a trek through the local massage listings may be more inspiring than a trek through the massage therapy job ads.

Getting into a market in the early stages can be an asset. In many places, one will find very large and successful practices that have been in operation for years. One won’t be on quite the ground floor here – there are already pages of Google listings – but there are niches left to build.

On the plus side, cost of living is lower in Memphis than in Nashville and lower than in the United States as a whole. One can also get a good education here. Massage programs in the Memphis area are relatively long – about 700 hours as opposed to the 500 hours one finds in many parts of the country.

It may help to travel for the occasional weekend class and bring new modalities and approaches back.

Massage Schools in Memphis, TN

The Massage Institute of Memphis offers a 700-hour program that includes 200 hours of sciences and 150 hours of student clinic. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

The Tennessee School of Massage has a more than 30-year history. Here, too, a student will receive 200 hours of sciences. The Tennessee School of Massage is a school member of American Massage and Bodywork Professionals (AMBP).

Concorde Career College offers an 862-hour diploma program that includes 90 combined hours of coursework in pathologies and special populations. The internship/ externship experience is 100 hours.

Building a Successful Massage Practice in Memphis

Massage therapists bring their life experiences to massage. Some have degrees in fields like marketing or healthcare. WKNO 91.1 reported on a ballerina who needed strategy to make it through 23 years as a professional ballerina with Ballet Memphis (https://www.wknofm.org/post/bodies-dont-last-forever-ballerina-takes-her-last-bow). Retiring at 43, she announced that her next career would be in therapeutic massage.

The following is a look at what Memphis massage therapy entrepreneurs are doing to bring opportunity to themselves:

They’re developing their expertise. Some hold specialty certifications like lymphatic drainage. One will find LMTs with expertise with special populations like oncology patients. The co-founder of Opulence Massage notes advanced training in a number of areas, among them, maternal, infant, active isolated stretching, muscle energy technique, and oncology/ mastectomy.

They’re forging professional relationships. Professional associations like Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals and the American Massage Therapy Association give them tools and insights. Some locate Tennessee insurance companies that have wellness discount programs and join their networks.

They build their web presence. They may provide information about different modalities and their benefits. Therapist bios describe their philosophy of massage as well as their specialized trainings. One Memphis massage therapy entrepreneur indicates that massage was a calling from the time she was little -- too little, in fact, to give a proper massage with just her hands. Once upon a time, she used Tonka trucks on people’s backs.

Massage in Pain Management

Memphis has played a role in helping make massage and other integrative therapies more accessible to those who need them. Dr. Clayton Jackson, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, also serves as president of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, an organization that has been instrumental in making recommendations to stakeholders (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/905000).

Memphis is not the only city in Tennessee where physicians have taken a leadership role in promoting integrative therapies for pain. Vanderbilt University is a major player.

Memphis Spas and Massage Practices

Exhale Spa Escapes is a new school spa, built on a concept of wellness that embraces many traditions. Exhale doesn't advertise a long list of modalities. The reason? A variety of modalities are integrated. Sessions may include Eastern techniques such as Thai massage and even Breema bodywork as well as the common Western modalities. What Exhale does advertise is a wide variety of add-ons, including cupping (which was made popular in sports circles), bamboo, and crystals; the latter can be placed on the body to direct energy. There is a spiritual or meditative element to some treatments. Patrons can opt for guided meditation or sound therapy. Hot towels are among the little extras that are available for free. Yoga guidance and wellness coaching are also available at Exhale. Exhale Spa Escapes made the Essence list of 15 black-owned spas that their readership needs to visit (https://www.essence.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/black-owned-spas-wellness-cities/).

Bow Tie Massage is a mixture of massage and experience. Packages include extras like time in zero gravity chairs and the opportunity to watch soothing bubbles and listen to jazz music. Meals can be purchased as an add-on. There’s a “Steam Dream” package for those with sinus or bronchial difficulties. It includes an aromatherapy sinus massage and a vitamin C/ eucalyptus steam treatment, among other elements: seven components in all, not including beverage and dessert. Bow Tie Massage goes all out on packages for occasions like Mother’s Day.

Body Mechanix is owned by “experienced LMTs”. The website lists three practitioners. Some services, like sports massage or cupping, are the domain of a particular therapist.

The Lindsey Group Massage Professionals in Germantown is made of independent massage therapists. The practice has (as of May 2019) 91 Google ratings and a five star average.

Additional Resources

Tennessee Massage Therapy License Requirements

Massage Schools in Tennessee