A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy School in New Orleans, LA

Massage therapy in New Orleans: It can be many things! Sometimes it’s about giving people who visit this lovely city additional opportunities to disentangle themselves from life’s stresses. Sometimes it’s about helping those with serious illnesses mitigate side effects and pain. The massage therapy industry is growing because people are recognizing that bodywork and therapeutic touch can do so much!

Massage therapists work for franchises, spas, chiropractic offices, and wellness centers. Some have made their way into conventional healthcare organizations. The East Jefferson General Hospital Wellness Center is an exemplar, offering the public multiple types of bodywork therapy, including oncology massage, prenatal massage, and massage that focuses on specific body zones. East Jefferson was among the organizations that advertised in Metairie in 2019.

UMC-New Orleans also lists massage among the complementary therapies it offers patients. Free massage is part of its whole-person approach to cancer care (https://www.umcno.org/programs-services/cancer-center).

Massage therapists in New Orleans and elsewhere pursue specialized training to help them provide massage to people with special needs. Compassionate Connections Massage Therapy, for example, provides compassionate touch and oncology massage, among other services. Compassionate touch is a modality that can be utilized in hospice. The LMT at the helm of Compassionate Connections touts relationships with several organizations, including East Jefferson General Hospital.

One will find massage therapists teamed up with different types of healthcare professional: chiropractors, physical therapists, mental health professionals. There may not be a lot of massage therapists on board at psychiatrist-led Podesta Wellness - just one as of early 2019 – but articles on the website provide clues about why therapeutic massage is attracting the attention of some leaders: Healthcare professionals are faced with the challenge of easing people’s pain without putting them at risk for addiction. They also need to help people manage psychic pain.

Popular New Orleans Massage Therapy Schools

Blue Cliff College in Metairie offers a 750-hour program. Blue Cliff College is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Students get hands-on opportunities in a number of bodywork modalities, including Swedish, deep tissue, neuromuscular therapy, and Shiatsu.

Unitech Training Academy is also located in Meitairie – and is also a member of AMTA. AMTA lists the Unitech program length as 905 hours: well above the minimum.

Delgado Community College offers a technical certificate in massage. Students learn Swedish, deep tissue, and sports massage. They also gain some foundation in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Graduates receive 32 credit hours. All courses are in the major except for the anatomy and physiology course and lab. (Anatomy and physiology are part of the generally expected massage therapy curriculum around the country, whether or not they are offered for course credit.)

Working for New Orleans Massage Businesses and Franchises

Massage therapists can be independent contractors or employees. Organizations can have different pay systems in place. In some settings, LMTs receive tips in addition to base wages. One massage franchise recently sought ten massage therapists in the New Orleans area, noting that compensation was variable; their LMTs would receive base pay but also received a differential based on being requested by clients.

Zeel Massage, a company with a growing presence around the nation, provides on-demand massage to those who need it, generally in about an hour. On-demand can be utilized for several purposes. While it's often a convenience -- a way for the busy professional to work out kinks and manage stresses -- it can also be utilized by the homebound. There are three massage therapists listed on the Zeel-New Orleans webpage in early 2019. One is noted as having competence in geriatric massage. The organization hires experienced massage therapists and offers generous benefits.

Companies that advertise for massage therapists often tout flexible scheduling and various little wellness perks (e.g. discounts, free massages).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed $12.66 as the median wage for a massage therapist in the New Orleans-Metairie metropolitan areas in 2017. Most made between $7.81 and $19.40. (Since many are self-employed, the actual range of earnings is wide.)

New Orleans Massage Practices

Massage practices typically offer multiple modalities. However, they can have different areas of focus and very different atmospheres. Two common broad areas of focus are relaxation and muscular therapy. The following are examples of successful practices that appeal to different client groups::

The Belladonna Day Spa includes hot stone, a classic spa massage, among its offerings. Guests may purchase packages that combine massage with other feel-good luxuries (facials, wraps, salt scrubs).

The Bailey Institute of Neuromuscular Therapy focuses on muscular work. Modalities include sports and medical massage, deep tissue sports and medical massage, prenatal massage, and that ‘relaxation stand-by’, Swedish massage. The Bailey Institute suggests that clients check with their insurance carriers to see if therapeutic massage may be covered.

LMT Entrepreneurs

New Orleans has its share of entrepreneurs, molding their individual visions. Examples of small enterprises include Dreamer’s Touch Therapeutic Massage and Maksa Yogic Massage; the latter combines yoga and massage. It’s not uncommon for the business name to speak to clients’ spiritual side, though it’s by no means the only avenue.

Some massage therapists become entrepreneurs and eventually add other LMTs to their team. An example: Spa Atlantis. Spa Atlanta has two locations in Louisiana, one in the French Quarter.

Therapists at Nola Bliss have skilled hands and feet. The organization offers multiple bodywork styles but specializes in a foot modality, Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy. Nola Bliss notes that they, too, began as a sole enterprise. This successful business was also among those that advertised in New Orleans in early 2019.

Continuing Education

Massage therapists often pursue large blocks of continuing education to develop specialized skills and gain an edge. The Advanced Massage Training Center lists a 160-hour course in medical massage, among other offerings.

Additional Resources

Massage License Requirements in Louisiana

Massage Schools in Louisiana