A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy School in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is a massage city. Therapeutic massage has a presence in the healthcare world, the fitness world, and in the lives of many individuals. It’s a part of the culture. When one considers that it’s the hub of a major metropolitan area, it’s not so surprising that the Portland metro area has among the highest massage therapist employment levels in the nation.

Top Massage Schools in Portland

The East-West College of the Healing Arts holds COMTA accreditation. The school offers an 800-hour program that takes place over four quarters. The fourth quarter is student clinic. Students also get to select a couple electives as they near the end of their schooling.

The Oregon School of Massage has a COMTA-endorsed curriculum. The general program is 640 hours. Students learn Swedish massage and Shiatsu. They also have the opportunity to take some electives. The Oregon School of Massage offers two advanced certificates, Shiatsu and MotherTouch, as well as a number of non-certificate specialization areas.

The Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy and Massage is a school member of the American Massage Therapy Association. AMTA lists program hours as 650. The Bodymechanics School touts its very high examination pass rate.

Massage in Healthcare Settings

Massage therapists play a role even in traditional healthcare services. Both Legacy Good Samaritan and Oregon Health Sciences incorporate massage into treatment for some conditions. The OSHU Comprehensive Pain Center has four LMTs on a team that also includes physicians, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists, chiropractors, psychologists, Structural Integration practitioners, and a naturopathic physician (https://www.ohsu.edu/pain-center/our-team).

Legacy Health utilizes oncology massage among its support services for people who are receiving treatment for cancer. Massage therapy services are also available through Legacy Physical Therapy at Good Samaritan Medical Center. Legacy Health notes fibromyalgia among the conditions massage may help with.

Most massage therapists, of course, are not under the banner of major health systems. The chances are good, though, that they are still delivering health services. Many work at healthcare offices with professionals such as chiropractors. Some self-employed massage therapists advertise specialized services.

Even spas may offer medical massage alongside other services. Medical massage may be covered by insurance when it is part of the patient’s treatment plan. After auto injury, massage is typically prescribed in 15-minute increments. Relaxation massages, on the other hand, are often offered in sessions of an hour or more. This is also the case for massages that a person self-selects for therapeutic purposes. (LMTs may provide some of the same modalities under physician prescription as they make available to the general public but price the medical service as a 15-minute unit.)

Some LMTs go through a credentialing process with insurance providers. East West College of Healing Arts recently advertised a continuing education course on insurance reimbursement that covered the credentialing process.

Top Massage Practices in Portland

Portland massage practices are a varied set. They use little extras to set themselves apart.

Sometimes the extra touch is as minor as a cup of tea that can be enjoyed in a room where there are green growing things. TeaScape Massage and Tea House has eight bodywork practitioners. Clients are charged slightly different rates based on practitioner experience level. The tea shop is open to the public.

Zama Massage is an LMT-owned practice that also boasts services other than massage, including a halotherapy salt cave. The menu includes some pricey treats like a salted chocolate massage package that includes an hour of Swedish or deep tissue massage provided in the salt room -- with the added comfort of warm cocoa butter as massage cream. Zama Massage also has a men’s wellness package that includes both deep tissue and foot massage.

There is even some integration between massage therapy and the world of luxury urban apartments. Flamingo recently sought massage talent for its HelloHealthy wellness program which provides onsite services for apartment buildings. The company has a 4.0 on Indeed.com – not a small accomplishment!

Self-employment is common. Some massage therapists advertise their services under just their name and title (LMT). Others select a studio name.

LMTs may affiliate with others but still be self-employed. The Tiny Massage Cart is more or less just that: a small practice with two treatment rooms in a converted trailer and 11 massage therapists who show up on-site when they have a client booked. Dynamic Therapeutic Massage self-describes as a cooperative. The website currently lists just two LMTs. Dynamic Therapeutic can provide Ashiatsu oriental bar therapy and cupping as well as more common modalities.

Some LMTs grow their businesses quite a bit. Sole 2 Sole, a practice which includes reflexology among its services, is LMT-owned. The owner recently bought another Portland practice, a spa that includes infrared sauna, and brought it under the Sole 2 Sole name.

Portland massage practices are in the business of providing science-based therapies. To an extent, they are also in the business of educating the public. Sole 2 Sole is an example; the business provides summaries of research, organized by bodywork modality and health condition.

Massage Therapist Pay and Career Outlook in Portland, OR

The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area was #9 in the nation with regard to massage therapy employment levels.

Pay is above the norm in this part of the country. The median wage was $29.93 in 2018. There were relatively fewer low wage jobs than in many cities; even those at the 10th percentile were making $17.63. The 90th percentile wage was $46.36.

The Massage Theraist Hiring Market

A significant number of the businesses seeking LMTs in the Portland area in early 2019 are chiropractic offices. Some prefer that the individual be able to perform some chiropractic assistant work.

Wellness centers seek LMTs to join teams where there are a range of professionals. Among those advertising in early 2019 was a clinic that was largely mental health.

Athletic and fitness facilities, spas, and wellness centers are also posting ads. An athletic facility is likely to want skills in therapy modalities such as trigger point or myofascial release.

Additional Resources

Oregon Massage therapy License Requirements

Massage Schools in Oregon