A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy School in St. Louis, Missouri

One may not think of the Midwest as being big on massage therapy, but St. Louis has a job concentration a little above the national average. Massage therapists here don’t just provide services to a luxury clientele – far from it! There are indeed high-caliber spas here, and people who know how to party the healthy way: with massage and spa goodies. Massage, though, also has a presence in healthcare facilities, ranging from individually owned chiropractic offices to large healthcare and home care systems. It is a recognized part of the injury recovery process. Some clients utilize it for pain. And, yes, it’s well known for its role in stress reduction. Some organizations provide quick pick-me-ups to their associates in the form of chair massage.

As for the massage therapists themselves, they are drawn to the career for varied reasons. Some have had their own lives improved by integrative treatments. Some professionals like the flexibility of the massage therapy lifestyle, with the option of setting their own hours. Some want to set up their own massage therapy studios that reflect their personal vision.

Popular Massage Schools in St. Louis

The Healing Arts Center offers a 600-hour program which can be completed part-time over a year. The school has several unique features. Students are taught to meditate – part of the school’s focus on holistic health, which encompasses practitioner as well as client. There is a commitment to training healers. Quite a bit of time is afforded to myofascial release.

Elements of Wellness offers students 800- or 1,000-hour options. Coursework is scheduled in 200-hour sessions. There are opportunities for specialization.

The Midwest Institute in Earth City offers a certificate program that includes 160 hours of student clinic. The Midwest Institute holds institutional accreditation through the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Massage in Healthcare

Among the institutions working to make massage therapy a respected part of healthcare, one finds Barnes Jewish Hospital. The organization offers massage therapy through its Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation (STAR) Program.

Mercy Integrative Medicine counts massage among its supportive modalities (https://www.mercy.net/practice/mercy-integrative-medicine-old-tesson). Mercy was among the organizations advertising in 2019. Mercy attributes the following possible outcomes to massage: promoting healing of muscles, helping mitigate pain -- potentially even contributing to blood sugar control by helping people relax.

Massage can be very comforting at the end of life. BJC Home Care Services, the region's largest home care provider, includes massage among the services provided to hospice patients. This organization, too, was advertising in 2019.

The Healing Arts Center has made the news for its beneficial work: free massage services to cancer patients.

Successful Massage Practices to Research

Spas and massage studios provide multiple services, some of which are designed to help clients cope with pain.

Sound Stone Massage is known for hot stone massage, a spa classic. The sound vibration table can be a draw. Clients also come here for focus massages that target specific areas of the body where they may be experiencing pain. There are a number of other therapeutic massages, including lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, and pregnancy massage.

Indigo Massage and Wellness combines massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga. It’s LMT-owned. The total number of LMTs on the team is 13.

Sole Shine, located in neighboring Maplewood, is a specialty practice, one which emphasizes Ashiatsu barefoot therapy. The proprietor has a deep appreciation for bodywork and its role in alleviating pain, having relied on pharmaceuticals for pain management when she was very young. Sole Shine massage therapists provide several modalities, including Thai Yoga massage and pregnancy massage. Many massage therapists travel to the client, but Sole Shine is unusual: They can pack the bars needed for Ashiatsu and take them to the client’s home (or a very special event he or she is hosting).

The Morgan Ford Day Spa offers a wide variety of relaxing and therapeutic massage styles, including Lomi Lomi, lymphatic drainage, and heated flax pillow (where the massage therapists provide gentle bodywork through the heated pillow). Morgan Ford can provide spa parties for birthdays, bridal showers, and more. The “Meet Our Staff” page includes two dozen massage therapists.

St. Louis boasts quite a few franchises: Elements, Hand and Stone, Massage Envy, MassageLuXe.

Zeel, known nationwide for on-demand massage, has a St. Louis presence, as does Circle of Hands Chair Massage. There are plenty of smaller practices too, though, with practitioners who are willing to travel.

Sports Massage

There are active sports communities here, and active sports massage practices. Sports massage therapists can't all provide massage services to sports players the caliber of the St. Louis Blues, but they can find players at varying levels looking to recover or improve their game. In this sub-specialty, as in other specialty areas of therapeutic massage, LMTs tend to advertise their certifications and specialty trainings. Knot Magic Muscle Therapy, for example, touts their therapists' status as the sole massage therapists in the region trained in a particular technique, I.B.A.R.

Massage Therapist Salary and Job Perks

The median hourly wage for a massage therapist in the greater St. Louis area was $17.29 in 2017, with those at the 10th percentile making $8.87 and those at the 90th percentile making $30.98.

With self-employment so common in this industry, the actual range of earnings is wide. So are the job conditions and benefits.

Some want flexibility: the opportunity to schedule around otherwise busy lives. There is plenty of this in the massage therapy industry. Every Body Massage boasts a team of 15 massage therapists that clients can schedule with; the website lists specific hours for each. Availability may be sporadic or a (nearly) every day thing.

Some therapists of course want stable hours and benefits. MassageLuXe, advertising recently for a St. Charles franchise, touted a range of benefits

Additional Resources

Missouri Massage Therapy License Requirements

Massage Schools in Missouri