What is a Massage Therapist?

Massage Therapists use touch to manipulate the soft tissue of the body such as skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This reduces stress, relieves pain, and rehabilitates injuries in patients, increasing their relaxation and well-being. Massage therapists not only need to be manually proficient and sensitive to their patients' needs, they also need to have a thorough clinical knowledge of the soft tissue of the human body.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Spas
  • Fitness centers
  • Private practices 

Education and Training Requirements

Training programs in massage therapy generally require a high school diploma; however it is useful to have a post-secondary degree as well. The practice of massage therapy is currently regulated in 33 states (the American Massage Therapy Association provides a list of these states) and although the legal regulations vary from state to state, generally they all require some amount of practical work done in the field (usually around 500 hours) and/or a written examination.


According to Onetonline.org, the median salary of a massage therapist in the United States in 2012 was $35,970 per year.

Professional Organization

The American Massage Therapy Association