Top Seven Soft Skills for Massage Therapist
While technical abilities, including manual dexterity and knowledge of human anatomy, usually come to mind in discussions about key competencies for massage therapists, the right "soft" skills are also a critical part of enjoying a successful and fulfilling career. Let's count down seven underestimated, yet essential, "soft" characteristics needed to excel in this popular profession.
1. Communication Skills
In order to best treat client injuries while promoting general wellness, massage therapists require strong interpersonal and communication skills. The ability to, listen, answer questions, and alleviate concerns is a vital part of ensuring that client needs are being met. Communication is key to fostering a relaxing environment during massage sessions.
2. Judgment and Perception
Unfortunately, clients may not always feel comfortable communicating directly with their massage therapists -- particularly before a rapport has been established. In this case, perception skills and the ability to "read" people become invaluable. The more attuned you are to factors ranging from body language to cultural differences, the more likely you are to be able to offer an appropriate and healing massage.
Massage therapists interact with a diverse body of patients facing a variety of health challenges. The ability to empathize and connect across these differences is a fundamental part of resolving wellness through massage.
Giving an effective massage requires a massage therapist's full concentration and commitment. The ability to set aside distractions -- both personal and professional -- and focus entirely on what a client needs can be difficult, but doing so is integral to offering the best care.
5. A Love of Learning
Massage techniques are anything but one-size-fits-all. In fact, there are many varying types of massage and modalities, such as deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, and sports massage. Developing a personalized treatment plan for each client, featuring the appropriate technique or combination of techniques can help massage therapists achieve optimal treatment outcomes. The more you know about the different types of massage, the better the care you can provide.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a common comment made by massage therapists is, "I feel fortunate to have found work I love." Indeed, while the work of a massage therapist is very fulfilling, it can also involve a number of demanding practice management responsibilities -- from dealing with difficult patients to conducting business-related tasks, such as booking appointments and bookkeeping. The more organized you are, the more seamlessly you will be able to switch from task to task.
7. Good Hygiene Habits
While good hygiene may seem like a given, it's critically important to any massage practice. From basic grooming, such as pulling hair back and keeping nails trimmed back, to less obvious factors like using unscented lotions, soaps, and laundry detergents, cultivating a clean practice serves a crucial purpose: it keeps clients coming back.
While some soft skills are innate, they can also be learned and developed, which is why attending a comprehensive massage therapy school which integrates classroom and hands-on learning is ideal. Not only does SOCHi's Advanced Professional Massage Training program help students develop well-rounded sets of competencies, but it also gives them the indispensable opportunity to apply and practice these skills in actual spa and clinical settings.
The result? Not only the acquisition of necessary knowledge, but also the ability to apply that knowledge in the most effective ways. Apply to SOCHi today to get started on the path toward your bright future as a massage therapist.