How to Set Up a Massage Therapy Clinic

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A career as a massage therapist can be very rewarding. Not only do you get to help people and literally touch them in a meaningful way, you also benefit from the high potential for above-average earnings. In recent years, the general public has expressed a growing interest in alternative forms of health care which has moved the field of massage therapy into the mainstream. In order to insure the highest quality practice of this emerging profession and maximize your professional income, you might want to consider opening a massage therapy clinic of your own. The guide below explains how.

Enroll in a massage therapy training program. Be sure you choose an accredited school that has been approved by a national agency, such as the Commission for Massage Therapist Accreditation. The program itself should include subjects such as anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and massage therapy techniques, and should offer hands-on, supervised massage practice sessions.

Check the regulations and licensing requirements in the state where you intend to do business. Most states require a student to have completed a minimum of 500 hours of supervised training, while some require at least 1000 hours and a qualifying score on a certification exam.

Take the "national boards" for massage therapy to become licensed in your state. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is offered at testing centers nationwide and is required by most states for the legal practice of massage therapy. Even if it is not required by your state, taking and passing the exam will enhance your professional image.

Decide what type of services you will be offering. The field of massage therapy offers many different options for practitioners. You can specialize in the type of massage you offer such as relaxation, healing and pain reduction. Or you could focus on a particular type of client such as executives, athletes or seniors. Additionally, you could specialize in a massage technique such as deep tissue, Swedish or shiatsu. However, most massage clinics offer their clients a variety of techniques and methods to choose from, placing the emphasis on a generalized theme, such as improving overall health or reducing stress.

Locate a space for your clinic. The theme or focus you have chosen should influence your choice of locations; however, successful massage therapy clinics can be found in a variety of settings such as health clubs, sports centers, assisted living facilities, shopping malls, airports, chiropractor's offices and private homes.

Make the pre-opening preparations. Obtain the legally required amounts of liability and malpractice insurance. Start utility services such as water, electric, phone and Internet. Purchase the necessary furnishings and supplies such as massage oil, body lotion, massage tables and linens, and then schedule any regulatory inspections.

Set your prices, finalize your list of available services, set a date for the grand opening and begin marketing. You could develop a website featuring photographs of you and your office space or run an ad in the local paper featuring a coupon for new customers. You might want to pass out business cards or distribute flyers throughout the neighbourhood. Additionally, you should write a press release to send to the local papers announcing your grand opening.


  • Consider hiring an accountant who specializes in small business to help keep track of your books and to ensure you have paid all your taxes.

    Check to see if your school offers internship opportunities or job placement services upon completion of the program. This isn't necessary, but it is a nice extra that can be very helpful once you've concluded your training.