Massage therapy is the practice of using massage to alleviate tension in the soft-tissue muscles of the body. Massage therapists work in the healthcare industry and specialize in many different types of massage including Swedish, acupressure, sports massage and neuromuscular massage. Neuromuscular massage therapists focus on patients who have issues with their muscular and skeletal systems. These types of therapists generally earn an annual mean salary of $39,770.
According to 2010 data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the national annual mean salary for a massage therapists such as a neuromuscular therapist was $39,770. These individuals earned a national mean hourly wage of $19. Neuromuscular therapists in the bottom 10th percentile for this profession earned a salary of $17,970, or an hourly wage of $8. Neuromuscular therapists in the top 25th percentile for this profession earned a salary of $51,410, or an hourly wage of $24.
Personal care services, offices of other health practitioners, traveler accommodation, other amusement and recreation and physician’s offices are the industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation. The top paying industries for this occupation are physician’s offices, dentist’s offices and nursing care facilities, which all paid an annual mean salary between $51,200 and $55,020.
Alaska, Delaware and Washington D.C, are the top-paying States for this occupation. Neuromuscular therapists working in Alaska and Delaware earned an annual mean salary between $57,830 and $86,250. Neuromuscular therapists living in Washington D.C. earned an annual mean salary of $54,770.
According to projected data published by the BLS, employment of massage therapists is expected to increase by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the national average for all other occupations. The bureau attributes this increase to the continued growth in the demand for massage services stemming from the continued popularity of spas, massage clinic franchises and fitness centers.
Job Description and Requirements
Neuromuscular therapy is a specialized form of manual therapy performed by a neuromuscular therapist. These types of therapists have an education in physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems and often have strong backgrounds in kinesiology and biomechanics. Neuromuscular therapy increases the blood supply to soft tissues, relieves nerve compression or entrapment and restores imbalances of the muscular system.
Most states have laws regulating massage therapists. Most states require practicing massage therapists to complete some form of formal education. Therapists must then obtain a license after graduating from a massage therapy training program. Additionally, massage therapists must also complete either the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCETMB, or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, or MBLEx. As of 2009, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wyoming were the only states without licensure requirements for individuals working in this field.
2016 Salary Information for Massage Therapists
Massage therapists earned a median annual salary of $39,860 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, massage therapists earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,220, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $57,110, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 160,300 people were employed in the U.S. as massage therapists.
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