One of the rewarding aspects of a career in massage therapy is that practitioners can choose to work in a variety of settings. One possible career path that might not immediately occur to an aspiring massage therapist is to practice at a conventional hospital. Yet more hospitals are developing patient programs that include massage, creating more more career opportunities.
More massage programs in hospitals
An increasing number of medical professionals are recognizing that massage therapy is more than just a means for pampering or relaxation, and indeed the practice has many health benefits as well. Over a three-year span, the number of complementary and alternative programs at conventional hospitals more than doubled.
Massage can be offered as an inpatient or outpatient service. The therapy is used to treat a variety of health conditions, including but not limited to:
- Stress and anxiety
- Serious illnesses, such as cancer
- Imbalances of the body or mind
Massage is also used in a hospital setting for rejuvenation and general wellness, and to treat special-needs patients as well.
Opportunities for licensed therapists
Because of this increased commitment to providing massage therapy to patients, hospitals that have traditionally only supported conventional Western medical treatments are now expanding to include new staff positions for massage therapists. As more research shows that massage helps patients with debilitating illness and other health conditions, mainstream medical facilities want to offer the therapy to their patients.
One in four hospitals now offer massage therapy services to patients, according to a survey by Health Forum, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. Patient demand is the primary reason that more hospitals are offering massage therapy. However, hospitals also cited clinical effectiveness and a desire to treat patients holistically as drivers for including massage as part of their medical programs.
The benefits and challenges
Massage therapists can also expand their professional skill set by working in a setting like a hospital. In addition to working with patients, a therapist at a hospital will also be working with doctors, nurses and other clinical staff. It makes a great fit for someone with excellent interpersonal skills, according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Working at a hospital also means that a therapist will treat patients who are seriously ill or dying, which can be extremely rewarding, but also emotionally challenging. That means a position at a hospital requires resilience and being able to tolerate a frequently stressful and hectic environment.
The fast growing and expanding field of massage therapy ensures our graduates can find work in a wide array of settings in addition to hospitals, including:
- Private offices
- Fitness centers
- Sports medicine facilities
- Physicians’ offices
- Cruise ships
- Wellness centers
Acupuncture and Massage College offers a Massage Therapy that includes a specialization in Japanese Shiatsu. The degree program also enables students to develop experience working with a range of techniques within Asian systems of medicine. In addition to Shiatsu, students complete courses in Swedish massage, medical massage and the biosciences.
For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.