The Cons of Being a Massage Therapist (and how to make the best of them)

A career in massage therapy offers many benefits, including high-job satisfaction, a good earning potential, and the ability to make real difference in the lives of others.

However, as with any other career, there are some downsides as well. In this article, we will discuss the two biggest downsides of a massage therapy career and how to make the best of them.

Con: Physical Toll of the Job

One of the cons of being a massage therapist is that the job can take a physical toll on your body.


Practicing massage therapy inevitably will require you to use your body for hours. This can mean standing for long hours, working with your hands all day, or being bent over a massage table for too long. As such, it’s easy to burnout physically from overworking your body. Common injuries in the massage therapy profession include tendonitis, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Solution: Physical Wellness

Because physical labor is an inescapable part of the job, it is essential for massage therapists to practice physical wellness. Here are some practices to keep yourself healthy.

Body Mechanics and Ergonomics: In massage therapy school, you will learn proper body mechanics to give massages. Maintaining good body mechanics while giving massages will reduce your chances of sustaining injuries, especially to the back, legs, hands, and wrists. In addition, be sure to take care your body while at work by taking necessary breaks and wearing comfortable shoes and wearing any support gear you need that doesn’t interfere with your job, such as knee sleeves.


Additionally, maintaining self-care at where you can at work, such as taking necessary breaks and wearing comfortable shoes.

Physical Self-Care: Even massage therapists with the best body mechanics experience injuries, pains, and aches from the job. As such, it is important for massage therapists to practice physical self-care. For example, proper nutrition, good sleep, and regular exercise helps reduce the chances of getting injuries, and aids in recovery.

Other important health practices include stretching regularly and receiving massage therapy yourself.

Con: Inconsistent Income

Massage Therapy has a high job-satisfaction rate.

Part of this satisfaction comes from having a flexible work schedule. However, the downside to this is that the number of clients and patients you treat will vary. This means that the pay you receive maybe regularly inconsistent.


According the massage therapists cited in our Massage Therapy Job Satisfaction article, 51% agreed that this lack of consistent pay was the most dissatisfying part of the job.

It is important to note that the survey also asked the respondents to assign a value to each point of job-dissatisfaction. The values were measured on a scale of 1-5, with 1 expressing no dissatisfaction, and 5 extreme dissatisfaction.

Inconsistent Pay was assigned a value of 3.4, making inconsistent pay a moderate issue for massage therapists, rather than a severe one.

Solution: Build your Career

Massage therapists largely make their money based on how many appointments they receive and take; more clients equals more money.

Getting more clients is obviously much easier said than done. However, there are several things you can do to maximize the amount of appointments you receive. For starters, make sure that you’re marketing and creating a brand for yourself. Even if you’re working for an employer, marketing yourself will help differentiate you from other massage therapists, and potentially get more referrals. Also, make sure you’re connecting well with your current clients, and make plans for them to follow-up with you regularly.


You can also look into switching industries to see if you can make more money as a massage therapist there. For example, if you work at a spa, you can look into working at a Chiropractor’s office. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the top-paying industries that employ massage therapists are:

Industry of Employment

Median Annual Wage (May 2018)

Offices of Chiropractors        

$51, 690

Offices of all Other Health Practitioners       


Personal Care Services           




Massage Therapy Has More Ups Than Downs

As with any job, there are pros and cons. However, given the high job satisfaction rate that professional massage therapists have, the positives of the job outweigh the negatives.

If you're thinking about becoming a massage therapist, download our free career guide below.

Career In Massage

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