Massage Therapy School in Arlington, Virginia
Northern Virginia has sometimes served as a hub for massage research. The 2019 International Massage Therapy Research Conference was held in Arlington. The schedule included experts who presented evidence about how massage could prove beneficial for breast cancer, anxiety, and arthritis and could even help healthcare professionals tackle the complexities of the opioid crisis. The Samueli Institute carried out outside-the-box healthcare research in nearby Alexandria for more than 15 years. The organization’s 2016 publications included a three-part series on therapeutic massage and its impact on functioning in populations hindered by pain; they also included a call to action (http://www.samueliinstitute.org/research-areas/research-archives-page.html).
The Arlington-Alexandria area arguably has a lot going for it all year and every year for the foreseeable future. It’s a dense urban area with multiple markets: a hip wellness-oriented crowd, affluent spa-goers, and people who need massage to help them with serious health conditions. A 2019 job search reveals far more than just the spa franchises in the hiring market. As one may expect, this is an area of the country where massage has a significant healthcare presence.
Top Ranked Massage Schools in Arlington, VA and Vicinity
The American Massage & Bodywork Institute in Vienna is COMTA-accredited and includes an endorsed curriculum. The program is 700 hours. The institute touts its very high student satisfaction rate.
The Northern Virginia School of Therapeutic Massage in Falls Church is 600 hours and includes fully 90 hours of clinical/ medical massage. The school is NACCAS-accredited.
The Potomac Massage Training Institute in Silver Dale is also COMTA-accredited. Students typically have one practical class and one academic class a week across the three 20-week sessions of the program. There are also some weekend classes and some practical experiences that are designed to be flexible with regard to scheduling.
The NOVA Training Center in Annandale offers a 600-hour massage certificate.
Columbia College in Centreville has a program that includes a 600-hour curriculum, delivered over 30 weeks. The program includes 100 hours of clinical practicum.
Massage Therapist Work Settings
License Massage Therapists may affiliate with health, fitness, and beauty professionals. While some studios, large and small, are massage-only, others are part of multi-services facilities. The following are among the possibilities:
- Chiropractic offices
- Wellness centers that include chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other services
- Studios that include bodywork, movement, and centering (e.g. yoga, and meditation)
- Full-service spas with amenities like sauna and whirlpool
- Fitness centers that include personal training
- Sports/ rehabilitation centers that emphasize physical therapy
Many types of health services can be complemented by massage: even mental health. The new Del Ray Psych & Wellness offers massage therapy in addition to mental health services (https://patch.com/virginia/delray/del-ray-psych-wellness-opens-mount-vernon-avenue).
Some local massage studios have areas of specialty like Thai massage or sports massage.
Massage Presence in Conventional Healthcare
A number of U.S. hospital systems are now utilizing massage in some capacity. Virginia Hospital Center has come further than many. The Teal Center for Therapeutic Bodywork at Virginia Hospital Center makes massage and acupuncture services available not only to patients but to their loved ones; services are also available to doctors and nurses. Among the modalities listed on the Center website is strain counterstrain, described as a gentle modality for people with chronic pain. Virginia Hospital Center provides inpatient massage in the patients’ own rooms; LMTs can travel throughout the hospital: to the ICU, to post-surgical and mother/ baby units, to acute pulmonary rehabilitation and hospice. The Center states that services are adapted to patient needs and that some level of touch can be employed with patients with any condition.
Top Northern Virginia Massage Practices
The following are among the area’s notable practices:
NOVA Therapeutic Massage is a local chain with four locations in Northern Virginia.
The Origins Thai Spa is a relatively large facility with two locations. Massage therapists provide Western massage (including a general relaxation style) as well as Eastern modalities. The massage menu is extensive, featuring Shirodhara forehead massage, Indian head massage, Ayurvedic massage, and Thai-Euro aromatherapy, among other therapies. Origins Thai Spa was noted in the Washingtonian as one of 23 favorite day spas in the greater DC area (https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/05/13/our-23-favorite-day-spas-in-washington/). The article notes guests can have tea by a fireplace after their services.
The Washingtonian also described a huge new fitness facility that would include massage therapy among its many services (https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/09/14/inside-the-st-james-northern-virginias-massive-sports-complex).
Edgy Zen Spa has garnered some publicity of its own (http://edgyzenspa.com/). The practice counts zero balancing among the massage modalities.
Alexandria Massage Therapy has nearly a dozen massage therapists on its team. Together they can offer a number of specialized massages including myofascial for fibromyalgia.
Massage franchises can also have a loyal clientele. Elements Massage-Vienna has a healthy 4.8 Google rating.
Preparation for Success as a Massage Therapist in Arlington
Specialized trainings can be helpful for self-employed massage therapists and also for employees.
Massage Hope in Leesburg lists an LMT as co-founder. He has a detailed bio, as do other massage therapists on the team. Bios list conditions the particular therapist has experience with (for example, thoracic outlet syndrome, temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction, golfer’s elbow). Some list special populations.
Old Town Massage Center in Alexandria notes that their LMTs hold national certification. Clients can schedule with their preferred therapist. The range of treatments is broad; the website categorizes them by type. Geriatric massage, orthobionomy, and biodynamic craniosacral therapy are considered forms of ‘lighter touch’ massage. Spinal reflex therapy, myofascial release, and structural integration are among those considered deep touch.
The LMT behind Corrective Therapy and Fitness in Alexandria is also a personal trainer.
Promoting One’s Services
Publicity can include more than just web presence and word of mouth. Practices may set up at events like the Well Ray Festival (https://alexandrialivingmagazine.com/events/6th-annual-well-ray-del-ray-health-fitness-festival). Del Ray is reported to a very supportive community for entrepreneurs in the wellness industry (https://thezebra.org/2018/07/11/mara-benner-and-four-directions-wellness-focus-on-integrative-health).
Massage Therapist Wages in the Arlington, VA Vicinity
The median wage for massage therapists in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan area was $19.07 in 2018. Most made between $9.00 and $27.64.
In 2019, one will find practices advertising well above the stated average. LMTs should be aware of the differing pay scenarios: whether a job is as contractor or employee, whether the posted rate is for massage hours only, whether commission determines pay rate.
Some employers advertise working conditions (e.g. time between massage sessions).