Massage Therapy Schools in Huntsville, Alabama
The Huntsville massage therapy scene includes many small practices and studios. Collectively, they serve multiple purposes: promoting relaxation and renewal, alleviating symptoms associated with common health conditions, and appealing to people’s desire for a “stay-cation” or afternoon of pampering. There are some signs that massage is entering the mainstream here as a wellness practice. The University of Alabama-Huntsville offers services such as biofeedback and chair massage at its counseling center, thus offering students who have school and life challenges additional tools to stay grounded.
An internet search reveals many sole proprietors practicing massage in the Huntsville area. They advertise a range of modalities besides traditional Swedish relaxation massage, for example, Thai yoga, hot stone, prenatal, cupping, myofascial release, and medical massage; medical massage therapy may be customized for different parts of the body.
There are also a number of small establishments where multiple practitioners work together. Huntsville massage therapists have different work setups. A massage therapist may rent space, work as a sub-contractor, or work as an employee. One doesn’t have to look far to find examples of each. Huntsville Massage Professionals notes that each of their LMTs is independent. Bios are printed online. Clients may select their preferred LMT. Journey Therapeutic Massage, on the other hand, notes that massage therapists who are under their auspices may be either employees or self-employed professionals who are renting space.
The Huntsville area has its share of massage franchises including Hand and Stone and Massage Envy. Some massage therapists team with other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors. Deep tissue and neuromuscular massage are among the modalities that may prove useful in a chiropractic setting. Massage therapists may work alongside health professionals from various disciplines. Southeastern Skin Cancer & Dermatology is among those that offers massage among its services.
Popular Huntsville Massage Therapy Schools
Alabama’s required 650 hours includes 210 hours of elective courses that are at the school’s discretion. Some school go beyond the minimum hours.
Northeast Alabama Community College (Rainsville) offers students the option of completing a short-term certificate program or taking a longer program in spa and salon management that includes the required therapeutic massage coursework.
The Massage Therapy Institute (Decatur) provides a 670-hour curriculum that includes 132 hours of specialized massage subjects, including sports massage, myotherapy, and infant massage.
The Madison School of Massage Therapy offers yet another Board-approved option. The current owner is a former graduate of the school, a cancer survivor, and a proponent of integrative mind-body healing.
Some local massage therapists are trained to work with cancer patients. In the Huntsville area, oncology massage may be offered in a small practice or spa setting. Oncology massage isn’t at this point as deeply entrenched in the medical world as it is in some parts of the nation. Therapists, though, do pursue special certifications — even lymphatic drainage, a modality that can be beneficial to cancer survivors.
Huntsville Area Spas
Spas represent a viable option. These facilities often combine massage with beauty treatments.
Some massage practices and spas have signature treatments . Spa Siren, for example, offers a Siren Starfish that combines foot and hand reflexology with massage of the head, neck, and shoulder area: a five-point massage as an alternative to full body massage.
The following are among the popular spas in the greater Huntsville area and the massage services they offer:
- DanTera Salon & Spa: hot stone massage, couples massage, signature trademarked massage treatments, and massage enhancements (among them, infrared sauna)
- 921 Salon and Spa: hot stone massage, common modalities such as Swedish and deep tissue, sugar scrub massage, massage add-ons (e.g. aromatherapy)
- The French Door (Decatur): relaxation massage, Swedish, deep tissue, foot treatment massage, sinus relief massage
- Massage and Foot Care: Swedish hot stone, deep tissue hot stone, reflexology, chair massage
Career Outlook and Massage Therapist Salary in Huntsville
One thing Huntsville has going for it: its population! Huntsville is the third largest city in Alabama and, when considered with its surrounding areas, the second largest metropolitan area. What’s more, the city is growing; some say it’s on the path to become the state’s largest city, surpassing even Birmingham.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Huntsville has a greater concentration of massage therapists than other Alabama cites, but lower averages wages. The mid-range (based on 2017 figures) is $9.96 to $15.26. This may not be a true picture because of exclusion of self-employment data. Here, as elsewhere, there is a wide range of possibilities. Massage therapists around the nation build their practices in part by developing their niche. They go far beyond providing a competent basic massage: They identify their population and develop their skills to a high level. In some cases, it’s also necessary to become a savvy marketer.
Some Huntsville-area sole proprietors have a very established online presence; some, in fact, have many Google rating with ratings at or approaching five stars. Massage therapists may include testimonials on their websites. They may provide brief information on massage benefits, or on the benefits of a particular type of massage. Gift certificates are among their tools for promoting heir practice.
One will find massage therapists in the Huntsville area advertising sessions at about the going rate nationwide. How much the massage therapist will actually take home will of course depend on many factors.
The Alabama Chapter of the Massage Therapy Association is a professional resource. Professional membership at the state and local level can help a therapist stay on top of new developments. A visit to the website will turn up links to current issues including those related to national policy/ coverage of massage as healthcare.