Massage Therapy School in Little Rock, Arkansas and Surrounding Areas
THV11 recently gave readers in Little Rock the heads up: Massage can alleviate pain and, as such, it can be an alternative to medication (https://www.thv11.com/). Little Rock may not be a traditional massage town, but here as elsewhere, it’s beginning to be recognized as a health profession.
A Little Rock massage practice can look like a healthcare establishment. It can also look like a mini-vacation or a trip to a beauty salon. Little Rock massage therapists work in a variety of locations, including massage practices, spas, and franchises. Massage is often combined with aromatherapy and heat and water treatments. In some settings, massage therapists work alongside beauty professionals. An Arkansas Times write-up of Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa captures both the mental and physical relaxation aspects of a massage visit (https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/hot-rocks/Content?oid=3988234). The practice featured in the THV11 article, Arkansas Healing Arts Massage and Wellness, is a modern health center with a clean, bright feel. While it’s clear about its position in the healthcare world, it’s also a place for pampering: for example, a luxurious 90-minute healing stone massage combined with other spa treatment.
Little Rock Massage Schools
The Arkansas Board lists one massage therapy school within the city of Little Rock with additional options in the suburbs (https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/massage-schools-examinations).
Little Rock’s Body Wellness Massage Academy, a well-established institution, boasts 500- and 650-hour options. Students get a foundation in Swedish massage and Eastern modalities and have the opportunity to earn certifications in aromatherapy, Reiki, and spa services.
Touching America Hot Springs School of Massage in nearby Maumelle also has a long history – going back to 1957. The curriculum here is the 500-hour one mandated for Arkansas practitioners.
The Arkansas Academy of Massage in Cabot provides yet another Board-approved educational option in the greater Little Rock area.
Little Rock Massage Therapy Practices
Little Rock has massage franchises. It also has a number of locally owned establishments. Massage practices tend to be small but plentiful, reflecting the tendency for entrepreneurship. There are often just a few LMTs onboard. Little Rock boasts some successful entrepreneurs and sole practitioners. Sometimes a massage practice starts out as a sole proprietorship, but sometimes business can grow beyond what one person can handle.
Little Rock massage practices sell gift certificates to promote massage throughout the community.
While some modalities are ubiquitous, practices may also have specialties or signature treatments. The following is a look at half a dozen of Little Rock’s highly rated massage practices and some of the modalities they tout:
- Arkansas Healing Arts Massage and Wellness: Swedish massage, prenatal massage, lymphatic drainage, chair massage, reflexology, “raindrop therapy”
- Novah Natural Therapy: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, signature “raindrop oil massage”
- Garden Home Spa and Massage: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, sports massage, couples massage, Shiatsu, reflexology
- Little Rock Thai Massage: Swedish, Thai traditional, combination Swedish and Thai
- Ava Bella Day Spa: hot stone massage, bamboo massage, Asian fusion, peppermint scalp massage, prenatal massage, oncology massage
- One Thai Spa: Thai hot oil massage, Thai hip massage, traditional Thai massage, Thai herbal hot compress massage, jet lag massage, geriatric massage, Tok Sen, oncology massage, post-stroke rehabilitative massage
*One Thai Massage notes that physician clearance may be required in some instances.
Clinical and Treatment-Focused Massage Practice
Massage therapists who have training beyond the basic sometimes receive medical referrals. Some local practitioners have training in oncology massage. They may receive referrals from organizations such as CARTI (https://www.carti.com/patient-resources/massage-therapy/). While massage is not a primary treatment for cancer, there is a growing body of research about its efficacy in lessening side effects of diagnosis and treatment. Geriatric massage is another area of current interest and one where specialized training is needed.
The Arkansas Board requires completion of a 500-hour program to become a massage therapist. Massage therapists can pursue the additional training they need for specialized practice at the post licensure level. Courses are offered as brief seminars or workshops.
Clinical massage is not as well established in Arkansas as in some parts of the nation and may not be as much in the public eye. Little Rock LMTs who choose to pursue this path may want continuing education in research and marketing as well as in the modalities themselves.
The Arkansas Board has approved hundreds of offerings for continuing education credit (https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/massage-therapy).
Geographic and Economic Considerations
The average massage therapist wage is higher in Arkansas than in most nearby states. The range within the state is very wide, with those at the 90th percentile making four times that of those at the 10th percentile.
Arkansas has been projected to see 29% growth in massage therapy employment over the course of the 2016 to 2026 decade. As the state’s largest city, Little Rock has the population base to support growth of massage therapy businesses serving a variety of populations. One thing it has to offer massage therapists at the start of their careers: a rent index that’s below that of most major U.S. cities (https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/region_rankings.jsp?title=2018®ion=021).
A prospective entrepreneur doesn’t have to drive too far from Little Rock to take in the scene at a massage hot spot: Hot Springs.
The Arkansas Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association is a professional resource (https://www.amtamassage.org/chapters/82422).