Massage Therapy School in Rochester, NY

The therapeutic value of massage is no secret, even among those outside traditional healthcare. Massage has a presence in the corporate world. It’s got a presence in the fitness world. The University of Rochester even offers free employee chair massage days by department through its Well-U wellness program.

Rochester can be a good place to begin a career for several reasons. A professional who starts his or her career in New York should be well prepared. New York massage therapy programs are among the longest in the nation: 1,000 hours. Here, as in other cities, massage therapists continue to advance their training. Some pursue multiple specialized certifications.

The economic picture will also look good to many. At issue: how far an LMT’s dollar will go in securing space to live and space to practice.

Massage Work Settings

Work options are diverse. Among the organizations advertising in Greece, New York in 2019 was a clinic that provides thermal imaging (as an alternative to the mammogram); they sought a massage therapist who was credentialed to do lymphatic massage. A search of job ads in the greater Rochester area also turned up multiple franchises and spas (some hotel-based) seeking talent. There are many other possibilities, including setting up shop with other like-minded professionals.

The following are among the possible work settings noted by local schools: fitness centers, wellness centers, chiropractic offices, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Massage in Healthcare

Increasingly, massage is being integrated with traditional healthcare. Massage therapy is among the integrative oncology services available through the Pluta Cancer Center. The University of Rochester Medical Center provides massage through its palliative care program ( Their massage therapist has several certifications, including Reiki, geriatric massage, and decongestive therapy for lymphedema.

Chiropractic offices are among the most common healthcare settings. Mt. Hope Chiropractic and Wellness and Irondequoit Chiropractic Center are among the Rochester area offices that utilize LMTs.

Top Massage Therapy Schools in Rochester

The Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage (Rochester) is ACCSC-accredited. Students complete the program in six to fifteen months depending on scheduling option. The continuing education lineup for 2019-2020 includes nerve compression patterns, the Rosen Method, and advanced cupping, among others.

Finger Lakes Community College (Canandaigua) offers students the opportunity to earn an academic degree: an Associate of Applied Science in therapeutic massage/ integrative heath.

The New York Institute of Massage, located further down the road in Williamsburg, is also ACCSC-accredited. The basic program is 1,124 hours.

Rochester Massage Practices

The following are among the area’s successful massage studios and spas: has Maxim Spa and Salon listed at #15 on its list of Best Therapeutic Massages in Upstate New York ( Maxim Spa and Salon offers full body, couples, and focus massages. Focus massages are designed for specific muscle groups or areas of the body.

Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks Day Spa comes in at #12 on the list. The spa offers some specialty massages, including one billed as Thai Herbal Poultice Indigo Healing & Detoxifying. One will find multiple LMT photos and blurbs on the bio page; one rectangle has a logo and the notation “This could be you” ( The organization notes it’s always on the watch for “top notch talent”. LMTs currently onboard are listed as having various areas of expertise, including oncology massage. Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks Day Spa recognizes that spas aren’t just for women. Deep tissue/ trigger point and hot stone advertised on the “for men” page.

Another business on the list has a decidedly male focus: It’s The Men’s Room Barber Lounge and Spa, which touts individualized services for athletes, as well as others in search of therapeutic services. There are multiple offerings here, including hot stone massage and Thai Table Massage. Essential oils are a part of the treatment.

Healing Haven Massage and Healing offers some less common massage styles, notably Thai-Shiatsu Fusion and Tien Di Bamboo Massage with Cupping. The business has two types of outcall/ event massage: a general service and one that capitalizes on years of experience providing services for high-profile celebrities.

Bodywork Kneaded, an LMT-owned Honeoye Falls enterprise, offers, among other services, a migraine relief massage and an integrative massage; the latter may blend modalities such as myofascial release and Active Release Technique. Clients can look to Bodywork Kneaded for corporate chair massage as well as studio massage. A note on the website in late 2019 says they’re hiring: hourly wages plus commission.

Self-Employment Opportunities

Self-employment is a very viable option. Larkin Touch Therapeutics is among the many successful solo practices; the proprietor counts geriatric massage among the areas of focus. Free Spirit Massage is another well-reviewed small enterprise. Some practices are larger. Empire Therapeutic Massage is LMT-owned. There are currently half a dozen other LMTs on the team.

Massage Therapist Salary in Rochester and Economic Considerations

Rochester massage therapists earned an average $22.88 an hour in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS data, though, suggests that this is a land of extremes, with a larger percentage than the norm making low wages, but some commanding high rates. Between the 50th and 75th percentiles, there is quite a large jump. When one considers self-employment, the range of earnings can be very wide. Either way, it pays to be above average here!

The cost of living here is somewhat below the norm, with housing costs well below ( In short, this isn’t NYC.

The cost of housing and the cost of retail space among the factors that Sparefoot took into consideration when placing Rochester on the list of top cites to start a massage therapy business (

Additional Information

New York Massage Therapy License Requirements

Massage Schools in New York