Massage Therapy School in San Francisco

The San Francisco-Oakland area has the second strongest wellness market in the United States, according to Mind-Body, Inc; this is based on an index of supply and demand factors ( Therapeutic massage is a part of the wellness market. One will find massage therapists striking out on their own, joining together with other massage therapists, and supporting professionals in other disciplines. Chiropractic and acupuncturist offices, wellness centers, fitness and sports centers, and spas are among the work settings.

Some massage practices have specialties. There is a lot of Thai massage in the area; Thai is a bodywork style that may call to mind Yoga. One practice states that while their Certified Massage Therapists are all U.S-trained, most have also had training in Thailand.

Sports massage is another common practice area. Clients visit for pre- and post-event services and for therapeutic work that targets specific body parts. Massage therapists who provide sports servicers often also work with people who have pain that stems from other causes.

Massage practices may provide chair massage at events and corporate workplaces and/ or do outcalls to private homes.

One small San Francisco massage practice has a focus on the family unit. At the helm is a certified massage therapist who provides pediatric massage services and infant massage training. She also offers massage for adults.

Top Massage Schools in San Francisco, Oakland and Bay Area

The National Holistic Institute in Emeryville provides students with the opportunity to go far beyond California certification requirements. Students can selectan 800-hour basic program or a 1250-hour hour program that includes advanced studies in neuromuscular therapy. Those who already have the basics can enroll in the neuromuscular program.

The McKinnon Body Therapy Center has a more than 45-year history. Here, too, there are multiple options. Students can select a 500-hour basic program or a 658-hour program; the latter offers more preparation for a healthcare career. Even the 500-hour program includes lots of electives. All students take anatomy and physiology and Swedish massage. They may opt for deep tissue massage or acupressure and Shiatsu. They have a choice of business courses — and quite a few additional options. Students who opt for the longer program select a 125-hour course in one of the following: clinical deep tissue work, advanced Shiatsu, craniosacral therapy, or specialized 5-Element Shiatsu. They also have a 125-hour course in the intersection of touch, health, and common health conditions. There’s still room for electives!

The School for Self-Healing has one certification-qualifying route, though, as the name implies, it also caters to individuals who seek guidance for their own wellness paths. Bodywork and movement is a focus throughout. Level 1 combines anatomy and physiology with foundational work in the school’s own proprietary vision of healing. In order to qualify for certification, student need to make it through Level 3, which is, in fact, the longest at 500 hours. Students who opt for massage therapist preparation get their hand-on preparation at Level 3.

San Francisco Massage Therapy Practices

International Orange is a local chain. The website currently lists 26 massage therapists. International Orange counts among its specialties oncology massage.

Oxygen Massage Therapy is another small San Francisco chain, boasting three locations. It was among those hiring in mid-2019.

Buddha Bliss has a team of eight massage therapists. The business provides therapeutic massage as well as spa favorites like aromatherapy. Clients pay well. Like other practices, Buddha Bliss uses special pricing to get potential long-term clients to come in for that first massage.

Atlas Massage Center also has eight massage therapists on board. It made the 7 x 7 list of top four deep tissue massages in San Francisco (https://www.7×

SF Custom Chiropractic is one of the numerous well-rated chiropractic offices that provides massage services. It currently has three massage therapists on its team. It is among the businesses that provide chair massage services for corporate settings.

San Francisco Massage Therapists Give Back

Care for Touch provides massage to the homeless and vulnerably housed. It offers a free training program in seated massage and social responsibility for credentialed massage therapists who wish to provide volunteer services.

Massage Therapist Earnings

Earnings may be commissioned-based. A practice that’s able to charge its clients at a higher rate may be able to offer its therapists a higher rate as well. One practice advertising in mid-2019 noted that commissions typically started at $60, but sometimes there was a lower rate based on specials. It further noted that tips were on top of this — and they tended to be generous! This was not the highest advertised rate in the area. Quite a few business were advertising high earning potential.

As for the average wage in the San Francisco-Oakland area, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported it at $21.45 in 2018. The median was $20.62, with most making between $11.60 and $34.96.

Massage Therapy Self-Employment

For some, massage is a first career. Others, though, bring insights from prior careers. At least one popular local massage therapist entered the field after building a career in the fitness industry, progressing to regional fitness director.

San Francisco massage therapists will need different types of city licenses, depending on the services they provide, for example, outcall (

Continuing Education

There are many local options for in-depth and specialized training. The following are among them:

Tague Consulting offers training courses in oncology massage among other subjects. Massage therapists can take a three-day basic course and pursue three days of advanced training if they choose.

Students can register for individual 90-hour courses in neuromuscular therapy through the National Holistic Institute. Currently, the shoulder and thoracic module is held in Emeryville; other courses are available in relatively nearby cities like San Jose.

Additional Resources

California Massage Therapy Certification

Massage Schools in California