Over the past 20 years working as a massage therapist, there’s been times I’ve been very close to burn out. If you’ve been there yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The fatigue, the lack of motivation and loosing love for the career you worked so hard to establish.


Massage therapy is such a giving job, and it’s why it’s so important to carve time daily to looking after yourself.


Understanding Burnout in Massage Therapy

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and overwork. Massage therapists, with their hands-on and often intense work, are particularly susceptible to burnout. 


In this blog post I’m going to give you actionable tips on how to prevent burnout as a massage therapist. As they say, prevention is better than cure!

Establish Clear Boundaries

One of the primary contributors to burnout is a lack of clear boundaries. As a massage therapist, it’s essential to set realistic limits on the number of clients you see each day and the total hours you dedicate to your practice.  

Diversify Your Massage Techniques

Performing the same massage techniques repeatedly can lead to physical strain and monotony. To prevent burnout, consider diversifying your skill set. Attend courses to learn new massage modalities. Not only does this keep your work interesting, but it also enhances your ability to cater to a broader range of client needs.


Prioritise Self-Care Practices

Massage therapists are often so focused on caring for others that they neglect self-care. Prioritise your well-being by incorporating self-care practices into your routine.

This could include –

  • regular exercise (I find Pilates, Barre and Yoga the most beneficial to strengthening your core)
  • meditation (I particuarly like Headpsace)
  • healthy eating
  • sufficient sleep

By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to provide quality care to your clients.


Create a Relaxing Work Environment

The atmosphere in which you work significantly influences your mental state. Ensure that your massage therapy space is calming and conducive to relaxation. Consider incorporating soothing colors, soft lighting, and calming music. A serene environment not only benefits your clients but also contributes to your own well-being.

Practice Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Techniques

Integrate mindfulness and stress reduction techniques into your daily life. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help alleviate stress and prevent its accumulation. Regularly practicing these techniques can contribute to your resilience in the face of occupational stressors.

Schedule Regular Breaks Between Sessions

Avoid the temptation to schedule back-to-back sessions without breaks. Allocate time between clients to rest, hydrate, and recharge. This pause allows you to physically recover and mentally prepare for the next session, reducing the risk of burnout over time.

Seek Peer Support and Networking Opportunities

Connecting with fellow massage therapists provides a sense of community and shared experience. Join professional networks, attend workshops, and engage in peer support. Sharing challenges and successes with colleagues can offer valuable insights and emotional support, helping to mitigate feelings of isolation and burnout.

Regular Continuing Education

Continuing education not only enhances your professional skills but also reignites your passion for massage therapy. Stay informed about the latest industry trends and advancements by attending courses. Learning new techniques and approaches can invigorate your practice and prevent burnout.

Evaluate and Adjust Your Schedule

Regularly assess your workload and make adjustments as needed. If you find yourself consistently overbooked or feeling overwhelmed, consider reducing your working hours or taking occasional breaks.

A balanced schedule is essential for sustained energy and enthusiasm in your massage therapy practice.

Know When to Seek Professional Help

If feelings of burnout persist despite implementing preventive measures, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional or counsellor can provide valuable insights and coping strategies to address burnout-related issues. There are brilliant online resources at Betterhelp.

Conclusion: Nurturing a Sustainable Massage Therapy Career

Preventing burnout as a massage therapist is a proactive and ongoing process. By establishing clear boundaries, diversifying your techniques, prioritising self-care, and seeking support, you can create a sustainable and fulfilling career in massage therapy.

Remember that taking care of yourself is not only beneficial for your well-being but also enhances the quality of care you provide to your clients.

Implement these strategies consistently to ensure a long and rewarding journey in the field of massage therapy.