When booking a holistic massage treatment, it may not occur to you the difference between whether it will be done by a massage therapist or by a beauty therapist. However, therapists massage skills vary widely depending on whether they specialise in beauty or specifically in massage. And, in fact, it is the latter of the two who you will benefit from the most. Therefore, we have put together a short explanation of how and why massage and beauty therapists differ, from the length of time they spend training, to exactly how they carry out a holistic massage treatment.
Beauty: In beauty a therapist participates in about 9 hours of practical study per week for 6 weeks (54 hours). Within their training process, they do not use any case studies and neither are any practice hours required (correct within the last 5 years).
Massage: Most good schools will ensure the trainee therapist will study for a minimum of 12 full days (approximately 90 hours) over a 5 to 6 month period. As well as this, they are required to perform a minimum of 50-100 hours of logged practice, which includes case studies. It is this practice that consolidates and reinforces the techniques learnt.*
Beauty: The therapist will gain a generic beauty qualification normally at level 3. Whilst this allows the student to learn everything they need in order to perform beauty treatments, they do not progress beyond a basic competence. In order to develop their skills, the therapist needs to specialise in massage and have further training from a recognised provider, the majority of which do not.
Massage: The therapist will gain a dedicated massage qualification, ranging from Levels 3 to 5.
Beauty: The client will receive a relaxing light body massage that follows a routine. This can help with both stress and drainage, but rarely gets to the specific area that is causing problems or really eases muscle tension.
Massage: Tailored to the individual, pressure can vary from light to medium. Often a greater variety of techniques are performed and the pressure is more even, as is the flow. This provides an even greater relaxing treatment, and is better for addressing knots, achy muscles and muscle tension and stiffness.
Further Training: In terms of a therapist training further, this differs depending on the chosen course or diploma, with many courses or workshops lasting only one to two days. These are designed to enable the therapist to learn new skills. Many however are based on massage skills and therefore build on current application of techniques. Therefore if the therapists underlying techniques are not at an appropriate level, these faults will be magnified in the advanced techniques and the clients treatment will not be as beneficial or have a deeper state of relaxation. Two examples of these styles are deep tissue massage and hot stone massage.
To Summarise: Essentially, a massage therapist is taught to use their body for movement, flow and moderation of pressure. They are also taught to use their hands less. Therefore, it is because of these skills that the client is more likely to have a more relaxing and effective treatment. Thus, if you would like a personalised tailored treatment, based on your needs and expectations, with the therapist providing the correct pressure at a steady controlled pace – see a specialised massage therapist. This is because the therapist will also identify the areas you need working on the most, even if you did not realise yourself. Unlike some other clinics and salons, the massage therapists that work from our centre are all massage specialists and have just under 60 years of massage experience between them (an average of 8.5 years each.)** Furthermore, they all have comprehensive liability insurance and are members of professional industry bodies, with recognised qualifications.
For more information on our expert massages and the range we provide, click here
* Update July 2014. Since writing this article I have come across some massage schools that only provide practical training in 2 to 4 days. In my opinion the graduates from these schools will not have developed their skills and I rate them as the same level as a beauty therapist in terms of massage.
**as at 12th May 2014.