It has been stated by business experts many times before: One great way to ensure success, no matter what industry you work in, is by getting a niche. A niche could be described as a specialized and profitable corner of the market. For massage therapists and bodyworkers, this might translate to learning techniques that prove especially beneficial to a certain segment of the population, who could in turn become your loyal clients.

Of course, for most touch therapists, finding the right niche is a process. Typically, massage therapists graduate from school with a solid general foundation in hands-on healing—Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage and perhaps a sprinkling of other basic techniques.

From that point, these new practitioners go into the working world, either as independent massage therapists and bodyworkers, or as employees at clinics, centers, resorts or other such offices and companies. It is here, as a massage therapist or bodyworker in practice, that a large number of practitioners begin to suss out their niches.

However, a few seeds may already have been planted in massage school. Today’s massage schools tend to introduce their students to a wide variety of the many modalities being practiced in the realm of massage and bodywork. Although this introduction is typically brief, it allows students to get a taste of what is out there. In addition, some schools allow students to select one or more of these specialized modalities to study with a bit more intensity.

In these cases, the massage therapist or bodyworker may already have an idea of what type of specialty he or she may wish to practice in the world of massage and bodywork. For those people who did not have such seeds planted during massage school, working with all kinds of clients might begin to spark a more specialized interest.

It is during continuing education courses that practitioners of professional touch can truly begin to feel out their suitability for certain niche areas of this field. Signing up for a continuing education course in a massage or bodywork specialty is one of the best ways to find out if it is the technique for you.

At the same time, for those massage therapists and bodyworkers practicing in regions where the field is regulated, taking these classes can also mean racking up continuing education credits, which are often required in order to maintain one’s license to practice.

The list of niches in the realm of massage and bodywork seems to expand almost daily. A few to consider might be infant massage, pregnancy massage, sports massage, massage for specific injuries, hospital massage, massage for cancer patients, geriatric massage, hot-stone massage, Ashiatsu, Thai yoga massage and structural integration.

This is a short list, and there are many more modalities that could be considered niches. The key is to try out a few different techniques through continuing education classes. Once you find one that seems to fit, you can continue to advance in this niche by taking more and more of these continuing education classes.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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