One great option for licensed massage therapists is a career
working in a chiropractic physician's office or chiropractic
Barbara Berg, LMT, has been a massage therapist for 10 years.
She graduated from Dahan Institute of Massage Studies in Las Vegas,
Nevada, and found her first job at the Flamingo Hilton spa. When
she first moved to Chicago, she worked in a suburban health spa.
Soon afterwards, however, she found a job as a massage therapist at
the Holland Chiropractic Center in Westmont, Illinois, where she
has worked for 9 years.
"There are a
lot of advantages to working in a chiropractic office versus a
spa," says Barb. "First, scheduling is very different. In a spa,
you are doing half-hour or full hour massages all day long with
only a five-minute break in between. It's very hard on your wrists.
In a chiropractic office, it's very different. Usually you are
doing 10-15 minute massages with a variety of other tasks in
between, such as ultrasound or physical therapy modalities, or
setting up electric stimulation treatments. Your main task during
this short massage is to relax the patient before the doctor sees
them so that they get a better adjustment. You also take care of
them after their adjustment until they leave, serving as a
Barb not only works as a massage therapist at the Holland
Chiropractic Center, but she is in charge of hiring and supervising
other massage therapists and interns who work there. She explains
that the pay is different than in a spa. "In a spa, it's attractive
to think that you'll charge $80-$100 an hour and that you'll get to
keep half of that. However, business can be very sporadic in a spa,
and you'll have to get your own clients. Also, you never know what
your pay will be from week to week."
"In a chiropractic office, you'll earn a smaller hourly wage,
but that can include benefits, bonuses, retirement or
profit-sharing, and you'll know exactly what you're taking home
every week. You won't have to find your own clients, and you'll get
paid whether the patients show up or not. Another benefit is that
you can work regular business hours. In a spa, you'll have to work
evenings and every weekend. That type of schedule is hard on your
social life and doesn't work for some people, especially if they
Barb says that her clinic offers her other benefits, like
low-cost chiropractic care for her family. She can also use the
clinic facilities after hours to give full half-hour or hour
massages to clinic clients who request them, keeping 50% of what
she earns. "Having my weekends and evenings free also let's me do
private massages for friends and outside clients if I want to,"
If you're interested in a massage position at a chiropractic
clinic, be prepared to write "SOAP" (Subjective - Objective -
Assessment - Plan) notes in the doctor's medical charts for each
patient. You'll need solid training in medical terminology and the
ability to interact professionally in a medical environment.
Dr. Thomas Wheatley, chiropractic physician and National
University of Health Sciences grad, uses massage therapists in both
his Naperville and Aurora, Illinois, offices. "The massage
therapists that come from National are probably the best I've come
across. They know their anatomy. When I talk to students from other
schools, I always have to ask whether they've passed their
licensing exams. With students from National, it's almost a
The muscular tissue work that massage therapists do complements
what we as DCs do so well," says Dr. Wheatley. "They're an integral
part of our physical medicine team."