How to Become a Holistic Spa Therapist

Overview

According to the American Holistic Health Association, the main goal of a holistic spa therapist is to help clients achieve “whole person” (mind, body and spirit) health and well-being. In other words, these professionals concentrate on helping clients relax, and function at an optimal level. To clarify, a holistic spa therapist does not “treat” illnesses or conditions; rather he/she uses holistic products, therapies, and approaches (i.e. natural facial treatments, skin products, aromatherapy massages, etc.) to eliminate stress, relax the body, improve focus, and improve overall health and well-being.

The steps to become a holistic spa therapist may differ, depending on your services, training, and location. A degree is not required to enter this field, however many employers prefer someone with training and/or certification in a holistic health field. Some colleges and universities, and vocational schools offer training programs in holistic therapy. If you learn towards a more natural approaches to helping people improve their emotional and physical health and well-being, then this may be the career that is best for you!

Related: Becoming a Holistic Nutritionist

Work Environment

Holistic spa therapists typically work in the following environments:

  • Health clubs
  • Fitness/recreation centers
  • Spas
  • Gyms
  • Private practices
  • Holistic clinics
  • Hospitals

What are the Requirements to Become a Holistic Spa Therapist?

Education

As mentioned previously, a degree in holistic spa therapy is not required to become a holistic spa therapist; however most companies prefer employees with training and a certification in a holistic health field (i.e. nutrition, aromatherapy, crystal therapy, or massage therapy). It is not uncommon to become certified in multiple holistic health areas because most positions require you to know different holistic therapy approaches. In other words, some private practices may focus on one specialty area (i.e. acupuncture or massage therapy), while businesses (i.e. gyms, holistic clinics, or fitness centers) may expect you to perform many therapy techniques. During your training program, you may be required to enroll in the following courses: Chakra reading, aromatherapy, kinesiology, foot reflexology, anatomy, therapeutic modalities, business management, ethics, balancing techniques, and body polarity.

Certification

In order to provide services to clients, you may want to consider obtaining a certification in a holistic therapy field (i.e. massage therapy, acupuncture, etc.). Research your state’s certification requirements to see if a certification is required to provide services to clients. Most employers prefer holistic spa therapists with experience, training, and certification. However, some employers allow these spa therapists to work at their facilities, without a certification. In order to become certified as a holistic spa therapist, you will need to pass your state’s certification exam(s).

Necessary Personal Skills

  • Communication Skills: Holistic spa therapists must be able to work with a variety of people (i.e. various races, cultures, families, health conditions, religions, lifestyles, genders, ages, etc.). You will need good communication skills in order to develop and nurture positive relationships with clients.
  • Listening Skills: To be a successful, you will need to have good listening skills. Clients need to feel comfortable with you, so you will need to actively listen to what they are saying, in order to help them relax.
  • Decision-Making Skills: As a holistic spa therapist, you will need to good decision-making skills. In other words, you will need to accurately assess each client’s needs, and recommend the “best” treatments for him or her.
  • Empathy: Empathy is an important skill to have as a holistic spa therapist because it is important for building trust between you and your clients. Your primary duty will be to make your clients feel comfortable.
  • Physical Fitness: Most importantly, you will need to be physically fit because your job tasks will require exerting pressure, and manipulating a client’s muscles (through a variety of arm and hand movements).

What are the Job Duties of a Holistic Spa Therapist?

Holistic spa therapists typically perform the following job functions:

  • Demonstrating how to perform various exercises, stretches, and routines.
  • Monitoring the progress of clients, and/or adapting programs, as needed.
  • Providing employees with information and/or resources about lifestyle changes, nutrition, and weight control.
  • Providing first aid during emergency situations.
  • Evaluating clients to locate painful, and/or tense areas.
  • Manipulating muscles and/or soft tissues of the body.
  • Teaching clients how to stretch, strengthen their muscles, achieve overall relaxation, and improve their postures.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012 data), as a massage therapist (i.e. holistic spa therapist), you can expect to make approximately $36,000, per year, on average, depending on your location, education, and experience. If you fall in the lower 10%, you can expect to make approximately $19,000, but if you fall in the upper 10%, you can expect to make approximately $71,000 or more, per year, on average (bls.gov). Skin specialists (similar to holistic spa therapists) typically earn approximately $45,000 per year; on average, depending on experience, training and location. Holistic spa therapy positions are expected to increase by 23% by the year 2022. This increase will stem from a rising interest in holistic, natural, and alternative treatments for illnesses, and health conditions.

Related: Becoming a Holistic Physician

As more and more people turn away from traditional medical facilities (i.e. hospitals, clinics, and private practices) and more towards self-help and natural treatments, the need for holistic spa therapists will increase. Moreover, as people age (i.e. “Baby Boomers”); there will be more of a need for holistic spa therapists to reduce injury and age-related illness risks. Holistic therapies like massages and deep breathing techniques may help bring pain-relief to older clients, who are suffering from stress and chronic illnesses.

Lastly, as athletes start using holistic treatments for strength, endurance and tolerance, the need for more holistic spa therapists may increase. At the end of the day, holistic spa therapy jobs will depend on the economy. At the current time, these services are considered non-essential or luxury services.

Related Reading

Further Reading

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