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How Do I Become a Swedish Massage Therapist?

Pursuing a career as a Swedish Massage Therapist involves obtaining a high school diploma, completing a massage therapy program, and acquiring licensure. This journey includes mastering anatomy, physiology, and massage techniques, and often requires continuing education to stay current in the field.
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

If you want to become a Swedish massage therapist in a jurisdiction that regulates massage therapy, you will typically need to complete an educational program and pass a licensing examination prior to being able to offer professional services to the public. You may have more flexibility in your training options, however, if your jurisdiction does not regulate massage therapy or require licensure. To add credibility to your practice, you may also wish to obtain certification through a professional organization that represents the interests of massage professionals.

Swedish massage is technique that combines a variety of strokes, taps, and other techniques to provide a full body massage. In some places, Swedish massage techniques are very commonly practiced, and the general public may typically regard these techniques as standard massage services. Many massage therapists, particularly those in the United States and Europe, may exclusively practice this type of massage.

A man receiving a Swedish massage.
A man receiving a Swedish massage.

Before you become a Swedish massage therapist, check the licensing laws in your jurisdiction, as these laws can vary considerably. For example, in the United States, not all states require massage therapists to become licensed or certified to practice. As of 2011, the United Kingdom does not offer any type of government licensing for massage therapists, and in Canada the requirements vary by province.

Four hand massage may be taught in a Swedish massage course.
Four hand massage may be taught in a Swedish massage course.

To become a Swedish massage therapist in many areas of the United States, you will need to complete either a training program in massage therapy, cosmetology, or aesthetics through a state-approved school. During your training course, will typically be required take classroom courses and work in a student clinic that is open to the public. After finishing school, you will typically need to pass a licensing examination. The content of the examination will vary. Although cosmetologists and aestheticians are frequently allowed by law to practice Swedish massage, the emphasis of their training is usually on either haircare or skin care, and massage therapy may be a relatively small aspect of their training. Massage therapy licensing exams, on the other hand, will focus entirely on massage and bodywork.

Unless you want to be able to practice beauty services as well as massage therapy, it may be in your best interest to attend a massage therapy school to become a Swedish massage therapist, as you may receive more training that is germane to your career goals. In many cases, professional massage therapy schools will train you in several different techniques, which can allow you to offer services tailored to the needs and preferences of your clients. If you want additional training in Swedish massage techniques, you can typically obtain it through continuing education courses.

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    • A man receiving a Swedish massage.
      By: dgmata
      A man receiving a Swedish massage.
    • Four hand massage may be taught in a Swedish massage course.
      By: Daniel T. Seher
      Four hand massage may be taught in a Swedish massage course.