The word resort has expanded to mean much more than your typical ski weekend or all-inclusive beach getaway. The tourism industry is increasingly niche-oriented, serving diverse demographics with wide-ranging preferences and approaches to travel - each looking for a distinct version of fun, a unique take on time off.
Massage therapy college grads considering a career at a resort should research their options with care before submitting an application. Each destination is a micro-community, with particular services designed for a specific clientele – a culture you will become a part of when you join the massage clinic team.
The diversity out there in terms of resorts is truly mind-boggling. Beach, golf, eco-friendly, action-adventure, medical, spiritual, yoga-meditation… and each have their own therapeutic approaches and preferences, customized to suit their client base.
Medical resorts are quite different from the typical relaxation-oriented spa one would encounter at a yoga retreat or beach destination. Vacationers are also patients. They’ve undergone a surgery or cosmetic procedure and require a specific kind of care. Medi-spas look for a registered massage therapist with knowledge of clinical techniques, such as neuromuscular or craniosacral therapy, and myofascial release.
Relaxation getaways will emphasize just that – relaxation. Whether they’re working at a beach resort or meditation retreat, therapists can expect requests for a lighter touch. Swedish and aromatherapy massage are favourites where the focus is on rest, restoration and wellness.
Adventure destinations attract sporty, thrill-seeking vacationers. After a day of intense activity, these clients will lean toward specialized deep tissue techniques to recover from sore joints, pulled muscles or even injuries.
Working at a resort, you will enjoy an incredibly diverse client base – travellers from around the world will benefit from your massage therapy training. But it’s important to note that developing long-standing relationships with returning patients is simply not part of the equation. Entirely different from private practice, the resort massage therapist sees clients only once or twice – it’s about fulfilling the needs of the moment, rather than developing a long-term wellness strategy.
No matter which type you choose, resort spa and clinic environments are not for slow movers. During a typical day, a massage therapist may do 8 to 10 one-hour body work sessions. There are of course breaks and time set aside for meals, but when they’re on the clock, therapists will take back-to-back clients. For team players who enjoy a full day – and some of the world’s most beautiful surroundings - the busy resort spa is an ideal work environment.
What would pull you toward a career as a resort massage therapist?