Working in personal services: Employee case study

Cari Park describes her job as a massage therapist.

What is your role?

I treat musculo-skeletal conditions such as sciatica, trapped nerves, frozen shoulder and sprained ankles, using massage and other soft tissue manipulations. I aim to relieve the problem and prevent it from occurring again.

As well as the massage treatments, I advise clients about exercises that they can complete in between sessions to complement the work I have already started.

I offer a mobile service, carrying out treatments in the clients’ own homes. Appointments are often in the evenings and at weekends. I put up my massage couch, so it’s important that I have enough space around it to treat the client.

The client sits or lies on the couch. I use scented oil in my treatments and always carry alcoholic hand wash to use before and after treatments. I keep a record for each client, which includes their medical history as well as details of treatments.

The techniques I use include spinal manipulation and trigger point therapy.

What do you like about your job?

I have always enjoyed meeting people and helping them and this job allows me to do both.

No two days are the same, as each client is different. I can control when and where I work, which gives me more freedom than other jobs.

I also like the fact that I see and help a client throughout their whole treatment and recovery.

What’s not so great about it?

Travelling between house calls can be time-consuming so I have to plan my appointment times carefully.

It can be a challenge to work out the cause of a client’s musculo-skeletal problems and decide which would be the best technique to treat them.

How did you get to where you are?

I started my remedial massage training while I was doing my A levels. I’d participated in an endurance event and I needed some treatment myself. I was so taken with the way massage and manipulation helped my pain that I decided to start training as a therapist.

Over three years, I took diplomas in remedial massage and advanced remedial massage. I also have a diploma in sports and remedial massage therapy.

I’m registered with the National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists. Each year, I do courses and training to keep up to date with the latest information. For example, recently I’ve done training in trigger point therapy and how to analyse a client’s gait.

What do you want to do next?

Eventually I’d like to run my own clinic, so that I have a permanent place to work. At the moment, though, I’m enjoying the challenge of mobile working.

What advice would you give young people thinking of doing your job in the future?

It takes time to establish a business. You have to go out and give talks as well as advertising. It also helps to make links with a clinic to help build your client base.

Working as a massage therapist