Hey there future massage extraordinaire! I’m pumped you want to start an amazing career in massage therapy. As a professional healer myself, I know first-hand how rewarding it is to help others feel their best through the power of touch.
The Importance of Choosing the Right School
Now, let’s dive into the all-important step of choosing the perfect massage school to gain the skills you need to thrive. There are several excellent options across New Zealand so it’s crucial to do your research to find the one that’s the best fit.
New Zealand College of Massage
First up, let’s talk about the New Zealand College of Massage or NZCM for short. With three campuses in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, they are one of the largest and most well-established massage schools in the country.
Their comprehensive program covers all the major massage therapy styles – Swedish, sports, deep tissue, trigger point, and more. You’ll get in-depth anatomy and physiology training along with hands-on experience in their student massage clinics.
The instructors at NZCM are second to none. They are experienced therapists with years of real-world practice under their belts. You’ll learn both the science and art of massage under their excellent guidance.
One thing that sets NZCM apart is their wide array of elective courses. You can take classes in aromatherapy, hot stone massage, Indian head massage, seated acupressure, pregnancy massage, and so much more. This allows you to start tailoring your skills to your unique interests.
New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
The next excellent option is the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine or NZSATCM. Located in Auckland, their specialized focus is on Eastern-style modalities including acupuncture, Chinese massage known as Tui Na, and Japanese massage called Shiatsu.
This school is ideal if you want to become a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. You’ll gain a strong foundation in Chinese medical theory along with hands-on training in meridian therapy, cupping, moxibustion, and Tuina manipulations.
The instructors are all experienced acupuncturists who provide outstanding mentoring.
You’ll also have opportunities to treat patients in their teaching clinic under supervision. In as little as 3 years, you can gain a diploma as a qualified acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner. This school is one of the only places in NZ to get comprehensive training in these Eastern healing arts.
Wellpark College of Natural Therapies
For those inclined toward a spa and natural health setting, consider the Wellpark College of Natural Therapies in Auckland. They take a holistic approach to health, offering diplomas in a range of modalities like naturopathy, herbal medicine, nutrition, and massage therapy.
Their massage program covers both Western techniques like Swedish massage along with Eastern styles including shiatsu and Thai massage. You’ll develop a broad foundation along with specialized skills in clinical massage, seated acupressure, reflexology, and Indian head massage.
The curriculum provides an excellent science background too, with courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and biomechanics. With small class sizes and knowledgeable instructors, you’ll get personalized attention during your studies. Their clinic also provides a great experience.
Graduates report feeling well-prepared for private practice.
New Zealand Institute of Massage
Moving down to the south island in Christchurch, we have the New Zealand Institute of Massage or NZIM. They offer certificate and diploma programs in relaxation, therapeutic, and sports massage therapy.
One of their strengths is the comprehensive anatomy training, using 3D anatomical models, to give a detailed perspective on muscles, fascia, and body systems. This helps students gain a deeper understanding of working with the body.
NZIM has a student massage clinic right on campus allowing for lots of hands-on practice. You’ll also gain experience through community sporting events and public massage days.
Instructors are working therapists who impart real client skills.
Shiatsu School in Tauranga
Now let’s hop over to the sunny Bay of Plenty and talk about the Shiatsu School in Tauranga. As the name indicates, they specialize entirely in Shiatsu massage therapy. This Japanese style involves applying pressure along meridian lines to balance chi using fingers, thumbs, palms, knees and elbows.
Comprehensive Shiatsu Training
The comprehensive program covers both the theory and hands-on techniques of Shiatsu over 3 years of study. You’ll gain a strong foundation in traditional Chinese medicine theory as it relates to Shiatsu. Courses also include Tai Chi, diet therapies, and clinical practice.
Having a diploma from this highly-regarded school allows you to register with professional associations in New Zealand and abroad. The instructors have all trained and practiced Shiatsu in Japan so you learn truly authentic techniques.
How to Choose the Right School
Okay, so now that you know about some of the best massage schools options across New Zealand, let’s chat about how to choose the right one for you.
Consider Your Specialization Interests
First, think about the style of massage you want to specialize in. Do you want to focus on Swedish, sports massage, or Eastern modalities like Shiatsu? Make sure the school offers solid training in your areas of interest.
Research the Instructors
Look at the qualifications of the instructors – you want to learn from experienced therapists still active in the field. Check out the clinic opportunities too – more hands-on practice is better!
Align with Your Career Goals
Consider your future career goals. Do you want to work in a spa, have a private practice, or work with sports teams? Make sure the program sets you up for success in your chosen path.
Also, look into the credibility of the massage schools. Are they registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority? Do they provide student support services? What do graduates say about their experiences?
Visit and Get the Right Vibe
When touring massage schools, get a feel for the vibe. Do the classes and clinics seem well-organized? Does the staff seem helpful? Trust your intuition about which place seems right.
Compare Your Options
I recommend having a few options in mind, comparing the pros and cons, and going to visit them if possible. Once you find the perfect fit, it will just feel right!
What to Avoid
Avoid choosing somewhere just because it’s close or cheap. Make sure it provides the training, support, and experience you need. Also, don’t skip doing research – really dig into the websites, reviews, and graduate outcomes.
Connect with Working Professionals
Lastly, take advantage of any opportunities to connect with working massage therapists, especially graduates from massage schools you’re interested in. Their insights will be hugely helpful! Networking will also help you land clients once you graduate.
I’m excited for you as you take these first steps on a rewarding path as a massage therapist! Let me know if any other questions come up. I’m always happy to chat about the wonderful world of massage. Go get ’em!