City Lit Blog

Training as a massage therapist: a Q&A with Farrah Idris

Story added 28th Sep 2017

City Lit run regular massage therapy courses in London

Farrah Idris is a fully qualified, practising complementary therapist, working in the oldest established hospice in London. She specialises in clinical therapies with end of life patients, and is also a tutor in massage (ITEC) at City Lit and hypnotherapist in training.

We recently caught up with Farrah to discover more about how to train as a massage therapist, and what to consider if you're thinking of signing up for massage courses in London


Farrah Idris - massage tutor

What courses are you currently teaching at City Lit?

I am currently teaching the ITEC Massage – Fast Track course, along with one-day introductory courses in Aromatherapy and Reflexology

The massage course gives students a brilliant opportunity to explore the field of massage with both theoretical and practical learning. They will learn how to enhance their own wellbeing and share their fantastic skills with those around them.

What would appeal most to anyone thinking of training as a massage therapist?

This is a brilliant course to do for many reasons.

The students learn great skills and knowledge to build on in terms of their own wellbeing, and as the course leads to a professional qualification, it will enable them to become industry-qualified therapists.

This increases the opportunities for students hugely. They can enhance their employment chances, develop exciting careers by running their own business, and work dynamically across all areas of their lives and communities. The sense of achievement and living their best life possible is extremely motivating.

A key aspect of this course is students enhance their employability prospects. This is an industry recognised professional course and students learn key therapeutic and practical skills that providers are looking for. For example a number of students have progressed to securing places with Urban Massage, Neal's Yard and numerous charitable organisations as part of their career development.

What support structures are in place to ensure all students can flourish and are supported on the course?

The course is very well structured and follows a set syllabus. The sessions are very learner orientated – with group work, presentations and discussions to facilitate learning. Students are well supported throughout sessions with individual learner plans and appropriate resources to maximise learners. The department works closely with Student Support department and the dyslexia team to support individuals who may require some additional input.

What is your background? How did you develop your passion for massage therapy?

My first career was in law and advocacy. After taking redundancy in 2010 I followed my interest in massage and began training as a massage therapist. This sparked a lifelong passion for health and wellbeing. I continued with further training (at City Lit). The tutors were brilliant at encouraging and mentoring me. Subsequently, I have followed my passions and developed a dynamic career across the NHS, local communities and teaching.

Completing the Diploma in Complementary Therapies at City Lit was really the springboard for all these exciting opportunities and developing myself professionally and personally. By embracing the attitude of #givesomethingago I feel anything is possible and I hope that I convey that in my teaching with students.

What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to any student starting on your course?

Firstly, I would say well done on deciding to embark on the course. Learning something new can be daunting and nerve wracking. 

Secondly, come with a positive attitude and give it your all. That involves commitment and dedication for the 13 weeks but the sense of achievement once it is all done is superb!

What work are you currently involved in outside of City Lit?

I work part time in a hospice in East London where I treat patients and facilitate courses on wellbeing. I am also training to be a hypnotherapist, which is very exciting!

Are there any interesting anecdotes you can tell us from one of your massage classes?

The students in my previous classes have just been fantastic in so many ways. The creativity they bring when completing presentation always inspires me. We have seen puppet shows, singing, dramatic story telling and mime to name a few! So many of the former students are now practising therapists with their own successful businesses, which is always great to hear about.

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching massage at City Lit?

For me it's watching the students develop confidence – not only during the course and their skills, but how transformative it can be. That sense of achievement they feel makes me feel privileged to have been a part of it.

Farrah regularly works for the St Joseph's Hospice. Find out more about their work at

Massage courses in London with City Lit

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