I guess you've never heard of the Lipstick Theory in economics. People who cut back on buying a new car or taking a vacation or spending money on a plasma TV sometimes comfort themselves with small luxuries--high-end makeup, hair styling, a name brand purse, a massage. This is a real thing.
We're obviously not talking about folks who are struggling to put food on the table. But there are plenty of others who have dialed their spending on big-ticket items down to small indulgences. The theory is that they feel entitled to some lesser rewards after having given up the expensive stuff.
My daughter has never hurt for clients, and in fact, could work every day of the week if she chose to. MTs work in medical or chiropractic offices and are seeing many patients there, as well.
The advantages--at the moment--of going for MT over nursing is that employment is easier to find, schooling is shorter and a little less grueling, and the cost is a lot less than many nursing students have to pay. Besides, she makes good money in tips that a nurse would never see.
Tips included, she's probably making $25/hr.
Once nursing picks back up, this will most likely change, but in the short term, massage therapy is a great option and may even help someone pay their way through nursing school should they decide to go that route later.