Your Massage Toolbox

Jesse Byrd, NMT instuctor

Jesse Byrd, NMT instructor

A common question we hear from massage therapists is what Continuing Education classes they should take.  This is a great question. Most states require 16-32 hours every 2 years to maintain a state massage license.  New Mexico requires 16 hours and an extra 8 hours for Instructors.

Consider your “Massage Toolbox”, loaded with the best “tools” to serve your clients.  Is it well rounded?  Does it help most clients?  Is anything missing?

The basics are usually covered in Massage School.  We call that the “Square Massage”, where you learn the VERY basics of giving a massage.

Next, add to those “basics”, taking more Sports Massage or more Myo-fascial work.  Each of these modalities can help.

Every Massage Toolbox should have basic “Body Mechanics” and self care and good business practices.  Taking care of your body is AS important as learning fascinating skills.  If your body gives out…it won’t matter what you’ve learned.

After the basic classes are in your Massage Toolbox, then start looking for modalities that interest you.

Each therapist has specific talents and passions which they are drawn to.  Listen to your gut.

Medium deep trap work

Medium deep trap work

Massage CEUs are expensive, some more than others, and since each of us will only take 2-3 weekend classes each year, choosing your classes carefully is important.

Massage has so many options for Continuing Education!

  • Sports Massage
  • Neuromuscular Therapy
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Oncology Massage
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Spa treatments
  • & many others

You can choose classes to help keep your hands and body from wearing out, or how to run your business.  Ethics is required by all and is often quite boring.

We can also use communication classes, personal training, nursing classes, aromatherapy, stretching, on and on.   Instead of learning ALL styles of bodywork, be specific.

If Sports or Trigger point is more your style, then ANY type of anatomy classes are a great help.  Or, if helping in a senior center or hospital is more your road, then you can find classes to help cancer patients, aging clients, or even hospice clients.

If moms are who you want to help, you could concentrate on pregnancy massage, infant massage, massage for migraines or massage for menopause.

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Whitney Lowe teaching Orthopedic Massage

If you have strong hands, then Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage or the like are good options.  Like Orthopedic Massage with Whitney Lowe was great.  He was easy to learn from and he very precise, which makes him good for “anal” students as well as those who don’t pay attention to details.  Or James Waslaski’s Ortho Massage is great, too.  James’ classes are more rugged or physical.  He really gets into each move and likes to manipulate the body more than other teachers.  Each modality I have found very helpful and effective back in the office.

 

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

 

If you don’t have strong hands or would like some smarter ways to work deeper, try Robert Stevens’ Core Synchronism  classes, which are incredible.  Even though “Core” is a subtle therapy, I use it in all of my “Deep Tissue” massages.  It is by far one of my favs.

Ultimately, you’ll need to choose your own path of learning, allowing yourself to be drawn to modalities that interest you.  Go with your gut.  The amount of CEU options is crazy and overwhelming.

Each therapist has great strengths and incredible talent in certain areas.  Explore different modalities to see which type of bodywork you excel in and like.  Which modality grabs your interest? Many will.  But, the better question is which modality KEEPS your interest.  Which do you always come back to? What is your “Go-to” when sessions get tough? When a friend or family member needs help with shoulder pain, what do you think of first?  In order to find your “Go-to” modality, you need to learn several modalities…different modalities.  I admit, some of the classes I took seemed to be a waste of time and money because I never used the specific style being taught…but I still learned from each instructor, and what was MOST important is to have clarity about what I DID NOT want to do.

Personally, I don’t think each of us is great at all modalities, and each of us has a specific way of helping people feel better.  Not each modality needs to be in your tool box….and not every person is going to “click” with you or you with them.

But, when you do “click” with a client, and you feel honored and genuinely respectful of their trust & concerned with the outcome of your time together, then having many different tools in your Massage Toolbox is very powerful. Using Trigger Points to specify pain, some stretches to loosen, deep tissue to lengthen, Core to synchronize, unwinding to calm and breathing to bring everything together, is one of oodles of examples of utilizing a well-rounded toolbox.  At the end of the day, when you get to make an amazing difference in another humans life, then ALL the classes are WAY worth it.

Stay Positive After Serious Injury

Are you recovering from a serious injury? Try to stay positive.  Think about your body like a team:_MG_2523

  • You need all players at their best to play a great game…in this case, the “game” is you healing
  • Each player on the team has an important part in the game…or your “healing”
  • The players need to get along, no name calling or negative Nelly, no blaming (is Nelly really someone’s name?)
  • When the team communicates and gets along, amazing things can happen!

So, here are your “Team mates” in your healing process:

  • REST…like NOT moving, sitting still with your affected area above your heart…really
  • Hydration…drink until your lips aren’t dry & your pee is barely yellow
  • Breathing…deep breathing, think oxygen= recovery
  • Light stretches & movement (especially after surgery…move your low back! move your unaffected areas)
  • Good nutrition!
  • Staying positive, keeping hope… watch “feel good” movies like Rocky or “How to Train you Dragon” where you cheer for others

Staying positive is the MOST important part of this list!  It can be hard to keep hope and think that you won’t get out of this injury ever to play or compete again.  EVER.  We understand.  But…try to keep your chin up.  Remember statements like:

  • “Days injured make me grateful for the days I’m healthy!”

  • “This is a great lesson in being patient.”

  • “I’m learning to really slow down and pay attention to what’s really important.”

  • “My health is the most important resource I have.”

  • “Never give up!”

Support your body the best you can with everything you know to be good for it.  Do this in every aspect of your day including your self talk, the food you eat, the movies you watch, the rest you get.

Do each task with intension to heal: rest to heal, not just to rest.  Think of the cells getting more energy for healing while you are resting.  Think of your cells getting more oxygen when you breathe.  Forgive yourself or anything/one you need to forgive to have a clear mind so you can support your healing.

Use your thoughts to orchestrate powerful teamwork that makes healing happen.

If you need support, email us.  Find support.  Help others.  These all help.

🙂

Corrective Exercises Specialist through the NASM

I love this live class and the book is even better.  Thumbs up, NASM.

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

The test was tough.  I didn’t open the book and thought I would cruise through the test without any preparation and I was very wrong.  Thank God the test is hard, because this is important info, and not info to dish out lightly.  I was thankful for a challenge and am happy I studied the book to the point where if it’s not memorized, I at least know what page to find the info I need.

Though the class I took was a bit loud for the first few hours of the NASM’s Corrective Exercises live workshop at BrikFitness in Redondo, California, I still enjoyed it and really enjoyed the great trainers taking the class with me.  There were healthy shakes being swirled together in blenders while enthusiastic personal trainers encouraged their exercising clients through their regular Sunday workouts all a while the workout music going and then the videos we were supposed to be hearing.

It was like trying to pay attention to a college professor speaking in a mall.  I was trying to pay attention, glaring at the instructors with all my might and sonic ear power, but the blender would win.

The cool exercises that the personal trainers were trying also stole my attention for seconds at a time, which was enough to loose entire blocks of information from the class.

Finally, after several hours of being in a health store locker room with 80’s workout music tapping at my brain, all the noise went away, the blenders stopped, the clients and trainers went home, and the workout music was turned off.  Phew…now, what did you say for the past 2 hours?

Besides the major distractions, the information is excellent and I am already using it in all my massages and personal training sessions.

Corrective Exercises is just that, exercises to correct imbalances in our bodies.  We learned to assess what is off balance, either because a muscle is weak, overactive, too tight, etc.  From how a person moved in a certain exercise, we learned how to tell which muscles need foam rolling, which need stretching, and which need strengthening.  Awesome!

Every massage therapist should take this class because it really fits hand in hand with how we can help people.  Then, if you add personal training, you are several steps ahead in being able to massage their body back into balance.

Valentine’s Massage Specials for 2014

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Spoil your Valentine with one of these great gift ideas:

  • $240   3-hours Pack of Therapeutic Massages with a Valentines Gift Basket (while supplies last)
  • $95     Valentine’s Choice, any 1-hour massage style with 2 extra added goodies of your choice: aromatherapy, hot towels, facial massage, a take-home skin brush, and several other choices
  • $75     A 1-hour Relaxation Massage with Valentine’s choice of a handmade gift: handmade soap, spritzes, aromatherapy oil

Buy Valentine’s Specials here, if you have any questions, call 505-332-9292.

On Valentines Night, for a unique alternative to dinner and movie traditions, learn to give your Valentine a massage at home and come to our Valentines Couples Massage Class on Friday night, 6:00-9:00.  Call us, for more information.

 

Valentines Couples Massage Class!

Come join us for a special Valentines Massage class.

Couples Massage class, a great idea for Valentines Day

Couples Massage class, a great idea for Valentines Day

Friday, February 14, 6:00-9:00 at our beautiful office!!

$80 per couple

Learn to give a simple, nurturing and relaxing massage.  Each of you will receive and learn to give a basic massage.

Give your loved one a gift that will enhance your relationship throughout the year.

Your partner will love you for it.

Includes a wonderful Gift basket!
This is so fun!  We can’t wait to share!
Please call or email early as space is limited!

Includes a 1 hour massage each plus an Awesome GIFT BASKET!

5 Benefits of Massage, by Diane Chase

by Diane Chase, MA, LMT

Diane Chase, MA, LMT, Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage Therapist

Diane Chase, MA, LMT, Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage Therapist

5 Benefits of Massage

It was in my mid twenties when I first encountered the ominous sounding

word “stress”

…It was the first time I felt my body communicating something to me that was uncomfortable in the gut, a ‘spastic colon’ as the  doctor diagnosed and gave the prescription for Librium.

Yet the symptoms continued and the stress of solitary  life in a big city, riding the packed and stuffy, gloomy and  glum bus packed full of workers continued to takes its toll.  And there were more scary and stressful incidents there in the city that kept my little self on edge.

If it hadn’t been for  Shiatsu (Acupressure)massage and meditation back there in San Francisco  my life and my health  would have taken another direction entirely. This small example from my  personal history is a constant reminder of how beneficial  are the effects of massage and  the holistic healing arts.

Five of the numerous  benefits of massage  come to mind rolling with R’s to give and indication of how wonderful bodywork can be.

Massage provides an opportunity to:

  1. Relax the tension and aches and pains that accumulate in various parts of the body  from daily living,  athletic training, challenging physical conditions and other circumstances.
  1. Repose, the state of being at rest, free from anxiety, tranquility, to lie supported by something, to stop, to pause.  This definition alone is reason enough to schedule a massage given the varying levels of intensity , immersion and  stimulation we as modern urban people are interacting with on a steady basis.
  1. Remember  that it is a good thing to nurture and support your body’s  sensitive, intelligent lifelong  functioning as an  entity, am operating  system if your will,  that requires care and consideration.  Also, often during a massage  one can literally remember or be reminded of something important or long forgotten that has a chanceto surface  as one enters into a deeper state or zone of relaxation.
  1. To  Receive  allows a person a time frame in which to let go of having to do and  allows the yang aspect  that drives the daily life activities a chance to be harmonized in a yin or receptive posturing and mind state.  To be willing and able to take in the care and skilled touch of a massage  professional to relieve stress is also  learning to balance and harmonize  the dynamics of give and take, of yin and yang.
  1. Restore essential patternings and flows in the body’s circulatory and nervous systems.For example, the blood has a strong muscle to pump and circulate the blood but the lymphatic system which affects our immune system requires movement and exercise to maintain the efficient flows to the lymph glands and ducts.  Massage helps to facilitate and support this movement as well as stimulate the nerve receptors in the skin and reduce ‘stickiness’ or  adhesions in the connective tissue that lead to more muscle tension and stiffness.  Massage restores peace of mind and provides the body necessary time to recharge and restore the vital essence.

Core Synchronism with Robert Stevens

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

I highly, highly recommend Core Synchronism with Robert Stevens for any massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or neurologist.  I had the pleasure of taking Core Synchronism with it’s creator, Robert Stevens.

If you have the chance, come to Albuquerque and learn “Core” from Robert. He is incredible.  You will learn about the brain like you never have before.  Robert is inspiring, leading me and most of his students to crave more learning.  After his classes, I always find myself reading, exploring, searching and being curious more than I did before his classes.

A brilliant scholar & masterful communicator, Robert is able to explain how to palpate and learn Core Synchronism so it becomes natural in your practice.  This is subtle work; it’s easy on your hands and body, yet it’s effective on your toughest clients.  I use Core on my tough athletes and softer clients alike. 🙂 And, I use it on my ADHD husband when he has trouble being still.  Out of all modalities, my husband requests Core the most. So do my kids, btw.

The Class had about 20 students and 3 assistants.  Each assistant was incredibly helpful, patient and kind.  The class I took, Core 4, was 5 days long, 1:30-5:30, M-F, in the main classroom in The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics where Robert Stevens in the director.  There are 7 weeks possible, Core 1-7, each class is a one-week class except for Core 7 which is 3 days and for which registration is full for about a year in advance (FYI).  Each class is a pre-requisite for the next. Many people take the first 3 at one time (I did too, years ago).  I would not recommend taking all 7 at one time.  It’s better to use Core for a year or two and understand the basics and then add to it from there.

After practicing Core 1, 2 & 3 since 1996, I was ready to move on to Core 4.  I do wish I had the childcare in order to take Core 4, 5 & 6 this year, but I’ll need to wait until next year.

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t palpate the rhythms at first.  It’s like riding a bike.  It seems impossible at first for some students, but once they feel the movement the first time, everything changes for them.

The classroom was large with plenty of tables and chairs.  The restrooms are in the classroom and there is filtered water available and a fridge for lunches/snacks.  Each student sat with a different partner each day and we traded as we learned from Robert, who worked on one of the assistants-unless the class is an odd number, in which case, he works on a student.

I would recommend arriving early each day and settling in.  There is oodles of info and it’s non-stop and very cerebral work, not physical, so being centered, well-rested and caught up with what happened the day before is helpful.  Also, bring a good snack.  You will have 1-3 breaks, but only one of them is long enough to enjoy your snack.

Core Synchronism is a great “tool” in your toolbox.  You won’t regret trying it, trust me. 🙂

Orthopedic Massage with Whitney Lowe

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Orthopedic Massage demonstrations

Orthopedic Massage demonstrations

Whitney Lowe’s Orthopedic Massage was well worth the drive to Denver!

The Basics:

There were about 40 people in the class.  The class was 16 hours and yielded 1.6 CEUs for massage therapists.  The hotel classroom was clean and just a bit too small, but it still worked.  The hotel staff were good support of Whitney in a quick technical help if and when he needed them.  They also quietly kept our water, hot coffee and hot water filled and ready for our use.

The Colorado chapter of the AMTA hosted the event and did a nice job of organizing everything.  Kudos to them for collecting so many samples for all the massage therapist’s goodie bags.  Their follow up survey was well worded and they do a good job of including their AMTA members in their chapter.

The Class:

Whitney is a good scholar and has a calm teaching style that invites questions & concerns.  His gentle and humble demeanor  foster a fun & safe environment for learning.  One can’t help but giggling in support of Whitney once he starts talking.

His information is well organized in a very precise book that he wrote about Orthopedic Assessment for Massage Therapists, which has been a helpful resource and was nice to follow along with in class.

After an hour or so of lecturing, we practiced what he was demonstrating with our partner.  My partner,  Jody Foster, from Colorado Springs, was great and helped me understand the information better by figuring questions out together and getting all the movements correct together. I think having a good partner makes a big difference in this type of course because you need each other to learn and teach the movements being taught.  I was thankful that my partner and I were well matched.

The information Whitney taught was easy to remember and use the next week in my office.  I especially liked the psoas stretches, the piriformis pin & stretch, the stripping of the biceps femoris and the different ideas he had about muscle insertions/origins all around the sacrum.

I wish there had been a bit more hands-on learning and a bit more time with Whitney himself, or with a teacher’s aide.  There was only one helper, and an additional helper would have been helpful, in my opinion.

All in all, this was a great class that I highly recommend.  I plan on taking the rest of his series of classes.

What to Expect During a Therapeutic Massage

What to expect during a Therapeutic Massage

What to expect during a Therapeutic Massage

This is a great question and one that I often assume people already know the answer to.  For those of you wondering what to expect, who have never had a Therapeutic Massage and still wonder what that means exactly, I apologize for my assumption and will explain how I see a Therapeutic Massage from the clients perspective.  Here’s a basic list of what to expect:

  1. Friendly Massage Therapist who explains every step
  2. Clean office space
  3. Get ready alone to your comfort level of undressing
  4. Plenty of comfortable sheets & blanket to cover you
  5. The Massage Therapist knocks when they come back in
  6. The Massage Therapist should communicate with you for your requests/pain/comfort level
  7. If there are painful areas, your pain tolerance is respected
  8. If there is not enough pressure, you can request more…or leave
  9. Your aches/pains/tensions are addressed
  10. You feel safe, comfy, happy & relaxed
  11. Your time is honored and accounted for
  12. Payment is taken, (tips are encouraged)
  13. You reschedule 🙂 At least 1 massage per month for life (just think how this investment in your health could change your patience level, sleep, relaxation, effectiveness, peace & calm, etc….just sayin’)

First of all, keep in mind that the phrase and act of giving a “Therapeutic Massage” is as broad a term as asking an art class to paint the picture of a house.  For the art students, they are shown in the same way how to outline the frame of the house, where to put the windows and doors, maybe even what colors to use, yet each student will paint something very unique.  Their painting will still have the house frame, some doors and windows, and possibly similar colors as their classmates, but each painting is as individual as each painter.

The same is true for “Therapeutic Massage.”  The hours of required classes of “how to” in any massage school world wide are basically the same.  Students are taught the same framework of a basic massage.

I can remember learning to do 3 circles on each part of the arm, then each part of the leg, then the foot, then the other foot, then the next leg, etc, until the entire sequence was finished. And we’d practice this basic “square” until it was memorized.

Like an open canvas is to a painter, so is a massage to a Massage Therapist.  Each session can have different tones of light or dark colors, soft or hard pressure, starting on the feet or neck or back, starting face-up or face-down.  What type of lotion, oil, aromatherapy to use? Should you add hot rocks, hot towels, different music, heated blankets? Are you going to stay standing or use a chair? How much breathing or stretching will be involved?  The way the massage goes is lead by many factors of how fast the client relaxes with different tools from our pallet of massage moves.

What should you expect during a Therapeutic Massage…

Your therapist should greet you happily, with a form for you to fill out of your basic medical information as it pertains to having a massage.  This is because certain medical conditions, some obvious, some not so obvious, can be affected negatively by the rubbing of skin, lymph, muscles, etc.  You could see questions like, “do you have any open wounds?” (the more obvious problem for massage), to “do you have blood clots” (a less obvious but very serious contraindication…which means….massage could make this condition worse).

After you finish your paperwork, your therapist will lead you to your massage room and explain what to do.  It could go something like this: “Have you ever had a massage before? How can I help you today? This is the massage table. When you lay down, you should be between the bottom sheet and the top sheet/blanket.  Your face goes into this headrest. You can put your belonging and clothes over here on this chair.  For me to work on the pain on your back, I suggest that you take off at least your shirt.  You may also take off all your clothes or just leave your underwear on.  You should know that you will always be covered by this sheet and blanket.  Do you have any questions?  I’m going to leave the room and wash my hands.  You go ahead and get ready.  I will knock when I come back in.”

You can make the best choice for you of whether to get undressed or not.  Truly, as Massage Therapists, if they have worked on several 1000 clients, then they are used to anything.  I work on nuns who cannot take off their clothes, on clients who need an chaperone in the room for religious reasons, and those very used to massage who start getting undressed before I close the door…and everything in-between. Lay down, relax, breathe, get comfortable.

You need to be comfortable.  That’s what matters.  We will work with whatever makes you comfortable.

During your Therapeutic Massage, you should expect communication from your therapist: if the pressure is too hard, hard enough, are you comfortable, are you warm enough, is the music ok for you, etc, etc.  When you have a special request, for example, “neck pain”, then the therapist should ask you about your pain tolerance in certain “trigger point” areas.  What does “trigger point” mean.

“Trigger Points” to you mean a sore spot when it is touched.  One of those “I-didn’t-know-that-hurt-until-you-pushed-on-it” type points.  We are looking for these in certain areas because “pain patterns” often have a “trigger point” associated with them. This means that we may be able to stop the associated pain by rubbing on the “trigger point” instead.  The body is REALLY all connected.  I’m never shocked anymore with where a client will feel “referred pain” from a “trigger point”.

What is “referred pain”? This can happen, for example, when we are pressing on a “trigger point”, but instead of feeling pain at that point, you could feel pain down your arm, up your neck, in your chest, etc.  Sometimes it’s on the other side of the body, sometimes down the legs, arms, etc.  Everyone is different and every trigger point is different.

Your therapist should use several different styles or “modalities” of massage to relieve your pains, tenderness and tension.  This may include different oils or lotions, first checking if you have any sensitivities, aromatherapy, hot towels, deep tissue, lighter work, rocking, myofacial work, etc.

So, in general, if you only have a few areas of tension that need extra time, then your massage will usually go something like this:  You start face-down and the massage therapist starts on your back, shoulders and neck, by rubbing oil/lotion along the muscle next to the spine, neck and out to the shoulders for about 10-15 minutes.  Sometimes the hips are included, even under your underwear, if that’s ok with you.  Next, the legs and feet. (for the massage I give, I usually work on the legs and the back at the same time…because often back pain is relieved from relaxing the legs.  By working on them at the same time, I can tell which part of the leg “causes” different parts of the back to relax…fyi”  After both legs are massaged, then usually the back is worked on briefly one more time, then you are asked to turn over.  You are always covered when you turn over.  Once face-up, your legs and feet are massaged again, then both arms (I always work on the stomach here, but not every therapist does), and finally the neck, shoulders, jaw, head, etc. with the therapist working from the front of the table.  This part usually takes the bulk of the “face-up” time. To end, usually the feet are massaged one last time and you are asked to relax and get up when you are ready but to take your time.

The pain you could feel during a Therapeutic Massage should not be past your tolerance, period.  Given that you are telling them the truth of what really hurts, the therapist should not hurt you.  Sometimes “trigger points” can hurt, but usually not for long and the pain should not last for more than 24 hours.

Signs that the massage was too Deep:

  • You have bruising
  • It hurts to move after the massage
  • You feel soreness past 24 hours
  • You are uncomfortable during the massage

If the therapist is not using enough pressure and you feel like a Salad from having so much oil kindly rubbed on you, you can request more pressure and end the massage if you don’t feel like you are getting your money’s worth.

Don’t get trapped getting a “Fluff & Buff” from a non-experienced therapist with no hand strength.  That is a common complaint, though.

Payment for your massage should be painless and understood beforehand.  Some Massage Offices/studios only take cash/check.  Not all take credit cards, so plan ahead.

And, a note for tipping.  Please tip.  It’s common practice and really appreciated.  Remember that the average career of a Massage Therapist is only 5 years mostly because it’s hard on our hands.  So, keep that in mind, and if your therapist did a good job, let them know with a $10-$20 tip per hour.

Lastly, after your massage, after paying, if you enjoyed the massage, please reschedule.  Many therapists can be shy and might not prompt you to reschedule.  This is about YOU, and having a good massage once per month is really worth the time and money.  Just imagine how this world would be if each adult had a relaxing massage each month…

Massage is a Great Career Choice for Moms

There is so much discussion about women and their careers on whether women should be at home with the kids or whether they should

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

Massage is a Great Career for a Mom

pursue great careers.

The problem is that women simply ROCK.  We can do it all.  Our ability to multitask and organize is amazing.  Plus we can nurture and heal, discover & teach, cook and clean. On and on.  Lately, in the past few decades, we have tried to do it all.  And we CAN do it ALL…we just can’t do it all at the same time.

The last conversation I had with my loving Mother-in-law before she passed away, which I will never forget, as I was playing mental tug-of-war, she said to me, “Ruth, you can do ANYTHING you want….you just can’t do EVERYTHING you want….especially all at the same time.”

It’s such an individual decision to stay home or hammer at work, it seems.  Women are so capable, and for that exact reason, the struggle to find the balance between family and career can be excruciatingly painful.

For me there was no question of whether I wanted kids…I always knew I did, and set up my career around that idea. But it hasn’t always been an easy road.  As I established my business, I wondered if I’d ever meet anyone…because I was working 70+ hours each week, then going home and washing massage sheets.  I was lonely, but I was on a mission to have an established business by the time I got married.

Once established and married and staying at home with the kids, I struggled with the choice of letting my business almost die to stay home, or to stay working long hours to continue the financial success, but let someone else raise my kids.  Sleepless nights I struggled & played tug-of-war in my mind of what is the best for my family.  No one could comfort me.  No one had the right answer.  All the while staying home as my business almost died, but I spent all my time playing with my kids.

It’s funny that “in the moment”, like Rush’s song FREEWILL, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”, I WAS at home loving my kids, laughing, playing, but suffering with the withering of something I had spent so much time creating.  I finally let go and appreciated where I was in life….that this was one of the “have ANYTHING” while a career was part of the “EVERYTHING right now” part of my Mother-in-law’s advice.  She had been through what she was watching me struggle through.

The idea that those who are not in this position can’t understand is the push and pull from both sides.  Each side feels extremely justified in their convictions of YOUR time.  The very beginning of being a Mom is the hardest, especially with an established career:

  • Staying at home is actually MUCH HARDER than working!!
  • At work, I know EXACTLY what I’m doing and what to expect
  • At home, even the best plan rarely starts and ends the way it’s “supposed to”
  • At home, nothing is EVER organized, clean, put away for any amount of time
  • At work, I know where everything is, counters are clean, my mind seems peaceful and clear
  • At work, I am making more money for the family & keeping staff happy
  • At home I am spending money & keeping family happy
  • People at work want you at work and don’t care about those at home
  • People at home want you at home and don’t care about those at work
  • At work I can sit quietly, alone, and get oodles done
  • At home, I’m never alone, I worry and am constantly moving to manage the household…just to start all over again, it’s never done

This is the cycle of thoughts until a decision is truly made peace with.  The loss of my bustling business was all about my ego, and that part of me could wait. The kids and their daily milestones could not and would not wait.  This finally was crystal clear to me and the rebuilding of a career took back seat to being home full-time when the kids were home. What an incredible opportunity.  I am so lucky.

For those Moms who may be going through something similar with your career vs your family….hang in there.  Only you know the right answer for you and your family.  Meditate.  Force exercise and quiet time at home.  I think it’s good for our kids to see powerful women in the workforce.  And also, it’s so important for kids to have their Mom to be with and physically hang on to.  When you look back on your life, ask yourself, “what is most important to me” then make choices accordingly.  That’s what I answered for myself.  This answer is different for each Mom.

As a Massage Mom, this has been a great 20 years!!  I recommend this career and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The PROS for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Able to establish an office and buy a house fairly quickly
  • Work while pregnant and raising kids all while working minimal hours making great money
  • Forced to stay in shape
  • Choose days and hours worked
  • Choose the clients I want to work on
  • Do what I love & make money doing it
  • Connect with clients in a manner that is extremely fulfilling
  • Be a “stay-at-home-Mom” with a career
  • Be with my kids most of every day
  •  Exciting daily work, always challenging, always engaging
  • Learning something new everyday
  • Honoring God with my work, using the talents I was given
  • And the best pro of all:  I’ve been honored to help the clients I love so much
  • Help them feel better in their lives
  • Keep my clients playing their sport
  • Allow clients to become and stay pain free.

The CONs for a Mom as a Massage Therapist:

  • Massage is physically demanding
  • My hands hurt after 20 years of working
  • There is little camaraderie in this profession

Bottom line:  massage is a great career choice for a Mom, especially before you have kids.  Strengthen your hands before you start and learn excellent body posture while you work.  This is true in any profession.  Good luck. 🙂