10 Must-Do’s in a Massage Therapist’s Week

10 Must-Do’s in a Massage Therapist’s Week

Massage Snacks10 Must Do’s in a Massage Therapists’ week:

  1. Eat Breakfast!  We use approximately 200-600 calories per massage!
  2. Eat snacks in-between massages
  3. Use good body Mechanics…this is not a myth, it will make or break you
  4. Get plenty of rest
  5. Deep breathe during and between massages
  6. Stretch: your neck, forearms, back and legs
  7. Learn to protect yourself spiritually with prayer or other (watch for my upcoming blog on Massage Energy Zaps)
  8. Keep clear time-boundaries with clients
  9. Maintain a clean, organized workspace.  In my opinion, keep your massage table made with clean sheets and ready for your next client
  10. Stay strong: exercise regularly, 3x/week, focusing on hands, arms, back, legs and core

Is there anything I missed?  What do you find most beneficial as a Massage Therapist to keep you going?

8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

Hand AcupunctureThe massage profession is hard on our hands.  Be good to your hands.  Have tools around to soothe them.  Make your hand health a priority.  Here are some tips that have healed my hands after they were sore, and several massage therapist buddies of mine use some of the same tips.

Microwavable Hot Packs

1.  Keep your hands warm  Truly.  It really helps.  Do what ever it takes to keep them warm, especially right after you last massage of the day.  When your hands start getting sore, this is the #1 helpful tip!  I use a bean bag warmer to keep my hands warm: one of those bags that you put in the microwave for 2 minutes.  It’s awesome!

2.  Ice your hands after sessions  This seems counter to “Tip 1”, but it’s helpful.  Ice forno more than 10 minutes.  I use a ziplock bag of ice and usually no longer than 3 minutes at a time.  Soon after icing, I get my hands warm again.  For example, I get my hands warm after a massage: and by “after”, I mean, after saying “bye” to your client, changing the sheets, etc.  Get your hands warm again, and then ice them for 3-10 minutes, then use the bean/rice bag to warm them up.  I do this contrast therapy several times

3.  Use a paraffin hand bath often  Another “warming” option is the paraffin bath.  I have my machine on all the time.  Dip your hand in 5 times in a row and let it stay of for 5-10 minutes.  Because I’m
the only one using my paraffin bath, I put the wax back into the machine to reuse the wax.  If you’ve just iced your hands, let them get to room temperature before dipping into the wax.

Hand Acupuncture4.  Have Acupuncture on your hands!  This really helps!  After having a cyst in my Acupuncture for Handpalm, Acupuncture got rid of it in 5 sessions.  I went 5 days in a row.  1 hour session each day.  And I took the herbs they suggested.  A hand surgeon told me that surgery wouldn’t work and that the cyst would just get bigger and massage as a career was over.  Acupuncture worked great.  I used Acupuncture again when my thumb was sore and it helped that too… in 2 sessions.

Hand Stretch with a drum stick5.  Have a hand & body stretching routine  Here are some pictures of what I do.  I have a drumstick close by to stretch my hands/forearms and to show clients how to stretch theirs.  Stretch all the w
ay up to your neck, then also your back and side.  I roll my wrists, use the drumsticks for my forearms, a doorway to stretch my pecs, and an exercise ball to stretch my back, obliques, neck and triceps.

6.  Get Chiropractic adjustments  Sometimes the pain is coming from your neck…just like we tell your clients.  When I get an adjustment, it really helps my hands.  I try to see Dr. Marrich on a regular basis.  When you find a good chiropractor, it really helps to stay “pain-free” in such a physical job as massage therapy.  Often, my wrists, elbows and clavicle all adjust.

7.  Foam Roll under your arms  This really help my arms relax.  Get the teres major, minor and your lats.  Do this by putting your arm above your head and foam rolling the area under your arms.  Email me if you need some ideas with the foam rolling. When my hands are sore, I add this to my routine to soothe them.  It’s not always the obvious areas that make the most difference.

8.  Rest  Have rest days.  Make time to recover after a certain number of massage hours.  And then really rest your hands: no opening of cans, no pushups or weight holding at the gym on your rest days.  If you go to the gym, use the “hand rest days” as days for legs & core.  Do exercises where “gripping” isn’t needed.

I have many things I do daily to take care of my hands so I can continue to do deep tissue massage.  Email me if you want to chat about ideas to help if your hands hurt. 🙂 info@athletictouch.com

Top 4 Troubles for Self-Employed Massage Therapists and How to Avoid Them

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Most Massage Therapists are good at the art of giving a massage, even spectacular.  Rarely is the problem, when Massage Therapists decide to leave this career, that the therapist is bad at massage.  Sometimes this is the case, but even a mediocre massage can be improved with practice & study.

Another reason often mentioned for leaving the massage therapist career is the strength Massage Therapy requires is more than someone can handle for more than a few years.  True, sometimes, depending on the modality the massage therapist chooses to use.

Honestly though, the top reasons therapists leave this business, which is similar to why people leave many Entrepreneurial professions:  a lack of business savvy.  I think this is why being an employee or sub-contractor is easier in the long run for those people who are good at massage, or which ever business you are in, but not so good at the business end of the business.

 

Top 4 Troubles for self-employed Massage Therapists:   (And How to Avoid Them)

  1. Not enough clients or income or both
  2. Feeling stuck or frozen about lack of clients
  3. Paperwork overwhelm
  4. Fatigue, in the hands, neck, back, forearms, feet

 

First of all, THERE IS HOPE!!  So don’t give up or stop trying because of fear.  If you are doing what you love, like massage therapy or personal training or yoga, etc, I have some ideas for your success (and a reminder for my own continued success).  My suggestion is just to be realistic, patient and persistent.  Lets look at why these pit-falls show up in the first place:

The first problems start with UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS….that:

  • clients are easy to find & easy to keep
  • money will show up often “just because”
  • expenses are low, almost nonexistent
  • paperwork takes care of itself
  • taxes are for other careers
  • your body is strong and you don’t need extra maintenance
  • self-care, hydration, rest, stretching, physical fitness is what we Preach, not what we Do. Hee, hee.
  • assuming that this is the perfect career path for you, without looking at hard facts

The second problem is a lack of knowing your CLEAR PATH:

  • List your reasons for doing massage (or personal training, yoga, etc)
  • Why do you love doing massage, so much that you’ve done many for free?  Remember those reasons.
  • What are your Goals? (answer these questions…in writing)
    • What types of massage do you want to do/not do…be VERY SPECIFIC
      • example: instead of saying: I want to work on athletes.
        •  I want to work on female Mom athletes, between the ages of 35-55 who are college educated and willing to do their physical homework in order to get better.
      • example: instead of saying: I don’t want to work on Mean people.
        • I will pre-charge for first time clients, and I won’t reschedule them if they are disrespectful.
  • Write a BUSINESS PLAN   NO KIDDING!!  
    • Start with a simple plan
    • Know your NUMBERS!
      • How many appointments do you need per week/month to pay your “nut” or minimum bills?
      • How many people do you need to talk to in order to make 10 appointments?
      • What is your rate of return? (how many new clients return?)
      • How much money are you putting into retirement from each massage? (often forgotten about)
      • Do you pay your taxes monthly or quarterly? (and put it aside immediately…untouchable!)
      • From Where are people finding you?  (where should you spend your advertising dollar?)
  • Take CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
    • In ANY profession…60 min of daily exercise, plenty of water, plenty sleep… for starters (do what i suggest and not what i do… :))))
    • Find Balance: easier said… but still essential
    • When your hands are hurting…let them rest

Don’t give up.  A career you love—-getting paid doing what you love is really possible.  Find a MENTOR!  Message me if you have questions.  Don’t give up yet…

10 Tips to Save Your Massage Hands

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Didn’t get enough sleep last night? And you haven’t eaten enough today? Big plans tonight that you are looking forward to??

These 3 scenarios are the perfect recipe to hurt your hands during your last massage of the day.  Even with one of them going on, here are some ways to keep your hands healthy:

1. Focus   on the massage, not tonight’s activities. It’s when we are most tired that we get unfocused with our posture and pushing from the core that we hurt our hands. Try not to daydream.

2. Stretch  your hand, wrist, neck, waist and legs right before you walk into the session. Sometimes during a massage, you can put one leg up on the table and stretch. Also, gently shake your hands out during the massage between areas.

3.  Straighten Up  your back, neck…don’t slouch.  You know this, we all do while massaging or living, but when it’s the last hour of the day, you have plans, your hungry and tired, it’s very easy to start pushing from your wrists, elbows & shoulders instead of your core and legs.

4.  Breathe  when you ask your clients to breathe, do the same.  When you are about to make a long stroke on the legs or back, take a nice deep breath. A nice deep breath also helps our focus to be more on the client and not what’s for dinner.  Keep breathing deeply after work.

5. Rotate Fingers to rest them one at a time.  This is a huge help!  When you are working on one area, lift your pointer finger up and allow your middle finger to do the work, then the ring finger, and for just a second or 2, your pinky.  Do this on Trigger Points too and Myo-facial work.  This has been a hand saver for me.

6. Bend Your Knees and push from your core.  “Yes Mom!” But seriously, keep it in mind.  It’s so easy to forget and to bend from your waist and then hurt your lower back.  Bend your knees and wear good gripping running shoes for support.  When you are tired and unfocused, bending your knees brings you right back to using your core to push with and your hands will thank you.

7. Keep your Wrists Straight when massaging and while doing other things around the house.  If your wrists are tired, even after gardening or weight lifting, try to keep them straight.  It’s the sideways stroke down the back or legs that can kill the hands.  A common stroke for me when I’m tired. So, remember to keep your wrists straight for the long strokes.

8.  Be Intensional After Work to rest and take care of your hands.  Gently massage them, use ice or heat or both.  If you are out to dinner, hold the ice water with both hands.  Don’t grip things too hard, like the steering wheel. Be mindful of your body and the rest it may need.

9.  Sleep with Your Hands Flat, not curled in.  This is a big one, especially when you are first starting, or for other people when they start getting hand/wrist pain, that their hands are flat when they sleep.  Get a pillow and hug it with flat hands.  Another smart sleeping position for side sleepers, is to support your knee and your top elbow so that your arm doesn’t pull down on your shoulder.

10.  Synchronize Your Fingers Tonight  one finger at a time.  Apply your toolbox of healing styles to your own hands.  Core Synchronism is my favorite way to heal my hands.  You could also use Myo-facial Release, Lymph Drainage, or simply light Effleurage with one hand while the other hand is above the heart.