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?

Top 6 Reasons for Being a Self-Employed Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist AlbuquerqueThe Top 6 Reasons for being a self-employed Massage Therapist:

  1. Help people and really make a difference
  2. Choose your schedule
  3. High earnings per hour
  4. Work only on the clients you want to work with
  5. Your choice of environment, colors, music, type of sheets, oils, etc
  6. Concentrate on the style of massage or expertise you like most

Do you agree with these top 6?  What are your favorite things about working as a self-employed Massage Therapist?

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…

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.

photo-7

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.

MassageBook.com is Awesome!

A new way for Massage Therapists to manage their businesses.

A new way for Massage Therapists to manage their businesses.

Massagebook.com is a new scheduling, bookkeeping, notes taking, client management site for massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, etc.  This is a simple system of keeping track of this specific business type, with easy scheduling, client tracking, etc.

How it works:  It’s FREE, yes, that’s the best part!  You pay $6 (the amount may have changed) for each client Massagebook.com finds for you.  A very small referral fee for sending you a paying client!  Besides that, the use of the site to run your business does not cost anything.

I have been searching for an integrated way to run my medium sized massage business for years. In the process I have tried Millenium, SpaBoom, MindBody & a homemade version of software without a name.  Each has good and not so good features for small businesses like mine. (I have blog drafts to finish regarding each of these options…coming soon).

Massagebook.com is made by massage therapists for massage therapists.  So far, I really like their feedback and the way things are constantly changing for the better.  Right now, for example, they don’t have a tax option, since the state in which the software authors reside don’t require Gross Receipts Tax like my state does.  So, instead, I’ve had to improvise and add the tax to the price.  Unfortunately, it’s off just a few pennies because there are also no “cents” just “dollar” amount options (as of this writing, that is, an it changes often).

Since small glitches change often and bugs get taken out and beautiful ideas put in their places, I am willing to do some extra background work in order to support this group and to use the user friendly interface.

What scheduling software have you used and like? I’d love to hear about other options too.

Add a Few Minutes to Your Massage Time

One of the best ways to keep clients is to add a few minutes to their massage hour.

Add 1-2 minutes for your clients

Add 1-2 minutes for your clients

They are paying you per minute, for you time.  If you add just 1-4 minutes, it’s great for their neck, hands or feet, and they will love it.  Sometimes you could even let them know, “Are you in a rush today? I was going to add a few minutes so I can focus a bit more on your neck, or would you rather I end on your hand?”

Schedule 15 minutes at least in between each client to allow for time to change sheets, take payments, reschedule and let the next client get ready.  The only time clients can be scheduled back to back is when you only have 2. This way, if you start your next client a few minutes late, which you will, then you can go over a few minutes and not create a traffic jam of waiting clients.

Don’t short your clients!  This is the worst business practice in our profession.  Have integrity about your time.  If you have to short them at some point, let them know that you are aware of stopping early and offer to give them more time for their next massage.  If it’s a new client, then discount the massage. Keep the practice that “the client is always right”.

When you “take the hit” of a client discount and/or less money for a short massage, or a treatment you were late to, too tired/hungry to do your best, etc, a few dollars less is worth their loyalty.  They will appreciate the gesture, and in most cases will tip you more, or if not a tip, at least will remember your integrity. Respect their time & money.

A few minutes of your time given as a gift will return to you much more abundance than a few minutes of time.