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?

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

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.

 

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.

The Best Schedule for Injury Care

Massage for injury rehabWhen clients come in with an injury that stops them from playing their sport, they usually want to know when they will be 100%.  And they usually hope you can tell them.  They want anyone to tell them.

They know their body pretty well, and they know how severe or mild their own injury is, so the answer or words they are really hoping to hear is for someone to tell them “out loud” what they are thinking to themselves.

“Oh, this is terrible.  Just terrible.  You are out for 6 weeks or 12 weeks.  Then you’ll be right back where you were before you got hurt.”

We wish it were that easy to know the future of when and/or how fast or slow someone will get back to 100%.

But it’s not that easy.  Every human body is different.  Every injury is different.  Every athlete is different and has unique styles of discipline, rest, recovery, diet, positive self-talk, etc.

Even the exact same doctor performing the exact same ACL replacement has different outcomes.  A different muscle tone before the surgery, different muscle imbalances that probably caused the ACL tear in the first place, etc, etc.

So, when helping athletes, put yourself in their shoes.  Consider their fear of NEVER playing their sport again.  Even with a simple injury, THIS is their main concern.

This is the schedule I usually try for acute injuries: (not the plan for post-surgery)

  • First Session: 1 hour in length, massage with assessment, ice, ice massage, stretches if indicated, refer to doctor if indicated.  You are looking for the specific muscle affected, how hot/swollen it is, is it even safe for you to work on them. After isolating the problem area, assess how much pressure they can handle, how strong of a contraction if any can they make, how much stretching of the area can they handle. Ice the area, and ice massage if tolerated.
  • Next Day, Day 2: 30 minutes in length, quick massage with assessment, ice massage, stretches
  • Next Day, Day 3: 30 minutes, same as yesterday
  • Two Days later, and every 2 days for 2 weeks: 30 minutes, same treatment plan using more pressure as tolerated, adding more stretching as tolerated.  If you are also a personal trainer, add strengthening as tolerated. Start assessing why the injured area is possibly out of balance.  If injury does not improve, or keeps coming back with little activity, send them to a doctor
  • 7 & 14 days after first session: 1 hour in length (in the middle of the 30 min/every other day schedule), massage with assessment, use more pressure as tolerated, ice massage, stretches and start adding opposite areas.  Always check in with the athlete about their workout schedule and how they are feeling, are they back to regular workouts? How is the pain right after the massage? When do they feel best? Worst? What are they doing themselves to help heal? You are looking for the swelling to go down, the heat in the affected area to go away, the pain to go away with pressure and then with action of that muscle, and lastly no pain with both.
  • Next twice per week @ 30 minutes or 1 @ 60 minutes, if they are still hurting, or this is a more serious injury that will take more time, pull back to 2-30 minutes or 1 60 minute session per week, depending on their availability and yours.  Be consistent & show them their progress.

Hope this helps.

 

The Best Massage Sheets and Their Care

Truly, there is a huge difference in Massage Sheets!  We will finally have the sheets we like for sale on this website!  We use Marigold Magic, a locally owned and operated company with outstanding sheets.

When we say “outstanding” sheets, this is what that means:

This is a "sturdy elastic seam"

This is a “sturdy elastic seam”

  1. they last 1000 washes
  2. they are soft and comfortable
  3. the seams don’t come apart
  4. the elastic is sturdy and stays on the table
  5. the elastic is still “bouncy” after 100’s of washes

There are so many different styles of sheets that massage therapists prefer: colorful, plain white, flannel, silky, all cotton, partly cotton, etc.

I prefer the basic: white flannel sheet set.

A “sheet set” refers to a bottom sheet, a flat top sheet and a head rest cover.  I use a generic pillow case to cover my king sized pillow as the client’s bolster.  I get those on sale when I happen to see them.  Since they are under the blanket, I use many different colors, which makes it easy to find them on sale.

Helping Your Sheets Last Longer

For us, the bottom sheets wear out quicker than the flat sheet or the head rest cover.  This happens more quickly if the sheets are pulled too hard over the corners of the massage table.  Over time, that action on the sheet will tear the middle of the sheet, the “under the back” area, since we slide our hands under the client’s back and the sheets get worn there the most.

To delay this wearing out in this area, be sure to use both ends of the sheet under the client, by the head rest end of the table.  You can keep track by noticing where the sheet label ends up when you are “dressing” your massage table with freshly cleaned sheets, then switch where the label is next time.

After 300+ washes, when the flannel is no longer visible, and the sheets are very soft but there isn’t any visible “Wear” in the “under the back” area, take care to gently roll the sheets over the corners instead of pulling hard.  With this care,  your sheets will last another 300 washes.  I have torn sheets like this and it is heart breaking to hear the “rrrrriiiiippppp” right when you are in a hurry.  It always happens to be my favorite softest sheets that feel like velvet to the touch.  So, remember to move SLOWLY when pulling the sheets over the corners of your massage table. 🙂

Washing, Drying & Folding

To wash the sheets, we use hot water with Oxy Clean powder & a liquid detergent.  We don’t use fabric softener.  I put 3 sets in one wash load, no more.  Not even one more little head rest cover.  With more in the washer, the sheets won’t get clean.

Wash towels and pillow cases separately.

We dry them in normal heat in the drier.  We tried hanging the sheets to dry but they were too rough and not soft enough.  Because we live in New Mexico, mold is never an issue.

One of the best advantages to the White Flannel sheet is they don’t wrinkle very easily.  Even if the sheets have been sitting for a while, they won’t get wrinkly, and they especially stay nice and smooth once they are placed on the massage table.

For me, it’s easiest to fold the sheets the exact same way every time.  This way, I can do it automatically, without really thinking about it.  And in the linen closet, they stack very nicely and I can always tell which stack is the flat or fitted pile by the way the sheets look after being folded.

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.