How To Choose A Massage Therapist

Whenever you start a new type of treatment, it’s important that you are really comfortable with the person providing you with the care.

Massage therapy is quite an intense and personal experience. You need to feel confident that your therapist is ethical and respectful, and that you’re in safe hands. You want to feel welcomed, calm and at ease every time you step into their work room.

For this reason, I would always recommend that you try out a few therapists before you settle on one that you see regularly. This will give you the opportunity to see a few different styles in action.

Some massage therapists will be very friendly, open and excited to get to know you. Others will be more reserved and simply get on with the treatment. What you enjoy really depends on your personality, and what kind of experience you want to have each time you go in for a massage.

Regardless of what kind of personality you want in your therapist, there are a few things that should be non-negotiable:

  • They should be an excellent listener. If they’re argumentative, obstructive or vague when you’re talking about your treatments and what you need, move on. Your therapist should listen carefully to what you’re telling them and work hard to implement your comments. While they might need to point you in the right direction on some things, you should never feel like they’re overriding you.
  • You should always feel safe and secure. If there is even a hint that anything is sleazy or untoward, get out of there. You’re under no obligation to explain yourself and you owe it to yourself to make sure every massage is as relaxing and effective as possible. Find a therapist who makes you feel totally comfortable and at ease.
  • If possible, make sure your therapist is in a convenient location. You don’t want a stressful journey to and from your therapy sessions to undo all the work you and your therapist are putting in!

 

What to Expect When Seeing a Massage Therapist For the First Time

Many patients are open to the idea of seeking alternative treatment and support for their conditions, especially those conditions that are chronic and making living and functioning normally very difficult.  However, approaching massage therapy for the first time leaves a lot of questions.  What can you expect to experience at your first appointment?  Will you be worked on right away?  Will you have time to address your personal issues, thoughts, and reservations?

Candles and stones in a calm zen spa environment.As with any visit to a treatment specialist, your first appointment is primarily an intake appointment.  Before a massage therapist will commit to working with you, they need some information on your condition, your past and current medical history, symptoms you’re experiencing, and any conditions that you feel may affect treatment.  Knowing a bit about your lifestyle will also help with preventative measures and suggestions on how to better your treatment through at-home therapeutic measures.  After the evaluation, your massage therapist will develop a plan to best assist you and your condition(s).  Be sure to ask plenty of questions.  You need to be as comfortable with your therapist as possible in order to get the most from your treatment.

Before beginning any sort of massage, the next step is to discuss each part of the body that is to be massaged, and how each massage will help to relieve the complaints you came in with.  This is important because it will give you a gauge on what sort of relief you may see right away, and what may take several sessions to begin to notice.  Once your plan of action is set in place, you’ll begin your massage therapy.  This may occur at the initial appointment, or you may set up your first real appointment before you leave.  This really depends on the therapist, and the time they’ve set aside for your intake.  If you have a preference, be sure to state it.  Additionally, when seeking massage therapy as a treatment for any condition, other than generally relaxation, always discuss the treatment, progression, and results with your primary care provider.  They can also assist you in getting the most from your treatment, tracking improvement, and helping to identify any issues that need more extensive treatment.

Massage Isn’t Just For Relaxing Anymore: Massage as a Medical Treatment

Massage is no longer just a means for encouraging relaxation.  Although it definitely still serves this purpose, the art and practice of massage has certainly elevated itself to another level of treatment.  Instead of just being conducted as a luxury or indulgence, massage therapy has become its own branch of medical treatment, and it’s gaining popularity and supports at a rather rapid pace.

What Massage Therapy Can Treat

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Because of the wide range of conditions that soft tissue manipulation can affect, massage therapy is a rather versatile treatment.  It can range from treating stress and anxiety, to minor injuries, and even serious chronic conditions like cancer.

Some common conditions treated by massage therapy include: fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression, headaches (including migraines), stress injuries, back pain, neck pain, pain in the shoulders, and muscle tension.  Specialized massage therapists also work with cancer patients, those struggling with sleeping disorders, diabetics, and individuals with high blood pressure.  The idea behind treating all of these conditions is not to cure them, but to make living with them easier, especially as the patient works through medical treatment with a primary care provider, or a group of primary care specialists.  This is especially true in the case of cancer patients who commonly complain of fatigue and stress from therapy methods.  Massage therapy works to improve sleep, relaxation, blood flow, and the chronic fatigue that cancer patients suffer from.

Massage therapy works to stimulate the inactive muscles of the body to support those that may be overstressed, and this can help to relieve the pain from injuries, and provide support while injuries are healing.  Working with the soft tissue to relax the muscles also helps in increasing the range of motion that a person has (which can in turn prevent future injuries and support the healing of a current injury), and raise the level of natural endorphins to support on-going medical treatment for an injury.  It can also lower heart rate and blood pressure, benefiting both one’s overall health as well as circulation specific conditions.  One of the most intricate ways that massage therapy helps in creating an overall sense of health and well-being is through an increase in blood circulation, especially to the lymph nodes, and increasing lymph flow.

Expenses of a Massage Start Up

Every business has expenses, and these expenses must be taken into consideration when content_Red-Door-Spaplanning a start up.  Starting your own massage business is no different, and there are a number of different expenses that need to be taken into consideration.  Even with a thorough plan, you’ll need to set aside capital for budgeting over-runs and unforeseen expenses.  Even the most careful planners set aside extra back-up capital, so keep this in mind when setting up your expense inventory.

While the below is far from exhaustive, it is a good walkthrough of the types of things you’ll need to keep in mind when setting up your own massage practice.  Remember that each office is highly unique, so you can set up your office however you like.  With this in mind, there are some set expenses that all massage practices will have.  For example, your business license.

Setting Up the Office

Massage_Room_en_sOne-time expenses are always steep, but remember you shouldn’t have to replace these items for sometime.  One-time expenses include furniture for your front office (desks, chairs, computers, filing systems, lights, couches for the waiting room, side tables, magazine holders, and paintings for the walls, and any additional décor).  In terms of communications, you’ll need a front office phone, printer, and copier as well.  Setting up your own office will likely be very similar since you’ll need access to the same sort of things in your private office.

You’ll also need to set up each massage room.  The amount of furniture you’ll need will depend on the number of rooms you have in your office.  Each room will need either a light fixture or lamp.  You’ll also need a massage chair or bed.  Some type of table or desk should also be in each room, as well as a cabinet for storage.  Decor is another expense, and the type will be up to you.

Depending on your office, and the kinds of treatments you’ll be offering, you may also want to invest in  an ice machine.  This is a fairly large expense, but it will be well worth it.  Be sure to factor in the cost of freezer bags or other ice packs in order to be prepared to use the ice when clients come in.

If you’re going to have a number of employees, setting up a break room may also be a good idea.  This could contain a coffee maker, microwave, fridge, table, and couch.  This gives your employees a place to have a break or eat their lunch, without making them feel that they have to get out of the office or spend money just to have lunch.  It also gives employees a chance to mix and mingle, which is great for morale.  A team that is able to have a bit of fun together at work generally performs better than those who don’t have this dynamic.  While having a break room isn’t essential, it really will help to make your office feel like a more welcoming place to work.  If the office is just going to be you and your partner, this is an expense you can likely spare since you’ll each have your own rooms or offices where you can meet, have lunch, and work.

On-Going Expenses

On-going expenses are those expenses that you’ll have to pay each month.  While the goal is that the business will pay for itself, this isn’t always the case for the first couple months of a businesses life.  Be sure that you’ve planned for an budgeted for paying for these expenses without additional income.  Take into consideration any and all on-going expenses that you may have.  This will include expenses like Internet connection, phone lines, electricity, gas, sewer, and rent.

You’ll also need to take into consideration on-going maintenance items.  This includes things like paper for the printers, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry for towels and rags, pens and pencils, etc.  This is one huge area that planning for unforeseen expenses comes in.  A lot of times you don’t realize all the little things you’ll need to start and maintain a business.

For a massage business, you also need to keep in mind the lotions and creams necessary.  Cleaning the massage space (cost of cleaner and cleaning supplies), accountant expenses; designer expenses for logos and websites, and wages for employees.

Another on going expense to keep in mind is your marketing expense.  Marketing isn’t just an optional part of running a business.  It is an essential part of running and owning a business.  Marketing can happen in a number of ways, and none are free.  Even those things like social media posts that don’t have a monetary amount to post, have a monetary amount in terms of your time.  Keep in mind marketing things like newspaper advertisements, billboards, Internet advertisements, business cards, and postcard mailings.  You may also want to use an email service to help you set up mass emailing for newsletters, specials, and the like.

 

 

How Massage Therapy Works

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts forms, with its roots in ancient China.  Records of massage therapy date back about 3,000 years ago, and new techniques and uses are still being developed and founded.  With a history like this, massage has definitely earned its place in the medical field.  So, how exactly does massage therapy work to treat medical conditions?  What can it offer to patients looking for new and all natural ways to treat their ailments?

Massage therapy is founded on the basis of working with the body’s soft tissue, manipulating it and improving the circulation that moves through the tissue, as well as the entire body.  The result is a decrease in stress (mental and physical), as well as a relief to chronic fatigue.  There are a number of different techniques employed by massage therapists, and one therapist may focus on a particular technique, or employ several in the course of a sitting.  Ailment specific techniques and therapists are also available, and this gives clients a chance to have someone with specific experience in their area of concern address their condition.