What I have learned from 20 years of being a Massage Therapist

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Gael and Daughter
Me and My Sweet Daughter

It’s my Birthday week. The BIG 40! I’m not really sure how that happened, seems like I was just 22 yesterday.

At least I’m a little smarter now (I think)….. This birthday means I have been a massage therapist for exactly half my life, that’s a lot of massages!! I’m not sure how many but probably around 10,000. Wow, makes me tired just thinking about it!

What I have learned from 20 years of being a Massage Therapist:

1. Everybody, absolutely everybody has a story.  Give everybody your best, even if they aren’t at their best. You will be surprised how the little things and extra kindness can pay off in big ways.

2. You will make mistakes, lots of them. Learn and keep going. I’ve unintentionally lost clients by talking too much, being disorganized (and messing up their appointment time) and I’m sure many other things too. Nobody is perfect!

3. Find the right clients for you! Not every client is a good match. At this point, I have mostly clients with flexible schedules. They are super understanding when I have a sick kid, and I understand if something pops up in their life. This is not how most people want to run their businesses, but it works for me and my clients.

heart-hands4. Clients can tell if you really care about them. It comes through in the quality of your touch. They can also tell if your mind is elsewhere and if you are just trying to get through to the end of the day. If your mind is wandering, just take a breath and refocus.

Someone with a caring touch will be much more successful than someone with only great technical skills.  And if you have both, watch out world!

5. You have something in common with everyone! I promise. People crave connection and touch. Being able to connect with people is just as important as being able to give a good massage. Most people appreciate a little small talk before or at the beginning of a session. Those minutes can make or break the client/therapist relationship.

Sauna6. This work is not for everyone. It’s physically demanding. It can be emotionally draining. The money can be unpredictable. You really have to have a heart for this work, a sense of humor, and flexibility!

7. Massage therapists make great friends. What a wonderfully diverse group of people I get to call my colleagues! I work in several different places and everyone is truly kind and giving. Plus, there are massage trades (just not quite enough of those).

8. If you don’t like your boss, get a new one! Look in the mirror to find your new boss. Being self-employed has been the biggest most amazing learning experience of my life. Notice, I didn’t say easy……

Spa Service9. You may need other sources of income. A person can only do so many massages per week, and after overhead, there isn’t always a lot of money to take home. Luckily you have many talents, that can add to your income. For me being dually licensed was one of the smartest things I ever did (Esthetician and Massage Therapist). I also sold many retail products and added an infrared sauna. That is what worked for me. Your story will be uniquely yours.

10. Self-care! I bet you knew that was coming. I can’t say it enough, get massages, eat healthily, and get some exercise. You know what you need. Do it!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. samuel fixico

    I recently graduated and am starting my career as a massage therapist. Thanks for sharing this!!!!

  2. Renee

    fantastic article — Well written. I like your voice. Nice gift for your clients too.

  3. Jessica

    Just lovely and inspiring 😉

  4. ora Robinson

    I’m passing this on to current massage students. Great insight

  5. Veronica - Pura Vida Massage

    Wonderful story!! Very encouraging and inspiring ..I love the self care part I’ve learned that the hard way!!

  6. Bruno Treves, Health, Fitness, And Wellness

    It’s nice to learn from a massage therapist that has a lot of experience in the practice. It makes you feel secure and confident that you’ll be healthier. You’ll feel emotionally better too.

  7. Ashley

    Thank you for sharing this was a nice explanation of our field.:) looking forward to getting to know you!

  8. Your amazing insightful information entails much to me. You have a very hard job because you still have to be a psychologist too.

  9. Kara Mathys

    It was my kids dream to be a massage therapist. Thanks for sharing this short and interesting post!

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