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Raw Material Costs on the Rise for the Massage and Spa Industry

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Raw Material Costs on the Rise

April 21, 2011

By Angie Patrick

Some might say, “So What, Angie? I am not a manufacturer, this will not impact me!”

Ahhh,… not so! It impacts everyone, even in places you weren’t expecting! Let me share with you a quick snapshot of some of the manufacturing landscape and how it might impact your bottom line.

Raw materials are the components purchased from all over the globe that enable manufacturers to create and produce the items we use everyday. It is a delicate balance that industry strikes when it comes to manufacturing goods while remaining competitively priced for the finished goods. In the last quarter, there have been some tell tale signs that some of the items commonly used in the Massage industry may become a bit more pricey, or worse yet, unavailable entirely. This can impact you and your practice in a few ways. Below are a couple of things you may begin to see in the marketplace.

The Argentinean Jojoba crops, which are a significant percentage of the world jojoba crops, were damaged by frost this year. Ordinarily, one might expect the plants to bounce back and thrive, albeit a bit later than usual. Unfortunately for us, the frost hit at a crucial time in the growth cycle of the plant, damaging it at the seed pod level. Once they sustained freeze damage, many of the soon-to-be-plants died. This loss was unrecoverable, and thus the price for Raw Jojoba Oil has skyrocketed. This has been reported to be a temporary situation, but it can likely impact product production nationwide.

Many massage lubricants depend on Jojoba, as it is a magnificent product for the skin, and a go-to ingredient for formulators. You may begin to see some goods temporarily discontinued, and for those remaining on the market, you could in fact see a slight price increase. This is the nature of business when you manufacture goods and depend on crops for your raw ingredients. My advice, buy jojoba now, especially if you love to use pure jojoba oil. Given the shelf life is years and years as long as it is stored properly, it is a good buy that will keep well.

Mother Nature impacts us in many ways and it extends to the world cotton supply as well. The cost of cottonhas been on a steady increase over the last three years, varying from $.40 cents per pound to over $1.89 for completely raw goods. How does this impact the Massage and Spa industry? ALL OVER! From the spa slippers, to the robes, towels, hand cloths, and above all, Massage Sheets! These items are all pricier now than ever before to manufacture, and I have watched the market creep up slowly in terms of price to the end user.

One market that we may potentially see increase in the coming quarters may be foam production. With the unrest in the Middle East, and oil prices moving the full gamut to even exceed $5.00 per gallon some experts predict, we can almost assuredly expect the costs of foam to rise. This is in portable massage tables, massage bolsters, massage chairs, massage stools, and more. A great alternative may be soy foam in some applications, thus reducing the dependency on petroleum as a raw product.

Which brings us to oil… Oil is fluctuating at the time of this post by 2-3 dollars a gallon day by day. This means increased prices for gasoline which impacts a mobile therapist in obvious ways, as your costs for fuel to run your business is going up. But it also impacts your shipping costs for anything your purchase as well. From the grocery store, to the big-box retailers, everyone is sustaining rising shipping costs. No one is immune to this cost increase, with added fuel surcharges being assessed with each shipment of goods to distribution centers and retail outlets, it is a cost that will in many cases be felt by the end user. With this in mind, you can save some money by planning your purchases biweekly and in greater bulk. This can reduce the usage of fuel, and the need for repeated deliveries.

The world is a series of interconnected happenings that singly may not seem to Amount to a hill of beans, but when you dig into the far reaching implications as well as examine how these implications could impact you personally, you begin to see the world as it is…A living and breathing thing we all depend on in ways we may never have even considered before.

Find more articles by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.

New Traditions at the American Massage Conference

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

New American Traditions
By Angie Patrick

Can you actually have a “new” tradition? Well, I guess they have to start somewhere, right? I mean, someone has to go first, and from there we build traditions. This is the same from Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe to shooting rockets off at the park on the 4th of July. Someone came up with that yummy recipe, and someone thought it would be fun to shoot fireworks to celebrate our independence. Soon enough, viola, a new tradition is born.

I believe we are seeing some new traditions being born in the massage industry right now, and I am so excited to be right in the middle of the fun. The American Massage Conference is well on the way to become a mainstay on the Massage and Wellness Landscape, and some of the traditions being set are equally as exciting.

The “Facebook” party is already legendary! Recognizing the growth and importance of Social Media in the development of the massage industry and in the way we interact with one another as a vital component of networking makes sense. Providing an opportunity for all these “virtual” friends to meet and connect at a national event is something that will definitely be a mainstay in our market. Ideas are born, connections made, business opportunities arise, and friends are made at this event, and this year it will be an even bigger celebration!

The First Annual Massage Job Fair is putting down roots at the Atlanta event on May 22, 2011. This will be a smaller forum of employers across the southeast as well as nationally looking to put therapists to work. This idea was born as a direct result of the status of the economy. Through education and product support as well as job placement, the American Massage Conference is created with the Therapist in mind. AMC is working to bring you the things that have value to you. And the Job fair is one more way we can help therapists canvass and circulate in the community.

The Student Day, “SMART FROM THE START”, is on May 22 and is geared towards students and recent graduates. This informative presentation is focused on providing tips and information that can help you launch a healthy and prosperous career as a Massage Therapist. Hear from industry professionals like David Kent, GuruKirn Khalsa, Lynda Solien Wolfe, Ryan Hoyme, the one and only MASSAGE NERD, and Ann Williams of the ABMP.  And as if the information were not enough, we will also be giving away nearly $4,000.00 in prizes to those in attendance, which makes your odds of winning something fabulous very high!

The TRADE SHOW HALL is jam packed with vendors who are ready to wheel and deal. This is indeed a buying show, and the deals will be tremendous. Anyone in the area should make it a point to get to this trade show floor to get samples and hands on demonstrations with the massage products you love, as well as gain access to 30 (YES I SAID 30) One Hour CEU Classes. All this for only $40!

The a la carte menu of educational opportunities from world class educators is nothing less than stellar. You can choose your own path of courses to fill your own individual educational niche. Whether you need a few hours or many, from Modalities to Business, there is something here for everyone. Some classes have sold out, so we are working to open more! If you are planning to come and have yet to make your arrangements, I would encourage you to do so. It is filling up nicely!

All in all, some really wonderful traditions are being created and all for the better of the massage community! Join us for the festivities in Atlanta Georgia, May 20-22, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center on Capitol Avenue. See you there!

To register for the American Massage Conference, click here.

Massage Therapy as a Complement to Physical Therapy

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Overview
Although there is much overlap between the fields of massage therapy and physical therapy, current Western practice of each provides a complement to the other rather than duplication of services. Massage therapy encompasses the techniques of touching or rubbing the patient’s body in order to relax the muscles, to enhance circulation or to loosen adhesions. Physical therapy often involves stretching and exercise to rehabilitate injured tissues and restore range of motion. By capitalizing on the strengths of each practice, a complementary treatment can be developed that provides maximum healing in an efficient and effective manner.

History
Historically, many of the activities we commonly associate with either massage or physical therapy, such as rubbing and stretching, were usually practiced together by the same person. In Axel V. Grafstrom’s 1898 “A Text Book of Mechano-Therapy,” he refers to Per Henrik Ling as being the father of the techniques later known as physical therapy. Ling has often been cited as one of the first to use aspects of massage to complement his physical therapy. Massage has been utilized as a key technique employed in physical therapy since its inception.

Physical Benefits
The primary focus of physical therapists is to restore the patient to maximal function, using a series of strengthening exercises, activities and stretching to accomplish the recovery of the muscles. Massage, when used in a complementary capacity, works to create the optimal internal environment for muscle tissue to heal and function through increased circulation and lymph flow, relaxes chronically contracted muscle tissue and may loosen scar tissue adhesions that restrict normal movement. It prepares tissue to respond better to physical therapy treatment.

Psychological Benefits
Massage therapy can further enhance the beneficial effects of physical therapy by helping patients to relax mentally, therefore decreasing stress-related chemicals such as cortisol in the brain and enhancing endorphins and other mood-elevating chemicals. This improved attitude helps patients to relax and respond more completely and with less pain to the treatments provided by the physical therapist. The improved mental outlook associated with massage therapy can also help patients to feel less depressed about their impairments, to be more positive about their ability to recover and to be more tolerant of the healing and rehabilitation process.

 Read more at livestrong.com.

First Annual American Massage Job Fair

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

First Annual American Massage Job Fair

By Angie Patrick

Some people spend their whole lives asking in hushed tones, “Why?” I prefer to think of the larger picture and sing loudly in a strong, pronounced operatic voice, “Why NOT?” (with extra emphasis on the NOT for effect).

Just because you have never seen it done, does not mean it shouldn’t be. In fact, I look upon the unknown as just about enough probable cause to take the bull by the horns and take action. If someone does not go first, who will? And if you have the ability, location, contacts, resources, and desire – the only thing holding you back is fear. Fear is a four-letter word. And in this economy, sometimes you have to stop being fearful, and begin to be bold in your thinking and in your processes. What worked before may not be what will work now, and the fear that can surround an unemployed massage therapist is something that can nag and weigh you down when you should be using your energy and talents for healing and helping.

This is the entire drive behind the First Annual American Massage Job Fair being held at the American Massage Conference in Atlanta on May 22, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is a ground-breaking event bringing massage therapy employers together to find talent often hidden from view when answering an ad online or in the paper.

The job fair will host many potential employers including schools, spas, chiropractors, franchises and more. It will indeed be the place to find a repository of potential employers ready and willing to talk to you on-the-spot. Our industry believes in the power of relationships, networking, and above all else – human interaction. Meeting potential employers and having a brief moment to make a connection in some way is hugely paramount to a successful application process.

To be as successful as can be at the Job Fair, let me give you a few tips that can help you along in the process.

Job Fair 101

First, understand this is a Job Fair, and it is a cursory meeting to give both parties an opportunity to scope one another out and to make a connection. A full-blown interview will likely not occur this day, but a subsequent call may indeed come and you may be asked back for further interviewing.

Bring many copies of your resume, but only bring a condensed version that pertains to the profession at hand. It should outline your education, your hands-on experience, modalities you know, and any work experience and achievements. If you have been employed in another field as a career before the current, then by all means list it. But, please do not list your part-time, summer, or temp jobs unless they pertain to this industry. Time is limited; let your best assets shine, and avoid having the only thing remembered about you is that you once did a summer landscaping job five years ago.

Be sure to have your 3-minute speech ready to go: “Hi, I am Angie, and I am looking for a job that ____. I feel I can provide ____ to any position, and my availability is ____.”
Be intentional with your words; leave out any: umm’s, errr’s, I-mean’s, or uh’s. These words do not leave a good impression, and are certainly not what potential employers wish to hear at a job fair where time is limited, or any other setting for that matter.

Find your confidence, know what you bring to the table, hold your head high, wear your lucky underwear and get noticed.

Be certain you have gathered business cards from each and every employer, regardless of whether you were able to connect personally or not. If time is waning, leave your resume on the table and pick up a card. You will use this card as part of your contact list and utilize the data on it to follow-up on your resume.

If you are indeed able to get face time with the employer, you will most assuredly want to follow-up after the job fair to thank them for their time and consideration. A handwritten note goes a long way here as it is unexpected and certainly out of the norm. In other words, you will get noticed.

To pre-register for the free Job Fair, visit AmericanMassageConference.com/JobFair to be sure you can get in without waiting in an on-site registration line. In this case, the early bird won’t just get the best worm, they may get the best JOB.

Read more on Massage Today Link

AMTA Releases Massage Therapy Research

Friday, February 18th, 2011

PRESS RELEASE:  The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) fourth annual summary research on the state of the massage therapy profession indicates both the impact of the poor economy on massage in the past two years and how massage therapists have adjusted their practices. A detailed report focused on the meaning of the research for massage therapy schools was released and discussed today at the AMTA 2011 Massage Schools Summit in San Francisco.

Based on three surveys conducted for AMTA in recent months, and data from government agencies, the research shows the economy is the prime mover of massage therapy.  Indications are that the public embraces the benefits of massage and will increase their usage as the economy recovers.

The percentage of adult American consumers who received a massage between July 2009 and July 2010 went down by four percentage points, from 22 percent to 18 percent, compared to the previous year.  Consumers continue to strongly believe in the efficacy of massage with over 80 percent of them seeing massage as effective in reducing pain and as beneficial to their health and wellness. Twenty-six percent of American adults expected to get a massage in the next twelve months. 

“We are delighted to provide our members, the profession and the public with ongoing research about the state of massage therapy in the U.S.,” says AMTA President Kathleen Miller-Read.  “We now have several years of information that help us all see what is happening in consumer use of massage, how massage therapists practice and how massage schools are functioning.  This information is invaluable to all of us, to help us know how to maintain our practices and how our massage schools can change to reflect the evolving needs of our profession.”

During 2010, massage therapists worked an average of 19.4 massage hours per week, down slightly from 20.4 hours per week in 2009. Including tips, the average therapist earned $41 per hour in 2010 vs. $44.90 in 2009.

Read more at amtamassage.org.

Do Massage Therapists Believe in Magic?

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

I wish for abundance for all, don’t you?
I wish for professional education for all, don’t you?
I wish for ways to better myself and my business, don’t you?
I wish there were some magic wand that could make all this happen, don’t you?

I am not sure about you, but I answered YES to all of the above. But how can you make all these things a reality. How can you begin the wheels of progress turning so that each of these wishes might come true. I personally believe you should first see the greater scale of the goal, and then begin your journey in a space that makes sense to you and is also within your scope of immediate control.
As much as I would like to change the world for the better, I have to do my part one step at a time. If I look at the entire need in its bulk sum, it can be overwhelming. But if I can break this down into things which I can control, then MASTER THEM, I find I am in a far greater and much stronger place to impact my world for the better.
It is often difficult to see the needs and feel empowered to help unless your own house is in order. If you are struggling to make it, then seeing a way to reach out and help other s seems more daunting. So how can we begin to impact CHANGE within our own house? I believe we first must recognize the opportunity we have before us to strengthen our own foundations. If you better educate yourself, your business may prosper providing greater abundance for you and your family. And waving the magic wand is not as difficult as you may think.
Since you are reading this on a computer, then no doubt you are somewhat computer savvy. I have personally been amazed at the plethora of educational resources, free seminars, free webinars, downloadable ebooks, and online conferences spanning across CAM segments these days. Much of this education, instruction, direction and perspective can be found in free massage resources online.

Read more on Massage Today Link

Join in the Fun at the Massage School Makeover Celebration!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Massage School Makeover

On November 16, 2010, Educating Hands School of Massage in Miami, FL was announced the winner of the very first Massage School Makeover. On January 6, 2011 the Massage School Makeover Team will arrive in Miami to furnish Educating Hands with over $80,000 of products and services donated by Professional Product Partners. Everyone is welcome to join in on this 3 day celebration!

Thursday, January 6, 2011
11:00am – 3:00pm
Live entertainment and an award ceremony led by Massage Warehouse’s Angie Patrick.
Massage School Makeover Team arrives at Educating Hands with a truckload of products! Volunteers are needed to help unload the truck and unwrap the gifts.

Friday, January 7, 2011                  
10:00am – 6:00pm
Sponsor Spotlight – Several of massage’s top teachers, product specialists and industry leaders will be sharing in the celebration and demonstrating products.
Silent Auction – A silent auction will be held Friday and Saturday where you can bid on seminars, ballet tickets, professional and student massages, and much more!

Saturday, January 8, 2011      
10:00am – 6:00pm
Holistic Therapy Clinics & Movement Classes – Get a massage or acupuncture treatment or participate in a movement class!
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Open House – Check out the new Educating Hands Facility with all their new products! Refreshments provided.
4:00pm – 8:00pm
 Educating Hands Holistic Flavorings

To RSVP, call (305) 285-6691. For more information, please call Angie Patrick at (877) 404-0447.

Educating Hands School of Massage
3883 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 285-6991

Best Careers 2011: Massage Therapist

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Massage therapists may be good with their hands, but most also have a knack for business. You’re likely to work for yourself, and your success depends largely on how many clients you bring in, so you’ll need to market yourself well and develop a rapport with repeat customers. Many massage therapists work part time in several locations, including spas, hospitals, cruise ships, and sports centers.

Click here to find out more!

Massage therapy uses touch to treat injuries, sooth tired or overworked muscles, reduce stress, and promote general health. Treatment comes in many varieties, including Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, and sports massage, and most therapists specialize in one or more. In most states, massage therapists need a license to practice.

The outlook:

As massage therapy becomes more popular, employment is expected to grow faster than average—19 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Labor Department. Although this industry certainly hasn’t been spared the wrath of the recession, more spas and massage clinic franchises are popping up to meet increased demand for massage services, creating new openings for therapists. Massage therapists held about 122,400 jobs in 2008, and more than half were self-employed. Many more practice massage therapy as a secondary source of income.

Of those who are self-employed, most own their own businesses or work as independent contractors. Others find employment in personal care services establishments, the offices of physicians and chiropractors, fitness and recreational sports centers, and hotels. Employment is concentrated in metropolitan areas, as well as resort and destination locales.

Read more Link

Massage School Makeover Winner: Educating Hands School of Massage

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Massage Warehouse’s Angie Patrick announced the winning school of the Massage School Makeover today during the 2010 World Massage Conference. Educating Hands School of Massage in Miami, FL is the winner of over $65,000 in professional products, educational supplies and more.

For over 29 years, Educating Hands’ Holistic Massage Therapy Program has focused on training students to perform bodywork skills with excellence, grace, sensitivity and ease based on an in-depth knowledge of the human body and an understanding of the role and importance of the body-mind connection. All school faculty members are successful Licensed Massage Therapists who are actively engaged in private practice.

Along with enough equipment to supply a 10 bay clinic, Educating Hands received a 1 year supply of lubricants as well as a full library of text books, publications, instructional DVD’s and music. In addition, Educating Hands students will receive their first year of liability insurance, samples of products, association memberships, free admittance for various Trade Show events, and CEU availability after graduation.

Educating Hands School of Massage will be moving to a new facility on Biscayne Bay in Miami, FL. For more information on Educating Hands, visit www.educatinghands.com.

All schools who submitted applications and essays for the Massage School Makeover received a Biofreeze Retailing Education Starter Kit and The Science Behind Biofreeze video and the final 20 schools also received a 16oz Biofreeze pump. The 10 finalist schools received $100 gift certificates: Georgia Massage School, Florida Career School of Massage and Bodywork, Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy, Cumberland Institute of Massage Therapies, Mississippi School of Therapeutic Massage, Holistic Training Institute, Institute of Bodywork Studies, Educating Hands, Crystal Mountain School of Therapeutic Massage, and Savannah School of Massage.

To learn more about the Professional Product Partners and the products they provided, visit www.massagetoday.com.

Thai Massage, the Push and Pull of Pain Management

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Why The benefits of yoga — increased flexibility, blood circulation and energy flow; removal of toxins; reduction of stress and pain — without having to attend a class. Cassandra Pickard lived with chronic back and shoulder pain for 10 years before trying Thai massage. One treatment changed her life. “I felt like dancing,” she says. Convinced of its healing effects, she became a licensed holistic practitioner and founded Embrace Metta, which means to “embrace loving kindness,” out of her home at Yonge and York Mills.
What to expect Traditional Thai massage is a totally different experience from Western deep-tissue massage. You’re fully clothed (Pickard prefers clients wear cotton), and no oils are used. After discussing health history and concerns, such as computer-posture angst and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, wrists and hands — sound familiar? — you lie on your back, limp on a mat on the floor, and let Pickard do all the work. “Some people fall asleep,” she says. “They’re snoring away while I try to turn them over without waking them.”

Pickard, once a competitive gymnast, is strong and focused with a warmth that puts me completely at ease. That’s important so that you can really let go and not worry about how awkward or chubby you may look in some of the poses.

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