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Archive for the ‘Massage Tips’ Category

Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream Massage

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream Massage
This indulgent body treatment is a great offering for the holiday season!

 

The Treatment:
1. Apply 2 oz of Keyano Cranberry Scrub to your client with a fast, circular motion
2. Remove any residue from your client with a warm, damp towel
3. Use 1 1/2 oz of warmed Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream to perform a massage on your client

 

Enhancing the Experience:
1. Offer retail sizes of the Keyano Cranberry Scrub and Butter Cream for your client to purchase for at-home use

 

cranberry-massage

Choosing and Caring for Linens

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Ten for Today
By Rebecca Jones

Choosing and Caring for Linens
Michigan massage therapist Patrice Wisner thought she’d figured out her linen laundry dilemma when her husband started washing smaller loads and using more detergent. The result was cleaner sheets, fewer impossible-to-get-out oil stains, and no more lingering smell of oil. Then, some of her clients started sneezing when they got on her table. “Too much detergent?” she wonders. “Currently, we use detergent and bleach, but we’re on a septic system and I can’t say that it’s all that great for my septic system to use so much bleach to get these sheets clean. But if I don’t, they start to smell when they come out of the dryer, and at some point later on they start to smell like French fries! There’s just got to be an answer.” Table linens are one of the most important accessories massage therapists will purchase, since those linens are so visible to clients. And caring properly for the linens is one of the most important steps in maintaining a hygienic practice. The experts all agree: don’t short sheet your massage practice by choosing anything less than the best-quality linens you can afford and keep them in tip-top shape. Here are some pointers for selecting the right linens for your practice, and how to care for them so they always send a positive message to clients.

1. Pure or Blended
Some people avoid 100 percent cotton massage sheets, preferring the wrinkle-resistance and greater durability that comes from cotton/polyester blends. But there’s much to be said for the comfort and soft feel of 100 percent cotton. They also tend to release oil more readily than blends. Likewise, those who appreciate earth-friendly sheets may even look into hemp sheets—more expensive initially, but extremely long lasting—or certified-organic cotton sheets. Remember that you get what you pay for in most instances and quality sheets will not pill as easily as cheaper ones. There’s no one best answer. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

2. Flannel’s Appeal
“It’s the most comfortable sheet there is,” says Steve Gern, owner of Sew & Sew, a maker of massage sheets in Glide, Oregon. And while the quality of other kinds of sheets is measured in thread count—the higher the better, as a rule—that’s not true with flannel sheets. Flannel is measured in weight. Sew & Sew, for instance, carries 3.8-ounce and 5-ounce flannel sheets, with the heavier-weight flannel costing a bit more. The heavier the weight, the more plush the feel and the more washings it can endure. And while flannel is mostly associated with chilly climates, it’s actually a good product for warm weather, too, since it wicks away perspiration more readily than other materials.

3. Your Linen Closet
John Sise, owner of Innerpeace, a Walpole, New Hampshire, massage linen company, suggests keeping a minimum of two days worth of linens. So, if you’re going to do five massages a day, you need to have at least 10 sets of standard-width (46-inch) sheets on hand. “We recognize that some people may need a wider top sheet, so we recommend that the therapist has a few wide top flat sheets to accommodate the people who may have extra modesty issues or are larger than the average client,” Sise says. It’s also a good idea to keep plenty of hand towels nearby. “They’re really good for wiping a client off, so you don’t have to use a sheet or a drape to wipe them off,” says Diana Dapkins, president of Pure Pro Massage Products, of Greenfield, Massachusetts. “And if you spill a product, they’re just a nice tool to have around.”

4. Solids Versus Prints
Again, this is a matter of personal preference. There are lots of beautiful prints on the market, including batiks and themed designs, but Gern says he sold so few printed sheets he stopped carrying them. Solids—especially whites—look clean and hygienic, but prints carry one big advantage over solids: they can help camouflage stains.

5. Sanitation Rules
Of course, don’t reuse any towel or sheet that has come in contact with a client before laundering it. Sheets should be changed after every client. Same for face-rest covers. Find a hamper for dirty linens that is well away from the clean ones. Make sure to sterilize all table surfaces between clients. Select quality, ecofriendly cleaning products that are considerate of clients’ allergies and void of artificial scents. And, of course, thoroughly wash your hands between clients.

6. Laundry Tips
Experts disagree about the ideal temperature at which to launder your linens. Norma Keyes, director of product standards for Cotton Inc., a trade group to promote cotton products, advises using the hottest water possible to remove stains and odor. Gern and Sise say hot water only sets in stains. They recommend warm water. Dapkins insists warm to lukewarm is fine, and that even washing in cold water is acceptable. But here’s something they all agree on: get them washed as soon as possible—within 24 hours of use. “If you must wait to wash them, store them in black plastic bags,” Dapkins says. “Tie the bags shut to keep out air and light, as these are the two things that turn oil rancid.” For badly stained linens, allow them to soak in a degreaser, then launder them twice to completely remove oily residue. For stubborn stains, add bleach to the second wash so the bleach can penetrate after some of the oily buildup is gone, Dapkins suggests.

7. Special Supplies
Unlike bed linens, which are only for sleeping, massage table linens get regularly doused with oil. Simply tossing them into the wash with other linens won’t be adequate. Some sort of degreaser must be used, experts say. One possibility is dish soap, which won’t harm linens, or the spray product called Zout. Dapkins created Pure Pro Linen Degreaser, a citrus-based product, specifically with the demands of massage therapists in mind. “I got tired of hearing massage therapists talk about stained linens,” she says. “It’s a citrus-based solvent, which is very different from other products on the market that are petroleum-based. Anyone will tell you that vegetable oil is tough. It doesn’t mix with water and it doesn’t come out very easily. The citrus solvents are just phenomenal at eating vegetable oil.” She says degreasers do not remove stains. That’s what bleach is for. But before the bleach can work, massage linens may require an initial washing with a degreaser.

8. Dryer Safety
If a sheet comes out of the washer still smelling of oil, do not put it in the dryer. Drying it will only worsen the problem, because it will bake in the oil residue, making removal even harder. What’s more, there’s a safety issue involved. “We’ve had a number of people with dryer fires, because they put the stuff in the dryer and it combusted. There was simply too much residue on the linens,” Dapkins says.

9. Folding Technique
Yes, there really is a secret to folding a fitted sheet, and if you master it, your linen cabinets will be forever neater. Start by pulling the sheet out of the dryer immediately, not letting it sit around unfolded for hours. You’ll need to spread the sheet out on a table or bed. Fold it in half horizontally, then tuck the top gathered end into the pocket formed by the bottom gathered end. Fold everything horizontally in half again. Then fold the bulky gathered ends horizontally into the middle of the ten for todaysheet. Fold the smooth end over the top of the bulky end, then fold lengthwise into thirds yet again. If you’re having trouble picturing this, a number of online reference sites have step-by-step picture guides. Just type “fold a fitted sheet” into your Web browser, and you’ll find lots of online help.

10. Letting Go
Finally, if you see any sign of holes, broken elastic, fraying, or anything that looks unserviceable, it’s time to find a different use for that sheet than putting it under a massage client. And if you’ve tried every trick you know and you still can’t get a stain out, surrender to the inevitable and ditch the sheet. “If you get a year’s worth of service out of a sheet, and you do 25 clients a week, remember that’s just pennies per use. You’ve gotten your money out of that sheet,” Dapkins says.

Rebecca Jones is a Denver-based freelancer who has a new appreciation for the intricacies of massage linens. Contact her at killarneyrose@comcast.net.

 

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals original article:
http://www.abmp.com/massagemarketplace/downloads/TenForToday_JF09.pdf
Additional resources:
http://www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com/i/196551

Dressing your Massage Table

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Dressing your Massage Table
There’s nothing quite like a well dressed table when it comes to providing comfort and warmth for your clients. We’ve highlighted some commonly used table coverings so you can pick and choose which layers are appropriate for your specific applications.

1. Massage Table Warmer
A table warmer will provide even warmth across your entire massage table. Try the NRG Digital Massage Table Warmer with elastic bands to prevent the warmer from slipping off the table and a digital control for quick and easy temperature changes.

2. Additional Massage Table Fleece Padding
A fleece pad is the most popular type of plush covering as it provides additional cushion and comfort. Try the affordable NRG Fleece Massage Table Pad and Face Rest Cover. This machine washable table pad features 1″ thick fleece which will keep your clients warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

3. Massage Sheets
Once you have your table warmer and additional padding in place, layer your fitted sheet on top, followed by a flat sheet which will be your top sheet. Try the NRG Deluxe Massage Sheet Set which includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and a face cradle cover. This sheet set is designed for comfort, fit and extended use.

4. Massage Blanket
A blanket will provide that final layer of warmth for your client, particularly during colder months. Try the Matelesse Coverlet to add a touch of elegance to your treatment room. Available in 3 classic colors, this blanket is wrinkle resistant and easy to care for.

dressing-table

How to Improve Massage Therapy Sessions

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Any professional who is truly passionate about his or her craft will go that extra mile to make sure that they are doing their absolute best.  As a massage therapist, this is especially important.  Your clients expect to feel less pain or more relaxed after a session.  In the field of massage therapy, one bad massage can easily hurt your reputation.  On the other hand, an amazing massage will certainly bring about new referrals and regular customers who return again and again.

Subtle details during a massage session can make all of the difference.  If you are doing your best to really improve a client’s experience, they will take notice.  The difference between a good massage therapist and a great one may not be apparent at a quick glance, but there is no doubt that clients can tell the difference, whether they realize it or not.  Here are some simple tips to keep in mind that will help you to make sure that you are meeting your full potential.

Remember to focus on each person’s individuality.  Yes, massage therapy is a job, but it is much more than that.  You are providing a service that promotes healing in the body and mind.  Your clients are trusting you to help them, and it is imperative that you do not let them down.  It can be easy to just go through the motions, thinking the client may never be any the wiser.  The problem is that they will go home assuming that their back pain just can’t be helped through massage.  They may not blame the therapist directly, but it is unlikely that they will return.

However, if you focus on the subtleties and intricacies of each individual, you will be able to perform massages that are much more effective.  Don’t think of the clients as just another body.  Each and every one of your massages should be personal and catered to their specific needs.  Of course, learning how to change things up from person to person is a skill that will come with time and experience.

Another way to improve your performance is to use massage tools.  Although some purists may say that the hands are the only way to really accomplish the best massage, using tools will allow you to save your hands for when and where they are needed most.  Massaging multiple people per day can certainly get exhausting, and if your hands are too tired, they may not be able to accomplish what they need to.  Using a tool allows you to give yourself a break, and they can also accomplish things that the human hand is not even capable of.

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

By Angie Patrick

Massage Warehouse – Spa supplies and equipment provider

Humans are emotional creatures. This is neither good nor bad. It simply is.

We are wired to respond to situations, stimulation, sensory input and vocalizations in an emotional and sometimes even subliminal manner. Loud noises startle us and make us wary of danger, the smell of bacon makes us hungry, the sight of beauty can make us weep, and watching a puppy’s antics can make us laugh. Whether we want it to be or not, our entire response to the world is highly weighted on emotion. Once you understand this basic fact and embrace this as truth, it makes interaction and involvement with others more easily managed.

Business and marketing professionals bank on emotional responses from their clients in order to gain a stronger bond with their prospect. Banks and law firms often employ the use of blues and greens in their advertising to instill a sense of professionalism and strength. Fast food places focus on red and yellow hues to remind you of catsup and mustard, all with the idea of making you hungry. The same can be said of spas, as purple and violet hues, along with other soft or earthly colors, are used in the hopes of putting you in a peaceful state of mind and one that promotes being grounded, centered and relaxed. While not overt, the use of color can trigger emotional responses in us that can help sway our thinking to the mindset of the marketer, making their message more easily received and understood.

Just as sight is a sensory input that can trigger emotional responses, so is scent. Have you driven by a steakhouse or other food establishment and smelled the delicious aromas coming out of the stacks atop the building? I would bet smelling these scents immediately makes you think of the food you smell and entices you to treat yourself to their wares. Have you ever stood in the shampoo aisle of the store and opened the top of the bottle to smell the product before you purchase? Have you ever returned one quickly to the shelf because it was unappealing, while lingering over a bottle that you found pleasing? If shopping with another, did you offer the pleasing smelling bottle to your companion to also smell to gain their insight and opinion? It is likely you do the same sharing mechanism with food you enjoy as well, offering your companion a taste of something you have that has brought your senses pleasure and provides a happy emotion. We share what we love, and that which brings us joy. Be it knowingly or subliminal, what we experience as soothing, pleasing, or enhancing our positive emotions is something we will share with those who are important to us.

So, understanding the basic need for humans to be impacted emotionally in a positive way in order for us to be satisfied and share our findings with others, it makes sense for us to examine our practice and surroundings to see what we offer and work to make the experience one that will be remembered and recommended to others. I encourage you to take a few minutes and consider the following as a means to understand how what you do, how you present and how your interactions can evoke emotional responses, and help gain and retain clients.

Whether you have a brick and mortar location, a rented space or are a mobile therapist, you bring to the table a palette of color and an array of scent opportunity that can set the mood for your services. Depending on the impression you wish to leave with your client with your hands on skills, you can also add visual and olfactory stimulus to add emphasis and help make your clients experience a deeper, richer one. While we are each individuals and each have our own style, it makes sense to help reinforce the positive emotions felt by your client by utilizing a few additions to your marketing and regular treatment.

Consider your business cards. Do they send the message you would like your clients to know about you without reading any of the text? In other words, are your business cards an accurate depiction of the feelings your services provide? I once received a business card from a therapist that was black, with red writing and red tribal art. My first thought was this was a card for a tattoo artist or musician. These colors evoked that mental image for me and the use of tribal art was reminiscent of a tattoo and the all black card and red font reminded me of rock and roll. The therapist was actually a mobile therapist, focusing on relaxation and chair massage. And while the card was indeed attractive, nothing about it spoke to the business or the care the therapist would provide. In the mind of the client, or prospective client, this impression can be a lasting one and when the need arises for a massage they may not correlate your name and business to the need, as it may not be in sync with their visual and emotional expectations. I am not saying to copy everyone else, I advocate your individualism. However, if you are working to build a clientele of people who will be interested in what you do and call you when they have a need, then being synchronous with your visuals and your services makes sense.

So how about your treatment room? What message are you sending with your décor? Consider the colors you use and the way your room smells. Let’s take the example from the above card and extrapolate that to the treatment room. With the marketing tool I was given by this therapist, I would envision a dark treatment room, dark linens and a bit of a vampire feel. Not really the feeling I would want when going to a therapist for stress management and relaxation. While the services of this therapist may be absolutely nothing of the sort, mentally I already see this image and will likely not choose to call upon them for my needs. In my mind, and certainly in the minds of other consumers, softer colors and soothing scents are what they often think of when they think of stress relief. Make sure your surroundings, whether they are static or brought along for the ride, are consistent with your treatment.

Bring soothing colors into your space by thinking about how they make you feel when you see them. While you may adore the latest shade of passion-neon-pink, jarring or unusual colors may create a negative mental check mark in the checklist of your clients mind. Keep in mind, soft palettes of color help sooth the mind and firm colors such as blues, greens and whites often create a more clinical feeling. Soft, earthy tones such as browns, beige, plum, slate, sage and taupe are wonderful neutrals that can work in any space, as they lend themselves easily to any services.

Creating a space and environment that enhances your treatment can include the sense of smell. Have you taken a good sniff of your linens? Do they smell fresh and clean or do they have a faint smell of old massage oil? Try hard to be objective, as the client’s sense of smell regarding your linens will likely be more acute than your own, as they are not in contact with your linens as much as you are. We can grow accustomed to a scent and even become immune to the objection as a direct result of familiarity. If your linens have become a bit less than enchanting, wash them with enzyme rich detergent designed for oil removal. If this is still not enough, invest in new linens. Your client will be enrobed in your linens, and anything less than a comforting and cocooning experience will leave a negative impression. You work too hard to have your client be put off by this highly correctable issue.

Consider the massage lubricants you use and whether aromatherapy may be of benefit. Essential oils are a powerful tool in bringing about the desired emotion within your client. Floral and soft, woodsy and earthy, clean and crisp, or citrus inspired, each can help you set a tone and feel for the treatment while helping to quiet the mind and stresses of your client. Think of your desired outcome and then set the tone by using sensory stimuli to help evoke this desired response. Just as a realtor stages a home, even going so far as to bake cookies during the open house to make people think of “home” and “family,” you can use the tools in your arsenal to help direct the client toward a mindset that will enable your treatment to have greater impact and a lasting positive emotion.

In total, the most important way you can encourage a client to return is to be an educated and capable therapist. Also take into consideration how what you do, offer and provide makes them feel. Consider how what they see and experience inside and outside your treatment impacts them emotionally and work to make those feelings be those of enjoyment, ease and success. When we feel good about something, we share the information with others, and return for more of what makes us happy. This can mean repeat clients and referrals which can bring you great rewards, both financially and emotionally. After all, who would refuse happy, returning clients who send their friends and family to you, too? In this scenario, everyone is happy!  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

Holiday Income

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Holiday Income? UH… YES, PLEASE!

By Angie Patrick

Massage Warehouse – Spa supplies and equipment provider

Would anyone say, “ No, Thank You!” ?

It is difficult for me to imagine a time these days when anyone would turn down making additional income. During a time when many Americans are making a list and checking it twice, most of us are plotting presents for friends, colleagues, family and friends for gift giving season which is literally just around the corner.

How can you increase your income during this season without selling yourself short? How can you realize your highest earning potential, while still finding time to be merry with friends and family? Can it be done without giving up nights and weekends? YES, it can! In this blog, I am going to give you a few hints as to how to be cure you are gaining as much revenue as possible from other, main-stream- retailers marketing. They have planted the seeds in the minds of the nation; let’s learn how we can harvest the crops.

You cannot turn on the TV without Holiday specials from every corner of retail being blasted on your flat screen. Additionally, banners and pop ups are busily sharing with you news of Door-Busters and Holiday sprints to save money on gifts. How can you use this marketing to your own advantage? Well, it isn’t as hard as you may think! Retailers already have the population in a lather preparing for gift giving season. They start this just after Halloween now, and it is constant until January! If consumers are being plied with this message in every commercial, every store window, every social media banner, every radio ad, and every print publication, then this message is pretty well conveyed. Take your marketing dollars and instead of stressing them out, let your marketing be the answer to holiday stress.

1) Consider Gift Certificates this year! This is money now for work later. Additionally, this is a wonderful opportunity to incentivise your current clients to give the gift of massage! No one, ( and I mean NO-ONE) likes long lines, shopping at 6 am for a deal, spending hard earned on items the recipient may or may not like, crowded lot parking, and buyer’s remorse from buying out of desperation when you cannot find the perfect gift.…If we were to poll, I am confident that the majority of respondents would opt for simpler shopping, less crowds, and items that truly fit the user without worry of incorrect sizes, or taste.

This is where the Gift Certificate comes in. Not only is it an incredibly thoughtful gift, but it is absolutely an endorsement of your skills from your existing client base, provided to those they feel closest to! In the history of marketing, no better accolade can be bestowed upon a business than to be referred to a friend, family member of colleague. Nothing says, “YOU’VE GOTTA TRY THIS, IT’S AMAZING!” like a gift certificate.

Someone thought enough of your skills to not only recommend, but SUPPLY another person with the means to experience your treatment with no strings attached! This is a tremendous vote of confidence in your abilities, and very likely the most compelling bit of marketing out there about your business.

Put these on display in your work space, and also suggest them to clients both in person and on the phone. If you have a client list, < and really, why wouldn’t you? > it makes sense to call and touch base during the Holidays. This will provide you opportunity to do two important things:

a) Provide personalized contact with your clients and remind them you are available for them. Check in and wish them well, and let them know you are looking forward to their next visit.

b) You can also inform them you are selling gift certificates providing the gift of Relaxation and Pain Management, and would like to know if they had anyone on their list they would like to provide this gift. As an added value, offer to mail the certificate with a personalized note in the words of the client along with a holiday card. This is the ULTIMATE time saver for the client, and will allow you to continue to build your prospect lists!

2) Offer up-sell opportunities to your clients during this time of year to provide convenience for your client, as well as additional income for you. This can come in a number of ways; you can offer gift items such as candles, bath salts, scrubs, essential oils, analgesics and more. These, when placed in a well lit, easy to peruse display can provide added income for potentially everyone who visits you this season. Creating pre-made gift baskets with these items in it can be a life saver for a client who has a gift to buy, but has no idea what the recipient needs. EVERYONE needs to unwind! Create gifts and baskets that convey that message.

3) Offer some seasonal treatments your clients may be interested in. Perhaps a peppermint foot scrub at the end of a treatment, or perhaps you can offer a Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub Exfoliation for the Holidays, Mother’s Day, Valentines, or any other Holiday where women are involved. < women adore chocolate> Be sure your male clientele know you offer these seasonal treatments, because it will make buying a gift certificate even more attractive when they can give the gift of a “Chocolate Indulgence Exfoliation and Massage”. Here I used chocolate as the hook, but be creative! Find and create your own protocols and name them something catchy or interesting. Share this in person, on the phone, and in social media outlets. Put signage in you location announcing these seasonal treatments , a description of the services and their pricing. This is a silent salesman for you, and takes the pressure off of you to offer it to clients. You can simply say,” We are running some interesting Seasonal Treatments this time of year, please feel free to ask about any of them if you would like to try one today. These are also available for Gift Certificates as well.” The client will read, and will ask you questions if they have them or have interest.

Since main-stream-retail has already set the stage for Holiday gift giving, you can certainly pick up the ball and be a hero to those clients in the gift giving frame of mind. Provide them some no stress solutions in a safe and trusted environment, celebrating and sharing the gift they give themselves, and can now share with others; The gift of Wellness!
Happy Holidays!View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Business Building Blocks

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

Massage Warehouse – Massage equipment and products provider

Defining Change and Learning to Understand Why People Fear It

My cousin used to say, “change is change” and I thought it was one of the strangest things a person could say. Well, of course change means change. I mean, what else could it mean? But what exactly is change? How do you define it? How do you quantify it? How do you even begin to endeavor upon making a change if it is such an esoteric term? Why do people fear it so much? Why is it so hard to do? Why are we so resistant to change?

According to Merriam-Webster, change can be defined as the following:

A. To make different in some particular.

B. To give a different position, course, or direction to.

C. To make a shift from one to another.

D. To undergo transformation, transition, or substitution.

So, none of the definitions listed above say to maim, mutilate, slay or dismember. They do not suggest the end of life as we know it or the approach of the apocalypse. It simply means something is about to become something other than that in which we have become accustomed. This can be for the worse or for the better, but at the center of any change is either action or inaction. The outcome of change often depends on the person, business or entity’s intentions and motivations, so clarity of the reasons for change can remove many of the inherent fears we all feel when we hear the word change.

In business, I can say with a very high level of acuity that I have been the catalyst for, as well as the recipient of, change. Change can mean positive outcomes when you are trying to do all the right things for all the right reasons. When you know you need to make a change for the better for your massage practice, you set about making those changes by educating yourself on what your next steps should be. That may mean hiring a consultant to provide direction, or even accomplishing tasks yourself to get the ball moving. It might mean taking a class or two to gain specific knowledge in a new massage technique or protocol so you can impact change in your own practice. It might even mean taking a hard and honest look at your business, where you are in your personal growth, and look at the most difficult thing to change: YOU. Sometimes, our fear of the unknown can cause paralysis in our business because we become so comfortable in our cocoons we resist the driving urge to spread our wings. To do this means a transformation must take place, and sometimes this transformation can be scary. But also, the transformation can be cathartic.

Sometimes, you simply need to break out of old thought patterns that can contain your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. The excuse, “this is always how we have done it,” does not mean, “this is a new way to do it,” is a bad thing. Opening your mind to possibilities is a huge harbinger of positive outcomes. Thinking outside your comfort zone can make you stretch to meet your desired goals. Get out of your own way; step out of the fear box and into a world of potential. It really has to begin with your own thoughts and perceptions, because no change will ever be positive in your mind if you will not open up long enough to examine the possibilities.

This is true of changes that are business related, but also personal in nature. I have personally embarked on a mission to change myself and my health. This is not an easy thing to do, because old habits die hard. Eating balanced meals and exercising has never been my forte, and now it is becoming my norm. It is a change I made with will coming from deep inside and with great determination. My goal is simple, be healthy, reduce my stress levels and lose this weight that has plagued me my whole life. It is slow going, but it IS going. And I am thankful I recognized this need for change before it was too late.

In your world, you may have concerns about where you work, what you do, who you do it with and where you are headed. Change means many things to many people. And it happens all around us every day. The world is in a constant state of flux, and changes with each moment that passes. It happens because someone is brave enough to do that which has never been done before. Someone has found a need and strives to fill it. Technology finds a faster more user friendly interface and rolls it out to the masses. It is a constant, and it requires a first step.

As we hear the “economic experts” say we are emerging from the past few years of downturn in our economy, I have to stop and think what would make these changes? In the housing market, it is because people need a place to live, and are beginning to simply step out and invest again. In sales, people are beginning to feel more confident, albeit ever so slightly, and are willing to turn loose a dollar while watching the bottom line. So in essence, people are making these changes, one by one, stepping out and testing the waters. This is seen as positive growth and momentum by the experts. It took a shift in mindset, and a bit of bravery, but it is happening all around us.

Ultimately, change is up to you. If you do not like where you are, move. If you do not like what you are doing, do something different. If you do not like what you see, speak out. If you want to grow your business or even within yourself, you have to take the first steps. Toughen up, cupcake and be brave! No one said change was easy, but anything worth having is worth working for. If you desire it, it is worth the effort. Don’t settle for “what is” at the expense and forfeiture of what “might be.” Be open, be honest, and most of all, be true to your own self worth. You are the only one who can better yourself and your circumstances. I promise, you are worth it. View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Which is Right for You? Entrepreneur or Employee?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Entrepreneur or Employee? Which is Right for You?

By Angie Patrick

There is no denying the massage and wellness industry is here to stay. People are becoming far more proactive with their health care and are looking to alternatives to heavy medications and a costly doctor visit.

Recognizing there is opportunity for those who choose to chase it, there are many ways you can be involved in the massage health care field. You can be your own boss and open your own practice, you can contract your services to other entities, or you can become an employee. Let’s discuss these opportunities and I want to offer you some points to ponder as you are making your decisions regarding how you will proceed in your career.

While I am cognizant and wholly recognize and respect that those who choose to enter the massage field are compassionate, giving, kind and generous, I am also here to tell you that you must be able to make a living in order for you to be all these things while utilizing the education you have paid to obtain. I know many therapists who feel somewhat guilty for having to even charge for a massage and then hugely undervalue their services as a result. This makes making ends meet much harder than it should be. While I applaud this giving nature, and I certainly do not knock this in any way, (as heaven KNOWS the world could use more people with a giving heart) I would say this type of individual may not make the best entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur means building a business to make a profit. If you find you feel a twinge of guilt to charge the appropriate and customary rates to provide your skills, you might want to look at becoming an employee.

Entrepreneur or Employee Entrepreneurship means being competitive. Do not get me wrong, I do not consider being competitive a bad thing in the least! (I have been known to be quite competitive and it is part of my nature.) Nor do I consider it a bad thing to wish to provide your skills free or nearly free of charge. (I have also been known to do that on occasion as well.) What I am saying is it takes a specific mind set to build a prosperous and profitable practice. You must be willing to take chances, to take charge, to stand fast on your pricing, to manage your marketing, your brand, your retail, your facility, your overhead, your ordering of supply, your capital expenditures for equipment, and your own book keeping to name just a few of the responsibilities of owning a thriving business. Many are satisfied with making only what is needed to survive, while others feel the drive to build a bigger, better more “bionic” practice that can support them in a bit grander fashion. Neither is a bad decision, but being honest with yourself about the inner desires you have, as well as the skill set you have is paramount to your success in either direction.

As an employee, you have the luxury of not having to order your own products, you often have benefits and you can usually count on a pretty regular paycheck. This is less risky and can allow you to do that which you love while not having to work at the actual upkeep of a business. You come in, you do your thing, you complete your side work and you go home. You can leave it and not think about it again until you go back to work. For many, this is a blessing. I have to say I can certainly see the appeal of being an employee, especially from a personal time perspective. An entrepreneur rarely has the opportunity to “clock out” and not think about their business. It is always on their mind, and they are constantly vigilant for any opportunity they might find to increase traffic and support more clients. Rarely are they ever “off the clock.” The actual time performing massage is just the tip of the iceberg for the entrepreneur, while for an employee it is the crux of the job, with little or no additional responsibility for operational expenses or further financial risk. Depending on how your personality is wired, both might have appeal.

For those who see both sides of the coin as appealing and would really prefer to have a little bit of both worlds, I might suggest becoming a contract employee. Being a contract employee is really being your own boss, as you will regulate the hours you work, the facilities you will work within, and the number of clients you see daily. You may or may not have to provide your own equipment or supply, as those needs can change with the contracts in which you enter. You are responsible for your own taxes and reporting, but you get many perks from an earnings perspective that you can use at tax time. These should be discussed with your tax professional for greater clarity, but it is certainly something to entertain when you are deciding to become a contract employee. This can be a rewarding and positive way to enter into the field, but it is not without risk.

An example of a contractor relationship would be that of a chiropractic office that works closely with an independent therapist, sometimes even leasing them space within the facility, and paying them per client. Depending on the agreement with the doctor, you may receive all or only a portion of the charges to the client. You should be skilled at negotiation and not be afraid to ask for what you want. Contract employment is not for the timid, and you are your own best advocate. Without the ability to negotiate in the contractual relationship, you can often find yourself with the fuzzy end of the lollipop at the end of the day, working and making little for your efforts. Savvy relational skills are a must for a contractor.

Just as it is with the world around us, it takes all kinds of people to make a community. No way is better or more glamorous than another; it is simply a different means to the same end. We do not enter this field without the desire to help others. This is really the ultimate goal. How you go about finding your niche in this growing marketplace is really up to you. You need not choose only one option. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to try each of them on for size and see where you feel the most comfy. At the end of the day, you have to pay your bills and you need to be sure you are doing something that makes you happy. Find your happy spot and dig in. You can have it your own unique way, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Massage Warehouse – Massage products and equipment provider

Is Health a De-Valued Commodity?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

By Angie Patrick

I ask you this because I have truly been taking stock of things in my life and the way I manage myself and my health. Upon further consideration, I began to realize that I am not alone in slighting my own needs, and that most Americans value their health by one simple litmus strip; OUR ABILITY TO GO TO WORK.

Many Americans are of the ingrained belief that if they can go to WORK and function in any way possible, they MUST, even if they feel like crud and are potentially contagious to others. It is called “The Don’t Call In, CRAWL In” syndrome. Our work ethics as a society truly seems to dictate whether or not we allow ourselves time to rebuild our health when viruses or colds attack.

Consider this; how many times in college or even in your older adult years have we partied a little too hard at night and then managed somehow to pour ourselves into a job the next day? And we are proud of this saying, “I can handle it, no worries! After all, I didn’t call in sick!” We KNOWINGLY push our own boundaries past the point of making sense really, especially when it comes to our health.

Another scenario; perhaps you have a chronic pain in your shoulder or hip, and you know full well you should see someone to learn what is wrong and plot a course of action, but you simply put it off while continuing to be in pain because you do not want to miss work.

Are you seeing the pattern here?

I realize we are in a recession, and I know many are concerned about losing their job. I am not advocating a mass walkout because you have stubbed your toe… What I am saying is that until we take our own health a bit more seriously and care for SELF and the needs of SELF when your health and well being are compromised, we cannot truly serve our own clients and be true to what we stand for.

I know from whence I speak on this subject.

I had a bit of a wakeup call myself as of late, and I have made a commitment to make profound changes in the way I manage myself and my health. I have lost over 50 pounds now, I am eating a balanced and sensible diet, I am moving more now than ever before, and I am slowing down when my body sends me signs I am tiring. Moreover, I am RESPECTING what signs I receive from my body, and I am working to learn more about how this machine works and what I can do to help keep it running properly.

I want to say to you it is OK to take a sick day. It is OK to stay home. YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU OWN! If your car is broken, you take a day and take it to the garage. If your plumbing goes out, you sit at home and wait for a plumber. Here is the kicker…. Let your cable or DSL go on the blink and it is a major crisis! In all honesty, none of these this means ANYTHING if you are not caring for yourself, first and foremost.

It is cold and flu season. Do your co workers and clients a HUGE favor and STAY HOME if you are ill! Not only are you spreading your illness to anyone around you, but it only makes you weaker to push yourself to the limit.

Allow yourself the time YOU DESERVE to care for yourself and your health. When you do this, and your clients see you take this stance, perhaps they too will feel empowered to take their own health a bit more seriously. After all, is that not what we want them to do?

As for me, I have a new attitude, a new physique, a new commitment to being healthy and preserving my health as long as possible. Won’t you join me?

WE ARE WORTH THE INVESTMENT!

View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Money Saving Tips for your Massage Business

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Money Saving Stuff
By Angie Patrick

It is a natural fact. If you are in business, you use stuff. To use stuff, you must purchase the stuff you use from someplace. You have to pay for the stuff you get from someplace with some method of payment. And the cost of the stuff you buy may vary for different people based on how much stuff you buy at once, and how you pay for the stuff you order.

So how do you save money on or gain benefit from the stuff you have to buy? I mean, isn’t it just as simple as picking up the phone and buying? Well, in actuality, it can be just that simple. But if you take a moment to evaluate your needs, your repetitive purchases, your minimum stock levels, and how you pay for items, it really CAN save you money in the long run. Here are a few things to consider when working to reduce the cost of stuff overall.

1: Take a look at your usage of a product. If you feel like you are always running low, or have to repeatedly purchase this item more than once a month, then it may serve you well to order bulk. When you order bulk, you can often ask for additional discounts. If you order bulk, try to learn what the case quantity is as well, because if you buy in case quantity, you may also be able to reduce breakage and reduce shipping costs.

2: How do you buy your massage goods? Do you buy online? Do you call in an order? If you are a frequent purchaser or have multiple locations, you may wish to inquire whether your supplier has a Corporate Sales program which can sometimes provide deeper discounts as opposed to purchasing your massage goods online.

3: What payment method do you use to pay for your massage goods? Consider opening a credit card for the sole purpose of managing your massage business expenses. It is far easier to write one check a month to pay a balance on a card rather than sit and spend untold hours paying bills and keeping records. Credit Card Companies keep records for you, and before you incur interest, pay the balance in full each month.

4: Select a credit card company that rewards you. Be it in Airline Miles, Points or Cash Back, find a way to parlay those business expenses into a spa day for you! American Express is wonderful for this purpose, and they allow you to use your points for EVERYTHING from gift cards < which are great employee or client gifts> to plane tickets which allow you discounted travel!

5: Save your packing slips. If you itemize at tax time, < as most businesses do> some items may be tax deductible. Your packing slips should be filed so you have them handy when you are ready to file taxes. Don’t be delayed by having to request copies from your supplier! This can sometimes take quite a while!

Making sure you have made adjustments to your purchasing programs to embrace these tips can save you a pretty penny in the long run. It saves you time, effort and energy once you become accustomed to buying once a month and can significantly reduce your costs.
Happy Shopping!

Find more articles by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.