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Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

 

By Angie Patrick

 

It’s true, massage tables really are like elegant desserts. The best ones have the perfect balance of sumptuous and delicious layers. Go enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner. Chances are the dessert tray will be filled with items sporting layer after layer of sheer decadence. More layers really equals more luxury and more indulgence.

However, this is where the similarities with your massage table end. I have seen some therapists who will place a sheet over a table and call it complete. This can leave a client shivering and feeling more than a little exposed. I have also witnessed other therapists create the equivalent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in an effort to make the table more comfortable. This often results in the client fussing with the table covers and struggling to keep them in place while trying to roll over, or even worse, the coverings sliding to the floor completely when the client gets off the table due to ill fitting or inappropriate coverings not created for use on a massage table.

How do you know when enough is enough? How can you be sure you have not crossed the line between cocooning comfort and overcompensation for an uncomfortable table? Often, these lines can be blurred. Let’s look at some of the regularly used table coverings in order of their layering on the table, and then you can utilize the information provided to pick and choose which would be appropriate for your specific applications.

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Massage Table Warmers

 

Table warmers come in many different forms. Some are washable while others are not. Some are suited for treatments where they might come in contact with water and others are not made to withstand moisture. Before you choose, decide whether or not you plan to practice treatments that require the warmer to be water-proof. For instance, if your plan is to offer herbal wraps, you will most likely opt for the water-proof option for safety’s sake. If your plan doesn’t include treatments utilizing moisture and free-flowing water, then a regular fabric table warmer will work fine. In all cases, check to be sure the warmer has an auto-off feature. This alleviates the age old worry in the middle of the night as you sit straight up in bed, “Did I unplug the table warmer?”

 

Some models can be programmed to work continuously for up to 99 minutes, and then power down. This is a great feature, and one I personally prefer. It takes the guesswork out of whether or not the warmer will remain on for the full treatment. Given the average massage is 60 to 90 minutes, it should cover most treatments. The trick is remembering to reset it between clients so it does not power down in the middle of your massage. These typically are washable on the gentle cycle, although it is preferable to hang them to dry to better prevent the warming filaments from breaking.

 

Ideas for Added Padding

 

Massage fleece pad  likely is the most popular and widely utilized plush covering. This covering provides additional cushion and a degree of comfort that a sheet on bare vinyl will not provide. Look for fleece with elastic corner holds or a fitted cover to secure it to the table. You have a couple of choices in the type of fleece you utilize. Some people only want wool fleece pads. Although these are very warm and cozy, they cannot be machine washed and some clients might have allergies to wool, which won’t necessarily be disclosed in the intake form. I prefer the synthetic fleece because it offers greater flexibility in washing. It can be machine washed and dried in the dryer on fluff or air dry without heat. I would suggest a therapist have a few sets of fleece so they can be changed out between clients on a busy day. Now they are more affordable than ever before, ranging from $25 to $110 depending on the material you choose.

 

Another popular option for added comfort is memory foam covered in vinyl. This is a fantastic way to soften a hard table or elongate the life of one that is beginning to show wear on the padding. It usually is 2 to 3 inches thick and is made of visco-elastic material which reacts to body heat, conforming to the contours of the body. These, when covered with vinyl, are easily cleaned and offer a very comfortable foundation for your client. While not inexpensive, they can truly provide a luxurious feel to your table and extend the usefulness of a table in the beginning stages of wear, allowing an additional pocket of time before you must invest in a new table.

 

Choosing the Right Massage Sheets

 

Once your warmer and choice of pad are in place, affix your fitted sheet to the table. The next layer is your top sheet. Please be sure the sheet sets you buy are appropriate for a professional setting. I have seen the occasional therapist use cartoon-character sheets fitting a twin bed on their professional massage table. The intent is to be cute and quirky, but the reality is you come off looking ill-prepared, childish and difficult to be taken seriously. Purchasing sheets appropriate for your practice is fundamental in being considered a professional. Be sure your sheets are in good repair, not stained and do not reek of old oil. This is more than a wee bit off putting, and can ruin the whole massage experience, no matter how expertly executed.

 

Your choice in sheet material is one that could require some additional thought. Although we all want an attractive and inviting table, being pretty may not be enough. Look for fabrics that are durable and can withstand repeated usage and laundering. Here are a few examples of the most commonly chosen sheet types, and reasons why they may or may not be a fit for your needs.

 

Massage Poly Cotton sheets: These are a blend of cotton content and polyester. These sheets are thinner and great in warmer climates. They resist wrinkling, although they are not wrinkle-free. There is little shrinkage, and they usually hold up well during laundering.

 

Massage Muslin sheets: Very thin fabric, does not offer much coverage for client modesty. These sheets might work well when used in wraps. Not a favorite among most therapists for everyday use on their massage table.

 

Massage Cotton Sheets: Natural fiber, flat-spun fiber finish, and soft to the skin. For client modesty, look for sheets with 300-350 thread count. These are a bit thicker and offer greater coverage. Buy sheets a bit larger than your table to allow for inevitable shrinkage. These will launder well although they will wrinkle substantially if left in the dryer unattended after drying.

 

Massage Flannel Sheets: A tried and true staple in any therapist arsenal. This is a natural cotton fiber that has been spun to allow fibers to be “unruly” and then brushed to allow fibers to loosen and become lofty. These sheets offer superb coverage and long wear. The more they are washed, the softer they become. Flannel is not gauged in thread count, but it is rated by weight per square meter. For durable flannel that will wear well, look for flannel with weight of 150 g per square meter or greater. These weights will launder well but will wrinkle if left in a basket after washing. Again, be sure to buy sheets large enough to accommodate shrinkage.

 

Massage Bamboo Sheets: A new fiber in the massage-sheet arena. This fiber is incredibly soft to the touch. It feels almost silky and can provide a very luxurious feel to your table. It is also a nice “trendy” component to say you are using greener products. Even though there are several positive reasons to choose bamboo, it also has a few setbacks. It can be price-prohibitive in many cases, and it often can have substantial shrinkage and wrinkling if laundered in any way other than described on the packaging. It also is still somewhat fragile in its longevity, allowing the stitching holes to stretch and become somewhat unsightly. If you have the budget, time and opportunity to truly care for these sheets, they might be a good fit. If you are looking for a workhorse, you might decide to opt for another material.

 

In all sheets, you will want to be sure the pocket is deep enough to accommodate the table warmer, and fleece or memory foam pad, as well as the table. In the top sheet, you likely will wish to find something measuring 59 to 65 inches wide and 80 to 90 inches long. Not only will this allow nicely for any shrinkage, it will continue to provide adequate coverage for the client following laundering. This is why most household sheets for twin beds do not always offer a perfect fit.

 

The Proper Massage Blanket

 

There are many schools of thought in regards to blanket materials. Again, it is driven by your needs and usage. I will provide you with the most common offerings, although there are many more on the market than I can list here.

 

Massage Cotton Thermal blanket: Likely the most widely used blanket in massage. It is loosely woven, thicker yarn cotton that will remain breathable while retaining warmth. It is prone to shrinkage and does have a tendency to become snagged. These are affordable and come in an array of designer colors.

 

Massage Fleece blanket: Softness is the hallmark of this fabric. It harkens to days when we were children and all things we snuggled with were fluffy and soft. It evokes an instant relaxation response and is widely used in the industry. It will launder well, although it is prone to shed in the first few washes. Most will not have appreciable shrinkage. These will also wrinkle, but not much.

 

Massage Bamboo blanket: This fabric makes a lovely blanket; offering softness and luxury to any table. This is not a very durable fiber so handling and laundering of the blanket must be done with care. It is prone to pilling, so it should be handled with greater care. It will also shrink if dried in a heat setting. Tumbling on low heat or no heat is preferred to extend the life of the blanket.

 

Massage Down Comforter/Duvet: Incredibly lush and totally cocooning. It’s downside is the expense and the upkeep of the duvet covers between clients. For a similar feel without the expense, look for down alternative comforters. These can also alleviate the allergy reaction to down.

 

Making Your Table a Sanctuary

 

Many therapists have different ideas about the way they would like their table to look and feel to the client before they climb on. Some would opt for a clean, luxurious spa feel with a crisp, white duvet covering a plush, down comforter. Others may prefer a world-traveler look, complete with colorful saris from India or Pakistan accompanied by a decorative pillow of silk or satin. Still others may opt for a more ethereal feel, with thin gossamer fabrics covering their table, lending it a cloudlike quality.

 

I have seen tables with flower petals scattered on them, or simply dressed with a bundle of freshly cut rosemary sprigs tied with a piece of raffia placed in the center of the table. I have seen the table scattered with chakra stones, as well as beautiful bowls of water with a Beta Fish swimming in it on the floor beneath the headrest for a lovely view while face down. Any one of these ideas can evoke a serene feeling of calm and relaxation. The truth is, there are no real wrong ideas when it comes to the decorative part of the table. Just, as in all things, present a professional appearance.

 

I hope these bits of information will be able to assist you in the decision of what to use on your table. The possibilities are truly limitless, and we have only scratched the surface here. There are more beautiful massage linens coming into the market every day and there are many great suppliers bringing these to the forefront. Enjoy the search, but always remember to present yourself, your practice and the supplies you use professionally.  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.

So You Want to Buy a Massage Chair

Friday, February 21st, 2014

So You Want to Buy a Massage Chair

By Angie Patrick

Did you know a great way to market yourself as a massage therapist and become known in your community to those interested in massage is to work charity events or volunteer performing chair massage? Did you know this is an incredibly effective way to give people an opportunity to appreciate your talent as a therapist as well as afford you a pocket of time to develop a rapport in order to better your opportunity of retaining them as a client for further services? Did you know that there are professional massage chairs on the market ranging from under $200 to over $600? How do you know what you need? How can you be sure the chair you buy will best suit your needs? Let’s take a look at the different uses for a massage chair, and use that information to determine how much chair you need to fulfill your specific needs.

There are many reasons a therapist will buy a massage chair. Some make the purchase for occasional charity events and promotional opportunities. Others purchase a chair to utilize as an adjunct to their regular table. Some opt to buy to add additional services to their spa or salon waiting room, and then there are those who utilize their chair for their full time practice and use it several times a day 5 to 6 days a week. Each of these needs differ in that they require different performance from the chair that has been chosen.

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In this article, I would like to explore some of the options available on massage chairs and provide information that will enable you to make the appropriate choice for your own individualized purposes. I think a great place to begin is at the beginning: You have made a decision to purchase a chair. Now begins the research: which chairs offer the greatest adjustability; which offer a sternum pad; how do I adjust the seat; which is the lightest; which comes with a case with wheels; do I need wheels? How can I find a package deal, what IS a package deal?

OK, OK… Stop stressing already! Let’s take it one step at a time… First establish your need.

Let’s just say your intended use is for marketing yourself, your talents and your practice. Your goal is to obtain new clients for your regular practice. With this chair, you plan to attend charity events, fun runs, craft shows, etc. The primary use will not be for everyday use, and it is not your single source of income. Your potential clients will likely spend no more than 10-20 minutes total in the chair. All this being said, it stands to reason you may not wish to spend next month’s rent or mortgage payment on this chair. Luckily, there are some very economical options on the market that can fit this niche nicely, while still not requiring a credit line increase on the old charge card.

Economic Chair

You will likely find a chair that fits your needs in the $150-$250 price point. Usually, chairs in this area are not filled with a ton of bells and whistles, nor do they offer a wide array of customization and adjustment; however, for the purposes listed above, these chairs fit the bill! Light (usually made of light-weight aluminum), economical, and generally workable in functionality – these chairs will make it easy for you to start networking. Look for chairs in this price range to offer adjustable heights on the seat, adjustable slide sternum plates, and a dual adjustable headrest. These should also come with a carry case.

Mid- to High-End Chair

Now, let’s look at the chair you need for more regular and rigorous work, as a primary source of income. Some therapists make a very nice living offering mobile chair massage. Many gain entire office buildings as their “turf” and can spend an entire day simply working in a single location. Clients do not often have the time they would like to visit a therapist, and they are oh-so-happy to have one come by the office for a half hour to an hour. Some forward thinking companies even hire the therapist for a block of time or per client in order to provide this wonderful benefit for their employees. If you take this theory and apply it to five days a week, you can easily see how the income can grow. Even if you do not cater to office buildings, there are other venues that have proven successful as well. If you live near a conference center, perhaps you could contract to provide chair massage for the trade shows that come into town. Additionally, many hospitals will allow therapists in at the request of a doctor, OT or PT. Perhaps you just open a kiosk at the mall, and work on passers by. You are only limited by your own ingenuity, and no matter how you slice it, you need a chair that can stand up to the daily repeated use you will be giving it.

These chairs, built with long-term, repeated usage in mind range in price from $250 and up. The mean average for a stoutly made chair is around $350 and can go as high as over $600. These chairs have far greater flexibility in the adjustments, providing greater comfort for the client and also allowing you greater access. Typically these chairs are made of rolled steel, carbonized fiber, and aircraft grade aluminum. The padding is better in that it is softer and more pliable, while providing elasticity and bounce back. The weight allowances are a bit greater in this price range, and can allow you greater flexibility in clientele. These chairs may also weigh a bit more than the more economy chair largely due to their being built to withstand far greater and repeated usage. In most cases, the mid- and high-end chairs have a virtually endless color choice, while economy chairs are typically limited to only five or six.

Forming Your Decision

Some details to consider before making your decision:

First, consider the foam systems and the density they offer. Economy chairs often have a foam system consisting of two ply. One at the base is very dense while a softer and plusher layer is affixed atop. While this provides comfort for its intended use, it can begin to break down if it is in a constant daily use scenario. Conversely, the higher end chairs have taken into consideration the need for the padding to withstand constant use, and are typically three-ply deep. Using this same principal of layering, the layer closest to the base if the most dense, while the middle layer is a bit more flexible. The top layer is often quite plush and provides a luxurious feel to the client.

Second, consider the frame. How much weight will it withstand? Can you easily go from working on children to working on larger clients? Consider who your target market may be, and make your choices with this in mind.

Third, think about adjustability. If you are using this chair for everyday use, you will likely opt for a chair with considerable adjustment capability. Some chairs are adjustable down to the knee pads, and I find chairs offering greater options are a stronger choice for the full-time seated massage therapist. You have a greater capability of customizing the massage experience directly to your client’s weight, height and build. If your use is for occasional usage only, then the economy chair would still be a good fit.

Fourth, contemplate ease of use. Some higher end chairs are like trying to fold origami. Too many levers and complicated sequences can make a chair cumbersome, (albeit comfortable for the client.) The hope is you find something perfect for both of you! The economy chairs are not quite so complicated, and can offer great ease when you are on the road. Less adjustment means less knobs and levers. Determine your level of patience, and explore manufacturer’s Web sites to get a better picture of the adjustments chairs can offer.

Fifth, does my chair come with a package? Most do. Most chairs on the market are paired with a carry case for the protection of the chair and for ease in mobility.

One thing I would like to share, (and I cannot stress this enough) always be sure to buy from a reputable dealer of professional grade massage products. Do not skimp on this. In the short term, it seems you will be able to save a few bucks and buy a chair secondhand. However, let there be an issue with breakage, or malfunction and you are wholly stuck with a broken and dilapidated used chair. This can set you back to square one, and you are out your initial investment in substandard equipment. When you choose a reputable dealer, you have the advantage of the resellers warranty as well as the manufacturer’s warranty. Both are invaluable to you if your chair ever has an issue.

Chair massage can be a tremendous value to those looking for an add-on therapy, a means to market, or a way to earn a little extra money on the weekends. It can also be a lucrative full-time career. Just be sure to do your homework, visit the Web, check out and compare features, and then make your informed decision. Everyone has a different need, and I hope some of these tips can help you better define your own and give you a head start in finding the perfect chair for your individual needs.  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

 

Why I Get So Excited at Biofreeze Promo Time

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Why I Get So Excited at Biofreeze Promo Time

 

It’s true…I turn into a giddy little school girl when the Biofreeze Promo time comes around. It is one of my favorite times of year, as I know the savings are hugely helpful to those using this in their practice, as well as being a tremendous opportunity for those yet using it to try it!

 

In all honesty, this topical sells itself. Once you utilize this in a therapy setting, and your client gets a sense of how well it works, then it is natural that the next question is “Where Do I Get It ”.

 

And this is where YOU come in. Without doing anything differently, and without having to hard sell, you have successfully sold an item you client wants and needs. This makes you the go to for this item, and no doubt they will share this with their friends. In turn, you may find yourself selling more than you think!

Biofreeze is a wonderful pain management tool for your client to use between visits, and is used by professional athletes, celebrities, and people just like you and me!

 

I would encourage anyone who practices hands on therapy to give this product a try. If you are already a fan, then there is no better time than NOW to stock up. The sale prices make these deals attractive for you, and the clients will thank you for it!

See all Biofreeze Spring promotions

http://www.massagewarehouse.com/shop-by-department/promotions/biofreeze-sale/

 

Respectfully,

 

Angie Patrick

 

 

incorporate-biofreeze

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

By Angie Patrick

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 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

 

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.

Is Saving Money COSTING You Money?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

by Angie Patrick

Strange question, Angie! How on Earth can SAVING money actually COST you money? As improbable and counter intuitive as that statement may seem, there is some truth in there that can be easily overlooked, and cost you big bucks on your bottom line. There are smart ways to save, and there are ways that are not so smart. Let’s start with the not so smart ways first.

If, for the sake of saving a few shekels, you have backed off of your service level, needed staffing, benefit programs, multiple visit discounts or any other program you had in place to differentiate your business from your competition, you have cost yourself money. Why, you ask? Well, you have built your business on the backs of all of those things you are now looking to cut. Without them, will customers perceive you as the same company, or will they search elsewhere for the service, perks, and discounts you used to offer? Yes, you may save cash in the short term, but if you calculate the cost of obtaining a customer, plus the cost of keeping them, you will find that cutting in the wrong places has cost you far more than you may have thought you saved! Customers are golden, and losing one hurts not only for the moment, but for the long haul. If you ever want to reclaim that customer, it will now cost you twice what it did to gain them in the first place as now you need to incentivize them to return, which leads to surrendering your profit margin to correct an error on your part for giving them a reason to look elsewhere.

Consider even the smallest cuts and how they will be percieved. If your clients are accustomed to a lovely cup of herb tea or bottled water after their treatment, they consider it part of the experience you provide. Cutting this is tantamount to cutting service level in the eyes of your client, as they have now become accustomed to the perk. Without it, they may perceive your business as failing, and have a small excuse to look elsewhere. Once they do, and are successful, you have now lost a client over a cup of tea /bottle of water. You saved 20 bucks at the store, but you lost a client and therefore revenue totaling far more than tea for 100 people. Sounds small, I know, but EVERYTHING is about perception. You may well be the most magical and amazing therapist on the planet. You could even make people levitate with your skills, but if you begin to let your client see you tightening the belt on their experience, you will lose them. It is that simple.

Find other ways to save without sacrificing anything to do with the client perception of your business. Smarter ways to cut back are ways that impact your personal knowledge of the business, not cutting in the eyes of the client. One way may be to look at your expenses, and see if you can consolidate some of them. Let’s take a look at how you might be able to do this without much upheaval in your daily life.

Take a long look at your vendors. Is it possible to combine your purchases and consolidate 3 vendors to one? In our hometown, you can get special incentives and discounts when you bundle all of your utilities into one package. I save about 20% when I utilize this service, and while I did have to pay a set up fee, I can lessen my monthly bill and therefore free up regular cash flow.

Read more 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.

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.

10 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Massage Practice

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Look Out, It’s Time to Clean House!
By Angie Patrick

Maybe I am channeling my inner Martha Stewart, or maybe I am just inspired since I saw some semi-icky stuff during a massage recently, but I believe we can all use a checklist to make sure our business, practice, massage room and equipment are up to par and ready for Spring. Here are a few things you can do to help get ready and be out with the old winter grunge and in with the fresh spring air!

1: I know it is hard to remember that people on a massage table can see under your counters or under your side tables…The fact is, this perspective on your practice is often overlooked by massage therapists and employees. You would not believe some of the yuk that can accrue under there like dust bunnies with fangs, cobwebs that look like they were made by a tarantula, and bits of paper and candy wrappers that have missed the broom a few times because they are “JUST” out of reach.

If your client returns week after week, and sees this kind of thing going unchecked, they “MAY” have the impression the entire facility isn’t clean. While it may not be true, does that really matter if the client does not return? Will it help if they tell five people they know your massage practice is dirty? Nope….! So take a moment, get on your massage table, face up, side lying, and face down. What do you see? If you see UNDER SOMETHING, be sure to keep it CLEAN!

2: Check Expiration Dates on all things that can expire. Be sure to check your retail shelves as well as your back bar for anything that may be going out soon. If you have something about to expire, run a special or sale on a treatment requiring that product. If your pale of sugar scrub has a bit left in it, but expires in 2 months, then run a special on sugar scrubs to be sure you get the most for your money!

3: Linen Inspection. “Oh Angie, lighten up… My sheets are FINE! “ Hmmm…..I would not be so hasty! When was the last time you put your massage sheets on a table and got between them? Are they pilling, do they smell or feel scratchy? Are they frayed in any way? Is there an oil stain you have simply stopped seeing, but fresh eyes could pick out in a lineup? Check these things out! Massage sheets are not meant to last forever. In fact, we are in one of the only professions that can really consider sheets a disposable. So take a moment to go through your linens, make sure they smell fresh and are unstained, and are in good working order. Replace sets that have passed their prime. < C’mon, do the math…… let’s say 20 bucks a set, divided by a client a day for two years? Yeah, it’s time to retire them or re purpose them! They have provided you great value!>

Read more at Massage Today.

Angie Patrick Receives the Performance Health / Massage Therapy Foundation 2010 Humanitarian Award

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Akron, Ohio – September 30, 2010Ms. Angie Patrick was presented the Performance Health / Massage Therapy Foundation 2010 Humanitarian Award at this year’s American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) convention held in Minneapolis, MN.

Performance Health / Hygenic Corporation, manufacturer and marketer of Biofreeze®, Prossage® and Thera-Band® health and wellness products, sponsors the award which recognizes individuals selected by the Massage Therapy Foundation for their efforts in improving the welfare of their clients and demonstrating selfless devotion to others.

Ms. Patrick is the Director of Massage Business Development and Corporate Sales for The Massage Warehouse, a division of Scrip Companies and serves on the corporate workgroup for the Massage Therapy Foundation. Ms. Patrick has worked in the massage profession for over 10 years, is a Reiki practitioner and a certified reflexologist.

Through personal tragedy and triumph, Ms. Patrick has become one of the massage industry’s most inspirational advocates. Because the benefits of massage and the power to touch have profoundly shaped her life, she works tirelessly on the crusade to make massage therapy even more mainstream become a reality.

Achieving this reality is one of the driving forces behind The Massage Warehouse Sanctuary, an ongoing fundraising event conceived by Ms. Patrick. The Sanctuary, which raises money for critical research, has raised over $50,000. Ms. Patrick is also committed to raising research awareness and funding through corporate and private fund-raising efforts.

In accepting this award, Ms. Patrick said, “As many of you know, massage has touched every aspect of my life, from the medical care for my daughter, to the roof over my head, the food on our table, to the job I love so much. Because of the passion I feel and the importance that massage holds for me, I am committed to doing everything I can to further research. We need to ensure the future of massage and we are all stewards of that future. I am very fortunate to be recognized for doing what I love and I’m so grateful for your generosity. Thank you very, very much.”

Ruth Werner, President of the Massage Therapy Foundation stated, “Choosing this year’s Humanitarian Award recipient may have been the easiest decision we’ll ever make. Angie’s tireless commitment to the massage industry, her generosity with her time and talent, and her support of every massage therapist in the profession make her an example to everyone who aspires to service in this field. Thank you, Angie, for all you do. It is a privilege for the Massage Therapy Foundation to partner with PHI to support you in this way.”

“During our selection process for this year’s award, I found it energizing and uplifting that so many people associated with massage therapy give so much of their time and of themselves; so many who are true humanitarians,” stated Marshall Dahneke, President and CEO of Performance Health / Hygenic Corporation. “I am honored to know Angie, and to represent Performance Health in commending her for so many contributions.”

In addition to providing Ms. Patrick with a striking award plaque, Performance Health donated $2,500 to the Massage Therapy Foundation in her name. Click here a view the video of the 2010 Humanitarian Award presentation

The Massage Therapy Foundation is a 501(c)3 public charity, with a mission to advance the knowledge and practice of massage by supporting scientific research, education and community service. www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.

Hygenic / Performance Health is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad portfolio of products for the therapy, rehabilitation, massage, wellness and consumer retail markets. Maker of market-leading Thera-Band®, Biofreeze® and Perform® products, Performance Health / Hygenic Corporation provides evidence-based protocols, education, turn-key dispensing and pain management solutions.