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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.

Incorporating Biofreeze Into Massage

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Incorporating Biofreeze Into Massage

 
Have you considered creating a treatment using Biofreeze and then offering the tube, roll-on or spray to the client to continue self-care at home?

This is an effective way to boost your bottom line, provide a means for pain management between visits for your client, and offer a benefit other therapists may not offer.

You can easily build the cost of a retail unit of Biofreeze into the price of the treatment and then provide the client with the item once the treatment is complete. Your client will be appreciative of the gift! They may even share their experience and their new product with others, providing you new clients.

incorporate-biofreeze

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

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

 

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

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.

American Massage Conference

Monday, June 6th, 2011

In The Afterglow…

By Angie Patrick

Two weeks after the first ever American Massage Conference, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened last week!

In Atlanta, Georgia, there was a shift…A shift in thinking, a shift in doing, a shift in energy, and a shift in being. The weekend was filled with amazing education with classrooms at standing room only capacity, and educators that are rock stars in their field.
The energy of the event was high, and filled with unity and camaraderie unlike anything I had been part of before. The sense of community was palpable in the air, and people took time to share of themselves with one another.

I think this is in part because of the strength of social media, and the need for people to interact not only online, but in person. The Friday Facebook Pirate Party, hosted by our Beloved Cap’n Phil Mattison, and sponsored by Core Products and Tom Heidenberger of Bon Vital was the talk of the show! People who are “friends” on Facebook had a great opportunity to network and meet face to face many the people they know and follow in the industry. There were prizes, contests, give aways, and more, and it was one of the many shining highlights of the show. For me, this event brought into clear perspective the need we all have to be among peers, despite differences in opinion, belief, philosophy, economic standing, or any other thing that can divide us. At this party, we were all “friends”, whether we had ever met in person before or not.

This speaks to the human desire to be a part of something; something bigger than just themselves. It is to be part of ONE in which we all belong. We are ONE community, working to make the world a closer, more united body. We are here to preserve that which is precious. This includes many things, but focuses on our planet, our community, our industry, interpersonal relationships and our humanity.

All of the event sponsors, educators, vendors, attendees and volunteers have my unending thanks for rolling the dice on a new concept in conferencing. The ONE Concept Conferencing methodology, being an untried model, could have had some interesting reception in the community. To be the “FIRST” to do anything is both brave and foolish… but in order to accomplish a thing, someone has to go first. THANK YOU for seeing the value in the concept and for being supporters of our first volley. It is because of YOU that YOUR conference was a success with the following being our final breakdown of attendance.

The numbers are IN…..1615

838 Paid registrants
149 Volunteers
266 student registrations
212 Vendors/Presenters/Staff
150 (app) unregistered walk ins

So with these results I think it is important to let you know we also hit the demographic we hoped to reach. Through the amazing marketing efforts of MPA Media, the ABMP, Massage Warehouse, our Educators and the AMC, we were able to draw significant numbers of people who had never experienced a trade show before, and who were new to our massage community. This gave them an opportunity to see what the market and community can offer them, and it gave vendors an opportunity to reach brand new potential clients. This is a wheel that continually turns, and bringing the newest members of our massage community to the AMC was one of our goals.

Plans are already in the works for our SAN DIEGO event, April 20-22, 2012 at the Town and Country Resort. You can expect more incredible networking opportunities, more stellar education, more fun, more fellowship, and more surprises!

Thank you for making this event so memorable, and we are ready for round two!!!

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Massage Business Building Blocks

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

Massage Equipment Amortization 101

At some point in our lives, we have all had an expectation that was proven to be unrealistic in the normal course of life. This might be expectations we have from family, from friends, from our car, maybe our relationships, even down to the products we buy. I think it is only human; we all want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. It is the society we live in and it is an incredibly common happening.

While I am no expert in on human behavior or interpersonal skills, I am an expert on products. And I have had the good fortune to be in this business for over a decade and have pretty vast experience with various manufacturers, products and suppliers. I have seen things happen to therapists and spas in the course of business that could be easily avoided with a little information. Below is some insider information intended to help make buying massage products and equipment a bit easier, whether it be from a supplier or direct from a manufacturer.

Tips on Buying Goods

Buying goods should be a task in which you have full confidence. I believe buying Professional Grade Products can help you make certain your products can withstand the rigors of professional repeated usage. Manufacturers and suppliers want nothing more than to please a client. (It is our prime directive!) But sometimes meeting those expectations are not so easy.

A product warranty is a miraculous thing. Most Professional Grade Products offer a limited or lifetime warranty to protect the buyer against manufacturer defects or shortcomings. These are especially handy when something breaks down within the warranty timeframe, and you can get a replacement or repair in a timely fashion. Often, the warranty is offered as a safety net for the buyer, given the buyer follows and complies with all usage directions and procedures.

And while manufacturers should have no problem whatsoever in caring for items in the marketplace still under warranty, there is always a segment of customers who have overinflated expectations about product performance. The purpose in sharing the following scenarios with you is not to say there are any issues with particular products, rather to point out some common unrealistic expectations of product performance.

Scenario One

Customer: “I am very disappointed with my massage sheets (XYZ product), I am seeing them begin to pill and fade, and I want my money back.”

Me: “Oh I am so sorry to hear you are dissatisfied, let me pull your order up in my system so we can get your issue handled.”

After a few moments of searching for the XYZ product in the order history, the manufacturer notices they purchased the item in January 2009.

Me: “I am looking in the account, and I see this was purchased in January 2009.”

Customer: “That’s right! I cannot believe how these things are showing wear, I am very disappointed with the quality. What can you do for me here?”

Me: “Well, how many times a week are these used?”

Customer: “4-5 times a week, we launder them often.”

Me: “And just to confirm your usage of these items since 2009 is that correct?”

Customer: “Correct”

After some quick calculations, I came to the following conclusions:

107 weeks in usage
535 washings
535 clients
Original cost: $14.99
Cost Per Client Use: .03 cents per client

I shared this with the customer, and suddenly they saw things in a whole new light. Even cars depreciate after two and a half years. And they are not laundered every day! Suddenly, someone who was very disappointed with the product in the beginning was impressed with the same item, once they considered how much use it had provided. They purchased more massage sheets happily. They began to see the product replacement after due course of usage as a cost of doing business rather than a failure of manufacturing or supply.

Expecting items to last forever with daily and repeated usage is unrealistic. Just as people age, so do products. One way to see if you have actually received substantial benefit from your investment is to amortize the cost of your product across the number of clients seen since you purchased it.

Another thing to consider is timing. Consider this, you have bought an inflatable Christmas decoration from the Big Box Store down the street and have used it for the past two seasons. Now, in season three, it no longer inflates. But the likelihood of getting a replacement is really remote since it is three years since your purchase, and it might not occur to many to even try. It is accepted that things wear out, or can deteriorate with poor storage and lack of usage.

Scenario Two

A customer is opening up a new location, and has ordered various massage equipment from various manufacturers. The items arrived, but are not inspected before they are signed – stating they are in good condition. They are put into a room to store until the location opens, which may well be two or three months later. These items may need to be moved within a facility a couple of times before the facility is ready to open.

Nearer the opening date, the items are finally opened and it is found the item may be damaged due to shipping, the wrong color, or even non-functional. Obviously, this is a problem. However, because it was not inspected upon receipt, months have now gone by, and the opportunities to file any claims with the shipping company have long passed. Additionally, if the product is just simply the wrong color, or not what you expected, you will likely now have to pay the shipping back to the manufacturer and possibly pay a restocking fee. This is the best argument I can provide for taking the time to inspect your equipment upon arrival and ensure it is in working order. Once you have stored it for months, moved it from room to room, it is very hard to prove an item was improperly working from the start. Many manufacturers are now cracking down on this type of return.

A business owner/manager/director should be responsible to make sure the items arrive in-tact. If something looks amiss, the packaging is damaged, do not sign the paperwork that says everything is fine without notating on the delivery slip that there are problems with the packaging. Notating it can help the manufacturer file a claim and get your issue resolved far faster with this information, but you have to let the manufacturer know upon delivery. If too much time passes, it will be harder to get your issue resolved. Also, if you are buying equipment that must be assembled, a smart rule of thumb is to do it in the first 30 days following purchase. The reason for this is to be proactive and report any issues with your equipment in a timely fashion to the manufacturer or supplier you have utilized, and gain resolution proactively rather than a delayed report months down the line.

Making sure your business runs efficiently is in large part dependent on the products you utilize. Taking a moment to consider the information in this article can help you make sure your next expansion goes well with your equipment and product needs. They may also help you determine if there is a basis for complaining about performance or whether it may just be time to replace your goods. As with most suppliers and manufacturers, the whole reason we exist is to serve our customers.

I hope the scenarios I shared can provide you a behind-the-scenes glance of what may be entailed in a return and how you can help yourself (and the manufacturer) by notating and documenting issues, while considering the age and longevity of usage. No doubt your massage supplier will work hard to provide you the best service possible, and that is made far easier by utilizing these tips along the way!

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First Annual American Massage Job Fair

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

First Annual American Massage Job Fair

By Angie Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Job Fair 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thumbby Soft Massage Cone

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Thumbby™ Soft Massage Cone FAQ

Q. What is the Thumbby™ massager made of?

A. The Thumbby™ massager is made of solid silicone, the same material used for many household and personal items. Silicone is non-reactive, meaning it can be used with most massage lotions and oils.

Q. How hard is the Thumbby™ massager?

A. The Thumbby™ massager is approximately the same hardness as a human thumb. In use it is often indistinguishable from a thumb by the person receiving the massage.

Q. How big is the Thumbby™ massager?

A. The Thumbby™ massager is about 3 inches across by 2 inches high, and weighs about 5.5 ounces – small enough to fit in a purse, briefcase, backpack, or carryon.

Q. Is it better to use the Thumbby™ massager dry or with oil?

A. The Thumbby™ massager can be used with or without oil. Each is better for certain types of massage.

  • When the Thumbby™ massager is used dry, it grips the skin. This is good for deep pressure/trigger point work, cross-fiber massage, and vibration (shaking the muscle).

 

  • When the Thumbby™ massager is used with oil, it glides over the skin. This is good for effleurage (broad strokes using the slope or shoulder of the massager), petrissage (circling movements using the point of the massager), and muscle stripping (slow heavy pressure along the length of a muscle). When using oil with a Thumbby™ massager, use your other hand to guide it.

 

Q. I’m a small person with weak arms and hands; my partner is very strong and needs deep pressure. How do I use theThumbby™ massager to give deep massage?

A. Thumbby™ massager is designed to let you use body weight instead of strength to achieve deep pressure. Use this method to support your wrist while using body weight:

  1. Hold the massager in your non-dominant hand with the point on the knot you want to loosen.
  2. Make a loose fist with your dominant hand and place your knuckles on the back of the massager, as shown.


 

  1. Hold the thumb of the non-dominant hand for stability.
  2. Keep your arm and wrist straight and lean into it. Your upper body weight will be transferred to the point of the ThumbbyTM massager.

Q. I have back and shoulder pain, and no one to massage me. Can the Thumbby™ massage tool help me?

A. Yes. The Thumbby™ massager sticks to smooth surfaces, so you can stick it onto your refrigerator (for example) and be able to press the sore places into it. You can also place the massager inside the back of a chair and lean on it. And if you want deeper pressure, you can lie on a Thumbby™ massager on a bed, a futon, or the floor.

Do Massage Therapists Believe in Magic?

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

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

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

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