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The Ergonomics of Massage Table Design

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Ergonomics of Massage Table Design

By Elline Eliasoff, CMT

Massage Therapy is one of the most exciting, flexible, low stress and rewarding professions! As a Massage Therapist, the most important investments you will make are: your education, your self-care, and your equipment. In this article I will discuss purchasing a massage table which is the largest single investment and the main tool of your practice.

It is important to have a good idea of the type of massage you want to practice before purchasing a table. Please consider the following:

  • Where will you be practicing (office, home, field events, etc.)?
  • Will you bring your table to client sites?
  • Will your massage space be allocated for massage only? Will the space allow you the luxury of an       electric or stationary table?
  • Will you be doing any other adjunct therapies on the table? Is a spa table worthy investment?
  • Do you need to position a chair under the table?

Purchasing your table

Client comfort is essential; however, more essential is the comfort of the therapist. All massage tables must be height adjustable. Maintaining good body mechanics by avoiding excessive bending or reaching is imperative for the longevity of your career. Reaching and bending may seem like minor inconveniences; however, the cumulative effects on your body can be devastating over time.

The width of the table is also a consideration for more petite therapists with shorter extremities. Massage tables can be found in widths starting at 25” all the way up to 32”. The average massage table is 30”, however, a smaller therapist may want to consider opting for the 28” width. (The 28” table will accommodate most clients without a problem).

The weight of the massage table is an important consideration if you are traveling with your table to client sites. Carrying the table, moving it in and out of a car, and negotiating stairs can be extremely taxing on your body if a table is heavy. There are a number of table manufacturers that sell lightweight massage tables with aluminum frames that substantially decrease the weight of the table. This is a worthwhile investment for a traveling practice!

A reiki panel or end plate is important if you plan to practice therapies that involve sitting. (Reiki, Reflexology, Cranial Sacral, etc.) The Reiki panel, or end plate, will allow you to get your legs under the table and sit in a neutral posture.

Electric and Hydraulic Stationary Tables are undeniably the most versatile for client comfort as well as positioning and table height for the therapist. The most desirable feature is the ability to adjust height during a treatment. They are typically designed so that chairs can fit comfortably underneath and seated therapies can be performed with good body mechanics.

Purchasing the “correct” Massage Table that enhances your professional skill set and your physical needs is the first step in a long and prosperous career as a Massage Therapist. Wishing you a long and successful practice!

Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

By Tribune Content Agency, CareerBuilder

By Erinn Hutkin

Jeff Muskovin’s job is most rewarding when a client has a “Eureka!” moment. The licensed massage therapist has watched a musician return to playing without pain, a marathon runner finish a race with a faster time and no injuries, and a couple with fertility challenges report they’re expecting.

Muskovin, 57, has a private practice in Evanston and also treats clients at Chicago’s Lakeview Athletic Club. He’s trained to understand and help correct pain, tension and circulation issues in the body’s soft tissues, including muscles and tendons.

He works six days a week, seeing 3-8 clients a day. Patients seek out Muskovin for everything from stress reduction and relaxation to relief from restricted movement. Many clients suffer from headaches and neck pain related to working on a computer. Muskovin sees many amateur athletes who need help with muscle injuries and overall conditioning.

“I get to meet interesting people every day, and I get to help make a difference in their lives,” said Muskovin, who trained at the Chicago School of Massage (now Cortiva Institute of Chicago). “Sometimes, it’s simply helping someone learn how to stretch properly after their long runs. Sometimes, it’s a more lengthy, complicated process of helping someone rehabilitate after a serious injury. I enjoy physical work, and I get plenty of that in this profession.”

In fact, said Felicia Tyler, owner of Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, because the job is so physically demanding, massage therapists can’t — and shouldn’t — work a 40-hour week. Most work 20-30 hours per week.

Some therapists work on contract for chiropractors, treating a certain number of clients per week. Those at day spas see clients for 60- to 90-minute sessions. Self-employed MTs treat clients in an office, at the client’s home, or in the therapist’s home. Universal Spa Training Academy grads have found jobs in health care facilities, hotels and spas, doctor’s offices, even aboard cruise ships, Tyler said.

“Massage therapy is a good career for people who like to work for themselves and have flexible hours,” she noted. “Also, all of your clients are happy to see you and so appreciative of your skills.”

Once licensed, therapists stay current on advancements in the field through continuing education. Reading trade journals and new massage textbooks is also important, as new discoveries are continually being made, Muskovin said.

“You can learn the basics in (about) a year. You’ll spend the rest of your career trying to master the details.”

Massage therapy isn’t just a luxury, Tyler said. It can reduce muscle stiffness and inflammation and improve circulation. It’s also good for people with sore muscles, arthritis, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety. Stress is at the root of many illnesses, Muskovin said.

Therapists can also learn specialized procedures to address fertility issues, digestive problems, breathing restrictions, headaches, tendinitis, joint dislocation and posture issues.

The job comes with challenges. Massage therapists must make clients feel safe and secure enough to be touched. Clients who have unanswered questions or don’t feel comfortable may not be satisfied with treatment, Muskovin said.

Because the work is physical, therapists must stay fit to avoid self-injury. They must also manage their time well to accomplish everything agreed upon within each session, and maintain relationship boundaries, with both parties respecting each other’s privacy.

Nicole Boeger, owner and founder of Radiant Life Massage Therapy, Naperville, said some male therapists have a difficult time starting out. Many men and women are more comfortable with a female therapist. However, some men question the strength of female therapists when it comes to providing effective deep tissue massage, Boeger said.

Massage therapy can be highly gratifying.

After a Swedish massage session, an 82-year-old woman once told Boeger she’d been to spas across the country, but that Boeger was by far the best therapist she’d ever had.

“Nothing can beat the feeling of accomplishment more than that. It’s at that point I know I’m doing something right,” Boeger said. “I live for those moments to help people feel radiant.”

Demand up as more people learn benefits

A massage therapist’s job involves using touch to treat clients’ injuries and enhance wellness. Treatment involves working the soft tissues of the body to relieve pain, help rehabilitate patients from injuries, improve circulation, ease stress and promote relaxation.

On the job, MTs typically talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history and desired results. They evaluate each patient to find painful, tense areas of the body; manipulate muscles or other soft tissues; provide guidance on stretching, strengthening and improving posture; and document clients’ condition and progress.

MTs can specialize in several different types of massage. Swedish massage — the most commonly thought of massage — uses five stroking styles. Deep-tissue massage is more vigorous and often helpful for those with injuries. Sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares the body and mind for optimal performance. The type of massage used depends on a client’s needs and physical condition.

Educational requirements vary from state to state. Training is available in private or public postsecondary schools. In Illinois, a massage therapist must complete at least 600 hours of training at an approved school. At Tyler’s academy, students can complete the program in about nine months.

“Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapist to have a license or certification,” the BLS notes. Candidates must also undergo a background check, be fingerprinted and pass a national board test.

Many local schools offer massage training, including Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, and the Cortiva Institute, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and the Soma Institute, all in Chicago. For a full list, visit http://www.massageschool.org/search/illinois/chicago.html.

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admission. Massage therapy programs typically include both classroom training and hands-on practice, covering topics such as anatomy, physiology (the study of organs and tissues), kinesiology (the study of motion and body mechanics), pathology (the study of disease), business management and ethics.

Most massage therapy schools have a student clinic open to the public at a reduced rate so students can get experience.

According to the BLS, in 2012, 44 states and Washington, D.C., regulated massage therapy. Not all states license massage therapists, but there may be regulations at the local level. In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must be licensed or certified after completing an approved program.

In May 2012, the median annual wage for massage therapists was $35,970, the BLS said. Most earn a combination of wages and tips. Most work part-time (only about 1 in 3 worked full-time in 2012). Most work by appointment, so schedules and work hours vary widely.

Employment is projected to grow 23 percent by 2022, the BLS reports. As more states adopt licensing requirements for therapists, massage is likely to become more accepted as a legitimate therapy to treat pain and improve wellness. Also, as more health care providers understand the benefits of massage, demand likely will increase as massage becomes part of treatment.

 

 

Read more on the Chicago Tribune

 

 

Five Habits of Consistently Successful People

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Five Habits of Consistently Successful People

By Angie Patrick

We have all known these people, you know the ones. The people who seem to always succeed in whatever they endeavor to do, no matter how crazy or wild-eyed the scheme might be. They are the risk takers, the people who have learned some very basic, but highly important skills that keep them focused, alert, sharp and in tune with the business they create, making them far more likely to be successful.

I have met these people throughout my career and it occurs to me these renegades of business, the titans of triumph, all seem to share some common traits that undoubtedly contribute to their continued success.

I would like to share with you my observations of these enigmas and perhaps provide tips on how we might all increase our success rates.

Habit 1: Focus

Successful people are focused. They see the finish line and have already won the race in their mind. Everything else is just a matter of how it happens. Failure is something they do not dwell upon, but rather they look at the lesson that failure might have taught them. They take that information, focus on bettering outcomes and press on.

Habit 2: Don’t look back

Successful people do not spend time looking behind them. They look at their own tasks, complete them and give little concern to what their competitors are doing. They know, if they are focused on what they are good at, then competition is not really a problem. Providing a good or service UNIQUE to your skill set makes competition seem less of a concern. No one can provide what you provide the way you provide it. Successful people make their product or service their own and do not try to emulate others.

Habit 3: Avoid the Fray

Successful people work very hard at staying out of the fray. Too much time spent finger pointing and whining about something that did not go the way they hoped can only serve as a morale killer and time waster. Instead of blaming, they spend their time working to make things better and take the opportunity to coach, mentor and train employees to make better choices and decisions.

Habit 4: Be Available

Successful people are available to their customers. They know communication is key, and having dialogue with clients about bettering service, bettering product and bettering productivity can only serve to make their business stronger. They engage their clients through newsletters, e-mail blasts and by asking questions. They value their customers and their opinions.

Habit 5: Do What You Love

Successful people are those lucky souls who are doing what they love. It is very difficult to find success in an industry or job for which you have no passion. Success is born of passion, and these savvy people ooze passion about their business. They cannot resist telling everyone they meet about what they do how they do it, and how what they do can help the other person. This drive is not something you learn; you have to just FEEL it. If you do not feel this passion about your profession, perhaps you need to take a long hard look at your chosen path.

Being successful is more than just making a nice living; it is about lifestyle, it is about fulfillment, it is about a drive to be the best you can be. It is certainly within the reach of each and every one of us, but it takes hard work and a willingness to remain true to your goals. Perhaps something in this article spoke to you and you can take that nugget and enhance your own success story! 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

Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream Massage

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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

 

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

 

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

 

cranberry-massage

Massage Business Basics: Massage Products That Sell Themselves

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Business Basics: Products That Sell Themselves

By Angie Patrick

Massage Warehouse – Massage Spa equipment and supplies provider

 

A wait-and-see approach to strengthening your business will not work in this economic climate. There are many thoughtful ways you can better serve your clients, and in the process, improve your bottom line.

Americans have had their share of economic woes. When I turn on the evening news, I hear stories about the economy showing signs of recovery and consumer spending is slowly beginning to rebound. With all of this uncertainty, how can you strengthen your financial stake, and do it in a method consistent with your beliefs as a health care provider? Should we all just “wait and see” what happens, or should we perhaps bring the power home and do something within our own spheres of influence to improve health, reduce the mental stress of our clients and strengthen our own financial circumstance ethically and thoughtfully.

I am not talking about a huge swing in your behavior or your practice that will require you to revamp your whole philosophy. I am talking about things you can do and implement now without much effort, which may well be the key to your reaching and retaining more clients and strengthening your own bottom line.

I want to share three ways to expand your outreach, and help you care for clients in new and thoughtful ways they may not expect. When you are able to supply for a need proactively rather than waiting for someone to have the epiphany they even have a need, you are doing a great job of caring for your client in the physical, as well as the mental, sense.

Caring for a Need

What do I mean by caring for a need before the clients have the epiphany they even have a need? Let’s start with pain management and client self care between visits. Clients come to you for a wide array of reasons. One reason which leads the pack in many cases is pain. Your clients come to you in the hopes you can learn what may be causing them pain and then treat it. In this, and every case, they look to you to be a health care provider. We know that proper assessment and treatment are key to success in alleviating pain, however, many experience ongoing pain every day. How do we serve these clients in between visits and maintain our connection with the client for return visits to help manage their issues?

This method, in my mind, represents the better of two worlds. In doing this, you are caring for the needs of your client both in session and out, and doing it utilizing product for retail. Here is the easiest method I know to build revenue. Find an analgesic you love and believe in; one that you would use on yourself and your family should the need arise. Have this product available for sale in your practice. When you use this product on your client, no doubt they will want to know more about it and have some for use at home. This is a natural progression that requires no specific salesmanship. Your client can feel the product working and they then wish to have some to take home. You provide the product because it is a product you believe in and use, and they trust you in making the health care decisions. The client is cared for, and being proactive and having goods available for purchase has helped your bottom line. It is a natural win-win.

Benefiting Your Practice

Here is another way this type of retailing, or selling what you use in treatment, can benefit your practice. Let’s say that your client shares their product with a friend battling pain. Inevitably, the client shares they get this product from their massage therapist and offer your name to the friend. This is a fantastic way of receiving client referrals, as they just shared their trust in you for pain management, and that you offer this product to help with ongoing issues. This represents two great reasons someone may wish to call and book an appointment. Make sure your clients have a few of your business cards for just such an occurrence.

The second way you can strengthen your income and provide valuable service to your clients is to think ahead for them. It sounds crazy, but one thing people all share is the feeling that we never have enough time. With the holidays just weeks away, it feels like there is never enough time to get everything done we need to do and have any time left to smell the roses. I am sure you have heard this from your clients and when they come to you for the gift of relaxation, you are already imprinted into their minds as a place to go for stress relief. Why not take a bit more burden off their shoulders and offer creative solutions for the upcoming holiday gift giving? In doing this, you can expand your care for the client past the physical and begin to help them mentally and emotionally by providing solutions to save them precious time.

How do you do this? It is not as difficult as you may think. Consider gift certificates for your services. I am not talking about a sign at checkout that says you offer gift certificates. I am going a few steps beyond this. Gift certificates are an amazing way you can provide a great gift idea for your client to give, as well as perhaps bring potential new clients to your practice. These are an especially attractive gift idea when you have taken the time to create a small gift basket of items you have chosen to help provide relaxation and pain relief at home. Consider what an impactful and thoughtful gift this will be when you offer someone an hour of massage therapy and it is in a basket with a bath mitt, sugar scrub and a candle. This is a gift I would LOVE to get, and one everyone would love to give. It is this type of unique gift you can create and provide as an option for your clients to give friends and family. It is a truly thoughtful gift, one they will not find in big box stores, and you have supplied the means. You have effectively taken a shopping burden off your client, fulfilled their desire to offer the perfect gift and potentially expanded your practice. Again, this is a natural win-win.

Seasonal Ideas

Finally, consider building your holiday traffic by offering seasonal treatments utilizing products that speak to the client. How delicious does a Chocolate Peppermint scrub followed by a massage sound? It sounds divine and speaks to the holidays without being too commercial. Consider a cranberry inspired treatment utilizing products that carry the scent of cranberry. This is not only a fantastic Thanksgiving promotion idea, but also a wonderful regional idea for our friends in New England where cranberries rule. Treatment products come in a wide array of scent profiles that will enable you to use professional grade products while offering seasonal or regionally inspired treatments. Think about a pumpkin body scrub followed by rich emollient body butter. Does this just scream Thanksgiving or Halloween, while not compromising the professional treatment from a professional therapist? I believe this is a sound and practical way to entice clients to come back during the “busy season” and find time to re-book to see what wonderful indulgences you have planned next.

And let’s not forget the secondary upside to offering seasonal treatments: THE RETAILING! It is highly likely someone who has just been treated to a relaxing chocolate treatment will want to buy product to use at home or to give to a friend. Have product on hand, visible for the client to see and offered for sale outside the treatment room. This type of retailing also requires no salesmanship acumen, as it is suggestive selling without being overt. This will allow your clients the space to choose to buy goods without your feeling you have to “sell.” The key to doing this successfully is to use only professional goods in your practice. Buy from places that most consumers know nothing about because they cater to professional healthcare providers. Be sure to use goods they likely will not find on the shelves of big box retailers.

When you think about the scenarios I have provided, you can see how the idea of helping others is still the forefront. When you offer solutions in various forms to your clients, they will appreciate your caring attention to detail and understanding of their needs. In their own desire to help others, they may refer you to their own friend and family. This will only bring your clients closer to you, and in doing so, help strengthen your practice. Another more personal side effect is the additional income these ideas can bring you and your family. These ideas are simple and available for everyone to try. I encourage you to pick one or more and give it a try in your own practice to see how easy retailing can really be. I would love to hear about your success stories, so please be sure to share them. Happy Retailing!  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.