Are massage chains a good deal for you?

You have probably seen their ads, heard about them, or been to one.  Massage franchise chains showed up a few years ago and they have been expanding since.  Are they a good deal for you?  Let’s consider some things you will want to think about before you make a decision.

Money

The introductory price looks like a great deal but remember it is just that – a one time price.  The regular price you will pay will be higher.  The company gets the bulk of your payment so therapist working on you is really relying on a tip from you, so your cost just went up.  Like many other massage therapists in business I don’t expect tips – I would rather see you use that money to come back more often.

When you schedule an hour appointment you get a 50 minute massage.  A little quick math reveals that ten minutes is 1/6th of an hour, which is about 16%.  If you add 16% to the massage price and a tip to your cost, have you saved any money than going to a local massage therapist?  Unless you are very late and we have to stop, your 60 minute massage appointment with me will get you 60 minutes of hands on work.

To get the discounted price, you will have to be in a contract with them.  You will be automatically billed and unused appointments may not roll over (check your local franchise for details).  You may be paying somebody to not massage you.  Some franchises have quotas to reach so you may be encouraged to spend.  Your massage visit should be relaxing and relieve pressure, not add to it.

The therapists

Chains can have high turnover rates.  You may not get the same therapist from visit to visit.  Typically working with the same person provides more effective massage results.  They get to know your preferences and based on your feedback about what has worked or not worked before, make adjustments during your appointment.  If you find a therapist that who does great work for you, it may be difficult to find them if they leave the chain.  The chain obviously doesn’t want customers to leave and won’t go out of their way to direct you to them.

Therapists may be booked for several consecutive appointments.  Massage therapists are human and we get tired, hungry, thirsty, and in need of a break.  It’s a physical business that takes a good amount of effort.  If your appointment is the fourth one in a row, you may not get the results you want.

Therapists have very limited time between appointments.  They don’t have much time to get to know you and your needs.  You may receive a basic massage which may feel nice –  but if you have an area that needs special attention it may not be addressed as you wish.

The biggest benefit offered by the chains is convenience.  You can often get in quickly on the same day, which may not happen with a local small business.  Working with a massage chain may be a good deal for you, but it is not for everybody.  It may actually be more expensive and you may not get the benefits you can get from a local therapist who will take the time to get to know you and help you manage your pain and stress.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

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Massage for teens

Teenagers begin to look like adults but they are not yet adults in many ways.  While adults may look at teens and picture a fun time with many less cares and responsibilities, that is usually not a realistic picture.  Teens can benefit from massage for the same reasons adults do, along with many other reasons that are unique to them or accentuated during this time.

Their bodies are still changing.  As bones and muscles grow there is a major adjustment in all they do, from simple things like walking and posture to running and other active movements.  Physical changes can cause things to get out of whack.  Massage helps to bring the body back into balance.

They have body issues.  They are pressured from media and society to look a certain way.  Some sports and activities place a high value on being lean.  Massage helps all people deal with their body issues and lets them feel more comfortable with themselves.  Massage therapists make observations about bodies but not judgments.  We assess stress or pain issues and communicate with each person about what they want so they walk out feeling great.

They are very active.   Their life can include many or all of the following –  school, study, work, sports or other after school activities, and social time.  Looking at that list can make a person tired.  They go and go and cram a lot into a day.  They may lug a heavy backpack around all day.  The serious athletes will devote much of the year to one or more sport, training and practicing for the next season.  Because their bodies are still developing and changing, they can be more susceptible to injury and overuse.  From their lack of experience, they may not recognize warning signs of potential problems.

Trying to juggle all of these can be a big source of stress.  Later in high school they may also be thinking of college, their future, and the career they want to pursue.  They may be studying and preparing for college prep tests, visiting colleges, and looking for and applying for scholarships.

They have a high degree of social stress.  They have to manage expectations and pressure from family, coaches, employers, school and friends while they are still trying to figure out who they are and how they want to live.

The life of a teen is one of constant change.  They deal with a lot of the same stress as adults but don’t have the experience and tools adults use to make wise decisions and manage it.  Do a teen a favor and suggest they get a massage, or better yet give them a gift certificate.  They will be most grateful.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Let massage help you feel good again

When my oldest son started school, he brought home diseases of all sorts.  I began getting sick with all of the things I had never had before, like pink eye and bronchitis.  Many times he didn’t get sick but acted as a carrier and I got clobbered.

I got strep throat at least four years in a row, and I got it bad.  I would get a raging fever, sore throat, terrible headache, and generally felt awful.  My mind would be in a fog and I couldn’t think clearly.  I don’t run to the doctor for every little thing, so when I do go I know something is wrong.  My wife (at least I think that’s who it was) would recognize that I was sick and try to get me to go to the doctor.  Because of my head fog, I didn’t always go right away.  I didn’t recognize the symptoms in myself.

So I would make my way to see the doctor.  After sticking a yardstick down my throat for fun (they claimed it was a test) they would tell me I had strep and give me a prescription.  I would get it filled and begin taking it and would experience improvements remarkably quickly.  Within a day I started feeling much more like myself again and the fog began to lift.

Which leads to why you need a massage.

People around you notice things.  If they begin telling you that you need a massage or seem stressed, listen to them.  Eventually they will stop talking to you at all and will run when you come near.

Maybe as I did you suspect something is wrong but you haven’t made it in.  Make it a priority to take care of yourself.  Can you squeeze in an hour out of your week to get on the path to feeling good again?

Massage always helps me to think clearly again.  You can zone out or catch a nap.  After your massage, you can see the issues you are dealing with in a new light and feel ready to take them on.  Often by taking your mind off of them and taking care of yourself solutions begin to present themselves.

Sometimes multiple appointments are needed to take care of a painful issue you are having.  This is usually because the problem did not begin suddenly but over a period of time.  An immediate cure is not always possible, but you will begin to feel better.  I needed to continue to take all of my medicine to get well, and I felt better every day.  You should feel better after the first appointment and should make progress after each visit.

In just an hour, you can get started to getting that good feeling back.  If you are waiting on somebody to tell you – my wife says it’s time for your massage.  She knows these things.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Why did I become a Massage Therapist?

Many people ask me how I got into massage.  Some want to know a little more about me as we work together.  I suspect that others are curious since I don’t look like what they think a typical massage therapist looks like (I’m not a female or a big brawny guy named Sven or Otto).

I usually don’t write a lot about me in these posts.  I prefer them to be about how massage can help you.  But since you asked…

I went to college and got a degree in Computer Science.  I worked as a programmer and analyst for a few years.  I did my part to help save the world from Y2K (yes, it was a real problem that we fixed so well it didn’t seem like it).  I worked on my skills and became pretty good.  I was missing something though.  One year during the company performance review I looked back on all my projects.  They were all important at the time, but when I noticed what I had done for a whole year, I got a big dose of “so what”.  These important, critical projects that needed done right away didn’t really impact much of anything, from customer service to profits.

During one of the economic downturns, I was downsized along with many other people.  It was time to make a choice.  I needed to go back to school for either more computer training or get into something else.

As I was researching, I realized what I liked most about my work was when I knew my projects were helping people.  That would have to be a part of whatever I was going to get into next.  I also have a vein of curiosity.  I like to become good at what I do, but after I do I can get bored without another challenge. I needed something that would keep my brain engaged and stimulated.

I looked into a number of things and narrowed it down to teaching or medical.  I got involved with a school system and worked as a tutor for a while.  I really enjoyed the teaching part, especially seeing the light come on when a student understood what we were talking about, but didn’t think the whole educational system was for me.  With my technology background, I looked into medical technology work.  Again I found things I would be good at but wouldn’t have a direct impact on helping people.

Then I found massage.

Massage gives me the opportunity to help people quickly.  I can observe the impact I have had on somebody who walked in the door in pain or under too much stress.  In just an hour, they leave feeling so much better.  I can see it in their posture, how they stand taller, that they don’t look so weighed down and troubled.  They have been cared for and given a bit of hope that they can handle what is coming their way.

Massage also keeps my brain stimulated.  I had no background in science or medicine, so I had a lot to learn about anatomy and physiology, bones, muscles, connections, and how the body works.  I use my analytical skills to solve problems that people come in with.  I try to help them identify the cause of the problem (often it’s a simple, innocent enough thing but done repetitively) and decide on how best to treat it.  There are also numerous techniques to be learned and master, and better ways to help people.  I learn from other massage therapists and continue to add new skills.

Why did I become a massage therapist?  To help you.  I love it and can’t imagine now my world without massage.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Relax and completely recharge

I’m a small business owner.  Actually for the most part I am the business.  I want my business to do better and I want you to be happy, so I think about business a lot.  A lot.  It’s like being a parent or taking care of your home – there’s always something that needs done.  Maybe it’s not critical, but you don’t want those things piling up and becoming a big job.

Technology can be very helpful and useful.  However, it can also be a drain on you.  If you are nearly always available and connected, it becomes difficult to give your mind the break it needs and be present in what else is going on.  If you can check your email from anywhere or get a call or text anytime, it is harder to turn off that part of your life, even briefly.

I talk to you about relaxing, disconnecting, and recharging, but I found myself in the condition I advise against.  It wasn’t deliberate of course; I just sort of let it happen that way.  I try to follow the advice I give because I believe in it.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you.  You are watching a movie or playing a game.  It’s fun, but you are not fully engaged in it because you are thinking about what else you need to do and what to do when this is over.  When it’s over, you are not relaxed because you weren’t completely there.

So what to do?

Continue to work hard at what you are doing, but when it’s time for a break, do just that.  Even if it is not for long, break free.  Enjoy your walk, show,  game, book, or whatever you choose.  The projects and tasks will still be there when you get back – but you can come back to them with a clear mind.  That produces more creative thinking and a boost in the energy to take them on.

Of course a great way to completely relax and recharge is to get a massage.  You have no responsibilities during this time.  You don’t have to maintain a conversation or do anything.  Let your mind zone out or catch a nap.  You may find, as I do, that you can think much more clearly afterwards.  It’s a terrific way to get your body and mind feeling good again.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Muscles and little kids

Some people at the beginning of their massage encourage me to dive right in with a lot of pressure on the area that is bothering them.  While I understand that they want their issue taken care of and their pain reduced, that is usually not the ideal approach.

Muscles, especially ones in pain, have to be treated like little kids.  To get them to do what you want, they have to trust you.  A kid who doesn’t trust you won’t do what you tell them – in fact, they will usually do the opposite.  They become wary and hop into mom’s lap or hide behind her legs.  They will act this way even if you are offering something that they want or will make them happy.

Muscles have a memory like a kid.  They remember something that hurt them and they try to protect themselves.  If I start working on them with a lot of pressure right away, they will resist and tighten up to prevent more pain.  Even if you want them to relax, they are in defense mode.  The massage will help them feel better, but the effectiveness will be limited.

So how to approach these sore muscles?

First I will start off with some stationary touch.  This serves as in introduction and prepares your body and nervous system to feel safe to relax.  I will then feel the muscles in the area that you have told me are hurting to evaluate the work that each one needs.  Having a good starting point, I will begin with some work to warm up the muscles and tissue.  Muscles that have been warmed up and with good blood flow respond better that hard pressure on cold muscles.

Having established this trust that they are safe and I’m not here to hurt them, I can then work with increased pressure.  Communication is key.  I’m a trained, experienced professional and will use the pressure the muscles feel like they need – but it is your body and you know how it feels.  Massage shouldn’t be a painful experience to be endured.  Instead it should be something to look forward to and enjoyed.  Click this link to read more on this idea.

Some have had an experience from a massage when the therapist didn’t use the amount of pressure that they desired, or enough to be effective for the troublesome area.  I will spend additional time on an area if you want, and I want to hear from you on how the pressure feels.  Speak up anytime – you won’t hurt my feelings or insult me.  The massage is about the results you want to achieve.

Contact me when and we will set up your appointment customized for what you need that day.  Bring your muscles and take a break from the little kids.

Want to know how muscles are like rubber bands?  Click here to find out.

Muscles are also like shoestrings.  Click here to read why.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com