Archive for the ‘Massage PSAs’ Category

Recently I was on Facebook and saw an ad for a local chiropractor’s office offering three hours of massage for less than $100. I was instantly furious. Several thoughts bounced around the inside of my head while I was trying to determine what made me so mad. Was I upset about possibly losing business? Yes, but not so much for this kind of emotional reaction. Was it the chiropractor’s office? Maybe, but I’d never even heard of the place before. Was it the massage therapist? Maybe, but I didn’t even know who worked there. Was it the ad itself? Just a black and white text affair, blunt, but no. It took a bit before it finally coalesced to the point that I could put it into words.

Who in their right mind is willing to do three hours of massage for less than $100?

As an independent business owner and massage therapist the only scenario that makes sense is that the business is doing it to bring in more business. Okay, that’s one way to do it, but is the massage therapist getting paid a previously agreed upon minimum hourly rate? Or are they having to eat the cut rate? It’s one thing for me to decide to cut my rates and do a special, it’s another thing for an employer to decide that for me.

Let me break some of the numbers down and give you an idea of why I found myself so angry at this Facebook ad.

I’m an independent massage therapist whose rates are currently $70/hour. When I do an hour of massage I receive from my client $70. With that $70 I keep the doors open, the heat, air, lights, and water on, supplies stocked and pay any other business related expenses, pay taxes, pay myself so I can keep food on the table (and in the dog’s bowls) and a safe place for my family to live.

As an employed massage therapist when the employer runs a “special” the massage therapist typically takes at least a share of the hit. So that special for 3-hours for $100 works out to 1-hour for $33.33. The employer then takes their share which is negotiable at the time of employment and is typically 40-60% depending on what the employer supplies. So out of $33.33 the employer will take $13.33, if the massage therapist is lucky, leaving them $19.99 for an hour of massage. If they’re not so lucky those numbers flip, the house takes $19.99 leaving the massage therapist $13.33.

Now, I am fully in support of the house taking their cut, they have to in order to keep the doors open. But can you imagine going to school, graduating, being required to take and pass a national-level exam, purchasing and maintaining liability insurance, going through the process of becoming licensed by the state, maintaining continuing education hours in order to become a skilled professional all to be paid $13.33 for an hours worth of work?

I certainly cannot and before you move away from that list I just wrote about all the things you have to do to become a legally practicing professional massage therapist in the state of Alabama, consider that every single thing on that list takes money. Most of those steps take a lot of money.

So it’s just not feasible from a business standpoint for a massage therapist to agree to work for this kind of pay. They can’t keep up their certification and licensing much less put food on the table. Add to that, people flock to these kinds of deals giving that therapist a lot of work to do. So they’re wearing their bodies down without receiving sufficient resources to maintain their self-care or livelihood. I think we can all agree this is not good practice nor is it sustainable.

So who would agree to work for this pittance?

Unfortunately, the massage therapists who agree to work under these circumstances are often desperate for money and employment, very young, just graduated from massage school, have student loans coming due, and/or a combination of these. So deal shoppers who bounce from place to place looking for the cheapest deals are essentially taking advantage of someone who is already down on their luck or trying to get started. They also may not be receiving the best massages either because let’s face it, how good a job do you do when you’re stressed out and worried about how you’re going to pay the electric bill.

What Can We Do?

As a consumer of massage, you can either refuse to deal shop or if you do, tip the therapist directly at a very high percentage. If you can’t afford to make up the difference in the tip then book at least two more appointments at full price for every one appointment you get at a discounted rate, write a review for the therapist, and send your friends to that massage therapist. In other words, do all you can to support that person.

As a massage therapist, you can negotiate these things with your employer. It’s best if it’s in the employment contract or agreement, but you can still negotiate with them even after you’ve signed an agreement. Insist on a minimum rate of pay for your services. Insist on limits, both to the number of “deals” they offer per year and how many massages they sell at the discounted rate or give away for free. Don’t expect that to be an easy conversation, but nothing worth having comes easy or cheap. Also consider the possibility that self-employment may be a better option.

In a perfect world we would all get paid what we are worth. Unfortunately, our system doesn’t work that way and we get paid what we settle for or what the market will bear. As a massage therapist I choose not to settle for less and know that sometimes I’ll be slow because there are lots of deals floating around. As a consumer of massage I refuse to shop the deals because it artificially dilutes the value of massage therapy and makes it harder for all of us, consumers and massage therapists, to afford.

So if it sounds too good to be true, you know it probably is, at least in the long run. Anyway, here are a couple of related articles that you may now be interested in reading: How to support your favorite businesses for free and How to find a great massage therapist

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Ashiatsu Barefoot Specialist!

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I just wanted to take a moment to address the sexual misconduct involving one of the giant massage therapy chains that has been in the news recently.  I am horrified and disgusted that someone in my profession has violated the sanctity of our collective healing space.

People come to massage to find a safe place in which to let their mind and body relax and begin the healing process. Obviously, it’s not to be assaulted. While it is impossible for an employer to control individual employees’ actions, it is deplorable that virtually nothing has been done to address the now hundreds of complaints that have been filed against these employees. The company owes their clientele better and I will be surprised if there’s not repercussions for not removing predators from their employ in a timely manner. I am saddened that so many people are now having to deal with the trauma of being assaulted when they rightly believed they were safe.

All that being said, I just wanted to make sure that you, as a consumer of massage, know exactly what to expect when you schedule a massage. And I want to give you some straight talk about what to do if ANYONE or ANYTHING ever makes you feel uncomfortable while receiving massage with any bodyworker, anywhere.

As a massage therapist and bodyworker, my main goal is to help you feel better. I strive to create a safe, comfortable space for you. You will find this is a common thread among people who practice a healing art. We know receiving massage can be an incredibly vulnerable experience. Most of the time you will be unclothed to some degree, possibly lying face down, and someone you may not know yet will be touching you. I never want you to feel unsafe or uncomfortable so read on and know that you are always in charge when you are receiving a massage.

A Bodywork Client’s Bill of Rights

  1. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t like my music, if you feel cold, if the sheet feels scratchy or if I’m actually hurting you.
  2. If you feel unsafe for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I need to figure out what’s wrong so you can feel safe again.
  3. If you feel like you want to stop the session and leave for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I don’t want to subject you to an experience you don’t want.
  4. If you feel like you need to cry, let it out. You might startle me, but I’m not going to run away.
  5. Your massage is your time. It may be the only hour you get this week, month, or year to be perfectly yourself and let your mind and body enter into a healing state so please tell me if there’s something I need to do to help you have the best massage experience possible.

What To Do If You’re Assaulted During a Massage

  1. If you’re able, stop the session and leave the establishment immediately.
  2. Once you are safe, go directly to the police department or the emergency department (depending on the severity of the assault).
  3. Expect to make a police report on the incident.
  4. After making a police report ask the police if it is okay for you to call the business and make a formal complaint against the therapist. This is assuming this happened in a multi-therapist office.
  5. Make a formal complaint against the therapist with the state Board of Massage Therapy.

I hope this never happens to you. I hope it never happens to anyone and I am horrified that it has happened at all.

How To Prevent Assault During a Massage

Unfortunately, in our world as it currently stands it is impossible to prevent someone from doing harm if they are intent on committing assault. Even if you’re willing to use deadly force to protect yourself there’s no guarantee you won’t still be hurt in the process. Such a sad and frightening prospect, but there are a few things you can do to try to protect yourself.

As a massage therapist in the State of Alabama, I am required to maintain a massage therapy license with the state. In order to do that I have to agree to and abide by a whole host of laws that deal with the ethical treatment of my clients. Many of those laws specifically outline boundaries and forbid me from assaulting a client. Not that I need a law to know that it’s just wrong to assault a client… So when considering going to a new massage therapist make sure they are licensed. And there are a few other things you can do, here’s how to tell if they’re legit and agree to ethical boundaries.

I hope you have found some helpful information here. And while I would have preferred to never have to address this situation, please know that Harvest Moon Massage Therapy will always be a safe space where you don’t have to worry about your personal safety.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage!

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BrokenFingerI was recently approached by a client with this question about massage and broken bones. My initial reaction was, “No way!” But then with a little more thought and research I reasoned that while it would be nice (and much cheaper, less painful, easier, and great for business!) to rub away a break, massage therapy can indirectly help the healing process when bones have been broken.

How Massage Helps Broken Bones

Let’s talk about the healing process for a minute. It starts as we breathe oxygen into our lungs. Our lungs allow the oxygen to dissolve into our bloodstream. Blood then delivers the oxygen to our cells. After the cells have used up the oxygen, they spit out all the by-products of the healing process into the interstitial fluid between cells. The lymphatic system then sweeps them up and transports them through the lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and eventually out through your eliminatory system. This is a gross oversimplification of the miracle of life, but you get the gist.

Applying the healing process to broken bones it would look something like this. Cells and all the things they make up, muscles, tendons, bones, etc., heal when they are bathed in oxygen. So in order to heal, blood (and oxygen) must reach cells in the area that has the fracture. That oxygen must get used up in order for healing to occur and the lymphatic system has to do its job taking out the trash to keep the area from swelling and squeezing out the possibility for fresh, oxygenated blood to enter. Thus, it only makes sense that the goal of massage therapy in respect to help heal broken bones is to promote and restore optimal blood and lymphatic flow to the area of injury.

What if you have a broken bone and you’re in a hard cast?

You might think massage therapy can’t help, but lymphatic drainage can help reduce swelling and decongest the region around the fracture even when you’re in a cast. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Certified manual lymphatic drainage therapists are trained to ramp up the lymphatic system. And a busy lymphatic system reaches parts of the body that the therapist can’t touch thus reducing swelling, removing cellular debris and promoting healing. So even if you are in a cast, a massage therapist certified in manual lymphatic drainage can definitely help you along your healing journey.

After you’re out of the cast massage therapy can help in a more direct manner. Muscle atrophy, stiffness and sub-functioning joints can all benefit from an appropriately tailored massage. Delivering a good dose of blood and oxygen via massage and lymphatic drainage to the injured area will be one of the best things about breaking a bone (after the cast coming off, that is).

What you can do to help heal broken bones

  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods – This gives your body the nutrients and building blocks to make the needed repairs
  • Move as much as you can within the guidelines of your medical advice – Get your blood moving so your cells can do their jobs and get you fixed up, also movement helps combat stiffness and gets you going faster and easier after the more restricted healing period
  • Breathe deeply in a clean air environment – Give your blood plenty of good oxygen to deliver to those hard working cells
  • Meditate! – Since you’ve been forced to slow down physically, why not take some time to give your brain a break too?

What to watch out for

  • All massage therapists are not lymphatic drainage therapists. Find someone who is certified in manual lymphatic drainage. This is important.
  • Massage therapists claiming you don’t need to see a doctor for a suspected broken bone. Run/hobble away!
  • Any other ridiculous claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

And so now you know how massage can and can’t help when you’ve broken a bone.

Be well, my friends!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is a Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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What to Wear to a Massage

TableI find this question is coming up a lot lately with new clients so I thought I would address it. Ha! Get it, adDRESS it? Okay, corny, I know, but that’s just how I can be sometimes. So you’re here because you want to know what to wear to a massage. I view this as a multi-part question so I’m going to break it down into at least two parts here. First, quite literally what to wear to a massage and the second what to wear during the massage.

So what does one wear to a massage?

Well, that depends on where you’re coming from. Whether it’s work, working out, the pool or puttering around the house, you definitely want to wear clothes. Unless of course you’re already in the spa and they’ve got you robed or wrapped in a sheet. I’m not a spa so if you walk in my door wrapped in a sheet I’m going to look at you funny. Typically my clients come in wearing work clothes or casual street clothes. Sometimes they come in their workout clothes and sometimes even in their pajamas. Some of my later in the day clients bring their pajamas with them so they can be ready for couch surfing when they get home. So to sum it up, wear whatever you want to your massage, just wear something. The more comfortable, the better cause I always find comfy clothes easier to put on after the disappointment of a massage that has just ended.

 So what does one wear during a massage?

I get this question a lot and a while back I wrote an article on it. Lately though I’ve noticed that article, while humorous and hopefully answered the on/off debate, did not adequately cover the subject. (Sometimes I just can’t help myself.) Anyway, what I’ve discovered is that sometimes this question is less about what you might or might not be wearing, but how much of you is left exposed during the massage.

I recently had a gentleman call asking a lot of questions. At first I thought maybe he was fishing for those illegal kinds of services I don’t provide, but then I realized he was genuinely concerned about whether he would be lying unclothed and uncovered on the massage table while I worked on him. A few days later I had another similar phone call so I am here to say that you will never be unclothed and fully exposed on my massage table or any reputable massage therapist’s table for that matter.

Different methods are taught at different schools, but I learned to use what we call a drape in the massage business. I use a flat sheet for a drape, some massage therapists use towels or blankets, but I was taught with a sheet (at a minimum). My table is typically dressed with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and a blanket depending on the weather.

As a new client, I will brief you on how to lay when you get on the table and part of that instruction is to cover yourself with the sheet. I have learned over the years that there are many different interpretations of “cover yourself with the sheet,” but all of those are okay.

During the massage you will be covered with the sheet and I will use my mad draping skills to uncover only those areas that I am working. If I need your leg, I’ll uncover it while protecting your dignity and modesty. If I need your back, I’ll cover your leg and uncover your back. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, until the massage is complete. Thus keeping most of the body covered at any given time. Of course, if you’re hot and need to stick your arms or feet out, that is ok too.

If this all sounds too complicated or scary or if you don’t want to remove any of your clothes during the massage, that’s okay too. Any good massage therapist can work directly through your clothing doing compression massage techniques. Many are even trained in stretching techniques or Thai massage which is typically performed on fully clothed individuals. So there’s yet another slant on this question.

So what do you think? Did I hit all the angles of this subject or have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer any other questions you might have.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Only Ashi-Thai Therapist!

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Ever wonder what you’re missing on Facebook? I sure do.

Recently I started preparing materials to teach a class to a bunch of massage therapists on how to use a Facebook Page to market their businesses. In doing so I discovered that Facebook now chokes the reach of your Facebook Page posts down to about 25% of the Likers.

This news was disappointing, but makes perfect sense when you remember that Facebook stock started being traded publicly in the market. They (Facebook) have graciously added a “Promote” button for us businessey types to pay them to open the gate and let most of our Likers see our posts.

So if you’re curious as to what you’re missing, here are a couple of techniques you can use to stay up-to-date with your favorite Facebook Pages.

Pages Feed

1. Use the Pages Feed. The first time I looked at the Pages Feed I was astonished at the difference in what my Newsfeed was reporting and what was showing on the Pages Feed. The link  for Pages Feed is on your Newsfeed Homepage on the left-hand menu under the “Pages” heading.

Get Notifications

2. Use Notifications. Turn on Get Notifications by hovering over the ‘Like’ button then selecting the menu option. Now, depending on how you have your Notifications set up in Facebook you might just get the polite little globe icon reporting that you have 6 or 10 new status updates to look at or you may have so many email messages from Justin Beiber’s Facebook Page that your internet provider disables your account. Be sure to get in there and look at those Notifications settings to make sure you’re being notified the way you want to be notified.

Hope this helps!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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Recently I started attending an Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregiver Support group. Many of you already know that I help to care for an elder who has severe dementia. We spent several years struggling along by ourselves trying our best to provide the support she needs as her dementia continues to escalate.

Then last year a friend turned me on to these meetings at the Morgan County Mental Health Association. They are for caregivers and family members of people who suffer with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and I can’t say enough about how helpful this program and the people who run it have been. Whether you need advice on services available in the community to help you and your loved one cope with the frightening changes they’re experiencing or you just need a break and to sit and talk with someone who understands they seem to know and be available for you.

I didn’t get to attend the last meeting which is a shame because they hosted a local specialist on Elder Law. That would have been helpful. Maybe next month I can get a synopsis of what we should be doing and looking at.

Anyway, if you’re local to Morgan County, Alabama and struggling with Alzheimer’s and/or dementias in your family, this meeting is free and open to the community.

When: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7 – 8:30 pm

Where: 207 Commerce Circle SW, Decatur, AL

More info: Morgan County Mental Health Association

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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Wide Open Spaces

Friday, as I was desperately trying to pack a suitcase and figure out if I had everything I needed for the weekend Rossiter training in Atlanta, a large truck rumbled up the driveway. It was Habitat for Humanity. They had come to pick up the vestiges of my 20’s.

For a while we’d been discussing getting rid of some of the old furniture that I had been hoarding in the rec room upstairs. And after tentative agreement last week a pick up was scheduled. Their arrival was somewhat of a surprise and I don’t think I was supposed to be there when they came because I received the stink eye and was told to go get everything ready to move. A few minutes later and the big truck was loaded with my old couch and the dining room table that had become so loaded with scrapbook accessories I had forgotten what it actually looked like.

The guys were nice and said thank you for the donation. I said a quiet goodbye as the truck lumbered down the driveway and wished it all a nice home somewhere it’s used and appreciated. Now all that remains of that period of my life are mementos scattered around in random boxes, pictures and memories.

And though sentimental about the stuff that represented that period of my life, I can see the open places the stuff used to occupy. And there’s a lot of happiness in that. More room, more space, more possibilities.

I have finally learned that more things do not mean more happiness. In fact there is liberty in open space and not having so many things. Being happy with less is very freeing. Being okay with not having the latest, greatest whatever generates less stress. And having the space to consciously make decisions on what I really want, that’s the reward, I think.

Also, the extra money in my pocket doesn’t hurt either. The goal of paying that mortgage off early is actually seeing some action now that I’ve quit “needing” so much.

So for a while I’m going to enjoy less clutter in my home and the corresponding openness in my mind. Who knows what will come to fill it, but whatever it may be this time I’ll be consciously choosing to fill that space, physical or otherwise. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Provider of Rossiter Pain Relief Techniques

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