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Can I Massage your Obturator Internus?

I recently attended a deep tissue massage course in Sydney where I was introduced to the obturator internus muscle. I probably should have known where it is in the body and what it does but, I have to admit, I didn’t. The reason being is that it is in a pretty personal part of the body that I tend to stay away from during professional massage.

Now the formal description of the location of this muscle is that it “originates on the medial surface of the obturator membrane, the ischium near the membrane, and the rim of the pubis”. In language a little easier to understand it runs from the pelvic floor muscle, under and around sit bone (the ischial tuberosity) and attaches near the femoral head in the hip. It is one of a group of muscles that laterally rotates the hip (and it also assists in the abduction of the thigh).

Although I can understand that as a hip rotator that it may be important to release the obturator internus if someone is having hip problems, but given that I was not aware of it before the course, I think it is probably less important than other hip rotators such as piriformis.

On the course we spent over an hour talking about the obturator internus, receiving demonstrations on how to massage it and then practising working on it. All well and good in terms of improving the knowledge and education of the therapists, learning in a safe and supervised session. There seemed to be a real buzz and energy in the class about this one muscle that unnerved me though.

Although we are only talking about soft tissue bodywork, working in and around this part of the body is fraught with danger. If I went into see a therapist for the first time and they started massaging my obturator internus, I would be concerned that I was in the wrong type of massage establishment.

It is a highly personal area of the body that, in my view, the vast majority of massage therapists should never consider working. Yes knowledge of the anatomy and physiology is good but this type of bodywork should only be performed by therapists who are recognised as being experts and specialists in working with hip and pelvic floor issues (releasing and relaxing the obturator internus may be indicated with people who have a dysfunctional pelvic floor).

I would probably include massage to the coccyx in the same category – yes there are times when it may be indicated, yes most therapists could probably do effective body work in and around the coccyx. But in my view, probably best that coccyx massage is left to those who consider themselves to be specialists.

Maybe I picked up the vibe of the class wrong but just seemed that there was going to be a whole group of therapists targeting this previously unheralded muscle on an unsuspecting public.

Suffice to say though that you can rest assured that I would never be asking you the title question of this post.

Choosing a Massage School

There are any number of reasons why someone may want to enrol in a massage school. It may be a general interest in helping family and friends though bodywork. Alternatively, you may be looking for your first vocational training after leaving school. Or you may be looking for a career change and have decided that the natural therapies industry is where you see yourself in the next few years.

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to study massage, the first question you will need to answer is where and what will I study?

Massage schools

There are a different view regarding what you need to consider before choosing a massage school. For simplicity these views can be split into:
(1) Choose the best school for you or

(2) Choose the most convenient school for you.

Those who support the first view will argue that the better the education you receive then the better the therapist you will be when you finish massage school and, hence, the more likely you will succeed when you begin your career as a massage therapist in Sydney or wherever in Australia you live. Why waste the opportunity to get a good education just to save a little time and/or money?

The supporters of the second view will argue that most massage schools are there to churn out students and the only factor that will have an impact of you succeeding in the massage industry is you. If you have the skills, the talent, the aptitude, the personality and the will to succeed then you will independent of where you study. Most quality education you will recieve either comes from your on the job skill development or specific courses with high quality tutors and massage leaders once you have qualified and have an understanding of where you belong in the massage industry.
If this is point of view is true, then the first massage school you choose should be the one that is most convenient and/or cheapest for you to qualify to the level that you want to.

There is no right or wrong regarding these viewpoint and much will depend on your personal circumstances. Most people will probably settle for a compromise and choose a massage school that they believe offers them the best education given their time and budget constraints.

Regardless of your view, it is worth taking the time checking out the schools in your area and finding out such things as:
– what modalities and modules do they offer?
– when are the classes held?
– how much are the classes?
– are their qualifications recognised by professional associations in Australia?

Most massage schools will offer open days where you can come in and find out specific answers to your questions. Another great way of getting a feel for the school is to book in for a student massage. You will be able to quiz the student therapist about how they feel about the school and also you will get first hand experience of the quality of the bodyworkers that are graduating.


If you are particularly time poor, then there are options for doing some study remotely (eg online modules) which can reduce your costs and the travel time required to complete your study.

Information about some massage schools in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth etc is included at

By Richard Lane

Is It Really Harder for a Male Massage Therapist to Succeed?

Check out any massage forum and there will comments and questions from male massage therapists who are struggling to develop a foothold in the massage industry. Many of these posts will point to the fact that males prefer to receive therapeutic touch from females and that male massage for females in Sydney is the exception rather than the rule as women often find it difficult to relax when they are being massaged by a male.

The upshot is that new male massage therapists feel that the odds are stacked against them and they complain that it is so much easier for females to work in the massage industry.

However, the reality is somewhat different and research studies point to the fact that males therapists, on average, do better than female therapists.
To quote from a 2002 survey of massage therapists in Australia

male massage therapist

Men carried out proportionately more consultations than women, and had been in clinical practice proportionately longer than women. Proportionately more women (80%) than men (63%) had earnings under $30,000. There were proportionately more men than women in the upper income brackets. Although men were 24% of the sample population, they were 44% of those earning over $100,000.

Yet still the perception is that males have a harder time developing a career in the massage industry.

So how can we reconcile the differences between the positions?

There are probably a number of points that can be made to address this apparent paradox that it is harder for men in the massage industry but that on average men do better than women.

Jobs and employment for (newly qualified) female therapists are more abundant than for men. Check out the massage employment websites and there will be more jobs for female therapists than males. Day spas, health retreats, hotel spas and relaxation clinics employ females. Whilst there may be a token male or two on the roster, people who book in for a massage at one of these locations will more than likely prefer and expect to be massaged by a female.

Any male who goes through massage school thinking that because he does a great relaxation massage, he will be snapped up by the swanky spas is naïve and have unrealistic understanding of the massage industry and this misunderstanding may be part of the problem.

However, these relaxation jobs are typically transient in nature and whilst they may provide employment and an income, there is no career development as such. The therapist runs the risk of just providing “cookie cutter” massages without developing their own client base and/or skills.

These type of jobs may also tend to suit people who really just want to fit in work around their family (without wishing to appear sexist, it is suggested that women are more likely to be looking for massage roles that are flexible and are part time and part of the reason for them doing massage is to fit in with their work/life balance).

In order for a male massage therapist in Sydney to succeed, then they need to find their niche which will need to be a segment of the market that is insensitive to the gender of the bodyworker. For male therapists, this niche is most likely to be offering remedial, sports and deep tissue massage ie more at the medical end of the massage spectrum rather than the relaxation end. People who are in pain, are recovering from injury or are looking to improve sporting performance will be more focussed on the outcome of their massage rather than be worried about the fact that they are being massaged by a male.

The fact that it is difficult for males starting out in the industry is probably an advantage for their long term career development. It focuses them on finding out where they belong (which will often be working for themselves), on working on their marketing skills and improving their knowledge/training to provide high quality bodywork that will bring in repeat/word of mouth clients.

The result is that males, who can stay in the industry, do more massages per week and have a greater income than women on average.

So less complaining, guys, about the injustices of being a man in a female industry. Maybe it is females that are getting the raw deal.

By Richard Lane

Student Massages

In most major cities where there are massage schools then the chances are that there would be the option for you to book in for a student massage. In Sydney, for example, these are available at some of the TAFEs, Nature Care in St. Leonards, ACNT in Surry Hills and the NSW School of Massage in Clarence St, Sydney. Booking in for a student massage is generally fairly straightforward and checking out the website for a particular massage education establishment should provide you with all the information you require.

Studet massage clinicThe procedure when you arrive at the student massage clinic is fairly similar to any other clinic, with a couple of fairly major differences. These differences include the fact that you will have no choice over what therapist you will see and that you may very well be in a room with a number of other people getting a massage at the same time (this varies from school to school so check when booking if you are shy about disrobing in a room with other people). In addition, regardless of how many times you visit the clinic, you will probably have the therapist go through the case history each time (which can eat into your massage time). And finally, the student massage therapist may check in with their supervisor a number of times during the session.

    Advantages of Student Massage Clinics

(1) Price. Student massages are significantly cheaper than visiting a professional therapist in a clinic (or have a Sydney mobile massage therapist visit you in your home). So if you are constrained by your budget and you can only afford a cheap massage then student massages are a good option. (please note that you are unable to claim health fund rebate for massage with a student therapist).
(2) You may very well get an attentive therapist who is keen to please and improve their skills and professional interactions with clients.
(3) You are supporting the future of the massage industry.

    Disadvantages of Student Massages

(1) No continuity of therapist and no continuity of massage standard. If you receive a good massage one week then it is unlikely that you would ever get the same therapist again. Chances are that if you have a good experience one time then the next time you go in then it may very be less than satisfactory.
(2) Limited availability. Many student massage clinics only operate on specific day and at specific times. In addition, even when the clinic is operating they may be offering a different massage modality to the one that you are after (eg the students may only be trained in Swedish massage when you are after a remedial massage).
(3) As mentioned above, having a massage in a room with lots of other people is not relaxing when compared to a Sydney massage clinic or a home massage. Also being shy and modest is a definite reason not to book in for a student session.
(4) If you have a significant medical issue would you want a student to be providing bodywork to you?
(5) If you book in for a one hour session, then by the time the student sets up, takes case history and you undress/dress then chances are you will only get around 45 minutes of massage (even less if supervisor intervenes).
(6) Student may work on the areas that they want to, not that you specifically want depending on their level of training and their preferences. (In fairness, this can apply to professional therapists as well but with a professional you probably have more recourse to direct the massage the way you want).

There was a recent online discussion amongst massage therapists whether they preferred student or professional massages. The following quotes are some of the comments that were made. (Obviously there is a slightly different perspective compared with if the same questions was asked to a non-massage therapist, although many of the points are relevant for both groups)

If you get a massage from a student, it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. If you get a massage from a professional, similarly it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. However, the advantage of a professional is that when you get the “great” experience you can go back next week or the next time you want a massage so you can guarantee that you will be satisfied with the massage. With a student massage there are no such guarantees.

Sometimes students are more diligent and pay more attention to your needs. “SOMETIMES”. Some professionals don’t listen and have their ‘own’ way and often that is disappointing (happens quite frequently) Hmmm? What to do? I would love a professional that is in tune, pays attention to “your’ needs and can make me float away while my body heals through their wonderful touch. BTW I have had some awesome student massages in my many years.

Depends…who is actually good at massage? Massage professional only means they are licensed, not good at massage. Some massage students have great skill, some professionals do not. So…I will go to either if they have the passion and skill to give a great massage. Unfortunately you do not know for sure until you feel their work.

I prefer to receive massage from someone who knows how to give an awesome massage, be it a student, professional or anyone else who may just have a gift! Just sayin.

I’m a student and hve been told by several clients that I’m better than a pro because the pros don’t listen to what the client needs are. To me, when I hear that, it means the pros just don’t care about the client and their needs.
A professional , more education on specific conditions and modalities which increase a range of techniques which sometimes need to be combined to deliver desired results. A student is more routine and knowledge of basics. Which is why we are required to do CEU. I feel I was an exceptional student but I often find myself using and combining different modalities in which I had no knowledge of as a student like advance deep tissue neuromuscular sports/or Thai combo. The difference in the results are non comparable.

Both- you can learn from each one

I luv getting massages from students as i remember those “student clinic” days well!!! BUT i PREFER a professional because i usually opt for a specific modality such as craniosacral, trager, bowen technique, fascial mobilization, muscle energy technique, myoskeletal alignment technique, soft tissue release and my 2 fav’s: THAI MASSAGE & WATSU!!!. . .so i usually require a professional to perform these modalities…………………but i do keep the student clinic at a local massage therapy school busy!!!

From a professional, because they know what muscles I need work on to get relief. When I go back to my massage school to be an intern’s ‘guinea pig’, I am always disappointed with the massage, simply because when you’ve had the best, amateurish massages don’t make the grade.

I believe in supporting the students, and I’m pretty understanding because my first clinic was a nightmare. I pity the first person on my table. But the last few student massages I’ve gotten were awful. And it was their third term in clinic! I wondered if they even paid attention in their first Swedish class!

It really doesnt matter to me! Massage is massage either way its still good!! I really dont judge at all, my co~therapist are all completely different styles!! Always Good:)

To me it depends. I Ave had both and some of the best and the worst ones have been for booth. Only time I have an issue with a student working on me in a clinic, is when they are just starting. One had a student tell me she just started less tan a month and hadn’t even learned the muscles yet. I couldn’t believe they allowed her to start in clinic yet without an instructors supervision.

Lmt Massage professional… my theory, you get what you pay for…

Professional… I find students trip up my nervous system and I have the shakes for the rest of the day, or they over work / under work areas. Well worth the $$$ to me to have a professional work on me or trade with another LMT.

A brilliant question to which we are not sure there is a clear cut answer. The general feeling in the office is that we are great supporters of education and everyone nees to learn. Our student experience has always been good as you can sometimes be a little more diligent when learning. However, there are also some really awesome massage therapists out there.

There is no such thing as a bad massage, some are better than others but all good. I’ll take one of each

Whoever has the most passion for their trade! Years of experience does not out weigh true passion and true passion can not be taught.

It depends. when I was a student there were some that were really good with their techniques. some were not. I have had a massage from a licensed massage therapist and did like it much better. I went to the schools clinic once to get a student massage and it was horrible. she didnt listen to what I wanted done and did her own thing. There are just parts of my body that I dont like worked on. and when I told her that she just stated that I needed the work done, and worked on the area anyway. intercostals are very sensitive and I dont like them worked on. needless to say I did say something and they talked to her about it. When I was in clinic we had LMT evals. where we had to give a massage to a licensed massage therapist. The lady I had was very nice and in her eval wrote that she almost forgot that I wasnt licensed yet. so I guess it just depends on the person.

I don’t care as long as I’m getting massaged!

I honestly prefer a professional, I’m too nervous to be worked on by a student. However, if I am on a really tight budget and can’t afford the extra money for the professional and I really need it, then student. But outside of having student in my class work on me, I have yet to have a student in clinic work on me since graduating.

I certainly would not try to discourage anyone from getting a student massage if you have never had one. If you regularly have massage then it is a great way to experience a different bodyworker without paying big bucks. However, for many people though, the disadvantages do outweigh the cost advantages.

By Richard Lane

Is it you who does the massage?

It is hard to succeed as a male massage therapist in Sydney. The demand for massages from males is significantly less than it is for females even for the best male massage therapists.

Men prefer to book massages from females and a reason often given is that they are “uncomfortable” being touched by another man. Male massage for women in Sydney is also less common, more because of a cross-gender touch considerations (although having said that, the majority of the clients I see are female). Men are uncomfortable with a male massage therapist providing bodywork to their wife, for example, even though the majority of my clients are females (and some men specifically book a guy to massage their wife).

male massage therapist given female sports massage

Whilst the demand for massage from masseurs is less than for masseuses that does not mean that it is impossible for a male to succeed. If you search clinics and for mobile massage in Sydney, then it is immediately apparent that there is an abundant supply of men providing remedial and therapeutic massage so there must be some demand there.

I have been working as therapist in Sydney for a few years now and, although I have and still regularly face the bias against male massage therapists, I have survived long enough to carve out a career. Once you realise that you have to target people who are more concerned with the quality of the massage rather than the gender of the therapist (or those who are specifically after a male massage therapist) then you have a chance.

If you imagine that you will be working in a swanky Sydney day spa giving relaxing massages to the beautiful people then you will be in for disappointment. People who are after a sports, deep tissue and remedial massage will much more likely be your customers.

Having said that I understand the favouritism that exists towards, I still bristle and take umbrage when someone rings up our mobile massage business and asks

“Is it you who does the massage?

There is no preamble, there are no niceties. There is no “Hi, my name is …. and do you mind me asking is it you who does the massage?” Instead they just immediately fire away with the question as their opening salvo.

I don’t know why it bothers me and annoys me but it does.

Maybe they are not expecting a male to answer their call and they struggle to find a polite way of asking the question they are really asking which is


Can I book a massage with a female?

I really do not have a problem with someone wishing to book a massage and their preference is to see a female. I’m a big boy, I wear big boy pants. I accept that is the way of the massage world. I have been providing massage in Sydney for long enough.


“Is it you who does the massage?

bugs me.

However, if you do specifically prefer to receive bodywork from a male massage therapist then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0421 410057.

By Richard Lane

Dry Needling

If you have been a regular recipient of remedial massage over the years then there is a reasonable chance then at some stage you would have been offered the opportunity to try dry needling. More and more massage (and for that matter physiotherapists) in Sydney have been trained to provide dry needling. Some of the therapists who work with Inner West Mobile Massage are trained to provide dry needling treatments.

But what is dry needling, is it different to acupuncture and is it effective?
Deactivation of trigger points through use of dry needles in SydneyA technicial definition is that dry needling uses a variety of needling techniques to initiate change in soft tissue dysfunction which are the results of physiological loading causing inflammation or irritation of the soft tissue. A more normal description is that dry needling is used to de-activate trigger points in the muscles (for information regarding trigger points then there is more information here). The insertion of a needle is considered as being an effective way of relieving the pain and discomfort which may be attributable to the trigger point.

For a dry needling treatment, then a thin needle is inserted into the trigger point (which the therapist has identified through palpation). If the needle is positioned correctly then there will normally be a local twitch response, an involuntary reflex as the muscle fibres of the taut band of the trigger point contract.

As with any bodywork modality, the effectiveness of a dry needling treatment is directly related to the skill of the practitioner. Obviously just sticking needles into the muscles and hoping is not likely to provide good results. The therapists palpation skills and knowledge of anatomy are critical to the success of the therapy.

Dry Needling and Acupuncture
Although both modalities use needles to initiate healing for the body there is a distinct difference regarding the philosophy behind dry needling and acupuncture. Dry needling aims to reduce pain through the de-activation of trigger points. The needles are inserted into the trigger point but they are not left in the muscles for much more than a few seconds.
Acupuncture uses needles to enhance energy and chi flow through the meridians of the body. An acupunturist would normally leave the needles in the meridian points for an extended period of time.

Now whilst there is a huge underlying difference in the intent of the two modalities, there is also a significant area of commonality. It is often reported that there is an overlap of somewhere between 70-90% for trigger points and the meridian points used by acupunturists.

Effectiveness of Dry Needling
Research on the effectiveness and efficacy of dry needling is fairly limited. Some commentators will argue that many positive findings are based on small sample sized research studies which may or may not have flaws with respect to methodology. One of the major problems is similar to research studies into acupuncture: the skill, training and knowledge of the practitioner is a variable largely out of the control of researchers. Also most practitioners will vary their approach depending on issues that the client presents with and for them, there is no standard treatment.

Dry Needling – Inner West Mobile Massage
Whether or not dry needling can be clinically proven to provide pain relief through de-activation of trigger points may be considered as being a mute point anyway. The issue is whether it can work for you.

If you are interested in trying dry needling then a couple of the therapists who work with us are trained and qualified to offer this therapy. Give us a call on 0421 410 057 if you would like more information.

By Richard Lane

Deep Tissue Massage Sydney

If you check out any website of a massage clinic or service that offers therapeutic massage then the chances are that they have listed “Deep Tissue Massage” as one of the services that they offer. It may be listed separately or in conjunction with other massage modalities such as sport or remedial massage.

It is not unusual that the price for a Sydney deep tissue massage is quoted higher than for a relaxation or Swedish massage (or even remedial massage).

deep tissue massageThe use of the term deep tissue massage causes much discussion in the massage fraternity and there are therapists who believe that deep tissue massage = deep pressure massage and this is simply not the case. Whilst most therapists would concur that it refers to the massaging of the deep layers of the muscles, the massage strokes and techniques used in a deep tissue massage will vary depending on the training and preferences of the therapist.

This is purely my opinion but those who have received specific recognised training in deep tissue massage will work slowly and with intent. They will use a wide range of massage tools to work through the superficial layers of the body to reach the deeper muscles and soft tissues. Although the massage can be a little intense at time they are not necessarily using a great deal pressure as by working slowly then it is

Those who have not received specific training may not have the same level of understanding and believe that deep tissue massage means using a lot of pressure. Indeed many clients believe that a deep tissue massage is by definition a strong massage. As such these therapists often use more body force and energy to achieve their goals and this may be the reason why they charge a greater price for their services if they believe that they cannot do as many deep tissue massages in a day compared with relaxation.

Recently this issue was discussed on Facebook and below are some of the quotes from therapists regarding the a discussion about charging differential prices for deep tissue massage. There are certainly some differences of opinion!

We don’t, but I have considered it. When you are massaging a Lions football player, it’s hard work no matter how good your mechanics are!
I certainly come out sweating a lot more doing deep tissue than just a traditional relaxation swedish massage… especially if I am working on an athlete!
I’m going to go ahead an entertain this subject. Each individual has a RIGHT/PREFERENCE to charge however & whatever rate they choose. It baffles me that MTs want a justification for what others do in their own private practice or Spa. But to tickle your fancy…..rather seeing as charging a client a higher rate for Deep Tissue, I see it as offering a discount to a modality that is less cumbersome. Some may see it as charging a higher rate as being ‘unfair’. Well, my deep tissue is $80 per hour. Sure I can charge one flat rate. But I would much rather charge $60 for Swedish given the fact that is IS less taxing for me and my team. So you see, where others may see it as charging a higher rate for Deep Tissue, I consider it as offering a discount for Swedish. In summary, ‘I don’t charge MORE for Deep Tissue, I charge LESS for Swedish & other modalities.’ 😉
I charge $5.00 extra for deep tissue. It’s more straining on my hands and requires more effort which intern I take fewer appointments. I’ve never had a client complain about the increased price either. So for my practice it works.
I work on a body builder with layers and layers of muscle….that’s justifiable for the rate increase on deep tissue. He’s a regular client, if my body mechanics were off, I would be a mess and I wouldn’t be able to get through those layers of muscle that are “deep” requiring me to work deeper.
Exactly. I have great body mechanics (although could always use improvement in some areas), but saying a deep tissue is as easy as a swedish is minimizing the work of the therapist, IMO. I actually find it a bit offensive. I find Swedish massage quite easy on the body, but deep tissue takes more work. Especially sports massage on a huge, solid, muscular man. We must all be doing it wrong, then?
For clients to continue valuing massage at a healthy level, I agree with charging more for deep tissue styles of bodywork. There is greater usage of the therapists’ body and more detailed knowledge of anatomy is needed as well. Swedish massage is primarily meant for relaxation, any therapeutic massage beyond this demands more effort whether for realigning the body or clinically oriented bodywork.
good body mechanics can not alone compensate for the overall wear and tear on your body, I’m not sure how your neuro clients are but I have very large men, ex NFL and some MMA, plus I customize product usage for the massage style, swedish gets just biotone bought in bulk and some essential oils, neuro gets joint and muscle cream and usually sombra at minimum plus for deep tissue I almost always use aids like hot rocks, bamboo or other to help my get get started, that adds cleaning cost and product wear, my neuros are more in depth plus I utilize additional education and incorporate some gentle tai yoga stretches to further the effect. So I have listed 3 of my main reasons for charging for and 2 of them are not wear and tear on my body, although for me that is #1.
i don’t charge more for DT, but I do offer a seniors’ discount. I do, however, charge more for Hot Stone massage because it takes 15-30min of my time to clean them afterwards, and I charge more for spa treatments that use product, so that I don’t lose money on the deal.
In my practice I charge more for deep tissue/clinical work. Swedish massage doesn’t require the brain power that assessment and clinical approach requires, as well as the physical effort if you are moving limbs, checking ROM, doing PNF stretches, and the like. Swedish is generally the first thing taught in massage school as far as hands on work. Myofascial, Trigger Point work and more advanced modalities do cost a lot to learn. If you took classes for prenatal and wanted to charge more for those sessions, that is your right as a practitioner. People will pay you what you are worth! If you have expertise in other modalities, price them how you feel is worth that expertise. Don’t under sell yourself. You know the benefits which you provide!
I charge for my time and don’t have different charges for different treatments, but that’s just how I like to run my business. If another therapist wants to charge more or less for different treatments that’s their call.
One of the toughest clients I’ve worked on recently is a challenge. Though I’m well trained in deep tissue body mechanics this client has the toughest fascia I’ve come accross. After doing 2 hours of deep tissue, the nxt day I’m sore but I still don’t break a sweat unlike some of my coworkers lol. If someone wants to charge more for deep tissue that’s their choice so we shouldn’t judge or think of ourselves more highly. We are all different.
I really like therapeutic body work so feel free to send all those tuff ones to me. its all in the mechanics folks. I will send all my Swedish clients
I do charge more for both deep tissue and for pregnancy massage as I had to acquire additional specialized training for my prenatal certification as it involved more extensive/ different studying and training of anatomy, trigger points, contraindications, etc. Taking into account the different positioning, consort considerations for the client in the later stages, much like deep tissue there is a different use and exertion of my skills level of work and body mechanics used. Unfortunately many people treat prenatal as just Swedish in a side-lying position and many who perform prenatal in spas are NOT properly trained or certified to do so IMO watching a 30 min home video does not a certification make, And I also agree w/ Jennica, how are we ever going to be expected to be taken seriously if we’re always discounting all over the place – I feel this is one of the primary reasons a lot of people have difficulty seeing our service as a necessity or compliment to their health and wellness and continue to view it as a ‘treat’ or ‘luxury’. It may be hard to admit but there is a certain expectation of quality and competence that comes along with competitive pricing. When your pricing is always cheap or discounted – that’s how your work is viewed as cheap.
I sometimes wonder if the LMT’s are doing deep tissue or deep pressure when they talk about being worn out after doing it. i find that the deeper tissue that i work on the lighter pressure i’m actually doing (sometimes confusing to my clients which is the perfect chance for me to educate them on the difference). i have had many / most of my clients tell me they’ve never had a massage like i do – i combine many “techniques” — swedish / rom / pnf / trigger point / deep tissue – basically what ever they’re body is telling me it needs. i’ll work on all the “tough” clients that you want to charge extra for and i’ll send you all my “swedish” clients – i almost want to charge extra for that since it stresses me out to do only swedish – if i find a knot or something – i want to work it out to benefit my client!
In my area I have seen them charge more for prenatal than deep tissue!
deep tissue is more specialised and carries with it more “risk”, more on costs and more effort (both mental and physical). I charge less for Swedish because it’s simple and easy to do – to me, it’s like meditation. Remedial is a worthy challenge. And those of you who swear “it’s all body mechanics”, get over yourselves and get some experience with professional athletes (esp footballers) before you make your judgements.
Here’s another thing I wonder about as well….in spa’s well, in most spas – they almost always upcharge for evvvvery little ‘extra’ thing, most of which we use anyway – paraffin, aromatherapy, bio-freeze, wrapping/ taping, etc. Why are those charges NEVER questioned in fact most people are happy to pay the difference w/o giving it a second thought, but as individual practitioners, we are nickeled and dimed to death about why we charge this and why we charge that – I promsie you I believe its a direct effect of the group-on syndrome – why pay full price and actually COMPENSATE the therapist for his/her time/effort/energy/skill, when you can just wait for the next dirt cheap discount!
I’ve been doing “deep tissue” for 20 years. I charge more because if you need deeper work, my education and experience is worth paying for. Deep work can be anything from deep muscle therapy, fascial work or craniosacral work. When the person’s body is ready for Swedish maintenance work the fee is adjusted to the lower price. I have also worked on my body mechanics constantly over he years so I can continue to give people massage therapy, no matter what type of bodywork they need. I do have to say, when I have somebody on the table who needs pure physical strength to get what they need, I am very happy that I am making more money.
Seems difficult to charge more for a service if it’s based on the reasoning of extra effort…that would mean we have to charge more for an OBESE client and bulky athletes, and LESS for skinny minny and the cyclists/runners who are thin (but still athletes).

As for training, all clients benefit from training, not just what ever style chosen for the session.

Products? Absolutely charge extra. They cost extra. Aromatherapy oils are expensive!
The salon I work at charges more for deep tissue than Swedish (the former receptionist set the prices. She was not an MT, but shes had massages in the past making her an expert {I hate people like that}). Most people I see there want relaxing with deep pressure. If they really want deep tissue, I will do it at the regular price of the Swedish (it doesn’t matter to me). In my out call business, I charge different for relaxation and therapeutic. Relaxation is easy to me, and some people just want to relax, which is fine. I charge more for therapeutic because it does take greater knowledge and training. I have never had anyone complain.
I myself do an integrated style of massage, using many different techniques in a single session. As others have stated , deep tissue is harder- but using leverage, and for Pete’s sake, slowing down makes a world of difference in how much pressure you have to use, how uncomfortable it is for you and the client, and how sore they might be later. There are a lot of good arguments here, and I think all of them are valid. I charge for my time. Deep tissue takes longer, or else it will only be a targeted session, not a full body. So for me, it all equals out. Each therapist has to decide what is ethical and appropriate for them. There just isn’t one right answer to this question. For instance, I do quite a bit of deep tissue, and some of it isn’t about pressure. But, I don’t have any football players or body builders. Everyone’s clientele is different, and you have to look at that….


I charge exactly the same for all my work. I charge by the time, with different rates for half hour, hour or 90 minute massage. I don’t feel that the patient can know in advance what kind of treatment they will need – we make that decision after I have done the intake and assessment. I treat based on what I find and what their needs and goals are. I do whatever techniques are most suited to helping the patient — I don’t do more or less based on what they are able to pay.
I charge by time & modality and I have never had a client be upset or argue with me about my rates once I explain that the more specific the massage, the more detail is involved. I charge a higher rate for PreNatal than Deep Tissue or Sports. Everyone’s rates are their own choice. I have chosen to value my services & professional liability accordingly.
Any therapist who is practicing should have liability insurance at the least even if they are in unregulated territory. Having said insurance and/or credentials is an automatic need for CE to maintain these. Some therapists will spend more on CE while others will spend less. If you are one to spend more, then charge more for your sessions across the board. Deep tissue techniques are not hard on the body if you are truly applying proper technique and body mechanics. Please send me the “toughies”….deep tissue rocks!
i work deep tissue in preventive injury and injury treatment, i work with professional mma fighters, pro lacrosse players and at boeing on the factory workers who build the planes, many of these people dwarf me in size and their strength as athletes which demands a intense amount of work in a short amount of time. i work with people who out weigh me by 150 and up. and the most time i have is a half hour to be effective and 15 at the shortest. it is very different than Swedish even with proper mech. this has been my experience.
It is just a business and marketing tactic. You can do whatever you want really. You could charge more for pregnancy massage or different rates for any type of massage really. why not?
Personally I can’t be bothered trying to charge for different services when it comes to massage. I charge for my time and skill. If you want spa services they are charged accordingly.
I think it is a personal choice on what therapists want to charge. I myself mix my techniques…if I do massage at my house for friends that come over I just charge one price. Also at the Chiropractors we charge one price..I just find that its easier to just stick with one price.. and tell them I do my consult and then from there create my massage based on what I think is best for them..esp. depending on what they do for work. I don’t think you can compare Swedish to deep tissue.Swedish is long flowy strokes and I feel lazy doing them lol and just feel like I’m rubbing in lotion. I do deeper lunges and I feel like cross fiber work does make me sweat. Especially when I do a lot of my forearm and elbow work.. I am def using more of my body and more effort. But sometimes I believe it all falls on the therapist.. I’ve gotten many massages.. and sometime’s I find myself thinking.. that felt lazy.. or wow.. now that he/she has moved on to my right side of my back I can feel the difference on the other side already! Some people just put more effort into their work.. and I believe they deserve to charge a higher rate! 🙂
I charge a bit more for specialties, such as prenatal, hotstone, lymph drainage, ashiatsu etc – modalities that require special training and/or extra equipment. I charge the same price for THERAPEUTIC massage, be it swedish, deep tissue, trigger point work, or a combination of all. Massage Nerd is correct. We should all know how to give proper pressure to each body using proper mechanics and not feel we need to charge more for clients who may or may not feel what you felt.

imho, if a therapist has invested time and money to learn advanced modalities then it is justified to adjust the fee accordingly.
Deep tissue requires more work for the MT, physically and thought process as well as training. And yes, it can be taxing despite proper body mechanics. I don’t book as many DT clients in the same day as I would swedish. I think blaming the ability or lack of on just body mechanics is very inaccurate. For the record I charge a flat fee regardless of the tyoe of massage.

Massage Strokes Using Active and Passive Movement

We have previously written about static massage strokes where there is no movement of the body part being massaged, For this post we will be introducing some techniques which incorporate either passive or active movement of a joint using similar compression and stripping strokes. Whilst these strokes are effective within a remedial, sports or deep tissue massage, it must be mentioned that not every technique will be useful for each massage recipient. Typically these strokes will require more pressure and can lead to some discomfort, although therapists should only ever work within the pain tolerance of the client.

Massage with active and passive joint movement
For many of the following techniques, whether the movement is active or passive makes little difference to the actual physical action of the therapist. The difference is more that a passive movement will bring about mostly physiological changes to the soft tissue whereas an active movement can introduce some neurological impact as excessive muscle spindle activity is reduced when a muscle is contracted. Another difference may be that an active movement may cause the client pain so from a comfort level a passive stroke may be more appropriate.

Shortening Strokes
Shortening strokes can be effective in dealing with trigger points, myofascial tension and some joint restrictions. They are performed by applying some static compression to the part of the muscle that requires bodywork and then the tissues are shortened/contracted either by moving the joint actively or passively. Generally for the start of the stroke the muscle will be in an elongated and lengthened state.
The philosophy behind shortening strokes is that by deliberately reducing the tension in the muscle through shortening then it may decrease trigger point activity and neuromuscular dysfuncationality within the muscle. If there is less tension on the muscle fibres while compression is applied then it may lessen the amount of neurological activity.
Often the end position of the joint and muscle after a shortening stroke will be held for an extended period of time as a form of positional release.

Lengthening Strokes
Often the primary intention of a massage therapist is to lengthen muscles that have been hypertonic through overuse or through a constant state of contraction due to poor posture. Active or passage lengthening strokes are a great way to achieve this objective as the mobilise connective tissue, reduce tension in the muscle and encourage elongation and lengthening of the muscle.
There a number of different ways to perform these strokes. A popular approach is referred to as “pin and stretch”. Static compression is applied to a particular point using a massage tool that is strong enough and specific enough to be able to hold the muscle in place as the muscle extends either actively or passively. The sharper the massage tool then the more intense the sensation for the client.

As an example of a pin and stretch technique for pectoralis minor then have a look at the video below.

The second common use of lengthening strokes is to perform a stripping stroke along the length of the muscle as the muscle is lengthened via active or passive joint movement. The muscle is put into a shortened state and then slowly stretched as the therapist strips the muscle. This can be referred to as facilitated lengthening. Often for larger muscle groups this stroke is repeated a number of times in parallel so that the entire muscle is treated.
The overall effect of lengthening during a stripping stroke is to magnify the intensity and the effect on the soft tissue. The trick to performing it effectively is to work slowly. The slower you work then the deeper you can penetrate without causing undue discomfort to the recipient.

By Richard Lane

Couples Massage in Sydney

As a Sydney mobile massage service one of the advantages we have over clinic based remedial and relaxation massage is that we can arrive with two therapists and provide massage to couples at the same time. For busy people this can be a great way to relax and receive quality bodywork without it eating into too much free time.


Sydney Couples MassageIf you were to go to a clinic to see a therapist separately then by the time you and your partner travel and each have your massage then you can be looking at around 3 hours that you would spend apart for just an hour’s massage each. By having two therapists come to your home then you can relax side-by-side and the total time will be only the set-up and pack-up time for the therapists along with the massage.


Generally it is easier for you to organise an appointment with one company so that they can coordinate that the therapists arrive at the same time but if you have a particular preference for a specific therapist (or therapists) that offers mobile massage then there is nothing stopping you from effectively arranging the couple massage with two different companies (or therapists working as sole traders).

Couples Massage Training
In many cities in Australia and the world there are therapists that will offer massage training specifically for couples. However, to my knowledge there is no-one offering this service in Sydney. There are probably WEA type courses that will offer classroom training to multiple groups of couples but I’m talking about one therapist assisting one couple in their home for relaxation (if anyone does offer this service then feel free to email us using contact details on main website).

Occasionally we are asked if we will provide couples massage training in Sydney. Normally the request is for a therapist to provide instruction/demonstration for the couple but at present we are not really set up to formally offer this service. However, it is not uncommon for us to demonstrate a specific stroke for providing relief for a specific muscle or muscle group so that someone can help their partner (between massages) with a particular problem.