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Massage Swaps

There are very few people who do not benefit from massages and massage therapists are no exception. In fact, given the physical nature of the work often with suboptimal postural position, massage therapists probably need more massage than some other professions.

There are often debates on social networks about the merits of fellow massage therapists trading massages.

Massage exchangeIt can be a great way for students to practise their strokes and receive constructive criticisms about their bodyworking style in a non-threatening environment. They can learn and discuss new techniques. They can ‘talk shop’ about the massage industry, their ideas and their business plans.

However, professional therapists who trade massages in Sydney tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

In theory it should seem logical that therapists work on each other. However, in practice, even though most therapists try it at some stage in their career, most end up deciding that paying for massages works better for them.

There are a number of reasons for why professional do not tend to swap massages.

– They struggle to find someone that they want to receive regular bodywork from who also wishes to trade.
– They struggle to find suitable times that work for both parties.
– Very few therapists like to do a mutual swap within the same session. It is always very hard to get up from a massage table and then have to give your trade partner a massage straightaway.
– If they do find a massage swap partner who they do like, it is very rare that the bartering relationship is completely reciprocal. As often occurs in any relationship, one party tends to feel that they are investing more than the other. Eg one therapist may cancel or put paying clients ahead of their trade partner.

  
Most therapists tend to find swap partners when they are studying and it may well be that they only swap whilst they are learning new modalities or techniques. There are massage exchange websites where therapists can check out other massage practitioners who they may wish to consider swapping with. However, as a word of caution, many those with register with these sites may be after a sensual massage swap.

Even therapists who find that they are compatible with respect to swapping massages often drift away over time and what might start out as a weekly or fortnightly swap, ends up being just an occasional massage. In the end most experienced therapists end up preferring to become just another paying customer with therapists they enjoy receiving bodywork from.

By Richard Lane

Mobile Massage Sydney

Benefits of mobile massageLuckily for massage aficionados there are many different options for getting massaged in Sydney. There are remedial massage clinics, day spas, Thai massage spas, 10 minute neck and shoulder rubs in Westfields, student massage clinics and various other tyyes of establishments with varying ranges of legitimacy.

Assuming that you are after professional massage from a trained therapist then it is worthwhile considering some of the advantages of the different options when you are looking to book your next Sydney massage. Not all massage settings are the same.

Why book in for a Mobile Massage?
Convenience
You choose a time for the massage that suits you. If you find it hard to get to see a therapist at a clinic during their business hours then it can limit how frequently you can receive bodywork (particularly if you could really do with seeing someone at relatively short notice).

   
The convenience also extends to saving time – having the therapist come to you saves you the time of travelling to and from the clinic which can be considerable depending on where you prefer to go. There are also no hassles about parking or feeling rushed if you are running late because of circumstances outside of your control.

Save Money
There is a perception that mobile massages are more of a luxury and as such, are typically priced significantly higher than an equivalent massage would cost you at a clinic. This view is not uncommon by those therapists who prefer not to do mobile work. They feel that mobile therapists should charge a premium for travel, set up time and the inconvenience of carrying their gear around.
Now whilst mobile therapists will effectively include a component for travel and set up time within their fee, they do not need to include any fixed costs for renting space.
Charging a fee for carrying equipment is really only relevant for therapists who do not really want to do mobile work. Therapists who consider that mobile massage is an important part of their business, would accept that carrying massage table and towels is just part of what they need to do to be a mobile therapist.

Effectiveness
Imagine that you are climbing off the massage table and having had a great massage The therapist has loosened your tight muscles, freed up your stiff neck and eliminated the nagging headache that has been bothering you for the last few days.
Where would you rather be, at a clinic with the prospect of your drive home or in your home?
Seems to be a no-brainer that receiving great bodywork in your home will have more of an impact on your physiological wellbeing and reducing stress levels than having to drive immediately after a massage. This can be even more relevant if you are pregnant, for example, or wanting to be able to go straight to bed after a massage because of sleeping problems.

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It is acknowledged though that each persons personal circumstances so that some of the advantages listed above may not apply to you or there may be specific reasons why having a Sydney home massage is not right for you (such as lack of space or privacy).

However, if you do live where it is suitable for you to have a therapist come to you then please consider it the next time you want to have a massage. Hopefully you will realise many of the advantages listed here.

To find out more about the services offered by Inner West Mobile Massage Sydney then please check out the main website at www.innerwestmassage.com.au where you will find information re prices, therapists, availability, FAQs etc.

By Richard Lane

Massage Sydney – What Areas We Cover

We provide therapeutic remedial, sports, pregnancy and deep tissue massage to the Inner West of Sydney. However, different people have different ideas about what constitutes the Inner West.

Now, the areas we visit are shown in the map below. The colour code used in the map is:

  • the green area is the area that we formally promote that we provide mobile massage to
  • the red area is effective the Sydney CBD and inner city suburbs which some therapists are happy to visit. However, given that it takes longer to travel to the city we do charge a higher rate and also require any parking fees to be added.
  • the blue area is what we consider to be the fringe of the area we cover. Some therapists may go there at particular times. However, this is subject to the location and the particular circumstances of the individual therapists.
  • If you have any doubt about if any therapists may be available for your suburb then we do suggest that you ring 0421 410057 and we can discuss your individual circumstances. Unfortunately we do have to limit the suburbs around peak hour when travel times can become excessive and unpredictable.

      Travel Surcharges

    Occasionally we are asked to go to a fringe area or an area that we would not normally consider going to. The enquirer will say something along the lines of

    Well you go to the neighbouring suburb – we are only 5 minutes from them. Why won’t you visit me? I’ll even pay an extra couple of bucks for the travel.

      
    Unfortunately it is not as straightforward as that. Effectively we average our travel costs/time over the (green) area we cover. Sometimes the true cost for a job for a therapist will be less than this average, sometimes more, depending on the particular suburb and the location of the therapist. Typically the suburbs at the edge of our service area will take longer to get to and the cost of going to these suburbs can be say $20 more than our average.

    Now it is not practical to have a price per suburb even though the true cost to the therapists does vary depending on when you live.

    But the situation does change when we go out of area. We are now going outside of the area we use to average our travel cost component and as such to go to the clients suburb then we would need to charge the true travel cost.

    And so although we may go to a suburb that directly borders yours, unfortunately were we to visit you then we would need to add a travel surcharge which may be of the order of $25 which can appear excessive and bizarre to travel an extra few minutes. As we do not feel comfortable quoting such high figures as a travel surcharge it tends to be the exception rather than the rule that we will quote to visits areas outside of what we consider to be the Inner West.

    Whilst it would be nice to be a Sydney-wide mobile massage companies, the logistics count against such a service. By constraining the area we cover then we can keep our rates both reasonable and competitive.

    By Richard Lane

Disadvantages of being a mobile massage therapist

We recently wrote about the advantages of being a mobile massage therapist compared to working in a clinic or day spa. To balance that article, we are now discussing the corresponding disadvantages.

Traffic facing mobile massage therapist in SydneyNow many of the advantages could also be considered as disadvantages depending on your point of view. For example, I enjoy the flexibility and variety that comes from being a mobile therapist whereas others may perceive that the more irregular nature and the variable hours of the work are a disadvantage. The reality of mobile massage Sydney is that the majority of clients want their appointments in the evenings (often relatively late at night when kids have been put to bed) or at weekends when they have the time. Being out and about at night in locales that you might not be familiar with is not for everyone (and particularly female therapists need to mindful of their security).

Similarly it can be argued that calls for mobile massage need to be screened more effectively than clinics. If you are working at a clinic then it is likely that there will be people you can call on at short notice should ever the situation arise. When you are out and about on the road then, although you can always take security measures of making sure that someone knows where you are, ultimately you are on your own. This is particularly relevant if you take appointments at relatively short notice.

As a male massage therapist, though, this has never really been an issue for me and only occasionally have I arrived at a clients house with a sense of unease about the fear of the unknown. In virtually all cases when this has happened, my concerns have been unfounded and the clients have often gone on to book regular appointments.

The previous comments are relevant with respect to the disadvantages of doing mobile massage and should not be underestimated. However, for most therapists the number one disadvantage when compared with being in a Sydney massage clinic or day spa comes down to the logistics.
Traffic hold ups and delays can be stressful and add significantly to your total time for a given appointment.
Parking can be a challenge in some locations (such as when someone books in for a hotel massage in Sydney CBD). You may have to park a significant distance from the house/unit/hotel and have to lug your massage table, towels and equipment to the venue. Some clients don’t realise as well that if you have to park in a car park it can take a considerable time and effort to get to the room
Stairs. If you working in a block of units then if there is a lift you will be on the bottom floor, no lift top floor. Without fail.
Room layout and environment. You are working in someone else’s house. The space may well not be ideal for massage in that it is too small, too noisy or the wrong temperature. Unfortunately, whilst there may be steps you can take to improve your working space a little, ultimately you are governed by whatever the client provides. In a clinic, you can (normally) control the environment to ensure that it is conducive to the bodywork session you like to provide.
Limit to what you can carry. In a clinic you can make sure that there is all the equipment that you require eg bolster, pillows, blankets, heat pack etc. When you are working in someones home then there may be occasions when you simply do not have something that you could really do with. Whilst it may be possible to improvise, often once client is on the table you just have to accept that you may have to work in a sub-optimal way.

  
Ultimately if you consider yourself to be a mobile massage therapist, then it is just a case of accepting the disadvantages and working around them as best you can. If you only do outcall massages to occasional clients (and you would prefer not to do them) then many therapists will charge a premium to compensate themselves for the perceived hassles. However, effectively the clients make the ultimate decision, if the convenience of having a massage at home gives them a positive experience compared with the clinic then they will continue to rebook.

By Richard Lane

Sydney Massage Gift Certificates

In this day and age when it is a struggle to buy material gifts for partners, family and friends more and more people are buying gifts that are more of an experience or a service rather than just an actual physical present. And probably towards the top of the list of such services are massages – if you are struggling for ideas then there are very few people would not gratefully accept the gift of a massage.

Purchasing a massage gift voucher is generally a fairly straightforward affair depending on whether you would like to buy the recipient a mobile massage or a massage at a Sydney clinic. If you have your own regular therapist that you see then they will probably be more than happy to sell you a voucher.

If you would like to buy a mobile massage gift voucher for someone who lives in Sydney then probably the best option is to buy directly online through Red Balloon Days, a Sydney wide company. They provide fully trained therapists who arrive with all necessary equipment so that the recipient of your wonderful gift can look forward to feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and balanced.


One Hour Sydney Mobile Massage Gift Certificate

Massage Gift Certificates
Click on the image to the left to find out more information about purchasing a one hour home Sydney massage gift voucher.

Cick here for Sydney Home Massage Packages


(Please note:
Inner West Massage is not associated with “ Red Balloon Days“)


There is typically an expiry date associated with a massage gift voucher. Please be mindful that many therapists and massage companies will strictly enforce this date. If this is potentially an issue for you or the massage gift recipient then it is suggested that you contact the service provider before purchasing the voucher to clarify this matter.

Advantages of being a Mobile Massage Therapist

Many massage therapists will do mobile massage at some time during their massage career. It may just be for a few family members, friends or clients that they know. Others will have a foot in both camps and mix clinic and mobile massage. Others will just consider themselves as being mobile massage therapists.

In addition, the mix between being a clinic based therapist and a mobile therapist may change significantly during one’s career. The norm is probably that a therapist will do a higher proportion of mobile massaging early in their career whilst they establish themselves in the industry and understand what works for them with respect to work/lifestyle balance.
Others (myself included) have done the opposite and gone from being mainly clinic based to only doing mobile massage in Sydney.

advantages of being a mobile massage therapistI will discuss the disadvantages of doing mobile massage in a later post but for now, just want to talk about the advantages to you as a therapist of seeing people in their homes.

   

The main advantage of being a mobile massage therapist is flexibility coupled with limited overheads. If you are renting space in a clinic then you need to see a certain number of clients before you start bringing in an income. Even worse, if there are no clients then money is still going out the door with nothing coming in.

Other advantages include:
– If you are sick, if you want to take a day off or have an extended holiday then your landlord will still have their hand in your pocket for the rent.

– If you are employed (or even a subcontractor) then you may have business restrictions placed on you that prevents you from setting up a business within a certain distance from your current clinic. This can effectively tie you to a specific clinic location.

– Providing home massages can be rewarding for you as a therapist. There is a little more flexibility with respect to time so that although it may be considered unprofessional going significantly over time, you can afford to build client relations by making sure that you provide an hour’s massage when the client has booked for an hour (unlike the 50 or so minutes you may get at a clinic when clients are booked on the hour). You don’t have to rush to make sure that you don’t keep your next client waiting.

– If you do the sums (and you are charging an appropriate rate), then the average take-home income per massage should be higher for outcall massaging. This is even more the case if you can manage to arrange extended appointment times or more than one client at a given location. It may even be the case if you say massage a couple at the same location, your rate/massage is lower than it would be at an equivalent client yet your hourly income is higher.

– Variety. Working in different spaces can help keep things interesting.

– Nice clients. Purely subjective but in my experience anyone who is prepared to let a stranger into their house offers a good energy and receptiveness to being massaged. Most clinics clients fall into the same category, but not all…..

  
- Fewer cancellations or clients running late. Probably the bane of the clinical massage therapist is last minute cancellations and people running late. In my experience, cancellations and clients running late are very much the exception for mobile work (and when these situations do arise, it is normally for a very very good reason).

Now doing mobile work is not for everyone and I will discuss some of the negatives in a future post.

By Richard Lane

Massage – Concord

Concord is becoming a popular suburb to choose to live in particularly for those who are looking for a suitable locale in which to bring up a family. There is a large amount of parkland and green space through the suburb yet, out of peak hour, it is still only about 20 minutes drive to Sydney’s CBD or alternatively, the railway passes close by at Concord West and North Strathfield.

With the growth in popularity of Concord there has come a commensurate growth in the number of services such as restaurants, and cafes. But walk down Majors Bay Road or Concord Road and you may struggle to find the number of massage clinics that you would find in a suburb such as Glebe, Leichhardt or Balmain other than maybe a Thai massage spa or two.

There are a couple of therapists operating out of their homes but if you are struggling to find a suitable therapist in Concord who is open at a time that suits you then maybe you should be considering having a mobile massage.

If you are looking for a remedial, sports or pregnancy massage in and around the Concord area, Inner West Mobile Massage has been providing quality home massage service since 2005. Therapists are potentially available 7 days a week (including Sunday massage in Concord) including evenings. For more information then check out www.innerwestmassage.com.au/massage_concord.php.

Our therapists are accredited with professional bodywork associations in Australia (such as ATMS) and we can provide health funds receipts for remedial massage. We arrive with all the equipment we need, massage table, towels and oils. All we need from you is a suitable space in which to work.

Obviously the more notice that you provide the better but often there may be therapists available at relatively short notice. For those who like to book directly online then online bookings are available for some therapists through Online massage booking).

Please note that we only provide therapeutic massage services and whilst there are both female and male therapists available for mobile massage, we will only accept bookings with female therapists from females.

If you would like more information or would like to make a phone booking then please give us a call on 0421 410057.

By Richard Lane

Sydney Mobile Massage Etiquette and Suggestions

If you search the internet for articles about massage etiquette then there are plenty to choose from. Many of these talk about how to prepare, what to expect, how to behave during massage, tipping etc. I thought that it would be appropriate to discuss massage etiquette for mobile massage and have a think about whether there are any differences in the etiquette for massage in home and massage at a Sydney clinic or day spa.

Now, there are probably not many differences in reality between a mobile massage and a clinic but given the massage is in your home there are slight differences.

mobile massage etiquetteFrom the therapists point of view, it is respectful that you are ready at the appointed time for the session and that you have prepared a suitable space in which the therapist can work in. If you prefer to have a shower prior to your massage then please do not wait until the therapist arrives as your therapist may be on a schedule that requires them to finish on time.

As an aside we feel that it is a courtesy for you to have showered prior to your massage. However, please do not feel self concious about your body, for example the fact that you haven’t had time to shave your legs is simply not an issue for us. What you wear or don’t wear has been covered in a previous post.

If you know you that you may be running late then give your therapist as much warning as possible so that if there is the opportunity for them to juggle their schedule a little to accommodate you then they have the maximum chance to do so.

Try to have the massage in a part of the house that provides the therapist a reasonable space in which they can set up their table and that is in a relatively quiet part of the house. However, if space is at a premium or the massage needs to be in a high traffic area then so be it – the therapist will be able to work (but it’s just preferable to have space/quiet). If the massage is to be in winter or the cooler months then try to ensure that the room is heated as you will cool down when you are on the table.

As with any massage, remember that it is your massage. You are paying so you are the one in control. If you want to talk or not to talk then an experienced therapist will pick up on your vibes and should behave accordingly. If you want more or less pressure during the massage then let the therapist know. Also if you feel that your therapist is spending too long or too little on one body area then talk to them – communicating how to the therapist how their bodywork is being received will provide you with a better experience and a better outcome in the form of greater muscle/soft tissue release or stress release.

We prefer you to have your phones and the television turned off but again, it is your massage so if that is what you want then that is up to you. It is just our suggestion that you will be able to relax more if there is gentle music or silence rather than a TV blasting.

Pets can occasionally interrupt a session so if you know that your dog or cat is likely to jump up on the table when you are just about to float away in a blissful haze, then try to ensure that that won’t happen before the massage begins.

The usual stuff regarding massage boundaries and draping applies to having a mobile massage as opposed to clinic or spa. Please do not expect that because the therapist is in your home or hotel room that they would behave any differently to if they were in therapeutic massage clinic.

  
If you have any concerns or questions about having a massage at home then please raise them when you call to make a booking. As well talk to the therapist before the session begins about what you specifically want from the massage (and also what you don’t want eg if you don’t like having your feet touched then let them know).

Hopefully these comments and suggestions will mean that when you book your next massage with us, you will be able to realise the great benefits that having a mobile massage in Sydney brings.

By Richard Lane

Running Late for Mobile Massage

Our last post was on the subject of cancellations and our policy on the very rare occasions that they occur for our Sydney mobile massage business. Recently I was asked a question on a similar topic of what was our policy if the client was running late. Are we flexible with time or do the therapists stick strictly to the appointed times?

My initial response was something along the lines

well as we are professionals and we may have other bookings to go to then we do need to keep to our timetable. Obviously if we can be flexible we will but if there is a scheduling clash then sorry if you are running late then you will be the one to have reduced massage time.

Sydney mobile massageHer follow-up question was well what happens if the therapist is running late?

Again to me it seems standard business practice that if we are running late then the client will still get full time on the table. (as an aside, we do not run late as a rule although occasionally circumstances beyond our control can affect the travel time between appointments)

Only after the conversation did it occur to me that it may appear that we have double standards, it’s ok on those rare occasions that we are running late but not ok if the client is late.

I posed this as a question on a massage forum and some of the response from other therapists are listed below.

If you have another client immeditately following, then you really have no choice but to cut the session short for the late client. It’s out of your control. They should understand.

I think if we (massage therapist) were running late, then we make the sacrifice and work over our expected time, as should they sacrifice if running late. If I don’t have other commitments, I always give them their full hour. If I have someone coming in after them, then I don’t make my arriving client wait for me to finish, when they arrived on time.

You’re paying for my time; how you use it is up to you. If there is a good excuse and I can do the full hour I will.
You have to train your clients to respect you as a professional.

I am the one traveling, so sometimes unexpected things may arise on my journey from one client to another (traffic, accident, road closures, etc.). Those are out of my personal control. However, the client should know that their massage is at X time, in their home or where ever, therefore they should know to not do anything or go anywhere that would make them late. It is their only massage that day, not ours, so they need to understand that. If they are late, I would charge them the full amount of their appointment (you could have scheduled another person during that time that would not have been late) and do the massage in the amount of time they have left you. If it is continuous or they have a problem with that explain that your schedule does not revolve around them, and if they do not like it they can find another therapist that can revolve around them.

First time, with good cause, if be lenient. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Certainly it would appear to be a double standard if we expect our clients to understand when we are running late due to things beyond our control such as traffic delays but then have a hard line policy for them being on time all the time. So I do try to be understanding if a client appears to have a legitimate reason for running late and give them the full massage time IF my schedule allows. Although as a mobile therapist I’ve rarely had this situation occur, the vast majority of people are home waiting for me to arrive. For the very few who weren’t I’ve had to have the sometimes awkward talk about shortening their appointment time due to another commitment. It’s about setting appropriate boundaries, not always easy or fun but always essential for your well-being as both a business owner and an individual.

This is a good question. I always schedule at least 30 minutes between appointments and lately more like 45. If we start late I still give them their full time (up to a point-usually 10 to 15 minutes. I’ve found that by being somewhat flexible with my clients they are flexible with me when I need it.

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The consensus of the comments was that it is ok for this apparent double standard ie reasonable mobile massage therapists to expect clients to be ready on time but require the clients to have a little understanding if we are running a little late because we are the ones who are faced with the variables which are outside of our control (ie traffic).

As mentioned at the start though we will try to be as flexible as our schedule permits if you are running late for legimate reasons.

What (not) to wear for a massage

If you are visiting a Sydney massage clinic (or having a mobile massage for the first time) as the therapist leaves the room to allow you to undress in private, they will invariably utter the phrase:

take off whatever you are comfortable with.

Those who have had many massages will follow this instruction without a second thought and either take everything off or leave their undies on, depending on their preference and level of comfort with the therapist.

Massage where client prefers not to take everything offFor the less massage savvy though this request does not illict an automatic response and can bring about a sense of unease. If I leave my underwear on does that mean that the therapist will think I’m a prude and not entirely comfortable in their presence? If I take everything off, will the therapist misconstrue my reasons for getting a massage?

The direct answer to these questions are a very simple “NO”. Put bluntly, your therapist simply does not care what you leave on and what you take off. They will make no judgements based on your decision. All they want is for you to be comfortable with your decision and to be able to relax and enjoy the massage.

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Just a couple of asides on this topic though.

Whilst massage strokes are (marginally) easier to perform if the client is not wearing anything, this is of secondary importance to your level of comfort. If you would not be relaxed if you were naked during the massage, then don’t be.

If you prefer to wear bra and knickers during a massage then your therapist will be able to modify their strokes and still provide an effective and relaxing massage. The outcome of the session will be the similar regardless of your decision and preference, so long as you make a decision that you are relaxed with. Never be pressured by a therapist to take off more than you want to (nor accept draping that exposes more of you than you would expect your therapist to see).

If you prefer to wear underwear then inexpensive and basic is best from the therapists point of view.
Ladies, if you are massaged wearing expensive knickers then there is a chance that they may get oil on them. Also, skimpy, lacy and tight undies are hard for the therapist to manoeuvre if they want to massage glutes or hips.
Guys, if you want your quads or hamstrings massaged then wearing boxers that extend three quarters of the way to the knee are a challenge.

Whilst the therapist needs to respect your boundaries, you also need to be mindful of your therapist’s boundaries. Whilst most therapists are comfortable and used to seeing with peoples bodies, a significant proportion prefer that you wear underwear (and will tell to leave your underwear on). As one of my therapists recently put it

My Table. My Rules!

This is their right. Therapists need to be careful, particularly when massaging people of the opposite gender such as male massage for females. The wearing of underwear at least affords some level of protection to the therapist that their massage intentions are not misintrepreted when working around the hips, glutes, quads and adductors.

  
I have noticed that there is a difference between the massaging in a clinic and providing mobile massage to Sydney homes. When I was working in a clinic, the vast majority of clients would choose to keep their underwear. However, in the home environment a greater proportion take everything off (or probably more accurately, choose not to put anything on if they have a shower prior to the therapist arriving).

Ultimately though whatever decision you make is really neither here or there for the therapist. Be comfortable with your decision and you will be comfortable during the massage.

By Richard Lane


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