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Massage and Cancellation Policies

Probably the 2nd most popular topic amongst massage therapists on internet forum and discussion sites is the issue of cancellation policies. Go to any forum and there will be countless posts from therapists asking what is the best cancellation policy and what is the best way to enforce it.

Cancellation policy for massageThe breakdown of responses tends to be split into two:
(1) I have a strict cancellation policy and I will enforce it without fail.
(2) I have a cancellation policy but will take each cancellation on a case-by-case basis.

Most cancellation policies will only come in force either for same-day cancellations or with less than 24 hours notice. Some will charge the full amount, others a proportion of the fee.

Those who go for option (1) above will often respond by saying that it is essential for the professionalism of the massage industry that therapist stick to their guns and be firm.

So long as the client is fully aware of this when making a booking then this is a perfectly fair and reasonable approach. We are professionals so why should we lose out if the client has to cancel for whatever reason. If the therapist is working in a clinic or day spa then there is rent to pay. If they are unable to fill the slot then they will be out of pocket for the cancellation or no-show.

I personally adopt option (2) and prefer to be a little more flexible with cancellation policies. Sometimes circumstances are simply beyond the clients control and as a business decision then it may be better to waive charges. If, for example, someone wakes up in the morning feeling feverish, then effectively forcing them to have a massage otherwise they would be charged a full cancellation fee, could be considered as borderline unprofessional.

Formally our cancellation policy is:

We understand that life is unpredictable and personal circumstances can change at short notice. We prefer not to charge a cancellation fee if there is no impact on the time/scheduling of the therapist. However, we are professional therapists and this is how we earn our living. We reserve the right to charge up to 100% of the fee based on the amount of cancellation notice given and the impact on the therapist(s) involved (for example, travel time/ travel costs/other bookings that have been knocked back)

which is probably too woolly for the strict ‘cancellation policies must be enforced’ brigade.

For me, the overriding factor is whether the client respects my professionalism if and when they cancel within the timelines of our cancellation policy. Respect that my time is of value and this is how I make my living and I will respect that you are cancelling because you have to not because you want to.

However, one of the reasons for cancelling at short notice is that you have to stay back at work or you have been called into work unexpectedly. Whilst this is a part of life that may be unavoidable, I do have to say that it is not a reason for us not to charge you.

Very occasionally a client may say that ‘well you aren’t paying rent so if I cancel then there’s no impact to you’. However, this fails to respect that we have planned our day around seeing them at a given time and we suddenly have a huge hole in our day (appointment time + travel time). Being out on the road it is not always the case that we go to our home base or use the time effectively. Also we may have had to knock back other clients so we have also lost earning potential or had to make personal arrangements to take the booking (ie some therapists need to arrange childcare or the like).

  
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By the way, I don’t want this post to sound like a whinge. Cancellations for our mobile massage businesses are significantly rarer than clinics and it is highly unusual for us to charge a fee. The upshot is that we don’t like charging a cancellation fee as it is never a satisfactory outcome for anybody but we will do so when circumstances dictate that it the right thing to do with respect to our business.

By Richard Lane

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.

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Information about some massage schools in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth etc is included at http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/massage-schools.php.

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

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

When Massage is not Perfect

Most massage devotees know the benefits that massage brings to them in their life which may be physical, emotional or spiritual (or a combination thereof). Once people find a therapist that they are happy with then they will generally stick with that therapist so that they know that they will get a great bodywork experience each time. They have a good dialogue with their therapist who knows what they do and do not like for their massage session.

However, there are times when circumstances dictate that you may need to see a different masseur such as you are in a different town or your normal therapist is not able to fit you in.

when massage goes wrongNow you are probably comfortable to accept that the massage will probably not be as good as the one you are used to but there are a number of reasons why it may not be the experience you are looking for. For me, these include:

(1) The therapist performs a “cookie-cutter” massage. They just do the massage they normal do and there is no attempt to customise the massage to any requirements you may have let the therapist know. This approach may be ok if you are just having a relaxation massage in a day spa but if you are after any type of remedial massage then there is nothing more annoying than the therapist spending minimal time on parts of the body that you really want to be massaged.

(2) When an hour’s massage includes the time to discuss your requirements and your undressing/dressing time. If you are paying for a massage but end up only getting 45 minutes of hands-on time then you will feel cheated and any relaxation that the massage achieves can dissipate instantly.

(3) Being basted with oil. I really do not like excessive oil and it’s a turn off if the therapist is constantly reaching for the bottle of lubricant to apply more and more oil or lotion. Less is more when it comes to massage, in my view. How can a massage therapist feel the soft tissues and muscles when their hands are skidding over the skin like a skater on ice?

(4) The therapist being a poor time keeper. If you are having (and even enjoying) a “cookie-cutter” massage you realise that the routine the therapist is performing is being curtailed and rushed on one side of the body compared with the other. It may be that your right leg gets 10 minutes of care and attention but, as the clock ticks on, the left side only ends up with a cursory couple of strokes.

(5) A distracted therapist. Answering the phone or door or talking to any other therapist is a no-no for me. I’m paying for you to massage me not plan later appointments (or even worse your social life). Also just going through the motions with the massage and not using your hands to listen to what my body is telling you.

(6) Bad breath.

(7) Incidental contact with other parts of your body other than the massage tools you intend to use. Your stomach bracing against my head as you stroke down my back or your boobs in my face whilst you are working on my chest or stomach is not professional.

(8) Lack of thought with music. I don’t like the radio on during a massage and I don’t like Adele.

  
This is not meant as a critique of the massage profession in general but more a whimsical depiction of some of the more negative experiences I have had during massages and some of the things I specifically do not like. It is not to decry the positive energy I normally get from massage.

However, feel free to add any others you may have in the comments section below…..

By Richard Lane

Important Questions When Booking a Massage

I’ve been running Inner West Mobile Massage in Sydney since 2005 and it still astounds me that a high proportion of phone calls begin with the words

How much do you charge?

or

what are your rates?

Whilst I know that price and costs can be a huge factor in the decision making process but for me, I would want to know something about the type of massage I would be getting and, in particular, something about the skills, experience and training of the therapist who would be putting their hands on body. Yes, price may be a factor but surely though the value of the massage and service is much much more important?

I would want to explain the reasons why I would be wanting a massage such as I need a sports massage or a remedial/deep tissue massage for a sore lower back and then questions I would want to be asking are:

Is the therapist you recommend suitable for my requirements?
What is their level of training?
What is their level of experience?
How long have they worked for you?
etc

Currently we charge $100 for a one hour mobile massage in Sydney. We only use experienced and professional therapists who are registered with health funds and we believe we offer fair value compared with a massage from a therapist of equivalent experience in a clinic (particularly as we are prepared to offer an unconditional guarantee about our services).

Now, the normal response if I answer their question about prices is that the caller will say

Thanks. I’ll call you back

(not that they ever do).

I’m often tempted to ask them what they are expecting our rates to be. Are they used to paying $60 for a one hour massage in a dodgy clinic where the therapists have no formal training and the towels might have been washed last week? Many clinics in the Inner West are in the price range of $80 to $90 so we are more than competitive with them given that there are so many benefits from having a home massage.

  
But for them, $100 is too high to consider.

Now, maybe I am being a little harsh, and those who are on a limited budget may begin to ask the type of questions I would expect, if our price fell within their price range and, for them, there is no point wasting time on discussion. But I suspect that these are exception and the majority of these callers just equate value to price. The quality doesn’t matter, all they want is a cheap massage.

Sorry, unfortunately cheap massage is not our business. Great value massage is.

Swearing and Pain Relief

Many massage therapists will tell you that massage should not be painful and “no pain – no gain” should not apply to bodywork. If they are causing you pain then you should let them know so that they can back off their pressure or change the massage “tool” they are using or work elsewhere to try to achieve their objective.

However, there are occasions when the therapist does need to cause a little (or significant) pain to release a restriction or tight muscle through deep tissue techniques. Sometimes you have to go one step back to go two steps forward and this is approach is often employed physiotherapists who do soft tissue work.

pain relief during massageThe pain can be intense albeit often only for a short time whilst the therapist is doing their stuff. (Am speaking from recent experience for a hamstring problem which has had my therapist well and truly getting stuck into my glutes which is only good when he finishes).

Makes you feel like letting fly with words and expletives that you wouldn’t normally use in public.

Well, researchers have found that swearing can have a positive impact on pain tolerance so long as swearing is not part of your everyday vocabulary (1).

In the study, participants were asked to place their hand into room temperature water for three minutes to act as a baseline. They then had to place it in water at 5°C for as long as possible whilst repeating either a specific swear word or a specific non-swear word.

The results from the research were that people who did not swear very often in daily life could keep their hands in the cold water for about 140 seconds when they were permitted to swear. This was about as twice as long as the time when they used the specific non-swear word.

However, for those people who stated that swearing was part of their daily speech, they could only keep their hands in the cold water for about 120 seconds when they used the allowed swear word.

  
The researchers concluded from the study that swearing can be an effective form of short term pain reliever if used in moderation by providing a type of “stress-induced analgesia”. If swearing is part of your normal vernacular though this can water down their emotional benefits.

So the next time your therapist is getting well and truly stuck into some soft tissues and it hurts, don’t be shy. Feel free to let fly with the words you wouldn’t be using in polite company and give yourself some natural and free pain relief with no side-effects (other than maybe a little post-massage embarrassment).

Will you feel better for it? ******* oath you will!

(1) R. Stephens, C. Umland. “Swearing as a Response to Pain – Effect of Daily Swearing Frequency”. The Journal of Pain. Vol 12 Issue 12. Pages 1274-1281. Dec 2011

By Richard Lane

Massage and Back Pain
– Research Findings

There are many reasons why people book in for a mobile massage in Sydney with us. It can be purely to de-stress and wind down. It can be as a reward for working hard. It can be part of a sportsman training regime to include a regular sports massage. However, the majority of people that we see are suffering from physical discomfort and they are looking for remedial therapy to help them reduce the pain and tightness they are experiencing.

Massage for back pain reliefNeck /shoulder pain and headaches are probably the top of the list for the reason why people book in for a remedial massage and many people know that massage is a great way to deal with these problems. The next most popular reason for getting a remedial or deep tissue massage is for lower back pain and there is some good news that recent research has found that massage may very help is dealing with the pain and suffering that lower back pain can cause.

When suffering from lower back pain many people seek out medications from their doctor to treat the pain. Others try exercise regimes from physiotherapist. However, a significant proportion of experiencing and secondly as a form of preventative maintenance once they are relatively pain-free. Researchers set out to ascertain whether massage compared favourably against usual medical intervention for treating lower back pain.

In the study (1), carried out by researchers from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, the study participants were randomly assigned to receive either a relaxation massage, a structural (remedial/deep tissue) massage or usual medical care without massage. Their symptoms had been assessed and also recorded was the impact of the back pain on their daily life.

Those in the massage groups had a one hour session weekly for 10 weeks.

The symptoms of those in the study were recorded after completing the massage program, at six months and finally a year after they initially began the massage.

The results obtained were encouraging for the massage industry. After the 10 week assessment, the researchers found that those who had received massage had lower levels of pain and they were able to perform daily tasks better than those who had only received the usual medical care. These results were similar regardless of which type of massage they received, be it relaxation or structural.

Whilst the benefits did not remain after one year, there was still a significant difference with the results obtained after 6 months and so it may be reasonable to conclude that massage can be an effective treatment for those who are suffering from lower back pain.

(1) Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, Wellman R, Cook AJ, Johnson E, Erro J, Delaney K, Deyo RA. “A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial.” Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jul 5;155(1):1-9.

By Richard Lane

Why I Enjoy Doing Mobile Massage

Being a mobile massage therapist is not for everyone. It is relatively easy to come up with a list of the disadvantages and problems associated with mobile massage therapy. These include:
– Having to work out of business hours, often late into the night
– Trying to find a carparking space close enough to the house or unit where you will be working
– Carrying heavy massage table/towels/equipment around often up multiple flights of stairs
– Working in isolation from other therapists/professionals
– Never quite knowing what type of premises you will be massaging in and how easy it will be to set up your table. Will there be enough room? Will it be cold or hot? Will it be noisy? Will there be other people around?
– Are there are personal security risks (particularly relevant for female massage therapists)

Yet despite these negative factors, I have been a mobile massage therapist in Sydney for over 7 years and still enjoy and prefer plying my trade in this way compared with being in a clinic.

So what are the advantages that outweigh the negative?

Advantages of Mobile MassageThere are a number of reasons why I prefer providing a mobile massage service in Sydney compared with working in a clinic. Some of these relate to advantages to the client; some relate to advantages to me.

For many people who are working full time or are constrained as to when they can get to see a massage therapist then there are significant advantages of having a home massage in Sydney. These benefits are covered at http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/benefits.php.

Whilst there is a great deal of job satisfaction with being able to provide such a service, an additional benefit that I often feel is that there is more synergy with a home massage. The fact that someone is prepared to let a stranger into their home, then take off their clothes and permit this stranger to rub oil into their body provides a powerful message from the client to the therapist that there is trust. This element of trust is greater than in a clinic which can be, well, clinical.

Mobile massage clients are nice people to work with.

This is not to say that clients in clinics are not nice to work with but, for me, seeing people in their home provides that greater level of personal trust and permission to provide bodywork.

From my point of view as a mobile therapist the advantages include:
– no overheads. If you are paying rent at a clinic then there is a requirement to make sure that there is someone on your table as much as possible. No client means no money coming in to cover the money coming out. Whilst it is true that no body on the table for a mobile therapist means no money coming in, at least there is no money going out.
– I choose my hours. Yes I work what some may consider to be anti-social hours, late into the evening and weekends. But this suits me and my lifestyle at the moment. Being in a clinic and needing to be available at specific times is a constraint.
– physical demands are less. Although I have to lug my gear around, the physical demands on the body are less than if I was doing back to back to back… massages in a clinic. When I am providing mobile massage service then I am able to get a break when I am travelling between locations.
– you get to work in different and interesting locations. Not all massages are in homes. I’ve massaged in garages, outside, in theatres, on film-sets, hotels rooms of varying standards, etc.
– providing couples massage with another therapist is a pleasant experience.

  
I can’t say that I will be a mobile therapist indefinitely but I have been for the past years and have no yearning to go back into a clinic. I enjoy massage and I enjoy massaging clients in their homes.

By Richard Lane


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