Thursday, November 29, 2012


Hang sign on the door, 
show up at the correct time, 
The myth of easy.  

It is supposed to be easy. According to school, if marketing is covered at all, it should be easy. Once you get a client, they will talk about how great you are to all of their friends, and those friends will schedule appointments, and before the week is out, the calendar will be full of strangers seeking massage. Easy. 
Except it does not work that way. Or, rather, it is not wise to assume it will work that way. 
Word of mouth is important. There is no more powerful advertising, really. Unfortunately, it seems people do not actually talk about the great massage they just got. And those that do, may or may not be talking to someone who is in the market for a massage. One of the secrets to massage therapy is that it is very much a matter of individual taste. 
I am very very good at what I do. I have a wide variety of skills, I am well trained in techniques both subtle and deep, I am strong and attentive. None of which means that every single person I see will respond well to the massage I give. Finding the right massage therapist for every individual is a challenge that cannot be underestimated. And it is not something that is well discussed. But the reality is, massage therapy is very much about finding the right individual to address the specific needs and concerns of each person. I am very good at what I do, and I work hard to expand the breadth and depth of my skill set (that is, learn new techniques, and practice the techniques I already have; mastery means is a very long road indeed). I still recommend other therapists, who practice other techniques and styles of massage, to specific clients. One size does not fit all. 
In the modern age, we have review sites, such as Yelp! Which is, in some ways, taking  the word of mouth idea to a larger audience. I have a number of reviews, from people who are very happy with what I have done. And those reviews have, over time, brought more people to my studio. I think a large part of that is that I try to be very clear about what kind of massage I do. I am provide therapeutic massage. Whether I am using techniques subtle (such as Cranio Sacral) or deep (such as passive stretching), the goal of my massage is to address specific concerns. I want and work for my clients to feel better at the end of the massage, for the massage to feel good. But I believe and practice the idea that it is not enough to feel good in the moment. I work to repair and release long held tensions, so that the good feeling of the massage lasts for more than just a few hours or a day. 
Of course, Yelp only works for people who look at it. And their business model includes selling advertising space, for other massage clinics and practitioners on my business page. Which causes some amount of confusion, in my experience. So, I have a website, a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Daily posts and emails reminding people that I am here, waiting and eager and ready to lend my skills to solving your problems.
And, I have specials. Checkins via Yelp!, my weekly Tuesday "Wear a Kilt, Get a Discount" deal, and others in the works. Watch this space for more information, coming soon.
The work of Massage is not Massage. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


Table chair or floor,
Use the right tool for the job
To get best results.
Massage is not a hardware intensive kind of job. Unlike, say, technical writing (my former profession), massage is something that should be doable anywhere with anyone who is willing. And that is certainly true to an extent. At home with my love, when she needs some massage on her shoulders and neck, it's not necessarily worth the time to get out the massage table, sheets, oils etc. She sits down on the floor in front of me, and I get to work. Or she lies down on the bed and I rub her feet. The skills I have are far more important than the tools I use.
Which is not to say that my tools are irrelevant. All the skill in the world is for naught if there is no way to bring it to bear on the problem at hand. So, what are the "tools" that make for a great massage? <br>
First and foremost, obviously, my hands. My hands are where I make contact, though I actually do not really use my hands in the way many people seem to expect; I am frequently asked, don't your hands get tired from doing this all day. And the true answer is, no. Not at all. I learned techniques and styles of massage that emphasize proper body mechanics and the application of leverage. This, combined with a knowledge of anatomy, the ability to listen and respond to subtle responses, and an awareness of the flow of energy through the body has far more to do with the giving of a good massage than how large or strong my hands are. Of course, having big, strong hands is not a disadvantage.
Then there is the studio. Having a separate, unique space just for massage does a lot to enhance the experience. It is my way of creating a professional and respectful space where people feel safe and comfortable relaxing. Having it clean, well lit, and in a good accessible location (with free parking) is all a part of making the process of getting a massage as stress free and enjoyable an experience as possible. Having it furnished and decorated in a way that reflects what I do and how I practice is all a part of demonstrating my commitment to providing the best massage possible.
Finally, there is the table. Which is heated, and set low enough to the ground as to be to easy to get on and off of, as well as providing me the leverage I need to bring the appropriate pressure to bear.
For those times when there's less time for a massage, I have my massage chair. Two and a half plus years of practice have taught me to be able to do more in ten minutes of chair massage than some people can do in sixty. Sometimes, a ten minute snack sized massage is all that there is time to do. That does not mean it should be done with anything less than my fullest attention to detail. I believe in making every minute count, no matter how many minutes there are in the massage session. People should not pay for time their massage therapist wastes. Most recently, I have brought in a floor mat. There are some techniques and styles of massage that are simply better done on the floor than on the table; Shiatsu, myofascial release, and many others. Having a simple futon is a vast improvement over the hardwood floor, while at the same time providing better leverage for massage than the table.

It is as Scotty once said, You have to have the right tool for the job.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


rain falls from the sky,
gathers into a river,
line around the block

Working, as I do, on my own and in my own space, I have the distinct advantage of setting my own rates, and creating my own specials. If I want to offer a friend a discount, or barter for services, I have that option, as well. By the same token, I am solely responsible for my expenses. I have to pay the rent on my space, take care of the laundry, maintain my supply of ... supplies. It all falls on me, and I have to be the one to balance it all.
Fortunately, my expenses are not overwhelming, and I am good enough at math to be able to set reasonable rates without breaking anyone's bank.
My basic, off the street rate is $65 for 60 minutes, $95 for 90 minutes, $130 for 120 minutes. I accept Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express. Of course, if you decide to pay cash, I give a $5 discount.
Also, if you rebook with me within a month of your appointment, I will get you in for $55 an hour, $80 for 90 minutes, $95 for 120 Minutes.
And if you wake up one day, or you are at work, and you decide or find that you really  need a massage, and you need to see me today, I offer Same Day special rate of $35 an hour, $50 for 90 Minutes, $70 for 120 minutes (same price, cash or credit). Call it a reward for procrastinating, but the offer is subject to availability. No other discounts apply.
As for specials, I have a few. I give a "Check in" special discount as well as gift certificates through Yelp!. Also, I have a Groupon Deal coming soon. And I have a few other special deals in the works. Watch this space for new and announcements as they happen.
Finally, there is barter. I happily accept service for service. In particular, I need to talk to someone about  book keeping and accounting, as well as seeking some interior decoration. Feel free to drop me a line and ask, if you have goods or services to trade. We may be able to make a deal.

(Update 11-2-12)
I should maybe make this a separate post, but I have no wish to waste your time and bandwidth. And it is, frankly, a short addition.
With the new location, I am offering a new referral program. After you come to see me, tell your friends. When they come to see me, have your friends tell me you sent them. Five referrals and you get a free 60 minute massage. Or, if 7 people come in (for at least an hour each), they you get a free 90 Minute massage. I keep track of it all. No cards to carry, no online services to check in with, no apps to download. Easy, convenient and rewarding. Just as it should be.