Monday, August 29, 2011

Massage Monday : tipping

I've been asked (often enough that it warrants a blog post) if you are supposed to tip after a massage, and, if so, how much.  Massage (as well as skin care and nails) are considered to be in the service industry...just like a server or a bartender, so yes, tipping is the norm.  As far as how much to tip...that can be a gray area.

I prefer not to go the percentage route with this one.  Simply because massages aren't on a fixed rate.  You can go to a luxury hotel or spa and pay upwards of $100 or go to a bargain place, such as Hand & Stone or Massage Envy, and pay less than $50.  Chances are, you're getting the same massage.  The quality of massage depends on the LMT, not their employer.  It is unfair to tip them less because they charge you less...if anything, it should be the other way around!

Tipping is a gratuity...a way to thank someone for a job well done...and it should be treated as such.  If you are unhappy with the service you were provided, don't tip!  If you were overjoyed, show it!  

Most LMTs (unless they work for themselves) work on commission.  That commission doesn't add up to much when the client is only pay $35 for their massage!  We rely fairly heavily on tips, and are very grateful for generous clients!  

I have work at low-end (as far as payscale is concerned) places, and, for me, every penny counts! 

Based on an hour Swedish massage...I am okay with $10.  I am content with $15.  I am happy with $20. I am ecstatic with anything more!

How do you feel about tipping for spa services?  How much do you think is a fair tip?  

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Massage Monday : conversation

To speak or not to speak...

Is it okay to talk in a massage?  Not all LMTs (Licensed Massage Therapist) will agree with me on this one, but I think it is completely up to the client.

This is your session.  If you are more comfortable, or relaxed, when you are talking, then by all means!  If you're more relaxed in a quiet atmosphere, than that's great too!  I have clients who chat from start to end.  I have clients who don't make a peep once the lights are dimmed.  I have clients who are inbetween.  It does not affect my ability to give a good massage by the level of conversation.

However, any conversations that is made must be appropriate.

If you'd like to give your life story, that is absolutely your prerogative.  Please don't expect the LMT do the same.  It is not appropriate for a client to ask personal questions of the therapist.  It is none of their business where we live, if we have a significant other or children or where we hang out...among other things. We are paid professionals.  We are not psychiatrists.  We are not here to help you work through your life issues or offer you advice.  We are here to relieve the issues your muscles may have.

If you prefer peace and quiet, the LMT should respect that.  Your therapist should not be starting conversations or unloading their issues on you.  It is absolutely within your right to ask the LMT to be quiet or terminate the session if they are disrupting your relaxation.  I know a few (very few) LMTs who like to talk in their sessions and make it a point to try to get to know their clients.  In my opinion, this is extremely unprofessional.

Any conversation not pertaining to the massage (pressure, comfort, warmth...etc) should be initiated by the client.  It is your massage.  Your preference comes first!

Have you ever had a therapist talk during a massage?  Do you prefer conversation or silence?.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Massage Monday : continuing education

Part of keeping my massage license current, is taking CE (Continuing Education) courses.

In Florida, LMTs (Licensed Massage Therapist) are required to renew their licenses every odd numbered year by August 31st.  In order to do so, we have to complete 24 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) or one CEU for every month that they have been licensed if it is their first renewal period.  12 of those CEUs must be live, in class, hours.  6 of the CEUs are required - Massage Ethics, Florida Law, HIV and Medical Error Prevention.

Basically, we have 2 years to complete these courses...and I waited until this weekend...16 days before the deadline.

I am such a procrastinator!!  

In my defense, CEs are incredibly expensive and time consuming.  I just found myself putting it off...and off...and off...until it was almost too late!  I have a list of a few different courses I'd like to take.   Pre-natal, Touch for Health and Reflexology to expand my repertoire.  Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Sports and Chair to grow in the modalities I currently provide.  Unfortunately, when you put things off to the very last minute, the options greatly decrease.

I did the same thing last cycle.

I swore I wouldn't leave it to the last minute this time.  I planned on taking courses I was genuinely interested, a few CEUs at a time, so it wouldn't be too much of a financial or time constraint.  But, life is expensive...time is fleeting...and I'm not much of a planner.  So, here I am.  Again.

With not much time left, I sat down at the computer on Friday to see what my options were.  Of the courses I was interested in, Touch for Health was the only one with any available courses in my area.  Unfortunately, I would have to take two to fulfill my live hours requirement and still find the mandatory courses as well as 6 other CEUs to finish.  Oh, and did I mention those courses are being held on the 30th and 31st?  Talk about cutting it close!!  Not to mention expensive!!  Had I gone that route, I'd be spending upward of $600...not to mention my license renewal fees!

I decided to go a cheaper route.

Last cycle, I took a course from Massage Online Professor.  The instructor, Karen, offers the full 24 CEUs in one shot.  One price.   You go for one 12-hour seminar that covers 2 courses and the rest of the curriculum is online.  I didn't want to go that route again this year because I really wasn't interested in the course topics she was offering this year...but, when push came to shove, it was the best choice.  

For less than 1/2 of what I was would have paid, I fulfilled all my requirements with more than 2 weeks to spare.  

Whew!  That is a weight off my shoulders!  Now I need a massage to rid me of the stress my procrastination caused!

Have you ever put something off so long that you had to settle for a lesser option?  How do you handle procrastination?

For more massage info...
call - 727.342.0SPA (0772)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Massage Monday : cell phones

Cell phones are a huge part of our every day lives.  I know mine rarely leaves my side.  It's my alarm clock.  It keeps track of my finances.  It's my calendar.  It's my facebook, twitter and google+.  It's my mp3 player and radio.  It's my email.  It's my source of entertainment when I'm bored.  I can read a book, watch a movie, catch up on news, or play a video game. Heck, I'm even writing this blog on it!  Oh, and I of course use it to call and text.

But, there is a time and place for everything.

Cell phones do not have a place at a spa.  Not while checking in.  Not while waiting for your therapist.  Not during your massage.  Not while checking out.  Please be courteous to your surroundings and turn your phone on silent before entering the spa.

A spa is a place of serenity and quiet, not for 'outdoor' or 'cell phone' voices. A lot of people (myself included), tend to speak louder when on the phone.  It is rude and disruptive to use your phone while at the front desk or in the client lounge.

Your massage is a time of peace and relaxation.  A time for you to forget about the world around you, and focus on your well-being.  A ringing cell phone can be distracting for both you and the therapist.  Think of your massage as a mini-vacation.  Take that hour (30-minutes, hour and a half...or whatever time increment you choose for your massage) and disconnect from the outside world.  Enjoy your short time to yourself.  You can plug back in when you leave.

As your checking out, the therapist or spa personnel might have more info for you.  Wait until you are ready to leave to turn your phone back on and check your missed calls, texts and emails.

You'll feel more relaxed when you take the time to fully indulge in your massage without distractions.

For more information on massage or to schedule one for yourself, comment below or contact us by phone, email, facebook or twitter.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Massage Monday : what to expect

As an LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) and lover of massage, I have been in hundreds of massages.  Knowing what to do, both as a client and a therapist, is second nature to me.  It is easy to forget that not everyone who walks into my treatment room is as well-versed as I am in the world of massage.  When you are a stranger in the world of massage, you might not know what to expect.  In todays edition of Massage Monday, we'll be going over what you should expect before, after and during a professional massage.

When you walk into a spa (or massage center or when a therapist enters your home/work/hotel...etc), you should be greeted warmly and professionally.  You should be made to feel welcome and important...because you are! 

If it is your 1st visit to that spa, you will be given an intake form to fill out.  Intake forms will vary slightly from place to place, but they should all cover the same basic name, phone number, address, email, emergency contact, service desired, health issues, areas of tension, health history, and a signed consent.  Most places will have you fill one out on your first visit and then periodically to keep their files up to date.  Some spas, such as Rejuvenating Touch, will have you fill one out each visit.  This is to ensure that each massage is tailored to your specific needs.  The inital intake form will be 1-2 pages long.  Subsequent intake forms are generally shorter.

After you have finished the intake form, the LMT or spa personnel, should show you where the restroom is located and allow you time to use it, if needed, before the session.   The LMT should greet you by name and introduce themselves to you (unless you've already met).

You will then have a consultation with your LMT.  This will either take place in the lounge/waiting area (only if there is only one treatment room) or in the treatment room.  In the consultation, the LMT should confirm with you the modality (type of massage) and duration of the massage you'll be receiving.  The LMT will inform you to disrobe to your comfort level, where you can place your belongings, to take off any jewelry, how you are supposed to lay on the table (face up or face down and which end to lay your head).  They will also go over any pertinent issues on your intake form (health inquiries, tension areas, etc) and ask you if there are any areas you would like focused on or avoided, and outline the massage for you.  This is the time where any questions you might have regarding your massage session should be asked.  The LMT will then leave the room so you may disrobe and get on the table and so that they can wash their hands and prepare for your massage.

Then comes the part you've been waiting for -- the massage!  A basic massage will be full body, scalp, face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet and back.  Some therapist will include upper pecs, abdominals and glutes.  If there are any areas you do not worked on, let your LMT know during the consultation.  This is your massage.  Let the LMT know if you would like them to adjust the pressure or music, get you a blanket or turn on a fan, spend more time anywhere or if something is too tender to be worked on.  Your job during the massage, is simply to relax.  Close your eyes and let your mind float away.  The LMT will let you know if they need you to do anything and when they need you to turn over.  At the end of the massage, the LMT will let you know they are leaving the room, allowing you time to slowly get off the table and redress.

After the massage, the LMT will advise you to up your water intake for the next 24 hours.  They will also go over with you any issues they found, advise you on any stretches that might help you, and give you their card. You will then cash out with the front desk (or the LMT if you are not at a spa).  The price should have been set before you went into session, and written on a brochure or advertisement of some sort.   This is the time to express any grievances or praises of the massage and the LMT, and to book your next session!

I hope this brief tutorial has helped to clarify what you should expect from a massage session.  If there is anything I missed, please leave your question in the comments below or email me at  Check back next Monday for cell phones & massage.

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