Hamish

Who Gets Sports Massage?

Sports Massage – Who Gets it?

Sports Massage is an expanding field. Its broadening appeal is the result of an aging and more exercise-conscious population. Certain types of work may also benefit from Sports Massage, even though ‘sports’ is not an accurate moniker for the activities: Musicians, construction workers, dancers, assembly-line workers can all have harmful, strenuous and repetitive loads on their musculo-skeletal systems.

 

With aging, active people will find muscular elasticity dwindling, as does muscular recovery time from hard or over use. Many other of the body’s  systems are generally working more slowly and less efficiently the older we get. A sensible, balanced approach to your fitness is necessary. Whilst it is imperative that we exercise our bodies (and minds) to stay vital and strong, it can make sense to back off a little – and consider that Sports massage  becomes more and more a valuable adjunct.

 

Clients will usually end up in a Sports Massage clinic as a result of either a prescription from a physician, or on their own self-advisement or that of a sports coach or trainer.

A doctor’s prescription will be quite specific, with a diagnosis of a problem (perhaps a sports or over-use injury) and instructions to the sports therapist. Self-advisement is simply that you feel you’d like to give your body the best chances for performance, maintaining comfort,  and injury prevention (Facilitated stretching is invaluable for this and can be a wonderful part of ‘maintenance’ deep massage). If you are at the sports massage therapist for an injury or complaint without a doctor’s prescription, beware that the therapist is not allowed, by law, to make a diagnosis and they are not allowed to ‘treat’ a client on their own initiative. Tempting as it is you should not go to a massage therapist of any kind with the idea that it is any kind of a substitute for a physician’s care.

 

For more serious performance athletes, the value of sports massage is now well recognized by coaches and trainers – indeed, massage therapists are often part of the training/coaching effort. Pre-event, post-event and ‘maintenance’ massage are fast becoming  a normal part of athletic training. Reducing ‘down-time’, increasing post-event recovery time, rehabilitating injuries and increasing ease of movement are just some of the benefits of Sports Massage at the performance level. Additionally, the sports massage therapist can advise on ‘homework’ for the athlete, such as stretching, or common-sense injury-reducing care, such as treating recent soft tissue injuries with PRICE – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

 

In the next issue I will discuss what to expect in a Sports Massage.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Sports Massage – Performance Vs. Fitness

Sports Massage – Performance VS. Fitness

 

Jackson Hole is a natural place to find athletes and active people who are in need of body work. Think of it as necessary tune-ups without which physical performance could suffer.

But what’s the difference between performance and fitness? Where do those lines cross? How can massage help? What kind of massage does an athlete need? What kind of massage does a ‘fit’ person need? What is a ‘Deep Tissue’ massage?

Let’s start with the definition of ‘Performance’ as it pertains to humans – “The capacity to compete sport-specific activity with skill and performance.”

 

And the definition of ‘Fitness’:

1. The state or condition of being fit; suitability or appropriateness.
2. Good health or physical condition, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.
There are subtle but definite differences between the two and it does not follow that increased performance equals increased fitness as the drive to obtain certain levels in that performance exposes the body to more harm in the way of over-exertion and / or injury.
Injuries can be from simple acts of impact or falls – such as in skiing or cycling – or overuse injuries from repetitive actions (tennis, golf), or simply an over-aggressive training regime leading to strained ligaments or over-worked muscles.
In Rocky Mountain ski towns it’s sometimes hard to tell the two apart. But let’s just say that the ‘keep-fit’ crowd are the recreational cyclists, skiers etc. who are out for a good time with the added bonus that it’s great for your health (IF you do it properly) – and the performance crowd are those who do crazy things like race up the Grand Teton or bike in the Logan to Jackson bike ride every September.
People who maintain good health and ‘wellness’ may live more comfortable lives as they get older, than their performance-based sports counterparts. One of the best ‘keep-fit’ exercise regimes is, simply, walking. (Though add some thing in for the upper body – cross country skiing accommodates this nicely.)
The key is…don’t overdo it – and of course get regular massage that pertains to your specific sports / wellness needs. True sports jocks can be just as much in need of a nice relaxing Swedish massage (90-minutes  please) and it could just as easily be true that a normally ‘fit’ person would benefit from a deep tissue massage. After all, that ‘fitness’ we are discussing does require a certain amount of physical activity and specific exercise that works all of the body. Not everyone has the skill, time, discipline to effect that perfect exercise routine, where balances in work-outs / rest / warm-up time / cool down time are found.
Properly indicated massage of any type may help performance athletes and just regular ‘fit’ people in many ways – most notably the movement of bodily fluids, the relaxation of muscles, raising the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, removal of toxins and lactic acid from muscle cells – and many more.
Performance athletes, specifically, will of course benefit from massage of traumatic injury sites to assist in their healing – but they will also benefit from the effects of increase in parasympathetic functioning in the autonomic nervous system (rest and digest). As a group, performance athletes experience body and mental fatigue. A good Swedish massage is often found to send such athletes to sleep – which is, obviously, exactly what they need.
Be well,
Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

Women Are From Venus

Women Are From Venus

In a previous blog I wrote about the ‘unfairness’ of men losing massage work to women by a fairly substantial margin. I’d say that female requests cost me about two-thirds of the massages I’d otherwise be getting. Various scenarios, mostly unsubstantiated,  lead to this – and they have been discussed. But here’s a slightly different angle on that whole topic…massaging women is, and should be, quite different from massaging men – and if a man is giving a woman a massage – he should really be aware of those differences:

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1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

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2. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

3. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

4. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, acetaminophen (AKA Tylenol) can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

5. In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future. In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

How My Massage Clients Help Me.

How My Massage Clients Help Me

My regular readers (millions of ’em)  will know that this blog is about the trials and tribulations of a new, mostly out-call  massage therapy company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I write about the journey which my GF Rochelle and I have decided to embark – with massage being our central theme.

 

In fact, we’re about to come upon an important and exciting first anniversary – (no, not our personal one – we celebrated our second anniversary of coupledom back in August) – but it’s our anniversary off driving off to Oakland, California from Jackson, Wyoming, for further education at the McKinnon School of Body Therapy. It has been a year since Rochelle and I first took off on a wild ride – two weeks of car camping  and hiking in Death Valley National Park and onto Oakland until late December.  We both very much enjoy this journey as it’s a discovery wrapped around a learning experience. We shared many precious, sometimes trying moments during that trip as it was all new territory to me and exciting for us both to be living as students in a completely different environment for us Jackson Hole-ites. I should explain that Rochelle had first studied the basic Swedish Massage course there the year before that!  Indeed – it was because of her positive experiences in massage work that I am now also on the band-wagon.

 

But going back to school during the fall months is just one of the paths on which this journey takes us. We’re both new massage therapists and are determined to make a real go of having a relationship, a business, a future together and who knows – in time it might pay the bills. I’ll be keeping you up to date while we’re at school in Oakland and on our adventure – but for now I want to get to the topic of this post – ‘How My Massage Clients Help Me’.

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Massage therapists are in a position of help to their clients. The purpose of this post is not to go into the benefits of massage – but to consider, or at least be open to, how your clients help you. Or at least – this is how they help me: My being in the ‘new-massage-therapist-and-business’ situation that I am in – is a result of financial ruin back in 2008 -10, including the loss of my income and home back in 2008. I am 57 years old and having to start again from scratch. Massage, and Rochelle, are bringing me back in a most agreeable way – I love the whole subject and wish I had my younger years back in order to have more ‘future’ in which to learn. But how my clients help me is simply by being there on my massage table. I am grateful. They are helping me (and us – but I’m talking about me) by being clients upon whom I can practice my skills, my art – and of course they’re the source of moolah, which is why, really, we’re all doing this in the first place.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Organic is Organic

Organic Massage

Well, it would be a stretch to say that there is such a thing as Organic Massage, and there are of course organic massage oils such as Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Safflower Oil, Certified Organic Olive Oil,Certified Jojoba Oil, and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) Vitamin E,  but this is a column about organic eating and organic massage marketing.

 

In the last couple of years, more of our local Smith’s grocery Store in Jackson Hole has been given over to organic fruits and vegetables. This could be in direct response to therecent opening of a huge new Jackson Whole Grocer just up the street. Or it could be Safeway taking a genuine interest in their customers’ health and responding to market forces. But every time I go into a store and see the word ‘Organic’ I become the skeptic and remember the discussion in Michael Pollan’s book: ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. He says that far too many food companies are getting on the ‘organic’ bandwagon – just to increase profits (markups on anything that says ‘organic’ are  many more times than non-organic) – when in fact there isn’t really that much of an organic nature to these foods. It’s a bit like ‘green-washing’ – when a company that pours millions of gallons of toxic waste into our rivers gets a ‘green’ award because it recycles its office paper!

 

Then there’s another kind of organic – which is how we’re growing our business at Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. So maybe we’re getting closer to Organic Massage.

There’s organic in the way Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is gaining positioning in the search engine rankings, and there’s organic in the way we’re slowly increasing our customer base. That is: we’re not spending money on link farms, buying Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter followers and so on. Those things can bring in vast numbers but it’s not a good way to go and is detected by the search engine crawlers as ‘underhanded’ and will cost  more than money in the end. It will cost of massage business credibility. Search engine rankings are being increased in three ways: 1) Rochelle is working hard (she started with one to two hours every day) participating in lively SM correspondence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.  2) Our new web site www.massageprofessionalsJacksonHole.com is totally dialed-in, with ‘responsive’ capabilities to show up on mobile devices, and  3) The blog – such as this post. It’s important to keep it rich in keyword phrases and content – although you won’t see the word ‘Massage’ or ‘Jackson Hole’ written up too much in this week’s post. Another way we’re doing it organically is simply by growing the business slowly. We recently turned down the opportunity to take over an established massage business in Jackson Hole. There are beautiful premises with four nicely decorated rooms, inexpensive rent, a customer base and a very advanced responsive web site. We turned it down because we’d rather grow into that kind of positioning than purchase it all. It just seemed like the better way to go. We’ll grow by reputation one customer at a time – and that’s organic. And then, who knows, maybe one day we’ll discover Organic Massage as well – but if we do, it will be slowly – and organically.

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

Our Brand New Web Site

About Our Brand New Web Site.

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In case you missed it – the URL (Universal Resource Locator) of our spiffy new web site for Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is http://www.MassageProfessionals. We have also kept the ‘pointer’ URL from our previous web site that we had through the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), which is www.jacksonhole.massagetherapy.com. We’re keeping this for three reasons: 1) Because we’ve put so much effort into building an organic following with this web site that it would be a shame to let that go and start over, 2) We are necessarily affiliated with the ABMP and their web site through massage insurance and membership – so there are numerous valuable links and associations that we maintain, and, 3) having strong ‘pointer’ web sites is important, where the landing page takes people directly to our own new web site.

 

The content for the ABMP web site had been working well for us – no need to write it again (thanks to Mariane Maffeo of www.MaffeoMedia.com) – so we saved some money by asking Shannon to export that content, with tweaking for SEO as she saw necessary, into the new web site. But it was very important that Google search bots not detect duplicate content – so the ABMP web site was stripped of all content and populated with essential, rich keywords that specifically directed viewers to our new web site.

During our start-up months with the ABMP web site, it had become obvious that our customers were coming to us via internet search, and that our dollars spent on print advertising could be converted into internet advertising dollars. The ABMP web site, though a great way to start, was not the forward-thinking ‘progressive’ type of web site that we needed. Our customers search on mobile devices and ‘responsive’ web sites make that possible. I did have a few conversations with the web gurus and management at ABMP to see if there was anything like this on the horizon – but that was not to be. Still – it was a superb start-up site that I would recommend to any massage-business start-up (free with membership). It helped to send us on our way and proved that the internet was to be our main source of customers. Therefore it made sense to have the latest in progressive web sites built for us – and for this, we chose Shannon and Jimmy Sbarra of Skyfire Studios in Montana – http://www.skyfirestudio.com/

Image Showing Web SIte Under Construction

It’s not really my purpose here to ‘sell’ SkyFire Studios to you. I don’t have to – just look at our new web site and you’ll see what I mean. Shannon and Jimmy are a young couple who seem to me to be not just ‘sharp’ and at the cutting edge of web site technologies, SEO marketing, and design- but they also have a pleasant, yet professional business ethic. They do what they say they’ll do, on time, and at the agreed price. No shenanigans. If more work is to be done – the price is outlined fairly and agreed upon. Their price is reasonable in this industry and good for the quality of work they produce. All through the process communication has been open and at no time are we made to feel stupid when our knowledge of web sites and ‘internet na-na land’ is lacking (Jimmy is the guru). They explain it all very well. Now that the web site is built, there’s obviously some tweaking to do and on-going SEO to monitor – their associate, Caitlin, is going to come on board. So far, our early conversations with her have sounded very encouraging, and I’ll comment on that in a later post.

 

The new web site is built on www.Word-Press.org – as is this blog – moved over from www.Blogger.com. As with moving the web site – all previous content from Blogger has been deleted and that Blog deleted completely. Google web crawlers don’t report well upon seeing duplicate content.  I’m writing directly into the WordPress blog page right now – and it sure does make things easier, although it’s a significantly more robust platform with many more, and more complex options. Another thing we have had to do is change our e-mail server from www.GoDaddy.com, to www.Dreamhost.com. I’m still not sure why that was a good move – but it’s the hosting service that SkyFire Studio works with. Moving e-mail platforms has, I admit, been a bit of a pain so far – but Shannon is helping us get that together and I’m sure it will all be for the good in the long run.

Altogether, this is an exciting and significant phase in the growth of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. After just eight months in business, we have moved on from a start-up, free web site with ABMP into a much more aggressive, flexible and SEO-friendly web site that available to travelers on I-phones and tablet computers.

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Listen, Just Listen

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / partner.

LISTEN, JUST LISTEN

 

When a client comes to you for a massage, the entire session from intake to goodbye is about the client. The client wants, and is paying for, your attention. Some need more, some less. Some are more demanding, others very humble. But whatever it is, a good listening ear will make this massage extra meaningful to your client and hopefully be at least part of a successful conversion from a first-time client, to a regular customer.

 

With the intake form filled out, it is of course normal and customary to review what the client has written – especially if this is a first-time client with you. Whilst the massage therapist must repeat the information on the intake form back to the client, ask questions and make comments where appropriate, it is essential to do much more listening than talking. If the client has certain specific reasons for coming to you for a massage, listen, empathize, show your understanding of what is being said – but without saying too much. Let the client do the talking.

And it’s not necessary or even advisable to get caught up in small-talk or add to the client’s complaint by adding examples of your own similar issues – just ‘zip-it’. For example, today I had a client, a young lady, who warned me that she had badly bruised her Coccyx about three months previously – and that it still hurt. Well, that was very interesting to me as I had had that exact same injury earlier this summer. I asked her how it happened (MOI, Mechanism of Injury, could be important knowledge to the massage) and she told me that she had fallen on (not off) her bicycle – and landed on the rear wheel hub with her Coccyx. Well – my goodness – there’s an incredibly strange coincidence – that’s exactly how I suffered my own injury. So in fact there was quite a conversation I could have had with her. I could have gotten into the whole story of how this same thing had happened to me and all such other time-wasting small-talk. But the that would have been about me! – And how could this possibly have helped or contributed to the massage or the way I would give the massage? Not one little bit.

So of course I made empathizing noises, said ‘Ouch’ to show that I, as a massage professional, understood the nature of the pain of an injured Coccyx, and left it at that. Therefore she got to do 95% of the talking at the time of discussing the intake form, and I’m sure she felt satisfied that she had been listened to. And after all, what is it we’re after if it isn’t a satisfied customer?

Be Well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

Breathe

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / partner.

BREATHE.

 

You hear it all too often…”Don’t forget to breathe.”  Zen masters and casual meditation practitioners will tell you that the breath is the very core of our being – it’s where we ‘go’ to meditate. Therefore it stands to reason that our massage clients will be better off if their body and mind are receiving this massage from the inside out – and we can achieve this through encouraging them to breathe. And why not have the massage therapist sympathize with the breathing that’s going on in the massage room? You might as well…it costs nothing, has immense health benefits for you and allows you to become in a more harmonious state with your client. If they can feel and hear you breath – they’re likely to take a ‘hint’ and remember to do it themselves.

 

Now, of course, everybody breathes – otherwise we’d be dead! – I’m talking about a more conscious breathing on the part of the client. It’s the kind of breathing that takes the mind into just itself and I’m not shy about letting the client know I expect them to concentrate on their breathing. I also add in that they might like to try being aware of where my hands are, following them as they go and keeping track of where they’ve been. Breathing and setting the mind to keep track of where the hands are will create a profound meditation which will make it so much easier for the therapist to do their work – much in the same way as a simple electric table heater will do much of the work for you.

The above applies mostly to relaxation Swedish Massage, although it also applies in sports massage and other more ‘physical’ types of massage – although breathing there can be used in a very different kind of a way, for example, exhaling to allow a certain range of motion to be reached. The beginning of my Swedish relaxation massages almost always involves quite a few minutes of ‘over-the-drapes’ work. There are several reasons for this which I will get into in a later blog post.  But during this time, after a brief ‘hand-walk’ up the body I’ll stand on one side of the table with my hands on the ‘other’ side of the body, and do some good compressions of the shoulders, rhomboids, erector spinae. Each time I compress I work with the client’s breath to make sure that I’m pushing down on the out-breath (therefore you have to be able to see the body moving with the breath if they’re quiet breathers). This results in a complete expulsion of all air from the lungs – something that the body rarely achieves – and something that my clients tell me feels absolutely wonderful. It’s a sort of ‘assisted breathing’ and you’ve been doing some of the work for them.

After a good spell of this on both sides of the body, I and the client are ready to have the sheets pulled back to expose the back and get some oiled Swedish massage started. The client’s body and mind are more than relaxed and ready to start with the massage that’s to come.

Be well,

T. Hamish Tear

 

 

How Much Pressure Do YOU like?

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / partner.

 

Last week I finished by saying I would be discussing our web site’s role in the overall marketing strategy – and I hoped to be able to link to our new and super-duper web site – courtesy of Shannon Sbarra at SkyFire Studios. Alas, the Labor Day weekend got in the way it’s not here yet…so meanwhile I’ll write about my thoughts on ‘pressure’ as it pertains to massage..

I sometimes receive pleasing compliments about the way I do certain things during a massage or use specific techniques – and many of these comments address that I just somehow know how to use the most appropriate pressure for their body and muscles – not too much, not too little, no matter where in the body I am, or within which technique I am working.

Pressure‘ is a strange word when applied to massage. I find intake forms to be a bit silly when they ask what kind of pressure the client would like. My type of client will often vote with their feet – as, really, they don’t know what they are asking for – and they don’t know ME as a therapist. And the other thing about the pressure question is…where?  And at what stage in the massage? The amount of pressure a therapist applies differs all over the body and depends greatly on the overall flow of the massage and the body type you’re working on. A massage therapist can and will go deeper once their client is more into the massage session, more relaxed, and has been having the benefit of preparatory and warming strokes, such as petrissagetapotement, and even a more vigorous effleurage. (Additionally, I use a table warmer – which goes a long way to preparing the muscles and mind of your massage client for deeper work.)

It needs to be clarified that I am working in spas in the Jackson Hole area, where clients are mostly looking for relaxation massage with some specific thrown in – such as ‘tight shoulders, neck and upper back’. Also, these tend to be ‘one-time’ clients – looking for a bit of feel-good pampering while on vacation (and the way many people vacation is very stressful). If I were a sports therapist working on a specific problem with an athlete whom I see weekly – that’s a whole different context, where ‘pressure’ is used in a whole different way.

In writing about ‘pressure’ in a massage blog, there’s a whole lot of peripheral information that needs to be considered – all the way from that silent, energy-filled ‘communication’ with the client on the table, to the much more physical aspects of the therapist’s size, weight, strength, experience with skills and knowledge of anatomy. And there’s a feeling.

My advantage is in my physical attributes. I am a 57-year-old athlete (mountaineer, skier, cyclist), 6’2″, and 185lbs. I understand the human body from an athlete’s advantage, and I take massage seriously. For me, it’s a focus and a meditation. For that 60 or 90 minutes I am completely there in that massage room with the client and nowhere else. And usually it’s more about the pressure that I don’t apply. My main skill is knowing how to hold back – how to keep what I have in reserve, and then I can use the saved strength to control the movements and pressure accordingly, slowly working into more pressure if I feel that’s where I can go, and if that’s what the client needs and /or wants. I have a hard time working if the client wants to talk – but if my ‘serious’ attitude doesn’t convince clients to settle into the massage, I’ll mention that they might want to try some breathing.

But anyway – getting down to it – once I have the client comfortable, warm, secure, and have done some over-cover work and quite a bit of warming strokes – I’ll get down to the ‘pressure’ work. I use my senses as I move along slowly applying pressure in whatever stroke is appropriate for that body part. By this time I have found the right amount of oil to suit the client’s skin type and depth of massage they’re capable of handling. More oil means a lighter massage, less oil means deeper – it all has to do with the enabling or the curtailing of the speed of the stroke. With more oil, you’re going to zoom along the surface of the muscle, not spending much time there. Less time means less pressure.

More time, less oil, more pressure. I like to be somewhere toward the less oil end of the scale as it’s much easier to control what’s going on and oil can always be added. And remember – it’s what the client has asked for – not what you, the massage therapist ‘can do’ – that counts. Give them what they ask for – a light massage can be just as fine or appropriate as any other. And you’ll probably get a better tip. I digress.

The feeling is complimented by acute use of your own senses as you massage this body with pressure strokes. Watch what’s happening – is the client reacting in any way? A quick reaction of the head or any muscle group? Is there any general tensioning? Are fingers or toes twitching or (hopefully not) curling up? Does the client’s breathing alter, change, become shallow, labored, deeper?

Most of these things indicate that you’ve probably already gone too far and it’s good to catch these signs just as they’re showing up – and then – I try to stay right there – just on the cusp of the comfort / discomfort zone. This means I’m effecting muscle massage yet still maintaining comfort – which is the (also essential)  ‘relaxation’ component of massage.

Next week – I’ll be back on track with the exciting new web site that’s nearing completion right now.

Be Well,

T. Hamish Tear

Yelp Helps

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – and is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / Partner.

In part 1 of the ‘Marketing Your Massage Business in Jackson Hole’ last week, I was coming to the conclusion that, by a large margin, the internet is the place to advertise and the place to be seen. Why? Simply because the calls have been coming in good numbers from web searches on Google and on Yelp. So far, with the Jackson Hole News and Guide, after five 1/4 page ads in the weekly paper – we have had just one phone call (which did lead to a massage being sold). I’ll continue to monitor and report on the newspaper advertising results (we are committed) and thought on branding etc.

But this post is more about Yelp. For a massage business in Jackson Hole, I can’t imagine a more effective way to be found than to be listed on Yelp. Whilst the majority of our calls (and orders) have come from the Internet – the greatest portion of those has come from Yelp. I had never quite realized just how much people – especially travelers – use Yelp as their main search tool – not just Google.

In one example, I was called by a family who was vacationing in their large RV and were camped at the Virginian RV Park. The man of the family was in great need of a massage, and his wife did some diligent research on Yelp. Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole popped up first and, with just one great review, she called and booked a 90 minute massage right there in their RV.

After the massage, they explained their philosophies about doing their research on Yelp: “I won’t even entertain purchasing from a service or a business until I have seen it on Yelp and read the reviews.” Said the wife. But in addition to this, this family had a painting business and they have their business on Yelp too. I appreciated the advice they gave me about being on both sides of the Yelp story. Additionally, they advised me never to purchase advertising on Yelp as, like Google, it’s the organic nature of the listing that counts. Good organic placement on Yelp, with strong reviews, is what gets the travelers’ attention and makes them buy your product.

It’s all very well to be found on Yelp – but guess what – yep – there’s more to it than that. Whilst some travelers will call directly from the phone number listed right up-front on your Yelp page, many will need further confirmation and go to your web site to see what it’s all about. So…you need a nice web site – and one that is ‘responsive’ to being adapted to monitor sizes on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. Next week I’ll talk about, and hopefully be able to share with you the launch of, our brand new custom web site – courtesy of Shannon Sbarra at Skyfire Studio.

Be Well,

T. Hamish Tear