We hope you have all been enjoying our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we asked the UK massage industry's top thought leaders to share key tips for massage therapists to help their massage therapy businesses navigate the changes in our industry brought about by Covid-19 and come back stronger in 2021!
You can watch the full video with all the specialist's answers compiled together HERE.... or watch each specialist's answer individually in shorter snippets below underneath their name!
As Covid will not be going away any time soon as massage therapy business owners we need to diversify so we can keep our clients even when we can't work with them with hands on massage treatments. Teaching self care techniques online is a great way to use your knowledge of anatomy and chronic pain and demonstrates your skills and expertise as a massage therapist. Finally Meghan and Rachel suggest being part of a community of like minded massage therapy professionals to help keep your spirits up and to have a safe space to ask for support. We have set a Facebook group to support therapists through this difficult time and you are welcome to join us here.
Watch Rachel and Megan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!
Welcome to the 21st century and how immunize your business!
I have spoken to so many therapists who are all waiting to come back and do the job they love, many have taken temporary jobs, some have even chosen to qualify as vaccinators and a few are retraining in a similar profession whilst others are grappling with how to offer their services online. Whatever the direction each of us is taking, we are all trying to find solutions in this very difficult and stressful time.
The ambiguity of the guidelines and the conflicting views about whether we can work hasn’t helped but what is clear though is that we have to change our mode of delivery and the public perception about our services. What this most difficult of times has emphasised for me is that the more specialized you are the easier it will be for you to be able to offer an essential service. Education and diversification are key for the future and the more knowledgeable you are about how to work with a wide range of pathologies the more employable you will be. Make no mistake, our astroid has arrived.
I had to be brutally honest and examine some well-established beliefs, I never thought I would ever consider delivering a practical course online because I absolutely love doing the face-to-face courses and I believe that hands on work requires that personal touch. I had to take a hard look at what was essential in delivering a good quality job online.
So, the online delivery has really taken off! Though I have to confess that although my current clients love being instructed via Zoom, I’ve concluded that it is impossible to teach the basic hands on skills to a beginner virtually.
What do you need to be able to deliver quality courses or treatments? Become familiar with the different platforms, such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime and the like because it is important to continue to have face-to-face conversations albeit online. In a previous post I suggested numerous ideas about what’s worthwhile offering your clients, it’s very important that you maintain the relationship even if it just 10 minutes of touching base.
Next, I would suggest that you have a website that is informative and interactive. Are you on social media? Do you send out a regular newsletter or email? Are you visible?
As to how we can navigate the future, there is unfortunately no simple answer, we are going to have to tap in to all our reserves, it will require flexibility, creativity and perseverance. I am hopeful that we will survive this and that we will have an industry to return to eventually, meanwhile make sure to elevate the profession by acting professionally, becoming involved in education and make sure to be a part of the solution.
Take care of yourself, you are the most important person in this equation and people need you.
Watch Susan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!Jing
As a bodyworker Emma specialises in and is fascinated by the effects of stress on the body which is why she has set up an online seminar on the topic on 20th of February.
For Emma learning about the impact of stress, anxiety and overwhelm on the body is the best way we can support our clients right now as after the effects of Covid-19 we are heading towards a crisis of mental health and our clients will need our support more than ever! Whether you swot up at home or join Emma in her seminar understanding the physiological impacts of stress and then sharing the benefits of massage therapy with your clients is a sure fire way to support your massage therapy business through these tough times as the power of therapeutic touch is a hot topic right now!
Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!
One opportunity to elevate the massage industry in the UK could lie in partnering with our frontline services. The pandemic has shown us how overstretched healthcare workers can be and with the current circumstances there is perhaps no group who might need the benefits of a massage treatment more. Earle mentions the long shifts nurses and doctors are working, the poor diets they are likely having as they rush between paitents and the trauma they may be experiencing as they face being on the frontline of this pandemic. Earle believes if we could establish wellness clinics within NHS trusts we can demonstrate our skills to other healthcare professionals and begin to establish ourselves more firmly in the medical model.Using this time to be advisors to the benefits and skill of our chosen massage modalities is the key for Earle to coming back stronger as massage therapy business owners in 2021. Let's gather our evidence based research and get shouting from the rooftops about the benefits of massage!
You can find more details on Earle's latest book 'Muscle Testing – A Concise Manual' by clicking the images below or find out more details on the next Hands On Training courses by clicking here.
For Sunita the key tip for massage therapy businesses in 2021 is to innovate! In order to this first you might need to reconnect to your why! Taking time to slow down, meditate and focus on what brought you to a career in massage therapy will help reignite your drive and passion for this awesome calling and make tackling the challenges that lie ahead easier.
For Sunita there is no doubt that the climate has changed around our work as massage therapists and whilst many clients will be eager to get back on our massage tables there may be some clients who for their own understandable reasons might be anxious to return after lockdown. So how do we connect with these clients and keep them? By utilising online tools as massage therapists we can access great benefits for our massage therapy businesses. We can open up geographically and no longer be restricted by location and can also host group sessions over zoom enabling us to earn more for our time. Tri Dosha is hosting a free webinar on getting online for massage therapists on the 28th of February and if you would like more details or to join please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lastly Sunita invites us all to stay hopeful and remember that this is a blip and will pass! There are great opportunities for our massage therapy businesses if we push past our comfort zones and take on the challenge!
Watch Sunita answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!To check out all Tri-Dosha has to offer, including Sunita's newsletter, give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Jing
Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!
A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.
The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because
Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.
Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.
Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.
Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.
Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.
If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:
Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.
Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.
The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.
You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.
Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.
A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:
1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.
The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.
You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!
There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.
1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):
If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.
2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):
The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.
The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.
1. Rectangle shaped with square corners
This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.
2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners
Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.
3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient
A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.
This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.
The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.