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What was the biggest lesson you learnt as a business owner during Covid-19? (Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series)

by Samantha Jenkins September 30, 2020

What was the biggest lesson you learnt as a business owner during Covid-19? Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series

We are really excited to share with you the next instalment of our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we have asked the industry's top leaders what was the biggest lesson you learnt as a business owner during Covid-19 and what their words of encouragement for the future would be? 

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! 


    For the lovely team at JING they found the key lesson from the Covid-19 has been to keep showing up, both for yourself and your community! Personally they hosted webinars throughout the week and found just being a presence and keep on keeping on has kept them feeling motivated and looking to the future. 

    For Meghan and Rachel Covid-19 has reinforced how important it is to keep on following your heart. So many people have realised during this time the jobs and activities they do are not really what makes them happy. We are so lucky as therapists to love what we do and that passion is infectious! If you keep saying it and putting that energy out there it is engaging and attractive to clients. Now more than ever.

    JING's words of encouragement are to do your best and keep on keeping on!! This is Rachel's personal mantra and is a powerful reminder to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Recognising that you are important part of the medical community is crucial as we all want you to stay in the game because people need you! People you haven't met yet need you and we as an industry and community will miss you! Do your best to never lose sight of the skills you are bringing into the world. 

    A final piece of advice from Rachel is that if you feel like giving up, put on Queen's 'Don't stop me now', crank it up and get dancing! 

    Watch Rachel and Megan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    To see JING's upcoming training courses please click on the image below or follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

     JING Advanced Massage Training  

    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Kush Kumar
    Susan Findlay Icon for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
    What was the biggest lesson you learnt as a business owner during Covid-19? 

    I started off my first draft of this article listing all the things that the school has changed, what we did to meet the needs of our students, what policies we put in place to keep everyone safe but realized this was not relevant… I am itching to tell you all the cool things we have done but I wanted this article to be more about self-development. What have I learnt, personally?

    I can’t say that I came away with a new set of life changing lessons but I have been running a business for decades and any business owner will tell you there are many aspects of running a business that are not listed on the job description, all the challenges I have faced in the past have prepared me for the current situation, so if I were to choose three personal characteristics that helped me through this pandemic they would be: Firstly, exercise common sense, secondly, be flexible and thirdly, remain calm. 
    I usually approach everything with the assumption that every problem has a solution, if change needs to happen so be it. We did have to do a lot of adjustments to make it all work, I watched many people collapse, from a combination of fear and being faced with too many changes for them to cope with, I tried my best to reassure them and point out that you can take a lot of positive things from this situation, you can use it. Don’t let these trying times rob you of the future you want… I wasn’t always successful with the more anxious students but for those that were receptive to the encouragement that goes with this approach, they got on with it. 
    Like most people, I don’t like to change things if they work, and this leads into the third lesson, don’t let the situation overwhelm you, it can happen very easily, but I was determined not to let that happen. I cannot say I was a 100% successful  but it would have been worse to allow it to affect my focus and stop me from moving forward. I have a dream and I am still working on it. 
    There was so much information coming out, information would change on a weekly basis, my team and I worked so hard to try and keep up with it all, so much of what we were receiving was not clear, contradicted itself, and was incorrect. I relied on the more proven sources,  those that appeared to have a level headed approach, clear direction, and was relying on good research. 
    Looking to the future, what words of encouragement would you give to therapists?
    So where do I see our future heading, what have we got to look forward to? We’re already working more smartly, we have improved our communication with other professionals, we’re no longer classified as ‘massage parlours’ (just need to filter out those phone calls now, you know the type…), but we have a hard road to travel going forward if we want respect for our work.  It was encouraging to see so many therapists get behind their Professional Associations and the work that GCMT was and is doing, this is vital for our future, they’re our front runners, our voice as a profession, to be taken seriously as an essential service and not a bit of fluff. I would encourage you to lend your support and be a part of change.  

    Watch Susan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    To find out more about Susan's courses and sign up for her great Massage Monday series click on the image below or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

    Susan Findlay logo

    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Kush Kumar
    Emma Gilmore profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer

    For Emma and the School of Bodywork Covid-19 brought some surprising positive changes. Whilst Emma believes wholeheartedly that there are elements of learning when it comes to massage therapy that need to be hands on and in person, the situation called for some teaching remotely to be installed, so that those elements that can be taught online could continue.

    Emma found that coming together to find new strategies and test ourselves can bring really surprising outcomes. For the School of Bodywork they found that they were no longer restricted geographically and found that actually they were attracting and interacting with people on a global scale. They also found this was true for their students who also were able to continue supporting their existing clients online but were also attracting new clients a lot further afield with their online offerings.

    The lesson for Emma and so many students at the School of Bodywork was that thinking outside the box, past your previous notions of what you should be doing, can bring unexpected and fantastic results! Emma found this wonderful to witness and is so pleased for her students that have seized the opportunity to step into this new world bravely. The incredible level of support within the industry has also been heartwarming for Emma as well as the reaction of clients. Emma has found after a forced separation from us clients realise our skills as massage therapists more than ever! The importance of nurturing touch is clear, people have missed it so much during lockdown that we can see it as a potentially exciting time for our industry!

    Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!


    You can see the latest courses on offer at School of Bodywork by clicking the image below! You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.

    School of Bodywork logo

    Susan Findlay
    Emma Gilmore
    Earle Abrahamson
    Kush Kumar
    Earle Abrahamson profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
    For Earle the biggest question during Covid-19 was how to adjust to the new normal. How to do things better, to look to improve but also more importantly transform the way we work to make the most of the lessons we have learnt. 
    At first as it was for everyone this was extremely daunting. Earle found he had a lot of questions - about working from home, different ways of consulting and how to earn money in this new landscape. 

    But for Earle this time allowed him to reflect on his professional and personal journey so far and contemplate how to continuing challenging himself to do things in new ways. He spent time pondering what his expectations were for returning to work and then what the expectations of his clients might be? 

    After analysing those expectations he focused on the skills he would need to develop, mainly in terms of moving work online and how this would compare to real life experiences for his clients. Focusing on how to blend these two modes of working has been a huge lesson, figuring out how to retain the quality in a new and different way has been key. 

    The positive outcome of this work is that Earle has been able to reach more people by being creative and innovative. Looking ahead for the sector, for Earle the most important question is how do we risk assess ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead?


    Watch Earle answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!  

    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.



      • Making Sense of Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lotus Publishers 2016


        • Concise Manual of Muscle Testing - Handspring Publishers. Due out October 2019 
      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Kush Kumar
      Kush Kumar profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer                                                      For Kush his first response to the Covid-19 situation was like many of us! The overwhelming pressure to react and react fast was his initial thought but after some reflection and stepping back to assess the wider picture it was much easier to see what was really necessary. 

      As part of the professional association Think Tree Hub, Kush began analysing the needs of the industry and from there was able to make a much clearer plan. Initially Think Tree initiated a campaign to lobby the industry's interests to the government before switching to longer term strategies to support their students and members. 

      During Covid-19 Think Tree Hub developed 2 FREE Courses to help massage therapy professionals at this unprecedented time which you can find at the links below; 

      1. “Preparing to return to work in a Covid-19 World”.
      1. “Risk assessment: The essential step for re-opening”  

       For Kush the top 3 takeaways from this time were; 

      • Do not panic and avoid reacting in the moment
      • Your life is the most precious thing as is everyone else’s
      • Consider each day as it comes (remember there are only 24 hours in one day, then it is on to another!)

      Watch Kush answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below! 

      To take advantage of the special offer and join ThinkTree Hub click on the image below and be sure to give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

      ThinkTree Hub

      Susan Findlay
      Emma Gilmore
      Earle Abrahamson
      Kush Kumar

    Samantha Jenkins
    Samantha Jenkins


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    Massage Table Size Guide

    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

    1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
    2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

    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.


    The Width of the Massage Table:

    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.

    measuring the width of a massage table

    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.


    The Height Of the Massage Table

    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.


    Massage Table Shape:

    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.


    4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
    Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
    5. Oval Shaped

     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.

    oval massage table


    Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!