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  1. Help Your Massage Practice Grow

    January 18, 2012 by Kenny

    Massage therapists are very fortunate that there are so many individuals offering their expertise through Facebook and other internet channels. This gives you the power of comparison shopping, not only for ideas and processes that appeal to you but if you choose to pay for their services, to find the one that speaks directly to you. You need to choose the one you are comfortable with, that you find easy to understand, the one that demonstrates that they can relate to you one-on-one.

    They all come in different flavors! Some are very direct and to the point, others have become certified coaches and tend to teach through structured methods, some prefer to help with specific issues as they arise, and a few just need to stop. There truly is someone for everyone’s particular style of learning.

    Business mentors are invaluable for massage therapists. It’s an ever-changing and expanding craft we have chosen to pursue and we all need some assistance. If you can’t afford to hire one, at least network with them, they are good people to know and follow on Facebook.

    A good mentor should challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, but not force the issue, the great ones will have you stepping out of your zone before you even realize it. They will offer you support and often some tough love if you need it. My favorites are the ones who are quick to say “I need to get back to you on that”. The best mentors are also the best students, they never stop learning and are always willing to share their knowledge and experiences. These people have been, and in most cases, are still in the trenches and on multiple levels. Be sure to check out their credentials so you can better understand their perspectives on your practice.

    The least effective mentors will tend to be over opinionated, highly emotional and talk more about themselves and their achievements. Remember, there is no “I” in massage. Fortunately, from what I can determine, they are very few in numbers. While their comments may appear perfectly sound, it doesn’t take much thought to see that they fall short of being entirely accurate. Not always a terrible thing, but it’s as if they only see one side of a double-edged sword.

  2. Silence is Golden

    November 28, 2011 by Kenny

    I meet many people in my practice that are relieved to find a Massage Therapist that doesn’t talk during a session. Most are expecting a quiet session while others admit that their previous MT just wouldn’t be quiet enough to allow them to relax. For those who don’t know or haven’t heard it before, there is a method to the madness!

    Without getting too technical, there is a part of your Nervous System called the Parasympathetic Nervous System, or the “rest and digest” system. Simply put, it’s the part that is concerned with conservation and restoration of energy, as it causes a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure, and facilitates digestion and absorption of nutrients, and consequently the excretion of waste products.

    Let’s travel gently into the realms of the Parasympathetic: the home of all relaxing, warm and contented feelings. When it is in control, it immediately begins to manufacture a sense of well-being. It brings peace where there was conflict. The Parasympathetic does everything in its power to restore harmony and equilibrium. As it relaxes muscles, blood vessels and internal organs, so the flow of all body fluids becomes easier, smoother, and fuller. It slows the heartbeat and deepens and softens breathing. It calms and changes the brain’s waves and patterns, bringing the quieter, more expansive states of mind that are so conducive to imagination and creative thinking. Slowly, under the right conditions, the Parasympathetic ensures that everything falls or clicks back into place. Everywhere that has been overstretched gets pulled back into line. Everything that has been contracted, begins to expand, and this expansion is experienced as pleasure. A really good night’s sleep is a perfect example. As unusual as it might be for most of us, waking up feeling refreshed from a thoroughly pleasant night’s sleep is solely the work of the Parasympathetic.

    The PNS is when everything good happens to you and all of it occurs when you are asleep or resting. Hence, the silence during a massage. The quieter and more relaxed you become the more likely the PNS has a much greater chance of slipping into gear. Ever feel a bit loopy or out of it after a session? Now you know why!

    On the other hand, if you feel a tad talkative and just need to unload a bit off your mind, it’s perfectly all right.

  3. Are You Suffering from LRS?

    November 12, 2011 by Kenny

    No, not restless leg syndrome, but Leaf Removal Syndrome!

    As I drive between work and home, everywhere there are people raking or blowing leaves off their yards. Besides reminding me of what awaits me, I see unavoidable bad body mechanics and repetitive movements that are destined to create tired, sore muscles. Outside of hiring someone, I have yet to find a rake or removal system that even begins to truly minimize what this effort will do to your body. Leaf blowers may speed the process up a bit, but the bags are awkward and the sustained strain on your arms is considerably more than a rake.  Like most things in life, moderation and keeping yourself hydrated are the keys to minimizing aches and pains. Watching your body mechanics can be the difference between you watching that fall football classic on the sofa or soaking in a hot bath.

    A client recently came in to be treated for LRS, was moaning about how old she is and how it took her all day to remove her leaves, something she could easily do when younger. I asked if it was because we were getting older or wiser.  Perhaps when we were younger we were not smart enough to walk away from it. She left feeling much younger.

    Remember, they didn’t all fall (technically they are pushed off) to the ground in one day, so don’t feel like you heard a gauntlet drop and have to tackle them all at one time. It’s a losing battles for several weeks, learn to pace yourself, because next you’re picking up the leaves from your neighbor’s tree!

    And remember, the massage table is always waiting for you.

  4. Welcome to my meanderings!

    November 9, 2011 by Kenny

    What I’ll be writing about are topics that I believe are important to massage clients and therapists – after all, they are inherently connected. Whether it’s current trends, techniques, or just random thoughts, it will be always about massage. maybe.

  5. Get Listed!

    March 22, 2011 by admin

    There are scores of FREE internet directories that every Massage Therapist should place a listing. It can take anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes depending on the details you want to provide, so I recommend picking one or two a day during your down time and start getting your name out there.

    Let’s examine a few reasons why you should be doing this:
    1) It’s FREE! How many times have we heard Massage Therapist bemoan that they can’t afford to advertise? There’s no excuse when it doesn’t cost anything but time.
    2) According to Jupiter Media, over 64% of people looking for services, use the internet over yellow pages and this number grows daily. People constantly misplace their yellow pages but always know where the computer or smartphone can be located.
    3) Fewer MTs than you may think are listing on these sites and depending on how the service works you may very well be the only one listed in your zip code or neighborhood. Get there first, and you’ll rank higher in the listing over time.
    4) They help build a strong web presence in the event you get off your glutes and create a website. There are several technical advantages that occur when you do so such as back links that will improve page rankings.
    5) It follows you where ever you go. You change jobs or locations – and you will – update the info and clients will track you down. Many employers are fearful that Massage Therapists may ‘harvest’ client information when they leave. If you are good, they’ll follow you regardless of attempts to retain them, and all you need to do is say “Look for me on the web!”.
    6) IT’S FREE!

    I can tell you from personal experience, both by listing and creating directories, you may be very alone for awhile. I created two online directories for Louisville and Kentucky several years ago and after numerous pushes, people simply quit signing up. I generated interest through facebook, myspace (RIP), supported them with google and yahoo advertising and yet for the most part they simply go unused by practitioners. But not by clients! I check the stats every week or so and can determine which keywords to promote and I believe on some level, who’s becoming popular by watching name requests. So while the majority of people of people contacted decided not to participate, those that did reap the rewards – clients. For free!

    The best way to begin is by grabbing free listings on all the popular online yellow page sites. Next I recommend sites such as MerchantCircle and Yelp, both sites have very powerful free options and in many cases have already listed your business, you only have to create an account and claim yours to get started. Don’t forget the directories that are offered through your professional memberships (AMTA and ABMP), you may well discover that those leads can cover the cost of dues every year. Another of my favorites is Massage Today, while there you should request a free subscription.

    Be sure to create a log of which directories you have joined along with usernames and passwords so when you relocate or switch jobs it’s easy to update your new information. It’s important to keep your listing current and take advantage of what they offer such as creating special offers.

    Below are the directories I administer in case may you want to create your own and see how little is involved or if you happen to live in Kentucky and want to submit your listing. For free!

  6. I’m a Twit :)

    December 16, 2010 by admin

    After much research, I’ve finally joined Twitter. @KennyLyonsLMT

    I’ve watched statistics grow, read blog after blog, and endured (to a large part) the rants and raves of marketers. There are articles that scream to me that there are over 10 million members and I’m missing out on potential clients, that the future is now and it’s Twitter. I understand that some people believe it’s their job to ‘rally the masses’ but I also know that one has to really do research on your own to determine if any service is going to enhance your business. There are over 10 million members, but a report released in April of 2010 found that many don’t really use the service, at least not in the way most people think.

    During the last year I have polled my clients and found that while many knew of Twitter, no one used it, they saw no use for it. Hence, I saw no need to Tweet. Still, I receive emails and notices every week with new statistics and promises of new businesses.

    It does work on a basic level for some people, but I have found it depends on the community you live in as much as anything else and who you connect with through Twitter. Louisville is not always ‘with it’ when it comes to new trends which could explain it’s lack of popularity. Don’t get me wrong, there is a very active Tweeting community in Louisville, but not the numbers that others report in their cities.

    So, how did I end up a Twit? I do what do what any savvy business person does, I talked to my hipster 29 year old son, Corey Lyons. Kicking and screaming, he’s in the IT and software testing biz and absorbs himself into all things geeky – then kicks it out in his ‘loud and screamy’ band in Chicago. He’s excellent to bounce ideas off of and also responsible for my logo looking so great.!/MILLIONSDISTORT“>@MILLIONSDISTORT

    His assessment was what I had also gleamed from deeply examining statistics and reports – a lot of users, some better than others, but not necessarily the best thing since sliced bread. One thing it does extremely well is post to the web. I had been looking for a real-time solution to posting appointments on my website and facebook page with as little effort as possible and twitter became the solution. Twitter creates the user specific HTML code needed to create a scrolling window on any website. Place it on your homepage, published it, and Tweet away!

    Within hours of my Tweets going live on the website, a new client immediately saw that my 11:30 was open that morning and booked it. Do I credit Twitter with getting a new client? Hell yeah, just not in the way most folk said that I would. That may happen over time, but I’m happy with what this solution offers.

    It’s important to know how your clients connect with you to determine the best use of any social media service. Sometimes it’s only about branding yourself, which counts for everything in getting your company in front of potential customers, and done correctly, it can lead to new clients. I’m not expecting a flood of followers in my city, but Twitter has been a great addition to a highly trafficked website.

  7. “I hurt, but I haven’t done anything.”

    July 6, 2010 by admin

    Many times clients come in with mysterious aches and pains having no immediate idea what has happened to them. After a thorough intake, we often discover they can be from sleep habits, repetitive motions at work, or residual damage from an accident or injury.

    Then there are the truly mysterious aches, the ones that could be broadcast on 48 Hours or 20/20 – or so one would think while discussing it with the client.

    Then the mystery begins to unravel! The comments are generally focused on the non-dominant side of the body, the side that doesn’t use the computer mouse or the arm that only holds things while the other passes dishes, hands medical tools, or holds an infant.

    We are trained to think that we must be involved in some physical movement in order for our bodies to ache and cause physical problems. When we use a saw it should be the arm going through the motions that hurts, or if we wait on tables it should be the arm that passes the food.

    In many of these ‘unsolved mysteries’ it is actually what we are not doing that becomes what we are doing. When muscles stay contracted for longer than they are designed, like holding a tray or supporting yourself on one leg, they have a tendency not to return to their original length. This can put a strain on your tendons or lead to muscle weakness due to reduced circulation.

    It takes time for this dysfunction to evolve, so while you may think that you just woke up in pain and restricted movement, it’s been developing for sometime. The good news is that therapeutic massage and an adjustment in your habits can reverse the condition(s) and return you to a healthier you!

  8. Massage can help reduce pain

    May 24, 2010 by admin

  9. How Often Should I Get a Massage?

    May 17, 2010 by admin

    That depends on why you are receiving massage. If it’s just for relaxation or health maintenance, once a month may be all you need, but you can get them more frequently if you like. Receiving massage on a regular basis will help to promote a healthy circulatory system, along with good posture. Massage also releases tension and pain in the muscles, allowing them to move more freely. People who receive massage frequently tend to be more flexible and comfortable in their bodies, since they are maintaining a higher level of general health. Receiving massage can also be good for specific conditions, such as stress, and it may even be recommended by a doctor. Some very common comments from clients who come in a very regular basis are that they are more aware of their own health and how their body responds to stress, as well generally dodging whatever cold or virus that is traveling through town.

    The frequency of some therapeutic work may be restricted by the type of work you are receiving. Deeper, more invasive work should not be repeated for 3 to 4 days. This allows the muscles sufficient time to respond to the work. Because deeper work can sometimes cause varying levels of discomfort, you likely won’t want to receive massage for several days.
    When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  These adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the I often use direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles. Muscles are being broken down so that they can return to a normal state by healing properly.
    In these instances, frequency will depend on your ability to tolerate work on a regular basis and how we monitor your progress. It’s not uncommon for me to see someone twice a week before you experience progress, however, most cases are seen once a week. Ideally what we want to achieve is to lengthen the time between sessions while ensuring the treatments are holding and the body does not try to return to an unhealthy state.

  10. Making the Best of Your Session: Part 1

    February 2, 2010 by admin

    First you have to find a qualified Massage Therapist. Sounds simple enough, just look through the yellow pages and point, right? Not quite, because most are not going listed. So, like all things in life, you must do your homework. This is no different than choosing a plumber or having the brakes fixed on your car. Okay, more important because someone is working on your body and it cannot be patched with duct tape. In most cases.

    The selection process often starts by polling your friends and family that have received massage. Be prepared to ask them what they liked most and least about the work they received as well as the therapist. Try to learn how much they know about the MT’s background and qualifications. Keep in mind that because a particular therapist appealed to them, there is no guarantee that you will enjoy their work to the same extent. Selecting a Massage Therapist is a very personal process and while a recommendation may prove to be a good partnership, be open to trying more than one.

    It’s more important than most people initially realize just how much they need to trust the person who is working on them. Ultimately you want a Massage Therapist with whom you can build a long term relationship, someone who will have your needs and best interest in mind. A good massage therapist will be trained to spend time with you doing a thorough assessment and then develop a treatment plan based on their observations and your input. They should always put your needs before their agenda and be respectful of you and your requests. If you go into a session with little than “Hi, get undressed and I’ll be right back”, you are very likely in the wrong place. (In future I’ll start a thread so we can all share our horror stories!)

    Back to the yellow pages for a moment. The best form of marketing in any business is word of mouth; marketing yourself through referrals. Many massage therapists live and unfortunately fail to succeed by this principle. There are many reasons for this but I feel the most common are they either take it too literally, become complacent with their practice after a certain level of success, or simply can’t afford to do anything. Many massage therapists simply do not advertise at all so in order to find them, a client would have to depend solely on word of mouth. This is no reflection on their abilities, just examples of business practices. It’s a catch-22 for the client and the massage therapist; it’s often tricky to find us, and we certainly don’t do everything we can to make it easy. As a client you deserve to be well educated and informed not only about the benefits of massage, but the background of the person you are contracting with to help you with your problems. More often than not, you won’t learn much about the massage therapist you’ve selected until you actually meet them.

    It’s a changing landscape and as a profession we need to adapt to meet the needs of our potential and current clients. During the years I was Program Director at the Louisville School of Massage, I taught Business and Marketing, stressing the need to embrace the evolving advertising platforms through the internet. Daily, society becomes more dependent on the internet, as a service based business, we need to be there waiting for people to find us. While print advertising will continue to be cost prohibitive for most therapists, the medium we can afford and cannot ignore is immediately within our reach.

    Websites and social media outlets are becoming the consumers  choice for information and there has been a marked increase over the last year among massage therapists. I see it as just one more way we can help make your life easier!

    More details in part 2!