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Fall 2022 Issue

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EDITOR
Amanda Cooke
acooke.rmt@gmail.com


ART DIRECTOR
Erin Stanley
erin@erinstanleydesigns.com


DIGITAL MEDIA
Mark Chee-Aloy
mark.rkin.rmt@gmail.com


ACCOUNT MANAGER
Monica Pasinato-Forchielli, RMT
monica.fmt.one@gmail.com


SALES MANAGER
Scott Dartnall
scottdartnall@gmail.com


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Amanda Cooke, Rachel Fairweather, Michelle Roos, Stuart Wakefield

As we develop future issues, we want
your input. We want to hear about the
great things you’re doing and about the
things you’d like to learn about through
this magazine. Tell us what you have
been doing or simply email us your
ideas for future articles and features.
We’d love to hear from you!

DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION OF MASSAGE THERAPY MEDIA MAGAZINE FALL 2022 ISSUE

 

Contributors

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Rachel is author of the best selling book for passionate massage therapists – Massage Fusion: The Jing Method for the treatment of chronic pain. She is also the dynamic co-founder and Director of Jing Advanced Massage Training (jingmassage.com), a company
providing degree level, hands-on and online training. Rachel has over 25 years experience in the industry working as an advanced therapist and trainer. Rachel holds a degree in Psychology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, an AOS in Massage Therapy and is a New York licensed massage therapist.

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Amanda Cooke

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Amanda has a degree in Kinesiology is a Registered Massage Therapist. She has practiced in multidisciplinary settings, corporate settings, and has been a clinic and outreach supervisor for Massage Therapy Students. Amanda and her partner Mark own ConEd Institute in Toronto which is a continuing education company for Manual Therapists. They are also the hosts of the 2 Massage Therapists and a Microphone Podcast. Amanda is one of the founders of Massage Therapy Media which is combining education and entertainment for bodyworkers.

conedinstitute.com

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Rachel Fairweather

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Rachel is author of the best selling book for passionate massage therapists – Massage Fusion: The Jing Method for the treatment of chronic pain. She is also the dynamic co-founder and Director of Jing Advanced Massage Training (jingmassage.com), a company
providing degree level, hands-on and online training. Rachel has over 25 years experience in the industry working as an advanced therapist and trainer. Rachel holds a degree in Psychology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, an AOS in Massage Therapy and is a New York licensed massage therapist.

jingmassage.com

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Michelle Roos

Michelle is a board certified & licensed massage therapist, author, educator, and 5-star rated mobile massage business owner. Michelle co-owns Cupping Canada and Cupping USA, with her husband. She created Mobile Massage Mastery, an online, NCBTMB approved course to help massage therapists create their mobile massage practice. Michelle has been featured in and written numerous articles for MASSAGE Magazine, ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork Magazine and Podcast, 2 Massage Therapists and a Microphone Podcast, on the Expert Panel at the Canadian Massage Conference.

mobilemassagemastery.com

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Stuart Wakefield

With over 10 years of experience as a Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist, Stuart uses evidence based barefoot training techniques to improve movement longevity through sensory stimulation, fascial health and foot stability. Stuart graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelors of Applied Science in Kinesiology and is the Director of Education in Canada for EBFA Global. He offers in-depth continuing education seminars that include, The Barefoot Training Specialist Certification, The Neurosensory Specialist Certification and The Pelvic Balance Certification.

 

Editor’s Note

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Amanda Cooke, RMT
Editor

Conferences,
Conferences,
and More
Conferences

Massage Therapy Media strives to provide
as much content as we can in a digital
format for manual therapists to consume
at leisure, and on demand, to provide
accessible education, research, and
interesting topics daily. We know the value
of face-to-face education and networking
in a profession that can often be isolating.
Afterall, we are people people! We touch
bodies for a living and we are not typically
people that enjoy sitting at a desk which
is why many of us got into a healthcare
profession where we can be in person
with patients. That is the reason that
Massage Therapy Media has in person
conferences as a part of our repertoire.
MTM produces the One Concept Canadian
Massage Conference and is offering
services to associations to help improve
the conference going experience. We want
to keep the in-person momentum going
and have decided to start travelling across
Canada with the CMC!


In Spring of 2022, ConEd Institute was
invited to a conference in Saskatoon
organized by the Canadian Massage
and Manual Osteopathic Therapists
Association (CMMOTA) to teach. The
owners of ConEd Institute are 2 of the

partners with Massage Therapy Media
and we loved the opportunity to meet
therapists from Manitoba, Alberta, and
Saskatchewan at that event. The team at
CMMOTA were so welcoming and did a
wonderful job bringing education to our
prairie provinces. After that conference,
we saw an opportunity to work with
associations as Massage Therapy Media
and bring a little extra excitement to the
shows to attract more wonderful therapists
to come out to these events. There is no
comparison to the energy and excitement
that comes from being at a weekend of
education with your peers and networking
with incredible therapists and people.
The feeling after a conference is one
that motivates you to get back into your
practice and start making improvements
and encourages therapists not to become
complacent in their dealings with their
patients. Aside from that, we all have
continuing education requirements to
fulfill, why not take advantage of an event
dedicated to this?


After the awesome experience with
CMMOTA, ConEd was asked to teach at
their fall conference in Edmonton. We
wanted to attend another conference,
but this time we had a better idea! We
pitched the idea of MTM attending the
show as a team and doing some filming
on the trade show floor. We had a booth
alongside some fantastic equipment and
product vendors, educators, and other
professionals. We spent the day meeting
therapists, interviewing vendors, and
creating excitement at the tradeshow
with our red-carpet experience. We
will be attending the Massage Therapy
Association of Manitoba (MTAM) spring
conference April 28-30, 2023 in Winnipeg
where we will be rolling out our red
carpet as we did at the Canadian Massage
Conference in September of 2022 and
interviewing attendees, presenters,
vendors, and the wonderful people from
MTAM. We will capture great video content
to share on MTM so those of you who have
not attended a massage conference get a

sneak peek of the fun that takes place at
the shows. During the Canadian Massage
Conference, we live streamed a new
series called MTM talks which showcased
multiple practitioners who had interesting,
inspiring, and informative material to
share. It was a huge success and we are just getting started!


I did mention that we are going to be
travelling with the Canadian Massage
Conference… Yes, Massage Therapy Media
will be hosting a 2-day spring conference in
Halifax, Nova Scotia! On June 3 and 4, 2023,
therapists will have an opportunity to take
full day or half day courses in beautiful
Halifax. We will be having a welcome
networking event on June 2 where you will
have the chance to meet and greet other
conference attendees, the educators, our
sponsors and vendors, and the Massage
Therapy Media crew. We will have our red
carpet out and will film much of the event.
This is the kind of event that MTM wants to
move across Canada to bring the Massage
Community together. We will have full
details about conference location, ticket
sales, and courses available soon on
massagetherapymedia.com/conferences.
For now, save the date for what is going to
be a really fun weekend of education and
networking!


Massage Therapy Media is an inclusive
platform. We are always open to featuring
content from up-and-coming content
creators, educators, or any therapists that
are doing fabulous things in our profession
who want a platform. Our goal is first and
foremost to be a resource for therapists,
and an avenue for creators and educators
to get noticed. If you want to learn more
about how to get your content featured
on MTM, please contact us and we can
help you get started! Until then, we truly
hope to see you all at one of our upcoming
appearances at an association conference,
or at the Spring or Fall Canadian Massage
Conference, produced by MTM. As always,
the fall conference will remain in the GTA
and be held September 21-24, 2023.

 
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Many clinically oriented massage therapists believe that emotional pain is literally “none of their business”. Isn’t our job to work with physical pain, not to be delving around in the messy arena of peoples’ feelings?

 

Yet massage has a long tradition of working not just with the body but the mind and emotions. The two are inseparable and chronic physical problems often go hand in  hand with emotional pain and stress. So every time you touch your client you are making an intervention not only with muscles, fascia and joints, but the delicate mind-body balance of the spirit and psyche.

 

Feeling comfortable with the emotional side of bodywork is important as there is also a strong probability that a significant proportion of your clients have experienced severe trauma during their lifetime – and many of them won’t tell you about it. There are a disturbing number of adults who have experienced the horrors of sexual, physical abuse or domestic violence. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Nearly a quarter of young adults have experienced sexual abuse during childhood.


  • during childhood at the hands of an adultOne in nine young adults has experienced severe physical violence

  • 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes, and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year.

 

And this is only the tip of the iceberg of distressing incidents that can affect physical and emotional health. Add to the litany the ongoing trauma of living with an alcoholic partner, the parent with mental health problems, the chronic illness of relatives, the grief of bereavement, and the nightmare of life threatening accidents. The hard fact is that the anguish of severe trauma is omnipresent. Understanding how this might affect our clients is vitally important to massage therapists everywhere.
 

Many of the conditions that we treat in clinic are clearly inextricably linked with the effects of stress and trauma in the body. There is extensive literature documenting how chronic pain is linked to a range of traumatic experiences including child and adult abuse, abuse-related injury, violence from a partner and post traumatic stress disorder.

 

Whether you realise it or not, emotional pain is your  business. Literally.

Fight, flight and freeze
 

Both ancient and modern wisdom unite in the assertion that trauma can affect both physical and mental health. The ancient healing practices have recognised the mind and body as indivisible for centuries – trauma affects the balance of our energetic life field that in turn affects our physical and mental wellbeing.

Long before Western psychology and the fields of psycho neuro-immunology caught on, most ancient systems of healing were clear about the role of stress and imbalance as a fundamental factor in pain and disease. Traditional Chinese medicine views imbalance as a primary causal factor in disease, identifying a particular emotion with each organ – joy for the heart, anger for the liver, worry for the spleen, sadness for the lung, and fear for the kidney. Excess or insufficiency in emotions can cause imbalance and therefore ill health and pain.

Likewise, the shamanic approach sees all sickness to be self generated as an effect of stress. The source of stress is seen as resistance – our desire for things to be different than they are.
 

More recently, bodyworkers interested in the somatic understanding of trauma are indebted to the work of Peter Levine and his theory of how extreme distress may become encoded in the body (Levine 1997). Just like animals, our reptilian brain (brain stem) still responds to perceived life threatening situations by adrenalising the body into flight or flight mode. However, as humans, often our rational brain prevents us from taking action as we are unable to decide between these two choices. This can lead to a third response – the freeze response – also seen in animals when fight or flight are not possible.

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The freeze response is seen in both animals and humans when fight or flight is not possible.

The animal literally ‘plays dead’ decreasing metabolic activity and collapsing into immobility. Like having the foot on the accelerator and the brake pedal at the same time. the animal appears lifeless yet there is an inner racing of the nervous system. Do any of the fight, flight or freeze reactions seem familiar? Years ago I was mugged in central London and remember literally feeling rooted to the ground with fear, like everything inside had frozen. Not quite as brave as a friend of mine who in a similar situation chased her attackers down an alleyway and beat them with her handbag! In many cases of trauma, the freeze reaction may be the only viable option. Children who are sexually or physically abused by carers have no choice but to remain in the situation, shutting down their emotions and natural reactions. Fleeing or fighting are impossible.


Creatures who have adopted the freeze response will literally shake off the energy following the freezing period and then go happily about their business with apparently no ill effects. However for a number of reasons humans have lost the instinctual ability to discharge this residual energy leading to a wide variety of symptoms following trauma; i.e: anxiety, depression, and in extreme cases, post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. The ensuing psychological responses to trauma can also cause neuropathic, endocrine and immune system changes that lead to an increased risk of chronic pain problems. Studies have shown that individuals with PTSD have excess inflammatory  immune activity similar to that associated with chronic pain. (Gill et al., 2009)


Moreover, following trauma, as the system is now stuck in hyperarousal, any situation which in any way looks or feels like the original trauma will lead to a re- experiencing of symptoms. This is vital to understand as there is a high possibility that bodywork can recreate the effects of the traumatic situation unless we understand the fundamentals of how to create a safe space for our clients. As you are unlikely to always know which of your clients have experienced sexual or physical abuse, it is vital that this is part of good practice for ALL clients.

Creating a safe space for all clients – “First do no harm”

 

Given the strong link between trauma and chronic pain. what do we need to know to help us treat effectively? It is not uncommon for powerful bodywork to evoke emotional release or memories of previous trauma. This process can either be helpful or harmful depending on your knowledge and confidence in dealing with the situation. 


The first rule of good bodywork is to create a psychologically safe space for your clients. This is well known in talk therapies but is often overlooked in bodywork. A safe space involves factors such as:

  • Good communication. Adopt an open listening style when taking a case history; be non judgmental, maintain good eye contact and ask questions that enable your client to give answers in their own words. In your assessment, be comfortable with asking about stress and emotional factors in addition to physical issues– this can help to give you an all round picture of the person you are dealing with. 

  • Letting the client know they are in control: Clients who have been physically or sexually abused have had their boundaries completely violated. Their bodies will be hypersensitive to any perceived re-creation of this. They need to know that you are trustworthy and that you will do what you say.  Explain exactly what is going to happen in the session; how they should position themselves and how they will be draped. Ensure a safe space emotionally and physically by letting the client know that everything that happens during treatment is confidential. Let them know they are in control and if anything doesn’t feel right in any way you will back off and change what you are doing. Remind them that pain does not lead to gain during therapeutic massage and to let you know if you are doing anything that is making them grit their teeth or clench their fists. 

  • Explain what will happen at the end of the session so your client is not left feeling anxious about what they should do. For example say something like “At the end of the session, I will leave the room and let you get dressed in your own time. When you are ready, just wait in the chair and I’ll come back after a few minutes. It is really great for me to get feedback on how you found the session as that will help us in future sessions to design a treatment plan that is most appropriate for you”

  • Professional draping: Draping is there for a reason. It lets the client know where they will be touched and which areas are private. NEVER work under a drape unless you have a really good reason and have explained to your client why you are doing this and gained their permission. Keep your draping clear and tight and remain mindful of any potential exposure during the session.

  • NO means NO – Always respect your client if they ask you to stop or not to work an area! This may seem obvious but I have seen excellent and well- meaning bodyworkers overrule something a client has said because “your body needs it”. This is the quickest route to re-traumatising a client or allegations of misconduct. If you feel an area needs work but your client has asked you not to, you will need to gain trust over several sessions, months or years and work towards this with full permission.

  • As part of the feedback, ask them if anything didn’t feel OK (emotionally or physically) and respect that in the next session

  • Maintain good boundaries: You are a massage therapist. Do not slip into role of counsellor, friend or spiritual guru for any client. Be clear about who you are and what you provide. Be precise about your timing and do not give extra time for sessions unless this has been asked for and paid appropriately.

All of this helps your clients to feel safe and that you are trustworthy – you will do what you say and say what you do.

 

Dealing with emotional release or re-traumatisation during a session

 

It is extremely important to be able to recognise the signs of re-traumatisation during a session as this can be damaging and distressing to the client. There is a distinct difference between someone having a healthy and manageable emotional release on the table and the client who is becoming re-traumatised. Red flags to watch out for which means that you need to intervene are:

  • Rapid body movements that are becoming uncontrollable

  • Feeling uneasy in your own body

  • A feeling that the client ‘isn’t there’

  • Client refusing to engage with you verbally – not answering questions or staring blankly

  • Uncontrollable crying, shaking, laughing

  • Sudden change in breathing pattern

  • Client putting hands over eyes or refusing to look at you

In these cases it is vital that you re-orient your client back to reality and the ‘here and now’ as it is very easy to disappear into a literal black hole of trauma where they are unable to think, feel or react to you clearly.

 

Use the following steps as a guide to deal with the situation:

  • Ground yourself- take a deep breath, feel your feet against the ground and breathe out any anxiety or helplessness you are feeling

  • Orient your client to the here and now by directing her to current sensory experiences.  A good start is to ask her to wiggle her toes and wiggle her nose. Then get her to open her eyes and look at something neutral - ask her to describe the colour or count how many ceiling tiles there are or something similar. 

  • If your client is not doing as you ask you will need to keep asking and be very firm until you get an appropriate response. This point cannot be over-emphasised - if your client is covering their eyes, refusing to answer or staring blankly they could be in a dissociated state. Keep gently but firmly repeating what you need the client to do in a neutral and safe tone of voice ie: “Everything’s fine. You are here with me in the clinic and you are safe. I just need you to wiggle your toes for me so I know you are with me.”

  • Do not get involved in conversation about recounting the traumatic event. Your job is to bring the client back to the here and now.

  • If your client is crying or upset do not ask them “what’s wrong?” Just maintain a grounded, comforting presence and say something like “its fine to feel what you are feeling –just be aware of the feeling of your body against the couch at the same time”. In this way the trauma does not become overwhelming.

  • When your client is clearly back in the here and now you can discuss whether it is appropriate to continue the session or not. If you decide to continue the session, make sure your client stays in a position where they are able to feel in control of any cathartic energy release ie: telling them to feel what they feel but noticing the feeling of their body at the same time.

  • At the end of the session discuss ways forward together – unless you have been appropriately trained in bodywork and trauma you may need to suggest additional support such as talk therapy or another appropriately trained bodyworker 

BY RACHEL FAIRWEATHER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ANITA BARRETT

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A more scientific explanation for transfer of physical and emotional sensations could be the role of mirror neurons. These fire both when you perform an action (ie: monkey picking up ball in A) and when you see another person doing the same action (monkey seeing someone else pick up the ball in B)

Energetic boundaries: Protecting yourself as a therapist

 

Without a doubt, a true connection with your client is a key component to the therapeutic relationship. In bodywork, our empathy for the client is expressed largely through our sense of touch when we are working on the body. Just as with talk therapy, our touch, focus and positive therapeutic intent can enable our clients to feel heard and accepted. 

Working with presence, sensitivity and listening touch while being really tuned into your client can be profoundly healing but can bring it’s own challenges for the therapist. Clinical experience and our teaching careers have shown time and time again that it is common for massage therapists to be influenced by their client’s conscious or unconscious emotional state while they are working on the body. Therapists will often describe “picking up” client issues and this can manifest in dizziness, light-headedness, changes in breathing patterns, distress or sensing the physical or emotional pain that the client is experiencing. This phenomenon is also well documented in psychotherapy and dance therapy where it is known as body centred countertransference - “the spontaneous arousal of physical feelings in the therapist” (Field 1989). A large percentage of therapists working with people in trauma have reported physical sensations ranging from yawning, sleepiness, nausea, headaches, becoming tearful, raising of a therapist’s voice, unexpectedly shifting of the body, genital pain, muscle tension, losing voice, aches in joints, stomach disturbance, and numbness  (Booth, Trimble & Egan 2010). Why this happens is unclear. Energy based explanations centre on the role of auras or electromagnetic fields around the body that can be sensed by the practitioner (Brennan 1987).(FIG 2)  Another scientific rationale could be the potential involvement of mirror neurons - a neurone that fires both when you perform an action and when you see another person doing the same action. (FIG 3) These neurones are believed to be the basis of empathy - if you see someone crying you feel that distress within yourself. (Blakeslee 2006)

Whatever the mechanism of action, it is important to know how to deal with these feelings when they arise. Some therapists find the sensations overwhelming and treating clients can end up being an emotionally and physically exhausting experience. However it is important to recognise that these sensations are a way of your client unconsciously communicating with you about their internal state which often cannot be expressed verbally. The following guidelines will help you manage these feelings when you are treating:

  • Grounding:  Firstly it is important to be able to distinguish your own energetic field from that of your client and the key to this (as ever) lies in grounding. At the start of a session make sure you are grounded, calm and still. We always recommend starting each session with some still work so both you and your client can enter a state of mindfulness. If your body feels like a calm still pond then you know that if you start to feel any unusual feelings then these are probably your clients and not your own. However if you start the session feeling anxious, irritated, or in a rush then it will be impossible to ascertain what feelings are your own and which ones you are picking up from the client. 

  • If you find yourself experiencing unusual physical sensations (such as anxiety, dizziness, nausea), just visualise breathing the sensations out of your body back down through your legs to the floor and through your grounding roots to the earth. (FIG 4A and 4B)

  • If you find the sensations overwhelming every time you treat then there are certain visualisations or rituals that can help you feel energetically ‘protected’. For example, you can imagine that you are putting on an invisible purple cloak before treatment. Some therapists find that cleansing rituals such as rinsing the hands in cold water or smudging the room with herbs after treatment are helpful.

  • Be aware of the energetic interface - the invisible but perceptible boundary where you end and your client begins. You need to be energetically at the point where you are aware of your client but still mindful of your own body. This is a bit like trying to help someone out of a hole in the ground. If you are too close they will pull you in. If you are too far away you won’t be able to help them climb out. Bodywork is the same - always be aware of your own solid base of support; close enough to connect but not so close you become overwhelmed.

  • If there are unresolved issues within yourself it will be much more likely that you will feel overwhelmed by similar issues in your clients. Always work on yourself through receiving appropriate therapeutic intervention- this could be through supportive bodywork or talk therapy.
     

This article is an excerpt from “ ‘Massage Fusion: The Jing Method for the treatment of chronic pain” published by Handspring publishing.

 
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Have you just started your mobile massage career and finding that you have a lot of extra time on your hands and in need of income to cover your expenses? Are you nervous because you don’t have any experience and you aren’t sure what to expect? Have you been a therapist for a year or so and still find yourself needing some additional income?

Starting out can be scary and uncertain.  Every business has started from scratch and has its slow times. It is wise to have a plan that can help to build and better your business with supplemental income until you are confident and have the funds you need to cover your lifestyle. If you aren’t making income, how are you going to spend money on advertising or cover your business expenses? How will you pay rent, your mobile phone and internet to build your business? You may be working a different job in a different field to pay for your bills. That job may be a 9-5 shift with no flexibility allowing you to take some days off to build your massage business so you are forced to see clients after 5pm making your work day even longer and eventually tiring out. When you work as an independent contractor for others, you have the freedom to set your own schedule.  You drive to the client, do the treatment and go to the next appointment or go home.  You have to wash sheets and wait for payment.  That’s it! By making this shift, you have some extra free time that you can invest into your own professional development. 
 

“While your goal might be to work entirely for  yourself there is nothing wrong with working for other companies while building your business. ”
- Michelle Roos

When I started my massage career, I always wanted to work for myself and make my own schedule so I had time to do the things I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them.  I started my career as a mobile therapist over two decades ago.  I was an independent contractor and worked for a few different mobile massage companies while I started building my own business.  This helped me gain confidence in myself and gave me the experience of working with many types of clients in a variety of settings.  One day I would be working on a yacht, the next day I'd be working a CrossFit competition, later that week massaging a family of 5, and that weekend you would find me backstage at a concert providing massage to bands and crew. I knew a colleague that was a chiropractor and started seeing patients there a couple of days a week to have guaranteed income.  One of the patients I massaged, owned a yoga studio.  I became a member and at the first class she introduced me as her massage therapist and after class many of the members asked for my business card and became clients, some that I still see today, 20 years later. 

The supplemental income I was earning from these other companies was being used to pay for my living expenses, car payment and insurance, having my business website built, a gym and yoga studio membership (which is where 75% of my clients came from), and expenses for a booth at farmer’s markets, health fairs and sporting events.

If you work for other companies while building your own business you will have less worries about how you will pay your bills and more money for marketing and extra curricular activities.

There are national and local companies that can help you with supplemental income.  Zeel and Soothe are two of the top paying mobile massage companies and well represented.  In Florida, BodyWell is a local company that provides mobile massage that I have first hand experience working for early in my career. In Canada, Last-minute massage.ca is well known for helping patients get a treatment as soon as possible.

If you want to be a mobile therapist and don’t feel like answering the phone, scheduling, screening clients and dealing with payments, working for one of these companies is a great option because they handle all of that for you!  All you have to do is show up with your gear and do an amazing treatment. Zeel has a 3 step screening process in order for a client to schedule an appointment and the massage therapists are required to have a background check. These are important tactics to add a layer of security.

When working for these companies, you are an independent contractor, set your own schedule and can work for yourself or others. There is not a non-compete and you can choose to be as busy or slow as you want! This is perfect for those who need

additional income and will feel more confident with experience.

 

As an independent contractor, you should be keeping track of your mileage, vehicle expenses, supplies and food on the road, as those are a business write off. Create a spreadsheet and provide it to your accountant when it is tax time!

 

Some of these companies use an app that allows you to change your availability at anytime. Did you have a last-minute cancellation and a few hours to kill before your next client?  Log on to the app, as a request might come in with in a few minutes. Think of Zeel or Soothe like Uber. You use Uber when you want a ride to a location as soon as possible, so why not use Zeel or Soothe when you want to make some additional money as soon as possible. A word of advice, is to keep a bag of work clothes in your car and when you leave your house to start your day, throw a couple of extra sheet sets in your car for those last-minute appointments.

 

Working for others also allows you to meet and network with others in your industry.  You may receive a request to do a couples massage and meet another amazing therapist that you can trade services with.  This therapist my also work on their own and occasionally need a therapist to help them with a couples massage.  The therapists may specialize in a different modality than you which could have you referring clients to each other.  The more therapists you network with the more opportunities you will have.

 

While your goal might be to work entirely for yourself there is nothing wrong with working for other companies while building your business.  Just make sure you do not steal clients.  The work you receive from these businesses, is their business. These companies invest a lot of money and time into marketing their business, gaining loyal clients and building their brand and reputation.   It is important for you to be marketing yourself in other outlets to gain your own loyal clients.  Learn what these companies are doing. Develop and practice your customers service skills, your massage techniques and decide how you will run your business. This is a learning process.  Think of it as a way to explore where you want to take your career. When you find yourself busy with your own clients you can decrease the amount of time you work for others.   

 

Take an online business course that covers business tips, screening and safety, marketing and necessary equipment and supplies needed to help your business survive and thrive, like my Mobile Massage Mastery course.  Talk to seasoned therapists to find out what has worked for them and if they have any advice to offer but always remember, what works for someone else may not work for you. Your business can be successful but it will not happen  overnight. It is important to stay focused on your goal and not get discouraged. 

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It’s safe to say, the word impact gets a bad rap. How many times have you heard “running is bad for my knees” or “I have arthritis so I can only perform low impact activities”?


Of course, there’s a time and a place for lower impact activities, such as following a surgical procedure. But have you ever thought of impact as a gift?

The first step in this process of efficient movement is our ability to feel and sense the ground.

This is the gift of FREE energy. Our body has the incredible ability to take in approximately 1.5x our body weight in impact forces with every step that we take. We can then double that free energy and release approximately 2.5x our body weight as we push off the ground. We call this the catapult effect. This is ultimately what allows humans to conserve energy and travel long distances by foot.

What’s the catch you ask?


Well, you have to FEEL the impact. You have to FEEL the ground.


The skin on the bottom of our feet contain mechanoceptors. These fast adapting type 1 and 2 receptors can sense low and high frequency vibrations. 70% of these receptors on the bottom of the foot are sensitive to vibration, which is how our body senses impact. This alone tells us that vibration/impact is an essential stimulus for human movement!


The aforementioned catapult effect is a process driven by your fascia. This incredible tissue has many different properties, one of which is elasticity. This creates a bow and arrow like effect. As soon as our foot hits the ground, the bow starts to stretch and as your leg goes through the stance phase of gait, the bow gets stretched further and further until push-off, where it’s released to sling shot our leg forward. When we lose this elasticity (too much sitting/lack of movement/injuries), our muscles have to kick in to assist in propelling us through the gait cycle. This is a very energy expensive and an inefficient way to move.

The first step in this process of efficient movement is our ability to feel and sense the ground. Research out of the University of Calgary (Nigg et al, 2017) shows that in order for us to store energy in fascia, muscles in the foot and lower leg need to contract isometrically, matching the frequency of vibration from the ground we’re walking on. In order to match the frequency, we need to accurately sense the frequency. This is a process that we call pre-activation. After a few steps on the surface that we’re walking on, our brain senses the

frequency of the ground and the amount of compartment pressure needed to drive these forces into our fascia for elastic and efficient movement. Enter the modern shoe. Almost every single type of shoe you can purchase today has layers of cushion, negatively affecting our ability to accurately sense the ground. Some of the same research out of the University of Calgary shows that cushion in shoes INCREASES impact forces. This confirms the importance of accurately sensing the ground, which is the first step in this process of movement efficiency and injury prevention.


So could impact have a negative effect? Of course. Is there a time and place for shoes? Absolutely.
 

But when you’re considering or educating patients on the effects of impact, ask yourself:
 

“Can I feel the impact via my foot?”
“Am I controlling the impact?”

 

Just like we can strengthen our muscles and bones, we can also upregulate this aspect of our nervous system. One major step you can take to improve this system is by spending more time barefoot! By just simply walking barefoot around your house or out on the grass in your backyard, you’re keeping these fast adapting mechanoceptors stimulated and this pre-activation pathway active.


Along with being barefoot, there are exercises like short foot. Several studies have shown short foot to have a sensory-motor benefit post ankle sprain or through improvement in dynamic balance. (Lee et al, 2019, Kim et al, 2016)


Lastly, we can also upregulate these sensory pathways via tools like Naboso textured insoles. This texture matches the same science as braille and is sensed through our slow adapting type 1 mechanoreceptors that are critical for movement accuracy.

If you’d like to learn more about this often overlooked feature of our foot, how to upregulate the sensory pathway, plus MUCH more, check out 2 of our upcoming seminars:

The Neurosensory Specialist - Toronto - November 5 - 9am-5pm

The Barefoot Training Specialist Level 1 - Ottawa - November 19-20 - 9am-5pm
 

Registration and seminar details:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/stuart-wakefield-9856235047

Instagram: @barefoot_canada