By: Jaclyn Howse, RMT
I have been a full time RMT for 23 years. I have owned a clinic, worked in multidisciplinary clinics, taught, worked with the OSCEs and currently I have been working at Ste. Anne’s Spa for 6 years.
Back in the early years of my career I would have had a much different perspective on spa work than I do now. At one time I would have thought a spa massage was fluff, not a real massage, and that spa therapists were taking the easy route. But having worked in this industry for 6 years, I have a new out look.
Everyone should have a regular massage therapist for maintenance, and for those aches and pains that arise from daily life. Your therapist gets to know you, what your body needs and how to deal with your repetitive strains. These treatments are essential to a healthy life style. So why should someone get a massage at a spa and how will it benefit them?
When a person is spending the day at the spa it is typically a day off for them, and they tend to go to a spa with friends or family. They are happy and they are relaxed. This already puts their body in a calm state. They aren’t rushing from work or rushing to pick up kids. The spa RMT doesn’t have a personal relationship with the client, so the client can fully relax and they don’t feel like they have to talk to the RMT. At the spa they usually have spa music, low lights, warm tables and essential oils. All of this leads to an environment where the client can really let go mentally and physically. This massage can be beneficial because it’s an experience that is all about the client, time to dose off, time to fully let go, time for the body to slip into the parasympathetic.
When I had my own practice, I formed wonderful therapist/client relationships over the years, I thought I’d really miss that when I went to the spa because most of the spa clients I will never see again. I did miss my old clients but I grew to love meeting new happy relaxed people every day. They were excited to be at the spa, so grateful for their treatment and a real pleasure to interact with. Working at the spa I no longer had to build my clientele, I was paid for a cancelled appointment, I became an employee so vacation pay and benefits were a real novelty. Taking the business part out of being an RMT was a huge stress relief and now I could focus more on the art of Massage Therapy. Treating so many different bodies allows me to learn what most people like and what was common in terms of tension and pain. I have had so many people say at the spa “that was the best massage of my life”. Now I don’t doubt I give a good massage but I really believe spa clients are in the best state of mind, this allows them to fully relax and enjoy every aspect of the massage. As spa therapists we still get deep tissue requests and are happy to comply, but we often see people that get regular massage and just want to relax at the spa. Can relaxation be a goal for Massage Therapy? Absolutely! In a relaxation massage the client will still get increased blood flow, lymphatic flow, increase of the parasympathetic system, all of these leading to improved health through healing and rest. When the massage is relaxing and not painful the muscles let go and tension is relieved. Clients can drift off and even fall asleep with a relaxation massage, giving them a full hour of me time, time to de-stress and let go of anxieties.
Seeing all of these benefits of being a spa RMT has made me love this profession even more. Working at Ste. Anne’s has allowed me to de-stress in my work. Our days are busy but I treat people that are the best versions of themselves, I make them happy, I increase their relaxation and send them on their way. As a new therapist I would have never thought I’d love spa work as much as I do. Being a Spa Therapist has really given me a new passion for the Massage Therapy and I feel like I am back to the basics of what massage was intended for; to heal, to relax, to rejuvenate the body. I am satisfied in my work, going forward being a Spa RMT is the life for me.