A Day in the Life of a Massage Therapist
Stacey Rich has been a massage therapist for over five years and loves her work. "I value the freedom and independence," she says "but even more I just love dealing with clients." Stacey works for herself and says that there is no typical day because dealing with people means that it is always unpredictable.
Stacey works from a complementary health clinic three days a week. She rents a room there and in return has the benefit of the receptionist who takes her appointments for her. Stacey arrives at nine and checks on her appointments for the day. She offers one hour sessions in Swedish massage and aromatherapy and also offers half-hour back massages as a taster for those who may not have tried massage before. She tries to have at least ten minutes between appointments. "It is important that I get a chance to recharge my batteries. I give a lot of myself in a session."
Today Stacey has five appointments: four one-hour sessions and a half-hour session. She goes to prepare her room for the first client. This entails lighting an incense stick and playing some gentle mood music. The couch is already set up and just needs towels to be prepared. When the client arrives Stacey welcomes them. As this is a new appointment she begins by asking them questions about their health, diet, exercise, and then about what has been going on for them emotionally in recent times. It is important for Stacey to build up a picture of her client's medical history and emotional state as this will influence her approach to the massage and indicates what she should be looking out for.
Once the notes are taken, Stacey leaves the room to allow her client to disrobe and get under the towels on the couch. Stacey then returns and begins forty five minutes of Swedish massage. The client complains of lower back pain and so Stacey focuses much of her attention in that area, working to remove rigid knots of tension. When she is done the client is in a trancelike state and Stacey leaves them in silence for a few minutes to come to in their own time.
After the grateful client has left, Stacey shakes out and does some stretches. "It is important that I stay loose and it's easy to tighten up when giving massage," she explains. The next client soon arrives for an aromatherapy massage. Stacey first trained in Swedish massage and then took a further course to become an aromatherapist. It means that she is familiar with a vast array of essential oils and their healing properties. Today she has a regular client and mixes her oils of lavender, grapefruit, and clary sage as she is trying to help her with a nervous exhaustion. Having mixed the oils in a base oil of almond oil, Stacey is then ready to apply them through massage to her grateful client who ends up falling asleep during an hour of Stacey's ministrations.
After the client has gone Stacey explains how rewarding it is to help someone relax and lose their stresses. "That client was so anxious when she first came to me and now she says that she feels so much more relaxed." Massage helps to regulate breathing and remove stressful hormones such as cortisol. Instead it floods the body with feel-good endorphins promoting health and wellbeing.
Stacey continues seeing clients throughout the day and when she is finished for the day does some more stretching exercises to shake out her limbs after the day's exertions. "You do need to be fit to give massage. It takes a lot of energy but my happy clients give me the energy back!"