To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Best Practices,” in the October 2010 issue. Article summary: Clara Brosnaham, 61, practices massage therapy in Pensacola, Florida, and graduated from Florida’s Therapeutic Massage School in the same city. A former professional dancer, she has been a massage therapist for eight years and offers the Cranial Release Technique, massage cupping, neuromuscular therapy and Ashiatsu Bar Therapy in her practice.

What was the best business decision you made?

There were actually two. The first was to specialize in pain and stress management. To focus on need, not want–but that would have to be the subject of another whole interview.

Here I just want to tell about buying a cottage with a separate garage, which we converted into a beautiful oasis of calm for my practice. I step out of my kitchen and into my place of business. My clients follow a path to the door surrounded by flowering shrubs and wind chimes nodding in the breeze. A family of wrens comes each year to nest and raise a family in one of my hanging baskets. For me, no commuting or parking problems, no long trips to take care of necessary laundry chores. Convenience for me; convenience and a calming influence for my clients.

What’s your best client-retention method?

Every massage is the best massage I ever gave. Most clients come the first time because they have an immediate problem. After that they become regulars, as they discover the wonderful benefits of the well-massaged body.

What is the best way to market a new technique to clients?

Gradually is the operative word. I want my clients to get excited about being a part of any new techniques I plan to introduce. It starts with their curiosity about postings on my front display wall, continuing with answering questions which come up naturally, then updates on following visits. Most of my clients are ready to try something new by the time I’m fully trained.

How do you balance your work life and your family life?

Live each day to the fullest. Keep things in perspective. Make time for devotion and prayer and helping others through volunteer work. A supportive husband helps, as do my two lovable little dogs.