Starting a massage career can be an exciting but daunting task—and there is a big difference between what you learn in massage school and what it takes to be a successful therapist. Attending school provides you with an excellent foundation to build upon, but using your instincts to find your own style is key to success. Here’s how I found and developed my unique type of massage therapy.
After graduation, I quickly learned that most clients desired deep tissue massage, which was challenging for me to perform on a regular basis. After the first few months of doing deep tissue massage, my hands and wrists bothered me to the point where I would have to ice them each day after work to reduce the inflammation. My back was starting to bother me as well, since I was often leaning down, trying to give deeper pressure with my forearms. I tried using tools a few times for spot treatments; however, I was not comfortable using them for an entire session.
To save my hands and wrists, I started experimenting with bamboo pieces to give deeper pressure utilizing leverage. Each piece was constructed to be an extension of my hands and fingers. I started using the bamboo at room temperature, which was effective; however, warming the pieces in a heating pad gave a luxurious feel to the treatment. The heat also helped soften and relax clients’ muscles more quickly.
I was able to use my bamboo tools for chair massage. Chair massage using bamboo quickly became my best friend, since this was a great way to attract clients. Just the sight of me tapping or kneading on someone’s back with bamboo sticks at a health fair or street festival attracted attention. People naturally gravitate toward things that are somewhat out of the ordinary, so the fact that I could do chair massage with bamboo sticks was an excellent way to market my massage business.
Performing traditional chair massage is sometimes hard on the massage therapist’s hands, especially since we work through various types of fabric and clothing. Utilizing bamboo sticks allows you to use unique strokes that are easy on your hands and wrists. Chair massage is a great way to let potential clients feel your touch. Once they do, have your appointment book ready—since they will be very likely to book a full-body treatment with you on the spot.
Nathalie Cecilia is the founder of Bamboo-fusion® massage (www.bamboo-fusion.com) and offers classes; products; and on-site workshops across the country, along with her team of extensively trained instructors. Her nurturing spirit and passion for sharing her creation with other massage therapists is well-recognized in the massage and spa industry.