People either love massages and get on the table as often as they can or they avoid them, only going when they are in severe pain. I get it. Touch is a complicated thing. It's ok to not like massage or not like people to touch you. Here are some options that may help folks feel more comfortable making an appointment even though they don't like touch. We get folks relief without massage. There are other types of bodywork.
Minimal Touch/Clothed Bodywork
In March, we will begin offering Fascial Stretch Therapy. Clients remain clothed (wear something comfortable to be stretched in) and we will work on your fascia that way.
Regular massage sessions can be performed clothed too. No matter what, if you want to remain clothed during a massage, that is fine. Just tell us so we can prepare because we do use totally different techniques and products for clothed massages. You don't even have to explain why you want a clothed massage unless you want to--simply let us know you prefer to receive your therapy clothed when you book.
Touch is very complex. It seems very simple, just a nerve conduction phenomenon. But actually, the hand on the back does a lot more. Massages/touch naturally helps clients breathe deeper. The nervous system switches to parasympathetic (which sometimes does not happen even when we rest because we are in fact THAT stressed). That is part of massage that heals without even releasing tension in muscles (the other type of healing comes from the actual manipulation of the tissues...and ALL our issues are in our tissues). Remember that study with the babies in Russia that were fed and clothed, but there were so many orphans they couldn't be held? Or the study with the baby monkey that had a stuffed momma monkey with no food and the wire momma monkey with the bottle? The baby monkey actually had self destructive behavioral issues because the momma he wanted didn't have the food and the momma he avoided had the food. They did not develop properly. Emotionally, psychologically, and physically delayed because they were not rocked or cuddled. The need for touch does not change as we get older, it just looks differently. Holding hands, locking arms, hugs hello and goodbye, etc. The pandemic has caused a huge drop in available touch. While lack of touch is one type of trauma, bad touch is is another type of trauma. Massage therapy can be a tool used to relearn good touch. It is like getting a good partner after having an abusive one. We have to reestablish our boundaries and relationships with things. Another example is when a child says something sassy. We can fuss at the child and send him to his room, or we can calmly 1. name the emotion, validating the agitated state the child is in...which miraculously helps take the edge off 2. give them the chance to speak respectfully so that a productive conversation can follow. We take that approach with clients who have experienced bad touch.
Massage Therapy for Clients Overcoming Trauma
The most important part of the healing process for any type of massage therapy is communication. Some things we have done to accommodate clients uncomfortable with touch are: remaining clothed, 30 min sessions with goal to work toward 60 min, focus on safe areas like feet, scalp, arms, etc., compression and trigger point rather than effleurage (technique choices), and the lighting can be brighter rather than dimmed. If you have been to the Lafayette location, that is a cave! But I have turned the lights on or kept the door open doing some healing touch sessions.
Thank you for reading. If you have any question about the Fascial Stretch Therapy, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to work on a Healing Touch treatment plan, email to schedule a free consultation.
Memberships and Menus?
Note: This piece was fun to write because I was able to speak from my experiences as a massage therapy consumer, licensed massage therapist, and business owner. I have been a consumer for over a decade and therapist/owner for 5 years so I feel pretty confident in my opinions regarding this topic. The few times people have asked me if I offer memberships at a discounted (usually meaning WAY under my rate), it makes my stomach turn, yet I still consider it. I always went with my gut which says NO WAY JOSE. I am happy to have a platform to explain why...and you'll be happy to know it's because I want the best for my clients.
As consumers of massage therapy, I thought yall would be interested to see how businesses like Unravel determine what is on the service menu and why prices are what they are. Why are so many places pretty competitive, with $5 difference or so...while other places are SO CHEAP?? Unravel falls in the competitive category; we are not the most expensive, we are not the cheapest. Here's a whole lot of WHY from our POV as consumers, therapists, and business owners.
When I am a client, I don't look for memberships. I actually look the opposite direction. First of all, I shop local. I like to support someone's dream. Second, I have a background in Psychology and memberships is Marketing and Business Psych 101. There's a philosophy called "in group/out group" that businesses are gunning to get you into with memberships. It makes you believe a fallacy that you are getting the best deal because you are special by being part of their exclusive VIP club. That sounds great, until you get into the membership and "live" the fine print. What is included...or should I say excluded? Most of the time, the "extras" that we provide are extra costs, or "add ons". The extra financial obligation is a drag, especially if something in your life changes that you did not expect. Or what if you end up not liking the vibe of the place after all but you're in a contract? But the worst is when you get what you pay for and end up having to get another massage because the cheap one wasn't worth it OR even worse, thinking massage therapy doesn't work for your condition and end up in surgery! It is easy to make the first experience AMAZING... salesperson is smooth, get in a contract, and bam, what is the incentive to keep the quality the same? I want my massage therapy experience from booking to intake to massage to checkout and rescheduling to be relaxing and without gimmicks. Unfortunately for me I see right through sales and psych manipulation and it ruins my experience...but fortunately for me I stay away so I don't even have to deal with that.
As a massage therapist, I have never considered working for businesses that offered memberships. Have you ever gotten a massage from a therapist that is burned out? It doesn't necessarily make for a bad massage, but definitely not the whole experience you were looking for. At Unravel, that will never happen. When massages are underpriced, the therapist is not getting paid what they deserve for their work, and they burn out because massage therapy is one of the top most physical jobs. Businesses that offer memberships also indirectly pressure tipping. So, if you tip are you saving money? By the time you walk out after: tipping, plus any extras like cupping/scraping/oils/tmj work/etc, and the member price...you probably paid the same or more! OR MORE. The sad part is that a licensed professional, who took many hours of coursework, clinicals, and yearly CEs are working for tips. NAW. I will not do that to myself or another therapist. It is a moral thing for me and I will not burn myself out.
The therapists at Unravel Massage Therapy are also the owners. We have 100% control over our service menu and prices. But when we make those decisions, we put ourselves in YOUR shoes. Our clients are our bosses. We include all the techniques and tools needed for the session. No add on to the price. Do you want an oil we happen to not have, or a technique we are not familiar with? We will 1. Get it. 2. Learn it. 3. Refer you to a therapist that can help ASAP...we have many therapist friends who are great! We use the best of everything on the market. Linens...detergent...face rest...essential oils...tools...education. We don't cut costs. We get the best for yall. Memberships are not meant to benefit consumers no matter how pretty the package is wrapped. Memberships are created by businesses to benefit the business. At Unravel we make decisions that benefit clients. We don't even have a menu because we don't limit the sessions ahead of time. We let the client decide what they need when they get there. It keeps things simple; massage is supposed to be an escape not complicated. Some business experts may be cringing right now, but it has worked for me since 2016. We focus on giving the best massage every time. We focus on getting the best products. Therefore our clients are very happy which makes us successful. We couldn't provide the best if we didn't charge enough to pay for it all. That is the business side of it. (If you have been to Unravel, you know that we love our jobs and clients so much, we would do it for free if we didn't have to eat! HAHA!) Everyone can win in the client/therapist relationship.
I leave yall with this...
To the consumer, shop smart. If someone wants the "discount bread store" of massage therapy, that is absolutely fine. You'll get what you pay for and if you are happy with that, that is what matters at the end of the day. If you want the cream of the crop at a discount price and it's too good to be true, it probably is. That is not what we do and our clients love it.
To the therapist, know your worth. Never sell yourself short. You work hard. You're a healer. You will attract the clients you deserve. I have coached therapists wanting more from their careers. Reach out if you want to chat!
To the business owner, have integrity. You represent all of us..the big corps and the small businesses like Unravel. There is a balance and price point. There is no free lunch.
Thanks for reading my blog post. Please contact us 3372904145 or email@example.com to schedule.
We are happy to provide Opelousas, La and surrounding area with quality massage therapy services.
Take 5: Health is Wealth
What is Take 5?
I get paid to give a massage. I give out educational soap box lessons for free. I really enjoy educating my clients and the community about massage therapy. Take 5 is a collection of quick, comprehensive articles relating to massage therapy and most importantly, an outlet for me. :)
I keep hearing TREAT YOSELF!..when I or someone else mentions getting a massage. When did massage therapy become a "luxury"? A "treat yoself" activity? *sigh* While I am glad people feel great during and after I give them a massage, I also wonder why it's a luxury to feel good, and why do we only get to treat ourselves when we are feeling bad. As the oldest form of medicine, it seems a little dismissive to call massage therapy a luxury. I thought, "Health is Wealth"?
Massage therapy is more popularly used as a rehabilitation therapy because it is exceptionally effective in treating injury AND has all the extra benefits. Stress or pain related. When you find a good therapist, you relax. BUT, while you are floating on a cloud somewhere, we are doing WORK! So many benefits for your whole body starting with your muscular system (relieving pain, increasing range of motion, protecting from injury), to the nervous system (rest and digest, immune support, sleep aid), to the cardiovascular system (lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, helps circulates blood and lymph)...
The systems of the body are all related in one way or another, and the mind is related to the body. Our cells listen to every thought we have, and our bodies respond!
In my practice, that is how every client started out. Now, they come for WELLNESS massages, to STAY stress and pain free. Quality of life is mucho bueno.
Wellness and self care are self preserving activities. Massage therapy can prevent injuries by physically changing the functionality of your muscles. Our stress level also directly affects our health, known as the silent killer. Stress compromises our immune system and decreases organ function but massages put your brain in the parasympathetic state and increase organ and immune function. You can look at someone without saying one word and tell how they are feeling (body/pain) and how they are feeling (mind/stress/cortisol). "The best way to treat back pain is to prevent back pain." Travis Houser, PT.
Health is wealth. Thanks for reading my blog. Please email me with any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Unravel Massage Therapy is Located in Opelousas Louisiana, and Serves The Greater Opelousas Area, as well as Lafayette, and the surrounding area.
Amber K. Darby, LMT, MS