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Massage Today
September, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 09

Defining Release

By Angie Patrick

According to, release is defined as:

Main Entry: re·lease Function: verb Inflected Form(s): re·leased; re·leas·ing Etymology: Middle English relesen, from Anglo-French relesser, from Latin relaxare to relax transitive verb

1: To set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude ; also: to let go.

2: To relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses.

In massage, release is a good thing. It heralds the relaxation of sore muscles due to activity or stress, brings about positive momentum, and can mean the beginning of the healing process. We seek this in our clients. When we reach this goal, we are met with a sense of satisfaction and success. We are reminded of the reason we chose this profession; to heal and help others, and provide a means of release from the pain and stress that restrains, confines and oppresses them.

By its very definition, it also means "to let go." Many gifted therapists love and adore the profession they have chosen, but feel burdened or confined when faced with the task of marketing themselves and staying abreast of the latest in the industry. I would like to share with you a few ideas to help you release yourself from the stress of feeling out of touch, and perhaps give you a starting point in your own quest to market yourself, your talent and your desire to help others while earning a living for yourself and your family.

R: Research the research. There are a number of online repositories of research data and published papers where you can learn about the latest findings in massage. A couple of great Web sites you can check out are and Both of these sites will give you a great deal of insight into the research that gives medical validity to the industry you have chosen to make your livelihood. By reviewing these sites regularly, you can be sure you will be in the loop on any emerging modalities, their medical benefits and therapeutic applications.

E: Engage your brain and keep your business acuity sharp. Learn ways to market yourself and your practice in your local area. Find new pockets of opportunity by attending Chamber of Commerce meetings and networking. Invent new ways to partner with local businesses to co-advertise or exchange promotional opportunities.

L: Learn how to maximize the marketing value of the client on your table. You have successfully gained a client, and that client looks to you for guidance in their pain management. They come to you with the hope you will treat them and provide relief from their ailments or stress. They will most assuredly discuss their massage experience with friends, family and coworkers. Make sure you are sharing with them ideas and product suggestions that will help make them feel better between massages. No doubt this type of positive experience and word-of-mouth promotion will set you up as an expert therapist in the eyes of your client, as well as all those they speak with about their experience.

E: Educate yourself in ways to augment the basic 60-90 minute massage session. Opt for continuing education courses that will expand your arsenal of modalities and stretch you a bit beyond your specialties. There are so many great courses out there to choose from, you might be challenged in trying to discern in which to invest your time. Contact your local or state massage associations for suggestions or check out the ads in industry periodicals like Massage Today. These can be invaluable resources for locating the right courses for your interests.

A: Add-On Treatments can mean more money to your bottom line. Don't misunderstand me; I am not advocating taking advantage of anyone or suggesting therapeutic treatment in an unethical fashion solely for the purpose of monetary gain. The truth is, in a world where many of those who seek the talent of a massage therapist also will seek the refuge and relaxation of a spa treatment from time to time. Other massage therapists often perform these treatments. By learning a small array of spa-like treatments such as a body scrub, foot massage, aromatherapy massage or body wrap, you will be able to offer these services to your clients. They likely will prefer having them administered by someone they know, with whom they already have a rapport established. Ultimately, you are providing a service they likely will seek out anyway, giving your client yet another reason to retain your services.

S: Selling retail is not taboo! It's an excellent way to augment your income and is ultimately expected by your clients. Make sure you are offering an array of items about which you feel confident and have the appropriate knowledge to educate your clients about proper usage. You are the expert they have chosen to provide massage therapy. This does not stop at the end of the session. Provide your clients the means to facilitate proper self-care between visits. Be it small exercise tools or analgesics to educational pamphlets and stretching charts, retail products in conjunction with your healing touch can aide your clients into a speedy recovery or release from stress or pain.

E: Enjoy your client session. Be fully present for your client both physically and energetically. When you are enjoying the experience of helping another, it will translate into your care. Your client will know and feel you love what you do and are focused on their well-being. Intent in your massage is almost as important as technique. Without positive intent and emotion, your therapy, regardless how technically proficient, will fall short of the client's expectations. This will not only leave you feeling as if you have let your client down, but it most likely will result in the loss of the client. Prevent this by simply taking a few moments before caring for a client to breathe, and clear your mind of all but the person on your table. You will be rewarded with a fully satisfied client and a personal sense of accomplishment.

Making the most of every opportunity you have to expand your knowledge of the massage industry and all it offers will only help you along your road to success. Be on top of your game, and provide quality, well-informed advice to your client. Give your clients undivided attention, and always have their best interest at heart. Following these basic (albeit important) guidelines will help to ensure your longevity as a massage therapist, as well as lay the foundation of a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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