Inner Vitamins for Massage Therapists

By Cary Bayer
May 29, 2009

Inner Vitamins for Massage Therapists

By Cary Bayer
May 29, 2009

While preparing for a road trip recently, I was packing jars of vitamins and happened to examine the minimum daily requirement labels on each one. It dawned on me that human beings also have minimum daily requirements for what I call "inner vitamins."

Inner vitamins, you ask? I'm referring to emotional qualities that build the heart and soul. They're analogous to the vitamins that build our bodies. After coaching more than six-dozen licensed massage therapists on how to empower their businesses, I've discovered that there are reasons why some LMTs feel forced to take full-time jobs to pay their bills, while others thrive doing the bodywork they were trained to do. The biggest factor - assuming that the therapists are good at what they do - is the lack of self-confidence.

As human beings, we have a minimum daily requirement for various nutrients, minerals and vitamins. If we don't get enough vitamin A, for example, our immune system can be compromised; our vision, bone formation, hair and skin can suffer. We also have a minimum daily requirement for what I like to call vitamin A2, or appreciation. We also need vitamin A3, acknowledgment.

The word "vitamin" didn't appear in Webster's dictionary until 1912. For centuries, medical people didn't know that there existed "organic substances that are essential in minute quantities to the nutrition of most animals." Similarly, for centuries we didn't know the need for analogous emotional substances. Few medical people today think of such needs either. Fortunately, many of you reading this column now are becoming increasingly aware of the need for this. Perhaps by 2012, medical professionals will also recognize the inner role they play in keeping us healthy on all levels.

"Inner vitamins" can be made available through a simple process that involves you and another person, and takes no more than two to four minutes. If you have a significant other, it's wise to do this exercise with him or her. Or do it with your roommate, a friend or even a coworker. This process can be done in the workplace or on the telephone. Here's how to get your minimum daily requirement of vitamin A2: Acknowledge your partner in this process while he/she says, "Thank you."

It goes like this:

Partner: Something I'd like to acknowledge you for is your commitment to your massage business.

You: Thank you

Partner: Something I'd like to acknowledge you for is what a fabulous massage therapist you are.

You: Thank you.

And so on. After a minute or two, switch roles so that you can acknowledge your partner. Use your willpower to resist saying, "If you knew me better, you'd never say such nice things about me." When you're done, thank each other for providing your minimum daily requirements of appreciation.

Massage therapists are professional givers but often have a difficult time receiving. This can mean receiving acknowledgment and compliments, love and respect, and reduced revenues for their professional talents. Many therapists have a difficult time simply taking a compliment on their clothes. How many times has someone acknowledged a dress you were wearing only to have you reply, "This old thing?" or "I got it at Marshalls for 50 percent off."

Vitamins A2 and A3 aren't the only inner vitamins you need each day. Others include vitamin E2 (Enthusiasm); vitamin H1 (Happiness); vitamin H2 (Hugs); vitamin K (Kindness); vitamin L (Love); vitamin R (Respect); and vitamin V (Visualization). If you'd like real health, add these essential inner vitamins daily.

While many of these inner vitamins involve another person like the appreciation process described above, some of them can also be done alone. For example, another terrific acknowledgment process can be done alone verbally by you or with another person present, like the following: "Something I want to acknowledge myself for is what a great shiatsu massage I give" or "Something I want to acknowledge myself for is how sensitive my hands are to a client's pain."

And so on. If you do it alone, run these acknowledgments one after another for about a minute. If you do it with a partner, have him/her say thank you and continue again for a full minute. The value of this is immense - it gives you a clear and powerful awareness of just how good you are as a therapist and therefore how you deserve financial success. This level of self-confidence inspires clients and inspires you to persevere, even if your client roster drops.

Another inner vitamin is vitamin V, visualization. Olympic champs wolf down this "substance," visualizing winning performances, whether they compete on a high bar, a skating rink or in a pool. Successful people in sports and business fill their mind's eye with thoughts and images of success. Try visualizing a full appointment book or see in your mind's eye a client signing up for a package of 10 massages. Vitamin V can make a difference in your massage business.

Additionally, reminding yourself of your successes throughout the day is another powerful exercise to transform your consciousness so that you can build a more prosperous massage business. Perhaps you gained a new client or received a call from a friend you hadn't heard from in years. Perhaps you received a gift. It can be small stuff too: the great buys found at a yard sale, the quarter found in the street, the CD burned by a friend.

For the days where "everything went wrong," you need to look harder. Consider the compliment on the sweater you wore to the party where your boyfriend left with someone else; the nice backhand you hit in a
6-0/6-0 trouncing you suffered in tennis; your courage to go on despite your freefall.

Do this two-minute process at the end of the day before going to bed. When you find that it takes 10 minutes because your day is filled with so much good news, grin and bear your growing success. Soon, you'll no longer need to keep reminding yourself of the obvious.