Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

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suziech
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Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by suziech » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:54 am

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a pleasant day/evening. I am new here and have some pressing questions to ask of those of you who are already Massage Therapists or soon to be. A little background about myself first though. I am a blind woman in my mid 50's, have been a homemaker most of my life and am now considering going back to college to perhaps be a licensed Massage Therapist, my local community college has a Massage Therapy progam. The first question I have is what type of personality is required to be a successful Massage Therapist? I am not very outgoing, infact I am more of a quiet and reserved type that likes to work independently yet I do enjoy helping others, I do talk of course just not alot. The other question I have is will I need to work fast in this type of field? I tend to move slow and take my time at tasks. The last question is how taxing is this work on your body? I do have arthritis that is regulated by medication. Oh I forgot, one more question please, does age have a difference in this line of work, is there a certain age bracket that most businesses look for in a potential employee? Thank you in advance for your honest answers to my questions. God bless you.

Suzie

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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by jdcan » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:58 pm

I am an introvert and I hate to rush. I work independently and I belong in this field! This is what I was meant to do! I love helping people and making money doing it. You will need to pay attention to your body mechanics and your physical limits. The more you learn, the more tools you will have to use. When one tool, say your hands, gets tired, you switch to your knuckles or forearms or elbows. I limit myself to 4 clients/day. I think most therapists who last know their limit. Start slowly.
Physically, I feel better than when I started over 10 years ago. Along the way, I have learned how to take care of my own body better. I got into this field because of my own pain, though not arthritis. Maybe someone else can weigh in on that.

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akashafive
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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by akashafive » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:46 pm

I am also an introvert; my boyfriend has always referred to me as "anti-social". And even though I can not partake in networking groups (can't handle large gatherings of people), it has not hurt me in the least as I simply use my other strengths, like excellent customer service, to help get and keep clients. I have my own practice and prefer to keep my load very light, no more than 4 clients a day and I only work three days a week. I find that if I work until I get tired, I have worked too much. I need to stop before I hit that point.

Your age should prove no obstacle; plenty of my classmates were in their 40's/50's and starting second careers. We even had one who was in her 70's I think, and was one of the top students. If you plan on having your own practice, then your speed shouldn't be an issue provided you are able to keep your appointments running on time. That is easy enough by making sure you start and end on time, and leave yourself enough time between clients to reset the table, complete paperwork, eat, rest, etc. I myself try to get my office about an hour early just so I don't have to rush anything and can be grounded before my client arrives and giv emyself 30 minutes between sessions. I also don't accept same day or walk in appointments, that way there are no surprises in my day. If you plan on working for someone else, be aware that depending on the environment you may be required to work sessions back to back and not have more than 5-10 minutes to get one client out, flip the room and get the next one in, which leaves very little room for even a quick bathroom break.

I can't speak to having arthritis and how it might affect your ability, but I know plenty of massage therapists do develope hand issues and manage to deal with them so that they can continue working. Self care as well as learning different techniques and modalities that allow you to reduce the reliance on your hands can be a huge help. I have always felt that I have weak hands and wrists, so unless I am doing a striclty relaxation massage, I try to use my forearms and elbows in stead of hands and thumbs, whenever possible. I have also incorporated glass vacume cups (cupping) to let me work deeper layers of tissue without having to use pressure or even my hands if I choose to let them sit on a tight spot while I work another area. There are lots of tools to help give your hands a break.

Going back to school is exciting and massage is a wonderful field. Everytime I see a client after their session, looking so relaxed and refreshed, I am reminded why I got into the field in the firat place. Good luck and I hope you will keep us updated! :)
-Akasha
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pueppi
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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by pueppi » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:57 am

suziech wrote:I am a blind woman in my mid 50's, have been a homemaker most of my life and am now considering going back to college to perhaps be a licensed Massage Therapist, my local community college has a Massage Therapy progam.
When I was teaching Anatomy & Physiology I taught a blind student in massage school (it was also within a commnunity college). I don't know how many community college courses you've already taken at your school, but if the class is anything like ours was, you'll shine in it.

Our student brought her seeing-eye dog to class, and took notes on a braile writing machine or taped each class. She rode the city bus to and from class, and didn't have any problems finding class or getting to the 4th story floor of the school where classes were held.

The school had a computer where she could listen to the questions that were on the test and somehow she knew which computer buttons to push in order to fill out the test on the computer. It was quite amazing. I believe the computer program was called JAWS, but I can't recall, as it was a lot of years ago.

One thing I would suggest, is that you try to actually talk to your teacher/s prior to the first day of class, if possible. Or, find out how the school provides testing for the blind, in advance. I was in a bit of a lurch because no one in the Massage Therapy department could tell me how to plan for testing and just told me to go to the library and see what they can tell you ("we think they have a machine you can use"). It would have been nice to understand the needs of the student and the abilities of the library in advance.

Of course, each program is different, and you may be dealing with people who have it a little more "together" than the group I was working with. :)

The first question I have is what type of personality is required to be a successful Massage Therapist? I am not very outgoing, infact I am more of a quiet and reserved type that likes to work independently yet I do enjoy helping others, I do talk of course just not alot.
There are many personalities in massage. You don't have to talk a lot to do your work. But, you may need to expand your conversation skills if you are looking to encourage people to refer to you.
The other question I have is will I need to work fast in this type of field? I tend to move slow and take my time at tasks.


You don't need to work fast. But, you do need to cover ground. So, if you can't complete a full body massage in 1 hour, this could hold you back if you plan to work for someone. However, if you run your own business, or can work out something with your employer, you may want to consider only providing 1½ or 2 hour sessions. The other option would be to provide sectional work, where you never do full body sessions at all.
The last question is how taxing is this work on your body? I do have arthritis that is regulated by medication.
The work can be as taxing or not taxing as you choose to make it. You provide the work, so you determine how it affects you body. When you begin working, just work to your comfort level. Don't over do it, because you won't want people refering other clients who like your deeper work, if you don't want to do that every day. The same goes with being too fluffy in your bodywork. If you don't want a crowd of people who all want to feel like a feather is rubbing on their back, just don't do that work. Find the happy medium for you.

...one more question please, does age have a difference in this line of work, is there a certain age bracket that most businesses look for in a potential employee?
I don't think there is. When I took a massage at a local high end day spa years back, the oldest therapist there was in her 50's and not one of the therapists there "looked" day spa-ish. I have a massage therapist friend (age 50) who has another massage therapist friend (age 72) who works for a company part-time, because she still loves doing the work, just not as frequently. I am 46.


Here are the other links on our forum that pertain to visually impaired therapists, so you don't have to go searching:

Potential Student Exploring Massage Therapy School Options -
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 96&start=0

More Questions -
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 71#p122271

One step back and two steps forward (or revamping my plan) -
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 07&start=0

Any Visually Impaired Massage Therapists ? -
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 82&start=0

Deaf/Blind Massage-
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 86&start=0

Yahoo Disc. Grp. for Blind/Vis. Impaired Therapist -
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/vie ... 41&start=0


And, one post from another thread from our member tiger snacks (since I am not sure what you "see" via your computer, just know that I have linked tiger snacks info to his name... so if you click on the name, you can contact him. Additionally, you can click on any members name that would show up on the left of a post box and it should take you to more information about that member.):
tiger snacks wrote:Being blind has more pros than cons, and I'm sure many people will disagree. As my vision and hearing continues to deteriorate I start to appreciated the added benefits that comes with the loss. When most people think of blind and deafness, they think of a world without light or sound but it is very much the opposite. If you have ever spent a few days in complete silence, or closed your eyes even for a moment, you will find that you hear sounds and see things that aren't there. You may even be initially fooled, thinking what you're hearing or seeing is real.

If we cannot see (or hear), our brain fills in the gaps for us. You may hear someone calling your name, see someone in the corner of your eye, or see flashes of flight. A blind person can feel the braille characters under their fingers and "see" the words in their head. So you can see how this loss of sight helps greatly with massage. Your fingertips are your eyes. We should all use them like so. After all, it's our hands that does much of the work anyway right?

People's hands take on a personality for the blind. Someone with a stiff facial expression has stiff hands. The body is no different. As you close your eyes more and try to experience the blindness, you'll notice too the changes in the body and how it feels under your fingers. You will be able to tell is something significantly stressful has happened since the last visit. I think working without sight should be apart of curriculum or at least have an option to do it. I know many of your have done this type of work in your school but mine never offered it.

Anyway you all have a great one. I hope this has helped shed some light.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
Houston Massage Therapy - Advanced Massage Therapy - Lucas & Lucas, LLC

suziech
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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by suziech » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:19 am

I apologize for not responding sooner, have been doing some research on my own and have come across some disheartening news. This is from what I have found out from numerous websites and working/non working MT's. you barely make ends meet working as a Massage Therapist. If you work for someone, which would be my case, you're lucky if you get one or towo clients a day. Only get paid by who you massage and not a steady hourly wage. Not what I expected. I also found out that you would need a second income coming in to survive. Have any of you experienced this first hand? Is the information I have received factual? Thank you.

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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by akashafive » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:22 am

suziech wrote:I apologize for not responding sooner, have been doing some research on my own and have come across some disheartening news. This is from what I have found out from numerous websites and working/non working MT's. you barely make ends meet working as a Massage Therapist. If you work for someone, which would be my case, you're lucky if you get one or towo clients a day. Only get paid by who you massage and not a steady hourly wage. Not what I expected. I also found out that you would need a second income coming in to survive. Have any of you experienced this first hand? Is the information I have received factual? Thank you.

While a situation such as you describe is certainely possible if the business is just starting or not run very well, it definitely is not the only possibility! There are plenty of successful massage businesses out there where the therapists are able to work on several clients per shift, if not have a full shift!

You can always research how long the business has been running, how long they have offerred massage, how many therapists they have, what the turn over is like, are the theripists schedules busy or do they have a lot of slow days and down time; the more you know about the place you might want to work at, they better idea you can get of weather you will be able to make enough money working there.

I have worked both as an idependant contractor, where I made enough money to cover my expenses even though I only got paid when I did a massage, and as an employee at a chain massage place where I was paid either per massage OR a flat hourly wage for each shift (whichever worked out greater). I chose to only work two shifts at the chain because I knew that my body would not be able to handle all the back to back appointments if I worked more shifts. The chain did not pay well (in my opinion), and because I limited my availability I did not make much, but it was a second job anyway. At the time I was an employee there, I was also building my own private practice, so as soon as I could, I found a different non-massage job to work part time that would allow me to make ends meet with out having to put a lot of strain on my body or stress on my mind. This allowed me extra income and the time and energy to focus on building my practice.

Even if you work for someone else doing massage, there is no reason you have to only work massage. Having a second non-massage job is a common and great way to make the money you need without burning out your body. Depending on your location and interests, you might also be able to supplement the massage income with related services, like body treatments, or energy work like Reiki that aren't as demending on your body.

I'm sure you will get some more great advice from the others here. Please don't give up as every experience is different and it is totally possible to find or create your perfect situation once you figure out exactly what it is you want! :smt006
-Akasha
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-Nancy Giles

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pueppi
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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by pueppi » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:52 pm

suziech wrote:I apologize for not responding sooner, have been doing some research on my own and have come across some disheartening news. This is from what I have found out from numerous websites and working/non working MT's. you barely make ends meet working as a Massage Therapist. If you work for someone, which would be my case, you're lucky if you get one or towo clients a day. Only get paid by who you massage and not a steady hourly wage. Not what I expected. I also found out that you would need a second income coming in to survive. Have any of you experienced this first hand? Is the information I have received factual? Thank you.

Do you know where you want to work? Location? City? Or, even a particular Spa or Business? If you do, then you could begin to research the options and find out what the daily load of an MT in those businesses is.



Also, here is a recent post from someone on our forum who is blind (tiger snacks) and working at Massage Envy. I am sure every situation is different:
tiger snacks wrote:What I have is a view for I do not have vision. I am blind you see, with hearing impairment as well. My condition defines me deaf/blind but I do not feel this way. Value, worth, self-respect is individualized. How can one place a generic value on a profession or group of people with everyone being so different.

I work at Massage Envy, and I hear the same arguments. "I'm worth more than that."
"Slave labor" "robbery" "working to death." etc.

My wife drives me to work, I clock in and have someone verbally go over the chart since I cannot set it. I wait by my room while they bring the client and I talk with them and sincerely care for them for their session.

They are fully aware they are paying for an hour session, 10 minutes to undress, dress, pre-chat, and 50 minutes table time. I put my heart and soul into each and every massage using impeccable body mechanics not straining or "slaving" as some of you call it, for 6 hours a day. In return, I get compensated and constant praise from my clients and co-workers, as I am the most highly requested therapist, with a high conversion. All first time massages and first time clients are sent to me because they know my work will convert them to members.

I love what I do and I don't gripe at the company providing this opportunity to me when no other place would. Who wants to hire someone with a disability? It's a liability/law suit case waiting to happen(at least in their minds). I want to also present a different point of view no one has discussed yet.

Personal Finances

I like in one of the poorest states in the US. Making massage available here to the public that is affordable was a godsend for many people. Rent here for a modest home is around 550-1100 a month. If you take inventory of yourself you may find that there is more of a problem with ourselves and spending habits, lack of financial education, planning, budgeting. For example, I am 24 years old married, with no children and my home and car is paid for. While someone else may overspend on a house and lease/finance a car with irresponsible credit habits and constantly eating out.

I truly don't understand how people do it. Most of the anti-ME people don't understand how I work at Massage Envy, and I don't understand how some of them make 30k a year driving 25k cars and trading out every 2 years, with a huge mortgage with 40k in credit card debt.

Basically it all boils down to your personally preference, lifestyle, and how you want to live.

Question for all: How do you determine your worth? Can you put a price on yourself? How do you arrive at this number?
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
Houston Massage Therapy - Advanced Massage Therapy - Lucas & Lucas, LLC

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MTSI
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Re: Potential Blind Massage Student Has Questions

Post by MTSI » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:51 pm

personality?

introverts do just fine since massages are given one on one. you will just have to get more comfortable with your clients. that said, you don't have to talk to anyone else

slow?

this is not an impediment. massage as a practice is slow/relaxing in nature.

age?

technically no one can discriminate. however, if you apply at spas then i can see the hiring managers being a bit prejudice toward age. medical massage facilities on the other hand are more concerned with skill/quality

hope this helps!
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