1. Tell us a bit more about you and your practice as it is today? i.e. are you a solo practitioner or a business owner? If solo, what kind of an establishment do you work for, how large is it, what is the clientele like, what is the specialty offered? If it is a business that you own, kindly include the same time of relevant information that will give the reader a good idea about your establishment/practice. Please also include where you live and work?
I am an owner operator of my mobile massage business in Tucson, AZ. Going to their homes is my specialty. My clientele are primarily females. I have ended up with a few married couples which was an interesting twist.
Note: In addition to visiting clients’ homes to provide personalized massage services is a great way to run a mobile massage business, chair massages are also gaining a lot of popularity as corporate professionals are taking advantage of the chair massage services offered by many mobile massage therapists.
2. Tell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?
I chose to go into massage because it had always been my passion. I was in health related field with the elderly. I turned 60 years old in massage school so you could say that when my peers were looking to retire I began something completely new. About ten years prior to massage school I had a colleague at a day care who went into massage.
I went to an open house and a few weekend events but the timing was not right. My neighbor was a student at Portland School of Oriental Medicine and we would trade acupuncture for massage. She was a supportive influence but again the timing wasn’t right. What I was looking to get was what I got….an education in massage and my license to practice.
3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.
You know at the time I decided to go to school I was so excited that I didn’t have questions or concerns much past would I do well academically.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty is probably working on legs. What makes me excel is continuing to learn from reading and from colleagues. I ask for help also.I receive regular massage and when you receive you learn new techniques from that therapist.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
The answer to the first two questions is the same as far as doing work on legs and doing massage in general…..that is… when I am presented with someone in pain and my work gives them relief it is awesome. Helping them maintain a portion of their wellness and educating them is a wonderful feeling. It let’s me know my education was worth it.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
There is nothing I do not like about massage work. I sometimes do not like being mobile just because my table weighs 36 pounds, and driving to three clients in one day can be hectic.
7. If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?
I can’t come up with three.
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I honestly plan to always practice. I am learning Cranial Sacral and also Reflexology. Those are both modalities I can do sitting so that will prolong my career past an age where I may not be as able to stand at a table and do massage. The big dream is when my mother passes away I want to go to Cambodia to an orphange and school that I have been in touch with for two years. They require a two month commitment for volunteers. So I would do that to see if I love it as much I anticipate. Then I will come back to the states, set things in order and go back there for the rest of my life. My children might try to nix that plan.
9. Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?
No just my business
10. What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?
I don’t believe in the word mistakes. What I did that others didn’t understand was I did not work for anyone else. I just tried to build a business on my own. What that meant was I was a ‘starving therapist” for a couple years but it was my choice and I knew the price and was willing to pay it. I live alone and can make that choice. If I were young and raising children I might have done it differently.
11. What would you advice someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how? How do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?
I would advise students to go to an open house, and if the school is in your community go and receive clinic massage from the students. Choose an independently owned school not one owned by a corporation. DEFINITELY choose a school where the instructors are working massage therapists.To find a school for them they must be informed and aware of their own skills or gifts and have plenty of questions.
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
Find every scholarship available in your community and apply for them. Whether it is for ethnic groups, religious groups, older students either gender. Ask your massage school, and if they aren’t very informed ask at your Community College.
13. What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?
I would advise that you join a local support group with working therapists of all levels of skill. Receive massage from professionals and also from students. Make sure you do at least two community events a year. Things that you are passionate about like cancer, or bicycling, or a children’s hospital
14. Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?
Keep learning new skills and get certified in them if possible. Don’t just take weekend classes. You will be glad you have the certificate later. Keep it diverse. I think massage will become more and more an accepted alternative medicine modality if schools keep turning out highly educated trained professional therapists.
15. What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.
Most of my outside passions and interests have to do with massage and spirituality. I walk and swim for exercise. If I am not working I am with friends and family exploring new ethnic restaurants. I also like to keep my patio garden healthy.
Rebecca L Dieter, LMT operates a successful mobile massage business in Arizona. She is a member of the NCBTMB and is an Infant Massage Instructor – Infant Massage USA. She is also a level two in Reiki and a member of Advancing Massage Therapy. She can be reached on her website at: www.spiritbodybalance.weebly.com.