Eric Jeffrey Invented Self-Care Massage Tools During a Period of Long Chronic Illness

Eric-Jeffrey1. 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 live and work in Boulder Colorado and launched Massage Track recently on Kickstarter – we make massage tools that I invented during a long chronic illness.

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?

One of the symptoms that I’ve battled for more than a dozen years is chronic tendinitis – it started with pain in my hands and became so bad during my first crisis in 2001 that I had trouble dressing myself and serving food at the table. I didn’t drive a car for three months and didn’t pick up our newborn baby for about six months.

Massage was always helpful but I couldn’t afford enough of it. I still need daily therapy done with a significant amount of force that I really couldn’t get with any of the tools I could find. I also noticed that many of my massage therapists didn’t want to provide the amount of force I needed because they had their own repetitive strain problems in their hands!

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.

Whenever I had doubts about launching my tools, I thought to myself “Well, I use these tools every single day, and sometimes three times in one day, so chances are, they’re going to help a lot of other people too!” I’ve been using these tools daily for over two years now.

4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?

Deep tissue massage – the kind that has lasting changes on the tissue. I’ve discovered that a lot of people use tennis and lacrosse balls but unhappily, because the balls roll away or out of place – just as I experienced when I tried it the first time. I’ve also discovered that lots of people have pain but just don’t know what to do about it.

5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?

Massage therapists are like angels because they bring love and healing to people who need it. I’ve suffered deeply with my illness over the last 13 years and always have healing on my mind. So while I can’t heal people with my hands, I can help them heal with my tools. That will bring me great satisfaction and joy. It’s my way of turning lemons into lemonade.

6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?

Starting a company involves a lot of risk and anxiety, tedious work and aggravation, lost sleep and missed opportunities for relaxing or spending time with family. You have to be a little insane to want to do it.

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 see a lot of junk massage tools being peddled online. I hope I can teach people to want what works and not what looks or sounds cool.

8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?

I tend to do things for long stretches. Am in my 17th year with my first business, so the skies the limit.

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?

Well, it’s not easy balancing two careers. What I’ve learned about juggling is you’re always going to drop a ball!

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?

Never ever ever ever ignore sore tendons and tight muscles. It’s a mistake that can end your career. Also, as it was in my case, it can be a sign of an underlying physical health problem that you need to address.

11. Answer:  The best way to evaluate massage schools is to find out where the alumni are – go talk to them and asked them to tell you about their transition to their practice. What would they have done differently? How prepared were they after graduation for the realities of building a loyal clientele?

12. Answer:  I’d try to borrow the money for massage school from friends and family. People who care about you want to see you succeed and do something positive with your life and many will feel honored to be a part of that! You may want to offer them regular massage so they can see how your skills advance too.

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 always had trouble getting the amount of pressure that I wanted from a massage therapist. Often I would leave the massage thinking that I had wasted my time and money. So make sure you really really understand what kind of pressure your client wants and know how to deliver it with your elbows if needed.

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?

Even though my massage tools keep me functioning and relieve my aches and pains, when I get a hands-on massage, my massage therapist still finds loads of micro adhesions that only the human touch will address. So don’t be afraid of dynamite tools like mine – just consider them great self-care to help you continue delivering great massage and your loving touch to your clients!

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.

I love the outdoors and dream about hiking, camping, fly fishing and so on but until I recover my health, they’re just daydreams. Until then my main passion is detoxifying my body so that I can live a full life again!

You can reach Eric on his Linkedin page here or on his website here.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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