My name is Jennifer Weisenberg. I am a graduate of the National Massage Therapy Institute in Turnersville, NJ. I started my career at the Red Door Elizabeth Arden Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. I also massaged at Massage Envy in North New Jersey later on in my career. I have also performed chair massage for the World Series of Poker Tournaments.
I recently was employed by the Fortis Institute as the assistant massage therapy instructor, but due to low enrollments, I was unfortunately laid off. My clientele has ranged from resort/casino guests who are down for a nice weekend, to high-roller gamblers, to everyday people who have every-day aches and pains, and everyone in- between. I live in Greenwood Lake, NY
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 had just come back from working on cruise ships, as a disc jockey. I had saved money, and knew I was ready to embark in my next journey. I have a degree in dance, and I taught dance, and yoga, and was already a Reiki master at that point.
I found the massage school on a bet with my sister, that there was nothing in South New jersey for me. We found one ten minutes from her house and I signed up that day. Massage, to me, blends healing, customer service, and movement- a perfect combination for me. I was just drawn to the field. I was looking to start my new journey.
What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.
I was concerned, as most students are, about finances, and how difficult the anatomy and physiology would be. I guess down the road, I was worried about the longevity of this career.
What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty is many modalities: I constantly take classes. I do deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal, cancer massage, a shiatsu, and the list goes on and on. The top three factors:
- Always continue your education
- Make sure to balance work/home/social life
- Invest in your own Self- care
What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
I like that I can help many different people with many different ailments. I love , in general, being able to help others, and connect to people. I love to help people and make them feel better than when they came in.
What do you not like about what you do? Why?
I do not like the toll it has taken on my body. I have endured wrist and shoulder injuries, that were very painful, and at times, had to work through them in order to pay the bills. I also do not always enjoy the hours (nights, weekends, and in resorts, holidays)
I think the reasons why here are self-explanatory
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 would change:
- Client’s understanding of what a deep tissue massage is and who really needs it
- Spa franchises charging more money for services such as a deep tissue or pre-natal massage, and paying their therapists more for it, as well as capping the number of deep tissue massages in a given day
- Making the number of massages a day someone can perform and/or mandatory breaks…well, mandatory
I would change them because I feel like there is a large number of clients who are misinformed about receiving a deep tissue massage. Deep tissue and prenatal are specialties, and therapists should be paid for their extra work.
I would charge more for deep tissue and prenatal, and really explain to the client what it is and why they don’t need it all the time. I would also make sure that a therapist doesn’t get more than 2 or 3 deep tissue massages in a given day
How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
Due to my injuries, I am not sure how much longer i can practice, at least full-time. I took a few months off to heal.
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?
I recently enrolled in school to become a medical assistant, which starts in weeks. I also have a side business, called ds domination, which is an on-line business that sells products on ebay that are purchased on amazon. I am working out my schedule now 🙂
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?
Great question. I wish I wasn’t such a people-pleaser. Doing “one extra’ massage to please a manager or client when you are physically exhausted isn’t worth it in the end. having a client push you to the point where you re injuring yourself to accommodate their pressure is not intelligent either. Know how many massages and deep tissues you can do in a given day, and stick to it.
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?
Go in and see if you can observe the class. Talk to the instructors. read their biography. are they fresh out of school, or are they a seasoned therapist with years of experience? Do the students look engaged? what is the student body like? hang out there-get a vibe
What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
Financial aid. There are also a lot of grants. if you live in nj, and are unemployed, there are programs through the state that you can go through, that can even pay for your schooling in some cases. you must research, and talk to financial aid. you can also take out a loan for whatever is not covered through financial aid
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?
- Ask yourself why you are getting into this career. is it to genuinely help people, or to make money?
- Always be a student. stay open to continue learning after school,always.
- Research different avenues of massage specialties and places of employment, and go where it interests you.
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?
I think that with all of the massage franchises popping up, massage is a very smart career choice. also, with baby boomers getting older, there will be a need for more geriatric massage. Hopefully massage will be covered under medical insurance more and more in the future.
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 to take walks outside, especially with my feisty chihuahua, Zeus. I love to tap dance, as well. I am in a performance class. We have a show in June. i always love to read, and comedy as well.
Jennifer Weisenberg has been involved in movement and healing arts since childhood. She specializes in Chair Massage, Prenatal Massage, Swedish, Reflexology, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, Cancer Massage,Table Thai,Reiki, and other assorted modalities. You can connect with Jennifer on Facebook here.