US Army Veteran and Now Mobile Massage Solopreneur Michael Wolfes Says “Know Your Limitations”

Michael WolfesI am Michael Wolfes, CLMT, CRP, a California Massage Therapy Council Board-Certified massage therapist since November, 2009 although have been a self-employed massage therapist & owner of Michael’s Mobile Massage, LLC without staff since 1986.

My clientele consists of consumers of almost all types, predominantly middle-aged and senior clientele who live or travel to the general Palm Springs, CA area for work or play. I provide out call massage and Reiki II services to massage seekers in their homes, offices, hotel rooms, timeshares and B&B’s daily 9AM – 9PM. My specialties are Deep Tissue, Lymph Drainage and Swedish modalities.

After joining the U.S. Army Reserves in 1968, I was trained as a Physical Therapy Aide as my main military duty in a Hospital unit. Upon leaving the Reserves in 1974, I voluntarily continued offering my learned skills to friends and family and one person suggested I should investigate massage therapy as a career possibility with my developed hand strength.

At the time my primary occupation was selling insurance for a large, well-known company, but I decided to pursue that suggestion by attending Massage school for 10 days and become certified. Because men were not thought of as typical massage therapists in the 1980’s, I decided to start a business on a part-time basis and do it “going to the customer’s location”.

I did much internet research to locate a well-respected, reputable, Nationally-accredited Massage school to attend and found the National Holistic Institute as the only qualified one in Northern California at the time just 30 miles away from home…made to order.

I told myself that most males probably enter the Massage field to meet girls and I was not going to have that as an objective.

My specialty is Deep Tissue massage which has been the top contributing factor to my success and longevity along with perseverance and dedication to my work.

My doing Deep Tissue massage I have become physically stronger and therefore I do not have to exert as much energy, pressure or force in my work as it appears I do in the client’s eyes. I see myself continuing massage indefinitely as long as I am physically able. I am also in total control of my daily activities, work or otherwise.

I do not like the challenges of how to overcome the “peaks and valleys” of business appointments and revenue, most women and men prefer a masseuse over a masseur implying gender-bias, but I have learned to live with both.

I wish there was one set of either National certification or licensing that all States would follow to make it easier for reciprocity purposes so a massage therapist could practice in any State they chose. I currently have no other job or business outside of massage therapy.

What I would suggest is to learn as much as possible about the massage industry as possible, including how to market oneself, how to network, how to learn and choose your target market and how to get referrals.

In addition to three above, prospective student should definitely schedule an interview with the school administrator or recruitment office before enrolling to determine if the school is right for them.

For someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it at the moment, learn if their desired school(s) offer payment/installment plans to extend course payments.

I would also recommend aspiring practitioners to check in advance with their physician regarding their body’s likelihood/vulnerability, if any, to developing Carpal Tunnel syndrome in their wrists from inadvertent overwork. DO NOT work for a spa if it an “assembly-line” workplace where the management thinks nothing of assigning 6-9+ massages to the therapist every day. Know your own physical limitations.

The massage industry will have its ups and downs, but has and will stood the test of time and supply & demand. It has been around for centuries in one form or another.

My passions outside of massage are following Major League Baseball, specifically the San Francisco GIANTS, have grown up with them, volunteering at our local hospital providing complimentary chair massage to Nursing staff and volunteering at our local Performing Arts Theatre as an Usher.

Michael Wolfes, CLMT, CRP (Certified Reiki Practitioner) can be reached 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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