Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

3 Ways to Share Client Testimonials on Social Media

Testimonials and reviews are a great marketing tool for your massage business. They are social proof of the work you do and build trust with prospective clients. As we MT's know, building that trust is especially important in a field like massage and bodywork.

85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business. (Search Engine Land)

While it's great to share glowing reviews on social media, plain text might get lost in the noise. Make it fun with images* and designs that get noticed.
*Make sure you're using images you have permission to use.

47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of 
purchases. (Jeff Bullas

Here's a few tools to help you do that:

Canva is super easy and they have the dimensions for social media images all laid out for you. Simply click the first choice of "social media" to get started on your design. 

They have tons of images for you to choose from that are free and you're allowed to use. (Also an option to upgrade for more options, or choose from images with a price-per-image.) I searched "massage" and "spa" and got tons of images at $1/piece. But you could also just use one of their free graphic images.

Here's one that I created using one of their free designs:

Canva Testimonial

You can download it to your computer after you've created it, and they even give you an option to post to social media right from there.


If a client posts a nice testimonial publicly on FB or Twitter, you could simply take a screenshot. Here's a handy site that guides you through how to do that from specific devices.

Below is a screenshot of some kind words about BWB from one of our members that was posted on our FB page. (Thanks, Mary!)

I just took a partial screenshot, highlighting only the comment that I wanted to take a pic of. (On my mac, it's command + shift + 4.) The image saves to your computer, which you can then upload to share to social media. Or if they've posted it right on your page, you can share right from within the comment itself, too.

Screenshot Testimonial

Bodywork Buddy

BWB has a new feature that allows you to easily share published testimonials from within your BWB account right to your FB page. (It also makes it super easy to collect testimonials by automatically emailing clients after their massage asking them for a review. You'll be amazed how the testimonials just roll right in!)

From within your account, from dashboard > account > client testimonials > click the "share" button next to the published testimonial you want to post > select which page you want to post it to > don't forget to add a personal note to encourage clients to schedule with you online and include your microsite link to make it as easy as possible for them!

Bodywork Buddy
Free trial

It includes the image that you have on your microsite as your main image, and you have permission to use this image posted from BWB to your FB page. Clients can also click right into the image to be taken to your microsite to schedule or read all of your testimonials.

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice since 1999, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Deep Feet Bar Therapy since 2007.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Better You, Better Massages- Good Self-Care Practices for Massage Therapists {Guest Post by M. Simpson, LMT}

Better You, Better Massages- Good Self-Care Practices for Massage Therapists
By M. Simpson, LMT

I didn’t understand it at the time, but I started massage training right when my undiagnosed, chronic inflammatory disorder was worsening. Learning self-care was a trial by fire. Poor mechanics that my instructors warned would hurt after a few years would be hurting me within hours. I was a human crystal ball, reflecting the eventual reality of what repetitive strain would do to a body. This guide will help you build a self-care plan to avoid that fate, instead staying relaxed, strong and pain-free for yourself and your clients through years of practice.

Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a necessity. As human tools, our bodies are the single most valuable asset to our practices. We need as much or more care than we give our clients. Even in the short-term, aching hands and a scattered mind will deprive your clients of the deep, attentive massages they need for
quality care. Whether you’re fresh out of school or experienced and already aching, it’s never too late to do right by your body.

Tweet: Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a necessity.
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Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a necessity. 

What Counts As Poor Self-Care
To start fixing your routine, you first have to know what's broken. Poor self-care is anything that needlessly strains or neglects your physical or mental wellbeing. Make a list of any aspect of your routine that you think could use work. Scrutinize and be brutally honest. Most MTs I meet are loathe to admit their self-care pitfalls, but remember that imperfections are just opportunities to be greater than you are now.

A few common issues include:
  • Poor body mechanics
  • Brushing off acute and chronic pain
  • Never stretching or addressing your own stiff muscles
  • Neglecting supportive equipment
  • Dismissing overworking and stress

Building a Self-Care Routine
Go down your list of concerns and ask yourself why each issue exists, what you're going to do about it and what you can do to keep it from becoming a problem again. From little things like replacing your work shoes regularly to big goals like going on vacation, start developing a
regular routine.

If you’re motivated by specific goals, ask yourself what the goal of your self-care plan is. Make it simple and achievable. If it’s something you feel like you’ve achieved every time you complete your routine, you’re more likely to make a habit of it.

Key Elements of a Self-Care Routine
  • Correcting and Adapting Body Mechanics
  • Self-Care Exercises
  • Addressing Pain and Injury
  • Stress Management
  • Self-Assessment and Reminders

Correcting and Adapting Body Mechanics All massage therapists know the basics of solid body mechanics, though a
refresher course never hurts. The trick is to regularly assess your mechanics and see if you could be doing anything differently.

This is especially important if you’re noticing strain on certain areas of your body. If you suffer chronic pain in your thumbs, for instance, it might be time to explore more forearm and elbow techniques or invest in tools to help your hands. Think outside the box if you’re having trouble finding solutions. When chronic pain battered my hips, I started following strain reduction tips for pregnant MTs.

Self-Care Exercises Stretching, yoga, strengthening exercises, continuing education classes, self-massage, getting a massage… The list of self-care exercise options goes on. Trying different methods is a blast, so make it your goal to experiment.

Online resources like YouTube and Pinterest can be exceptionally useful as long as you're smart about checking the source. Just punch "massage self-care" into the search bar and go. Self-care tools can be invaluable as well. Tools like foam rollers help stretch and relax broad areas while focused tools like
massage balls are great for deep tissue work.

Addressing Pain and Injury Over the years, most MTs will end up with some sort of
tendinosis or repetitive strain injury. When you start feeling chronic pain in a specific area, do something about it now, not later. Fix your body mechanics, adapt your techniques, work in new tools and see a specialist you know you can trust. Repeated injury can lead lasting damage, and lasting damage can end careers.

Stress Management
Like it or not, mental stress is just as damaging as physical stress. It's
physically damaging in and of itself and can slow healing if you're already injured. Burnout is a very real threat as well, but it's avoidable if you admit that you're not invincible. Make an uncompromising commitment to put time for yourself in your schedule. It's not selfish. It's what you need to stay healthy.

Ask yourself if your work load is reasonable, both physically and mentally. MTs that feel swallowed by financial or business matters can find plenty of help from continuing education courses, local small business resources and online communities. Think about trying stress management techniques. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most well-researched and easy to learn, but just going for a walk in an area with trees every day has been shown to reduce stress.

Tweet: Like it or not, mental stress is just as damaging as physical stress.
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Like it or not, mental stress is just as damaging as physical stress. 

Self-Assessment and Reminders Unless you take the time to stop and assess how you’re doing on a regular basis, the effects of physical and mental stress can sneak up on you. As MTs, we’re experts at meticulously addressing our client’s stresses and pains, but many of us equally good at ignoring our own concerns.

Put breaks and self-assessments on your schedule. Put them in your calendar and appointment books if you have to. Use that time to breathe, focus on your body to see how you're doing physically and see if you're feeling overwhelmed. Use tools to help keep you on-track in other areas. Download apps to track how much water you’re drinking or that monitor your sleep at night. Set a reminder to check your shoes to see if they need to be replaced. All of these little details will add up to a healthier, happier and more productive you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Beautiful Essential Oil Recipe and How to Track Oil Sales in Your Massage Business
I've been a massage therapist for a loooong time. I've had lots of massage friends/colleagues get heavily involved in essential oils over the years, and while I've always enjoyed oils, I just never really got into them. Or at least, not at the level my friends did. (You know, basically carrying around a case of them everywhere they went.) I always thought "yeah, that'd be cool, but I just don't have the <time, money, energy, knowledge> to get into it right now."

Well, I don't know if I just needed more time in the field to familiarize myself with all other modalities and aspects I was interested in to the point of fatigue, or if the timing was just right, or what... but I've recently really gotten into oils. I'm not quite that girl with the case, yet, but I think I might be on my way. ;)

I signed up with DoTerra oils and have been getting new oils monthly. (This isn't a post about oil brands or why you should use one over the other or blah blah blah....I'm not interested in arguing that point and really just want to enjoy oils and it just so happened that DoTerra presented itself at the right time in my life when I was ready to finally take the plunge into the world of oils.)

It's been fun and I'm digging learning new things that I can apply in my practice as well as my personal life. (I'm in love with diffusing and roller bottles! Who knew?)

I'm in love with diffusing and roller bottles! Who knew?

I'm not to the point of offering any for resale to my clients yet, but it got me thinking about the MT's who do sell oils or other products in their practice. Wondering how to track your sales and record income from that?

It's actually pretty easy to do within Bodywork Buddy.

  • First, create a service group of oils or whatever product you're selling.
  • Second, add products (called services in BWB) into that service group, and have them set to "private". This will keep them from showing on your online scheduler as an option to schedule, but will still allow you to add them to a session record when a client purchases one.
  • When a client buys an oil, simply create a new session record for the sale with the product as the service. Or, add a 2nd service line item in the session record for their massage appointment.

You can run a services report at any time to see how much of what product you have sold over the year. *Note: there is no way to track inventory within BWB. So if you have a huge amount of products in stock, this might not be the solution for you. But if you're a solo massage therapist like myself, this works great.

Thanks to Susan for this great pin!
I've been creating my own roller bottles and thought I would share a little recipe with you I found on Pinterest. It's pretty yum.

  • 30 drops of grounding blend (also known as Balance)
  • 30 drops of calming blend (also known as Serenity)
  • 15 drops of Vetiver
Fill remainder of the 10ml roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil, shake well and roll on to feet, back of neck, behind ears, or your wrists.

I've also found a cool podcast about aromatherapy where I can learn more while doing housework or working in the yard. ;) Gotta love that. Thanks to Hillary Arrieta of Gaia Bodywork for sharing this with me!
Aromatic Wisdom Podcast

So once I get more knowledgable on oils, I'm going to start offering them to clients and tracking it within BWB. In the meantime, I'm off to play some more with my new hobby.

I made a roller bottle recipe for heartburn for a family member and it's working wonders. So I'm a goner now. I will be that girl with all the oils, annoying everyone she knows with "have you tried essential oils?" and I CAN'T WAIT.

I will be that girl with all the oils, annoying everyone she knows with "have you tried essential oils?"

What are some of your favorite oil blends or what are some of your success stories with oils? Let me know in a comment here so I can try it out!

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice since 1999, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Deep Feet Bar Therapy since 2007.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

4 Steps Every Massage Therapist Should be Doing

I recently had a client from the past show back up on my table. It's been... years.... maybe 10? She used to be a regular and then fell off the schedule. I knew she was working in another town and thought maybe she had moved there, or maybe she found a new therapist, etc.

But when she came in recently, she told me how much she's missed me and that she hasn't been getting massage on a regular basis since she used to come to me. Um... wow!? She just got busy with life, and kind of forgot the value of consistent massage appointments. (Until her pain level got to the point that it couldn't be ignored anymore and she scheduled.)

How often do clients not make it back in regularly or disappear from the schedule and we assume we aren't the right therapist for them, or that they didn't like the session? It's more likely that they are busy with this crazy thing called life and might just need a simple reminder from us that we are here for them. We have to remember that while massage is a HUGE part of our lives, not all of our clients have self-care/massage prioritized the same way that we do.

While in this case, my client thought of me and finally called me - how much sooner might she have come in if she had been hearing from me regularly? I could have been educating her on the importance of massage, letting her know of openings in my schedule, keeping in touch with her so I stayed at the top of her mind.

I'm betting she would not have waited 
10 years to get back on my table!

So what are some ways that we can keep in touch with clients? Technology makes it pretty easy and inexpensive. Here's a few ideas that come to mind:

  • Collect email addresses from clients and send out regular newsletters with benefits of massage and last minute openings with a free account with MailChimp
    Pro-tip: always get client's permission to email them, and use an email system to ensure you're following anti-spamming laws like an unsubscribe option.
  • Quarterly, with the change of the seasons, send out a snail mail postcard to clients who have fallen off the schedule.
  • Offer online scheduling! You'd be amazed how many clients have thought about scheduling with you at early-morning or late-night times and plan to call later, but never get around to it. If you have 24/7 scheduling available online, clients will appreciate the convenience and you will most definitely see your bookings increase. Of course, I recommend Bodywork Buddy ;)
  • Have a Facebook business page. Post info about the benefits of massage, and regularly post reminders to schedule and include the link to your online scheduler in your post. Make it easy for your clients! If you don't include that link in your post, clients will see the post but then still have to find their way to your site to schedule. If you just have a link right in the post it's as easy as one click. Also include a scheduling button or your scheduler embedded right into your FB page so clients can schedule right from Facebook. Bodywork Buddy has a FB app that connects right to your business page with one click - super simple!

What other ways do you have to remind clients of your awesome massages?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice since 1999, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Deep Feet Bar Therapy since 2007.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tracking Groupon and Other Deal Sites

Wondering how to track sales and redemption of services you've offered on a deal site? While not all deal sites are the same, with some basic information from your deal you can record it in Bodywork Buddy to add toward your income and also track redemptions.

I recommend creating a client file with the name of the deal site. So for example, create a client of "Groupon". (You could put the city for the last name, or create a different client file for each time you run a deal - having the date as the last name.)

Once you know how many deals have been sold, create a session record for the client Groupon, with X amount of services sold (using your regular services at full price). Enter a discount in the discount field equaling the discounts given for the deal, and then record the payment from the deal site.

Then in your business expenses, create an expense with the deal site as the vendor and record the amount that they took from the deal you ran. (I would classify this expense as advertising.)

Create a service (set to private) of "prepaid sessions" or "groupon deal", etc. with the price of $0. When a client redeems one of your deals, set the service to the private prepaid session service. The balance for the session will remain zero, but you'll still have a record of when the client had their session.

This will:
  1. Record the payment from the deal site
  2. Include the percentage you paid to the deal site for advertising expense
  3. Track the discount you offered for the deal
  4. Create session records for each client redeeming the deal
Use the deal site to track how many have been redeemed altogether.

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice since 1999, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Deep Feet Bar Therapy since 2007.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Manual Therapy for the Anterior Neck {Guest Post by Dawn Lewis}

Manual Therapy for the Anterior Neck
By Dawn Lewis

Recently I read an article about a woman suing a massage therapist and Massage Envy.  The woman believes that the massage therapist was aggressive enough on her anterior neck that it lead to a stroke.  I do not know if this is possible, but I do not know that it is impossible.  Since that article there have been multiple facebook postings about why bodyworkers should be afraid of the anterior neck.  This I completely disagree with.

We do not make bodywork safer for our clients by being afraid of their bodies or what is happening to them.  We make bodywork safer for our clients by being as educated as we can be.  There are times when we need to send our clients to medical professionals such as doctors, physical therapists, or chiropractors.  But when we see an apparently healthy individual and we are afraid to touch certain areas of their bodies, we do ourselves and our clients a disservice.

We do not make bodywork safer for our clients by being afraid of their bodies

The anterior neck, in particular, is an area we should all know how to work.  Why?  Because humans spend a good deal of their time right now with their necks in flexion and their heads down looking at their devices.  This leads to shortened, tight musculature in the anterior neck.  Shortened, tight musculature in the anterior neck can cause a multitude of issues.

First, a muscle named longus colli runs the length of the anterior cervical vertebrae.  When that muscle is tight, the cervical spine is in flexion.  This pulls the lordotic curve out of the cervical vertebrae, moving the vertebrae toward the posterior plane of the body.  As the neck straightens and moves posterior, the clavicles and sternal manubrium move posterior as well.  This position of the clavicles and manubrium moves the upper rib cage posterior and the scapulas into abduction.  As the scapulas move into abduction, the shoulders round forward.  This all started with a shortened longus colli.

Next, we could look at longus capitis.  Longus capitis originates on the transverse processes of C3 through C6 and inserts on anterior aspect of the bottom of the occiput.  Again, this muscle tightens when we have our head in flexion looking at our devices, reading a book or magazine, doing bodywork, etc..  But this muscle is attached to the head.  When it tightens, it pulls the anterior aspect of the head toward the chest (think chin toward chest).  The natural antagonist muscles to longus capitis are the suboccipital muscles.  In this position, the suboccipital muscles are in stretched position, leading to weakness, and the possibility for suboccipital headaches.

Finally, a head down position leads to tension in the muscles attaching to the hyoid bone in the anterior neck.  These muscles attach the sternum, thyroid cartilage, head, and scapula to the hyoid.  As the chin moves toward the chest, the hyoid is moved inferior and posterior, causing tension in all the hyoid muscles.  This can lead to pain and tension in the mandible, the temporomandibular joints, or the shoulders.

It is imperative that we learn to treat the anterior neck in an effective way.  I have been teaching anterior neck work for decades.  I teach Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique (SMRT), a positional release modality I made up a couple of decades ago.  I was always fascinated by the anterior neck, but while in basic training for massage therapy 23 years ago, I had a learning experience.

I was in my third level massage course, which happened to be neuromuscular.  Please understand that I am in no way being negative about neuromuscular therapy, I am simply telling you about an experience I had.  One day, another student and I decided that we really needed to practice.  We had been avoiding the neck work because we were not very comfortable receiving it in class.  But we had to know it to pass, so we needed to practice it.  I went first.

I did the full neuromuscular neck protocol on her.  It took about an hour.  That night we had class.  When I saw her in class, her neck was red and looked marbled.  It looked like hamburger, I thought.  She was in pain.  I felt terrible.  The red, marbled look and the pain lasted for almost three days.  This turned me off to doing deeper work on the neck.  When I began to develop SMRT, I spent many hours studying the neck and figuring out how I could affect the neck without causing pain.

If we look at our examples above, it is extremely easy to relieve tension in longus colli.  At one point in my career, I was taught to go into the anterior neck, move the esophagus to the side and cross fiber this muscle.  I have it more effective to place my hand on the top of head and manipulate the head position until I get a release in longus colli.  The pressure of my hand on the top of the head is minimal, as are the movements I make to find the correct position.  When longus colli regains length, the curve in the cervical spine begins to reappear.

When the flexion of the cervical vertebrae eases and the natural lordotic curve begins to re-establish itself, the cervical spine moves away from the posterior plane and into a more neutral position.  This allows the clavicles and manubrium to move into an anterior plane, and the scapulas to move to a more neutral position on the back. As a side note, when the clavicles and manubrium move to the posterior plane, as they do when the neck is too straight, a significant amount of tension is created in lower fibers of sternocleidomastoid.  Allowing the position of these bones to move toward a more natural anterior position, instantly eases the pressure on sternocleidomastoid.

In our next example, we had tension in longus capitis that was causing suboccipital muscle weakness and possibly headaches.  Many times this pattern leads to a report from the client that the "problem" is at the base of their head.  When we palpate the suboccipital area, it feels tight, so we work that area.  But, I find that by again placing my hand on the top of the head and moving the head into the needed position, longus capitis is able to release and allow the chin to come away from the chest, which lessens the stretch on and alleviates the pain in the suboccipital muscles.

In both of these examples, I do not have to work directly on the anterior neck.  In our third example, however, direct anterior neck work is beneficial.  SMRT allows us to do this work in a non-intrusive, gentle fashion, while still getting the desired results.  All of the hyoid muscles can be released and returned to normal tone by working with the position of the hyoid, the thyroid cartilage, and the sternum.

Some therapists believe that it is impossible to get the results a client needs by working with a light touch or by working remotely (i.e. using the head to release the neck muscles).  But I believe it is impossible to get the desired results without knowing the possible reasons for the tension in the muscles being addressed and while working in a way that causes pain and tension.  I have taught anterior neck work to almost 2000 therapists (and that number will continue to grow).  Anterior neck work is not something to be frightened of, it is something to be learned and understood.

In my last SMRT: head & neck class, there was a older woman who had been doing massage for over 30 years.  When we got to the anterior neck, she said to me, "I don't really want to practice this because I will never use it.  It scares me and I will never do it to my clients.  But I don't want to disappoint my partner either."  I encouraged her to try it in class, with the understanding that her partner would be very vocal about whether she was hurting her or not.

45 minutes later, by releasing the anterior neck muscles, she felt a significant change in the position of the hyoid and her partners chin had come into an anterior plane.  Her partner sat up, rotated her head around, sighed, and said, "that was awesome!  Thank you so much!  I slept funny last night.  I had a headache and that catch in my throat that makes you want to cough all the time, feels like a knife stuck in your throat.  It's all gone now.  That was great!"

When I see training experiences like this, I get rather irritated at the facebook posts that insight fear and tell us to stop treating this area immediately.  It is essential that we work on the anterior neck, yet most of the students in my SMRT courses do not work this area when they come to class.  Within the few hours that we concentrate on the anterior neck, they become confident in their ability to effect change without causing pain.  If you feel you do not know enough to work this area, by all means, don't - until you have taken a class, and then by all means, do work the anterior neck.

Dawn Lewis owns Full Circle School and teaches Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique or SMRT. Please check out the Full Circle website for live seminar dates, course videos, free sample videos, and other articles.