Bodywork Buddy Blog

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Member Spotlight: Pamela Tucker

Today's member spotlight is Pamela Tucker. She owns Massage Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Q: What inspired you to be a massage therapist? 

A: I had, like many people, enjoyed an occasional massage to celebrate special occasions. But in 2001, employed as a Senior Financial Analyst for 29 years in my home state of California, my office closed and my marriage ended. I was able to transfer to Kalamazoo, MI and retire 2 years later, but that move made me feel very disconnected. I started receiving massage twice weekly and countered my shyness by talking to the practitioner, asking questions about their training. I also developed kidney stones, and discovered that massage helped me physically prepare for and recover from surgery. I started exploring other ways that massage supported my well-being and, when the job ended, I knew I didn't want another "job-job". I wanted to learn massage. My 2-year severance pay covered my 18 months of training and I was able to fully emerge myself in massage.

Q: How long have you been doing massage? 

A: I have practiced for a little over 10 years. The first year was on staff at the school I went to, including doing a little instructing. I was also taking an 200-hour continuing ed course in Natural Remedies. Next I was on staff at a Chiro office, then in practice with friends who had a successful clinic. Since I was a renter, and could book my own clientele, I established my business, Massage Kalamazoo, and built my website. The office had been using a paper scheduling book but I saw the advantage of online booking and soon gained 5 weekly clients from the local University. I'm now in my 3rd office, sharing a 2-office space with the woman who first encouraged me. We work and schedule independently but it's a very supportive environment.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being an MT? 

A: Starting my days at 2PM! Or, more specifically, setting my hours and running my business to reflect my sensibilities. I love the challenge when a new client comes in and I must not only do the physical part of my job, but create a space that supports healing. I love seeing the changes in my returning clients as they, like I did, start to understand massage and their bodies and how it works together. I love CE classes and love the amazing thought that I can keep learning things that have profound effects on physical and emotional health, when just 10 years ago I was reviewing annual reports and setting million-dollar credit lines. This is way more fun.

Q: What do you feel is the most challenging issue for massage therapists? 

A: So many things. Being realistic about how much of that $65/hour you really make. Trust me, I love owning my business, but after I pay rent, supplies, training, advertising...practitioners working for a practice really need to consider ALL expenses before thinking I'm making "everything" I'm paid. Finding the right niche is a very personal thing, and I've seen several practitioners leave a really good situation because they don't realize that a busy practice and a reasonable split might be a better financial situation than opening a private practice. 

Q: What advice would you give to other MT’s to help build their business? 
Katie educates clients on the
benefits of massage

A: First, a good website seems to be bringing people to my door. Make sure all your modalities are mentioned in your keywords. Incorporate the fabulous testimonials that Bodywork Buddy so cleverly gathers for you and post them on your website. I'm a little quirky, so my dog has a page about puppy massage, and most new clients mention that, which tells me they read everything. I don't pay Google to move me up to the top of the first page but I usually am 3rd or 4th. I also have a pretty active business page on Facebook, but I don't spend a lot of time working it. 

Then, online booking has always been a client fave. I'm in a town with 3 Universities and colleges, and students tend to think about booking at 2AM. 

Gather and encourage referrals; I've offered extra time to clients who send me someone new, and follow up if someone hasn't been in for a while; a postcard offering a discount, upgrade, or just updating them on a new modality you've learned might bring them back. 

The biggest a GREAT massage, and rebook them while they are there. Nearly all my clients rebook, have recurring appointments scheduled for them, or text me when they get home to their calendar. You're helping them to be awesome clients and the best time to rebook is when they're already in massage bliss!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Posterior Sling [Guest Post by Dawn Lewis]

Written by Dawn Lewis

The posterior sling is comprised of the latissimus dorsi muscle on one side of the body, the
ipsilateral or same side thoracolumbar fascia and then transferring to the opposite side or
contralateral thoracolumbar fascia and the opposite side gluteus maximus.  We will explore the
implications of this in 3 ways:

1) Latissimus dorsi inserts on the medial lip of the intertubercular groove of the humerus and all of the muscles direct actions happen at the shoulder.  These actions are medial rotation of the arm at the shoulder, adduction of the arm at the shoulder, and extension of the arm at the shoulder.  Many clients have one or both shoulders that are stuck, for lack of a better word, in medial rotation.  This pattern chronically shortens latissimus dorsi, fibers of which blend with the thoracolumbar fascia.
This has the potential to shorten the thoracolumbar fascia on the same side and the opposite side of the body.  Gluteus maximus originates from the thoracolumbar fascia directly and from the gluteal aponeurosis (as well as from the iliac crest, sacrum, and coccyx), which is a continuation of the thoracolumbar fascia.  If the thoracolumbar fascia is shortened it has the potential to shorten the fibers of gluteus maximus.

So, we see that tension patterns at the shoulder can affect the entire posterior sling.  If we travel
further down the body we find that gluteus maximus inserts on the iliotibial band.  The IT band then
inserts on the lateral condyle of the tibia at Gerdy's tubercle.  This means that if a client has a tight
IT band on the right side, and/or knee issues on the right side, the issue could very easily be the left
shoulder.  And this leaves out the why of the shoulder pattern.  Is the shoulder in medial rotation
because of activity, the forearm being overpronated, and/or forward head syndrome?  The entire
pattern and the knee pain could be caused by what is moving the shoulder into the pattern of

2)  Beginning at the foot, we can follow the pattern from the position of the foot to the shoulder in a few muscles or fascial structures.  Let's say that the client's right foot is oversupinated (turned in with an accentuated arch).  This position generally causes tension in tibialis anterior and peroneus longus.  Tibialis anterior because one of its two actions is supination (or inversion) and peroneus longus because the majority of the force coming through the foot will be coming through the lateral side of the foot, shortening the joints and the muscles along the lateral line of the lower leg.  Tibialis anterior originates from the lateral tibia and peroneus longus from the upper fibula.  As these muscles tighten they can pull the tibia into lateral rotation at the knee.

This knee position will tighten the IT band, whose job it is to stabilize the knee.  When the IT band
tightens, the muscles attaching to the IT band, namely gluteus maximus and tensor fasciae latae,
tighten as well.  The shortening of gluteus maximus can then lead to tautness in the thoracolumbar
fascia.  Now we are into the posterior sling, and it is easy to see how tautness in the thoracolumbar
fascia could lead to tension in latissimus dorsi.  If we follow the posterior sling, the latissimus dorsi
tension would be on the contralateral side, in this case the left side.  This tension has the potential
to pull the left shoulder into medial rotation, as well as adduction and extension. All of this shows
that the pattern in the left shoulder could very easily be coming from the right foot.

3)  Finally, we would be remiss to leave out the bones that the muscles attach to, so let's take into
account the bony anatomy and how it could affect the posterior sling or how the posterior sling
could effect it.  When we talk about the first synopsis above, we need to ask why latissimus dorsi
has shortened and pulled the shoulder into medial rotation.  Most often the muscle tightens first
and the joint moves into the muscle's actions.  But sometimes the muscle is tight because of what is
happening with the bones.  In this example, it is possible that latissimus dorsi became tight because
the humerus moved into medial rotation.  Why would the humerus move into medial rotation?
Possibly to accommodate the radius and the ulna.

As I sit and type this article, I pull my shoulders back and I move the humeral heads out into external
rotation.  But my hands on the keyboard keep my forearms in pronation.  If this is my position a
good portion of each of my days, my body will decide that through my actions I am telling it that my
forearms belong in pronation.  My supination will become more and more limited.  If my radius and
ulna are in an overpronated position, but my humeri are sitting neutral between medial and lateral
rotation, I will have pain in my elbows.  To stop this pain, each radius and ulna will recruit their
respective humerus and each humerus will slowly be pulled into the pattern that began in my
forearms.  As the humeri moves into medial rotation, fibers of latissimus dorsi shorten.  Thus begins
the posterior sling pattern.

If we look at the second synopsis above we begin with the position of the ankle.  The foot is in
oversupination, which moves the talus lateral.  One joint in the ankle complex, the talocrural joint, is
an articulation between the talus and the tibia.  When the talus moves lateral it will likely recruit the
tibia and the tibia will move lateral.  Now, we know that tibialis anterior and peroneus longus are
shortened, and when the tibia moves lateral we will also get shortening of and tension in the lateral
head of gastrocnemius, the lateral fibers of soleus, and extensor digitorum longus.  When the
movement of the bone is coupled with this muscle tension on the lateral side of the lower leg the
tibia is prone to lateral rotation.

So, what began at the ankle has now shifted the tibia out of its natural pocket.  As soon as this
happens we have excess tension in the IT band, which is an insertion site for gluteus maximus,
which is the distal end of the posterior sling, which we could follow all the way back up to the contralateral shoulder.

Whew!!  And this does not include any discussion about angonist/antagonist relationships and how
these patterns lead to facilitated and inhibited muscles.

As we know, the entire body is connected in a few short steps.  The posterior sling in one way to
think about systemic compensation patterns and what effects what.

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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How To Sync Your Google or iCal Calendar

Did you know you can sync your Google and/or iCal calendars to your Bodywork Buddy calendar? Enabling your sync and feed settings will allow your BWB massage appointments to show in your Google and iCal calendars and vice versa. Many massage therapists love this feature that allows them to see all of their calendars from any location.

From within your Bodywork Buddy account, go to Dashboard > Calendar > Google Calendars > click green "enable Google calendar sync" button.

Oh look! That's me on live chat, available to help if you need it :)

Google will ask you to select which account you want to sync to.

After clicking on the appropriate account, you will have to click "accept" to grant Bodywork Buddy access to your Google calendar. 

Check the box next to the calendar(s) you want to sync with. Click the green "enable selected google calendar(s)" button.

Next, go to Dashboard > Calendar > Feed Settings > click green "enable feed" button.

After the feed is enabled, there will be a box in the lower left of this screen with a button to add to your Google calendar and/or Microsoft Outlook, and a link to add to any software that supports the iCal format.

Simply click on the buttons to add to google or microsoft outlook. If adding to iCal, highlight and copy the link > open your iCal > click File > New Calendar Subscription.

Paste the link into the text field and click "subscribe".

And that's it! Follow these steps and your calendars will be synced, allowing you to see events/appointments on both calendars from both places.

Have questions? Need help? Contact us, we'd love to help!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Product Review: The Nirvana Mate 2

Order online
I've been trying out the Nirvana Mate 2 cushioning system from Got Your Back. What I like about using this instead of a breast pillow is that there is no need to remove it when flipping the client to supine. You can actually use the recess for better access to the neck (check out the video below at 1:00 to see what I mean!), or you can put the cut out back in if you prefer.

The gradual slope of the second half of the cushion makes it less noticeable than a breast pillow from the client's perspective. Place it under the sheets or your table warmer and it feels like it's just part of the table. You can also easily add in the cut out at any time for clients who don't need it while prone on the table.

Folds in half and is lightweight for easy travel or storage.

Got Your Back also has a helpful online class on Peak Positioning using different bolstering techniques that you may be interested in. 
It's FREE by the way, so check it out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Member Spotlight: Patty Moore

Today's Bodywork Buddy member spotlight is Patty Moore of Mercer, Pennsylvania. Patty owns Greenfield Massage Studio.

Q: What inspired you to be a massage therapist?

A: As an athlete growing up, I received a lot of training in swimming, running, and jumping; what I didn't receive was good treatment to my muscles. I weight trained, and had some chiropractic care. When I watched the Olympics, some were helped by the trainers and some were getting Massage treatments. I knew then! What a fully focused treatment. Of course, these were world class athletes, not just the regular public or weekend warriors. They were getting a piece of the missing puzzle. Well rounded care. I knew some day I would be working in the Massage field.

Q: How long have you been doing massage?

A: Well since 1999! Sixteen years this September. 10 years I worked in the back of a nice salon. Then, my children went to college. We have a pretty big home, with 2 driveways, and a perfect area for clients. So, I have worked out of my house now for 6 years. I love it. I am in charge. I do not think I could work for anyone else again. It's perfect!

Q: What is your favorite thing about being an MT?

A: I love people, and I love helping people feel better. The best is when a "Newbie" comes in, and I get to educate them, show them some self care, and also give them great information on how and why to keep regular with their treatments. That is a Win-Win!!!

Q: What do you feel is the most challenging issue for massage therapists?

A: Educating clients and the public about professional Massage Therapy. Massage is extremely beneficial for almost 99% of the population. That means we have so much work to do. Some of our work is not just about a yearly spa visit, but about great, therapeutic massage treatment. We strive so hard to be living a healthy lifestyle, but most of the public neglects the muscular system. We have to compete with the monthly budget for hair, nails, tanning, and etc., however,  teaching our clients, and the public, about treating their bodies to massage is every bit as important as their hair and nails. So, I explain the benefits of sleep, healthy food, exercise and massage to every client that comes to me. Yes, I preach it to all those I encounter outside my studio too! It's our elevator/business speech. Such an important speech to have as well!

Q: What advice would you give to other MT’s to help build their business?

A: Be patient. Sell yourself, talk about your skills, demonstrate when you can. Give some stuff away free when you can or need. I did when I started out. I massaged every hand and shoulder than came into that beauty salon. The client's came. I donated to a few charity events, relay for life, and a few raffles. Be very choosey of your donations. When my schedule was filling up, I cut back on freebies. Find another massage therapist to trade with and be your buddy. Be confident and positive. Be friends with other massage therapists. Other business types don't always get you. We are unique! Take continuing education as much as you can. It's great to get away and renew yourself. Change up your routine at times, clients get sick of the same old thing. Separate yourself from other massage therapists in the community with your skills.  Upgrade as you can with your studio and tools. You will progress towards bigger and better things as your skills do. Keep you chin up!!! Always, always. always make time for your family and dog!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Massage Chains Versus YOU

As a solo massage therapist, it may seem daunting to try and compete with the franchises. The key is to set yourself apart from the big chains, not to try and compete with them on prices or try to run deeply discounted groupon deals or membership specials. Remember that they have a huge staff to implement those deals… you only have YOU! If you try and compete on price, you will only burn yourself out and not make any money in the process. (Not to say that you shouldn’t run group deals, but if you do, know how to run them to work for you! Don’t expect to run them the same that the franchises do and be successful. Check out Hillary’s blog posts on running a successful deal campaign: Part 1 & Part 2. We also have a special offer just for the Bodywork Buddy readers of 50% off Tiger Lily Studios audio book on using social buying sites. Enter code BWB50 when ordering. Valid through July 31st only, so go get it now!)

It’s important to create a niche to set yourself apart from the big massage chains. Identifying or creating a niche means digging deeper into what sets your business or service apart from the competition. The typical marketing question is "Why would I schedule an appointment with you instead of <insert massage franchise>?" Identify what makes your independent massage practice different, and then play up those features.

In addition to having a niche, it’s important to have systems in place to keep your business organized and to have a professional online image. Take a look at your local massage chain’s website. Now view that side-by-side with yours.

  • Where is there room for improvement to appear more professional?
  • Is it obvious to clients viewing both sites how your independent massage practice is different?
  • Do you offer unique services or techniques and is that prominently displayed on your website? (Professional images will really help here.)
  • Do you offer the convenience of online scheduling? (Remember that a lot of clients are now doing most browsing and scheduling from their phone… is your scheduler mobile friendly?)
  • Do you have client testimonials or raving reviews on your site?

These things can boost your professional image online and help further set you apart from the chains. (If you’re looking for a solution that offers all of these, we’ve made it super simple for you! Check out the free trial with Bodywork Buddy.)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Let Clients Schedule From Your Facebook Page

Wouldn't it be cool if your clients could schedule an appointment with you right from your Facebook business page without ever leaving Facebook? Oh that's right, they can!

From within your Bodywork Buddy account, go to dashboard > account > microsite info.  (Hopefully you've already enabled your microsite and have already been using the online scheduling feature. But if not, check out this video to help you set that up!)

Once your microsite is activated, you can embed it right into your Facebook business page by scrolling to the bottom of the microsite info page. Under "Extra Stuff" is a link to click to integrate with your Facebook page.

This will open a window in Facebook and you can select your business page from the dropdown box. Then click "add page tab", and it's done!

What does it look like on your Facebook page?

A "Schedule online" tab will be added to the navigation on your page. If you want to move where this is displayed, click on "more" and you'll have the option to reorder your tabs.

When you click on "schedule online", you'll see the microsite scheduler embedded right into your Facebook page. Clients can schedule without ever being taken away from Facebook.

Are you thinking it's time you tried Bodywork Buddy? Try it for free, no credit card required.