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Bodywork Buddy Blog

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

Showing posts with label massage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label massage. Show all posts

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Early Bird Pricing for New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp with Gael Wood

June 1-30, 2017 New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp

Hey there!

I wanted to let you know about a great deal for early birds registering for this massage marketing program. Today is the last day to get this deal, so if you're in need of some help with your massage business, check it out!

Last day of early bird pricing!

Sign up for Gael Wood's New Massage Client Attraction Boot Camp June 1-30, 2017 to develop your massage marketing foundation, put your business on the map, get new clients on your table, and BUILD YOUR MASSAGE BUSINESS! Tons of bonuses and live Facebook group support only available June 1-30.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How Do You Know If Your Client Got Their Email Reminder?

Bodywork Buddy has always had an email log so you can see when your clients received/opened their reminder emails. (Accessible from dashboard > account > email services > scroll down to email log.) Last I knew, no other online scheduling service offered this.

While it's a handy feature, we've had some members request a quicker, more "at-a-glance" way to see if clients haven't received or opened their email reminders. So we've implemented a new envelope icon in the calendar next to the client's name. An envelope outlined in white shows that the reminder has been sent, and the envelope will turn to solid white once it's been opened by your client. Pretty cool, right? Our members have been enjoying this feature for a few weeks now and the feedback has been pretty great.

Other ways to cut down on no-shows in your massage practice:
  • Send text reminders.
    Easy to do within BWB. Enable SMS services, have clients opt-in by texting the word "START" to 269-509-4288, make sure client's mobile number is on file.

  • Have a cancellation / no-show policy and make sure clients know about it.
    You can have your policies show within your email reminders, and you can also choose to have clients agree to your policies when they schedule online from your microsite.

  • Train clients from the beginning that you might not be able to get them back on the schedule immediately if they miss or cancel their appointment. You might be surprised how clients will be able to make it work once they realize they won't be able to get back in for several weeks. I discovered this by accident when I was so busy that I really was booked out for a month in advance. Clients started saying that they didn't dare cancel, because they knew they wouldn't be able to get in until next month.

    Even if you're not booked out for weeks in advance, you can show less openings in your schedule using Bodywork Buddy's "optimized time slots" feature. It only shows openings immediately before or after existing appointments, not only cutting down on large gaps in your day - but also creating a scarcity of available appointment times.

Do you have some useful tips to help cut down on cancellations and no-shows? Share here in the comments, I'd love to hear what has worked for 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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Steamy Wonder Update

BlushingWow, it's been a few years since I added the Steamy Wonder to my services and I still haven't posted my promised update of how it's worked out in my practice...oops!

I started out with adding a complimentary 20 minute steam with each session for them to experience it for the first time. After that, it was a $30 add-on. (Without really adding on any time to the session.) About 2 out of every 3 clients seems to love it, and many have added it to their regular routine. After having worked with the steam for a while, there's a few things I have changed:

  • I only steam for about 15 minutes now instead of 20. This includes the cool-down time at the end of the steam, so really more like 10 minutes of solid heat.
  • I've moved into a new space and don't have a good area to hang the tent with the pulley system. I realized my previous post didn't make it clear that the pulley system is optional, totally not required. I liked the pulley system, but some clients did mention that it looked like a huge casket hanging from the ceiling... (yikes?!). Now I stand it on it's end and partially tuck it behind my armoire. It doesn't take up much space and is still easily accessible.
  • I used to use a sheet as a drape, and would slide it out after putting the tent over the table - leaving the client uncovered under the tent. I have recently switched to a bath towel for a drape, and leave it on the client during the steam. They can choose to slide the towel off to the side if they want, but most leave it on during the steam. It's comfortable and leaves the client feeling less exposed. It also helps to soak up some of the sweat, and then after wiping the client off with hot towels, I switch out the drape to a clean sheet and remove the bath towel.

About 2 out of every 3 clients seems to love it

Bodywork Buddy online scheduler

I offer it as a combined service in my Bodywork Buddy online scheduler. So, for example, under my "deep tissue massage" service group, I have these choices:
  • 90 minute deep tissue massage plus steam
  • 90 minute deep tissue massage
  • 60 minute deep tissue massage plus steam
  • 60 minute deep tissue massage
  • 30 minute deep tissue massage plus steam
  • 30 minute deep tissue massage

massage business management software

I can run a report on specific services within Bodywork Buddy to show how much of my income each year has been from what service. Handy, right?

The small investment of adding the steam service has definitely been worth it. *Pro-tip: Be on the lookout for a used Steamy Wonder in good condition to save money.

So, there's the scoop! Do you have any specific questions on how I use the steam in my practice? Let me know and I can answer them in another post.

BTW, if you're interested in checking out Bodywork Buddy for your business needs, there is a 
free trial to see if it's a good fit for you. *Special discounts for Board Certified therapists and members of ABMP!*

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.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pillossage Class

I took Pillossage with Karen Kowal a few weeks ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It's no secret I love Mother Earth Pillows (they're like heaven!), and I've been wanting to learn the thermal connective tissue release technique that Karen created using them ever since I first saw it at NERC (AMTA New England Regional Conference) in 2008. I was working in the Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy booth, but got a chance to check out the other booths and fell in love with the aromatic Mother Earth Pillows. I hadn't gotten a chance to receive the work at that time. (Bummer!)

I found in class that it's nearly impossible to stay awake while receiving this work!  It completely zones clients out while receiving it. It's a great addition to any session, especially for those chatty clients that can't seem to relax.

From that first feather stroke down the body wrap pillow over the spine, clients seem to just sink into the table a bit more and really open up to receive. It's a gentle technique making it work well for most clients.

My clients comment all the time on the great aroma of the pillows. I've been incorporating them into my work for a while (mostly just to help keep clients warm) but after Karen's class, I have all sorts of awesome tricks to add in to my sessions with the warm pillows.

I found this arm and shoulder work in class especially yummy:

Went to write this blog post and realized I didn't get any pics with Karen while in class! Looks like I might have to make a road trip to her next class sometime soon for the self-care workshop she teaches. ;)

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

6 Problems Massage Therapists Solve Using Bodywork Buddy

  1. Phone tag with clients

    If using the online scheduling aspect of Bodywork Buddy, massage therapists can greatly cut down on phone tag with clients and the back and forth of trying to get an appointment time that works for both client and therapist.

    The online scheduler will show open appointments in real time to clients looking to schedule while still allowing the therapist to keep control over their schedule.

    Clients want the convenience of online scheduling, so not only does it eliminate phone tag but it gives your clients what they want!

  2. Being unprepared for tax time
    Have you ever waited until the end of the year or even April to go through your entire book and add up your income? Uh... me neither....

    BWB actually makes it really easy to make recording your income a daily habit. And if you don't do it for every session? Those sessions will stay on your dashboard as overdue appointments so you'll remember that you still need to complete those and add payment info.

  3. Setting boundaries and enforcing policies
    Policies are included on the email reminders sent to clients, and you can also add them to your online intake forms for clients to agree to.

    It's important to have clear boundaries and policies, and BWB helps you enforce those.

  4. Tracking growth of business
    Do you know where your business is for this quarter? This month? How have you grown since this month last year? BWB makes it easy to find out with just a few clicks.

  5. Tracking gift certificates and packages
    "Oh you have a gift certificate but you didn't bring it with you or you don't know the number? No problem! I have it on file."

  6. Having a professional online presenceThe BWB microsite design has been made specifically for massage and to help you have a professional online presence. With massage specific images and videos, our online scheduler helps show clients what you do and how you can help them. You can also add your own images and text to completely personalize your microsite.

It's important to have clear boundaries and policies 

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.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How To Run a Successful Deal Campaign: Part Two

Now let's dive in to the actual process of working the deal.
Remember, it's going to be hard work but I think you're up to the challenge!

Here are my nine steps to a successful deal campaign.

1. Get ready!
First, decide what your offer will be.
Will you do a Swedish massage or a completely new service?
For example, I might want to get creative and create a 30 min. foot massage / peppermint foot scrub followed by a 45 min. focused massage, this way I can add some value to the offer and raise the price a bit on this service.

Next decide on a price point and add it to your services and website. Do this before you sign up with a deal site.

Don't forget to buy any new equipment or supplies ( like towels, new sheets, sugar, peppermint oil...)
Remember to think about making a good impression. If your sheets are funky, think about replacing them. You are aiming to retain these clients so first impressions matter!

2. Put processes in place or sharpen your existing ones.
What is your booking process?
What is your communication process?
Really think about this. You're going to be working with more people than usual so you'll need to have these processes streamlined. They need to be CRYSTAL clear. Don’t make things complicated and make sure your website is easy to navigate.

3. Get online booking, like now!

Requiring that people who buy the deals book online is a great way to manage the influx of new business. Make your tools work for you. Automate as much of the booking and communication as possible through email. After all, That's how they found out about you in the first place so it's a great tool to use in order to communicate.

For example, when someone books with me, I send them my welcome email. Every client gets the same one. I introduce myself, important information about my practice, directions with a map and a picture, and attached links to my intake and policy paperwork so they can fill out everything before they get here if they want to.

Then my booking system takes care of the rest with email confirmations/reminders as well as text reminders.

4. Clean and organize your office and get all your paperwork ready.
Is your treatment room appropriate and comfortable for new clients?
Is your intake form professional?
Do you have a policy agreement ready for new clients to sign?
Do you have a place for them to fill in their email and a check box if they'd like to be added to your list for future contact?

Make sure you outline your policies on no shows, last minute cancellations, and expirations on packages and promotions. Lay it all out there for them and have them sign the agreement. You can even have a copy to put in your welcome bag. (More on that later)

Remember that your main goal is to retain them as long term clients so you'll want to let them know about your policies.

5. Give a stellar treatment.
This is your time to shine, knock their socks off! Be friendly and focused on doing your best work. Listen to them and find out their bodywork goals. Anticipate their needs and give five star customer service.

6. Create a rebook incentive.
You just gave them an outstanding massage, so they are totally relaxed and amazed at your awesome skills! Great Job!!
Now, you want to retain these wonderful clients so give them even more incentive to come back.

I decided that I would offer a package with special pricing so that I could show that my work was consistently great and to get them in the habit of seeing me regularly. That might not work for your practice so think about your goals and get creative. Also, make sure to put appropriate restrictions on your incentive.

7. Give them a welcome bag.
Some ideas for things to add to your gift bag: a heartfelt welcome letter, your brochure, your business card, samples of pain relieving gel, mints, coupons for other like-minded businesses.

You could even put some gift certificates in there for their friends (first time clients only) if you’re doing Eric Brown’s 60 clients in 60 Days program. Another great way to boost your clientele!

8. Add them to your email list.
DO THIS. Once you’ve grown your list, you can start running your own deals, NO profit sharing. Remember, scarcity is really important so don’t run too many specials or deals. I only run two specials a year and it’s an extremely successful campaign for me because people anticipate it.

This is how you retain the value of your work. People feel like they are getting something truly SPECIAL, because they are! Running specials all the time is not...well, special. It becomes expected.
My email list is one of my most valuable marketing tools.

9. Follow up with a handwritten "thank you" note.
Handwritten is KEY. Don’t let bad handwriting be an excuse to skip this step. Take your time and do this. I promise you’ll make a huge impression.
Include a few business cards for their friends and offer a referral bonus. Something catchy like, "Send three, get one free". This is just an example. Be creative and make it juicy so they will want to refer.

Have you had success running “deals”? What are your tips for success?
Share your experiences!

Hi! I’m Hillary Arrieta and I help people improve their lives by offering holistic solutions to eliminate stress. 
I own Gaia Bodywork in Richardson, TX. and specialize in unique and effective massage and meditation techniques such as Barefoot Bar Therapy and iRest® Yoga Nidra.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Put Some Steam On it [Portlandia Inspired]

For today's blog post, I thought I'd write about what I'm doing in my own massage practice these days. For several years now, I have been specializing in ashiatsu deepfeet therapy. I also practice massage cupping, hot stone massage, and ashi-thai.

In the beginning of my massage career, I had attended a spa therapies class at Aveda through my employer. That is where I first encountered the Steamy Wonder and have wanted one ever since! I didn't really think it would be easily incorporated into a dry room setting, (the only way I saw it in training was in a spa wet room), so I just kind of forgot about it.

And then a couple of months ago I met a therapist who uses the steam tent in her massage practice every day. After picking her brain a bit, I decided to take the plunge myself and get myself a Steamy Wonder.

I have been having so much fun with this!

Closeup pics of the pulley system before steam tent is attached.

Steam tent on my table and stored up by ceiling by pulley system.

For starters, I had a pulley system installed in my ceiling so I could easily store it out of the way. Because I have my ashiatsu bars directly above my table, I had the pulley system installed just to the side of my table.

After a few practice sessions, I was ready to offer it to clients. It's really simple and easy to use and takes no time at all to be comfortable enough with it to add it to your menu. I've started by offering a complimentary 20 minute steam add-on to my client's regular massage sessions.

So far, I would say about 2 out of every 3 people are LOVING the steam treatment. I have been doing some scalp massage while they are steaming, and afterward I wipe them off with hot towels with lemongrass essential oil before moving on to the massage. What's been amazing to me is how their muscles have softened before I even start to work with them. The steam literally melts tension so that by the time I get to doing the massage, they are already like butter on the table.

Not only does it make my job easier, but I feel like I'm actually giving them even more benefit to the massage with the addition of steam.

While I find myself wanting to "put some steam on it" for every session, it's still a bit too early to tell just how much steam I'll be doing overall as add-ons.  Once I've had it implemented for a bit longer I will update with a post detailing how it's going.  (I'm sure it will go over much better than the ending of the "put a bird on it" skit from Portlandia.)

I've included some pics of the pulley system going in, as well as pics of my beautiful new steam tent :-)
Have you ever used steam in your massage treatments? What have you found the benefits to be?

*A special thanks goes out to Mary who reignited my excitement about the Steamy Wonder and got me thinking again about the possibilities!

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 of 14 years. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why Fijian Massage is the Secret Ingredient to a Long Massage Career

massage softwareA few weeks ago, I hosted a Fijian Massage class with founder Lolita Knight.  (along with a few other of her CE classes).  With the help of her “professional massage model” Mark, too of course!

Lolita has been a practicing massage therapist for over 30 years.  Here’s an article she has written explaining the history of Fijian Massage.

My girlfriend Rosemarie is quarter Fijian, quarter Chinese and half Kiwi.  In 1998 we traveled to Fiji to visit her relatives on several of the smaller of the Fijian Islands. On the island of Kadavu, I met her cousin Simonis.  He was the village “massage therapist”.  On this island there were no roads, no electricity except for a few generators, no indoor plumbing (outhouse), no hot water (a communal COLD WATER shower instead) and of course no TV.

Despite this, living with her relatives was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had.  It made me think a lot about my life and the role money plays in it.  The Fijian people have very little financial resources, yet they live one of the richest lives I have ever seen.  LOVE is everywhere: especially for the children.  And LAUGHTER.  I wanted to learn Fijian just so I could be part of that ever-constant humor.  Plus FAITH: a faith that is rich in its strength and actions.  The Fijian community made me feel so welcomed, loved and for the first time I experienced unconditional love.

Rosemarie’s cousin Simonis, had wanted to give me a massage, but I was on holiday.  With 20 years of massage experience, I wanted a break and felt I would need to give him some lessons.  So I put him off for a few days.  Finally I agreed and I was truly amazed.  I certainly wasn’t going to the be the teacher.  Simonis had a very rapt student who wanted to learn everything he had to share.

Simonis had learned this massage, which I have called “Fijian Massage”, when he was 7 years of age.  When any of the villagers had sore or damaged muscles, they would seek out Simonis.  Massage Therapy is not a paid occupation for Simonis.  He simply gives of his time and talent to help his friends and neighbors.  Sometimes he is very busy and his main activity is attending his own plantation of taro and pineapple.  Therefore, he doesn’t have a great deal of time to spend giving massages.

I feel this is why such an effective massage technique has been handed down generation to generation to generation.  The people HAVE TO have strong and efficient muscles to survive as their bodies are their source of transport, work is very labor intensive and there is no social welfare for those unable to work.  And the therapist doesn’t have an “hour” to fix people so the method evolved that fixed people quickly.

In Fiji, the client would lie on the ground or a Fijian woven mat and Simonis would use mainly his feet, sometimes his hands to release the tension and repair the damaged tissue.  I have made many modifications to his technique to make it more comfortable for both the client and the therapist.  I have also created a method that ONLY uses the feet to help save therapist’s hands from repetitive movement injury.

I am ever so grateful for the method that Simonis taught me that I donate to the people in the Fijian villages as this can help them in their difficult financial situations.

When I returned to New Zealand (where I had lived for 20 years), I felt that Kiwis would not relate to lying on the floor and me using my feet to massage them.  So for 6 months I did not use the “FIJIAN MASSAGE”.  Then one day a client came to me with severe leg scar tissue and wanted to run a marathon in 6 weeks.  I knew the only way to help him was with the Fijian Massage technique.  He was desperate and willing to try anything so I convinced him of the Fijian Massage done with my feet.  He not only was able to run the marathon, but also beat his previous best time.  Then I tentatively recommended that my regular clients try the Fijian Massage.  Now over 80% of my clients prefer the Fijian Massage to the other deep tissue sport massages that I offer.

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Why is the Fijian Massage so popular?  Mainly my clients want a deep massage that is also relaxing.  Prior to doing the Fijian Massage I did Deep Tissue Cross Fiber Massage with a lot of my method using my elbow.  While it was pointed and got to the troubled area, it was a “sharp” pain.  With the Fijian I do my  main deep work with my heel.  This deep pressure is softer that my elbow, yet it is a stronger stroke.  Plus my clients find that the repair happens much quicker with the Fijian Barefoot Massage.

If you think about it, the foot has stronger bones and the leg muscles are more powerful than the arm.  Try this: rotate your lateral edge of your foot on the floor laterally.  Now put your hand on the floor and do the same thing.  It is obvious that your foot is much, much stronger than your hand.

One thing I really enjoy with using my foot and leg (and abdomen) is that not only does it relax the use of your hands, but it also gives your legs and abdomen good workout; therefore adding more balance to your own muscular structure.

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Fijian To Go: working with client seated
With the Fijian Massage you use your toes, lateral and medial edge of your foot, the pad, bunion bone point, the base of your heel, the edge of your heel and the back of your heel.  You can massage all parts of your client except the face.

When I reflect, I feel that it is amazing that this technique that I learned quite by accident on a remote island in Fiji, where I learned to accept cold showers as a pleasant way of life, is being taught all over the world.  I feel forever grateful to the warm and amazing villagers on the remote island of Fiji that shared and taught me a technique that I firmly believe will enhance deep tissue sport massage for both the therapist and client.

Lolita is a great teacher with amazing energy.  I’m so grateful I was able to learn from her before her retirement!  If you’re interested in learning Fijian Massage, you can find classes offered from her team of instructors by visiting

Cindy (me), Ginger, Lolita, Mark
Many thanks to Lolita and Mark for the wonderful class and many laughs!

Tweetable: Why is Fijian #massage so popular? via @BodyworkBuddy