Renew Your Commitment
Looking for a way to decompress after a long day practicing massage and managing your business? The answer is in a bath minus the bubbles. Soaking in a hot bath containing magnesium sulfate, otherwise known as Epsom salt, at least three times a week can do your body and mood a lot of good. Soaking in a few cups of Epsom salt can ease your body of aches and pains, calm the nervous system, soothe muscle strains and draw out toxins from the body.
Magnesium sulfate is a natural mineral found in water. When the Epsom salt dissolves in warm water the magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin and rejuvenates body levels of magnesium. This mineral helps your body to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. It can also relieve the pain of inflammation which makes it effective in treating sore muscles, bronchial asthma, and migraines.
The effective ingredient in Epsom salt is the magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral because it regulates the activity of 325 enzymes in the body, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent artery hardening. The benefits of magnesium are numerous: body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and helping muscles and nerves to function properly. It has also been known to reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. During your bath your blood pressure decreases creating a relaxed feeling, which in turn will allow you a better night’s rest.
Epsom salt can be easily purchased at any drugstore or supermarket. Epsom salt can be used not only for your health but for beauty purposes as well. Adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to your favorite body or facial cleanser can create an effective exfoliate to wash away dead skin. If you don’t have time for a full bath try a relaxing foot soak. Epsom salt has been known to relieve the pain of sprains and bruises, athlete’s foot and gout.
As a massage therapist, you do a lot to ease the pain of your clients and ensure their well-being. Setting aside time for your wellness is important. Drawing a bath and adding two cups of magnesium sulfate is simple. Finding 20 to 30 minutes of quiet alone time may not be, but should always remain a priority. Perhaps you sneak away while your family is watching one of their favorite nightly programs, or draw the bath once your children are asleep or turn off the cell phone to allow yourself to take that well deserved soak.
Renew Your Practice
Take a peak at your appointment book. If you have realized it or not there are a few reoccurring names. Actually, you should see more than a few. According to the 2011 Massage Profession Report, “Repeat clients make up the majority of appointments, in fact around 72 percent!” Retaining these clients is extremely important and one way to ensure your practice consistently meets their needs is simple. Ask them.
Creating a client satisfaction survey is one of the easiest ways to certify the best customer service possible. Asking your clients to engage in constructive criticism about your practice may be just what you need to learn how to differentiate yourself from the competition and ensure they keep coming back. The information may prove invaluable and allow you to determine which methods of marketing you should invest more time and money in. If many people answer they would recommend you to friends and family perhaps offer a percentage off their next massage if the person they referred you to schedules an appointment. Another outcome may be you have to rethink how you sell your packages, should there be a greater discount if they schedule their massages in the next three months or less if they spread it out throughout the year. It’s really up to you how you interpret the results of your survey.
Creating an online survey is easy and in many cases can be free. Sites like SurveyMonkey.com, SurveyGizmo.com and FreeOnlineSurveys.com all offer free and varying amounts of paid memberships where you can choose which plan is right for you. The results of the survey are sent to you as a report of statistics where you can easily determine if 60 percent of people would rather pay online versus the 40 percent of people who prefer to pay upfront then it would be in your best interest to look into a PayPal account for your website.
Client Satisfaction Surveys are a great way to inspire motivation for your marketing strategies and promotions. Remember, when you create your survey it doesn’t have to be long to provide you with meaningful information. Just ask what you want to know. Ask questions about your recent promotions, booking preferences or follow our guide to create an informative and insightful survey.
Renew Your Passion
As a massage therapist you spend a lot of time standing and working hard to provide the best possible care for your clients. Exploring new ways to restore and rest your body allows for you to continuously practice with a clear mind and strong body. Restorative yoga is a great way to balance physiological and mental rest. “The goal is to promote deep physiological relaxation, a state where the body is at ease physically and the mind is not stimulated,” says Lisa Sandquist, a restorative yoga instructor in Chicago, IL.
“Restorative yoga is a quiet and introverted practice where the student uses props to place the body in poses to minimize muscle tension and maximize physical comfort,” says Lisa Sandquist, restorative yoga instructor. Restorative yoga incorporates forward bends, back bends, twists, and inversions to move the spin in all directions. “What differs from a traditional yoga class is the use of props: bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps as well as emphasized quiet, comfort, stillness, stretching and movement as each movement is held anywhere from three to 30 minutes,” explains Sandquist. Staying still for that long may sound intimidating, but if you have participated in a yoga class before you may agree the savasana (corpse pose) is your favorite pose in class and the cause of many yoga comas.
Restorative yoga poses manipulate the body so its “rest and digest” mode dominates. “In this mode, our bodies are able to absorb nutrients and digest food, repair injured muscles and tissue as well as ease fatigue, relieve stress, recover from illness, build energy, and allow for reproduction,” explains Sandquist. She also says all restorative poses are beneficial to health and can reduce the effects of stress-related disease. Studies have found restorative yoga poses trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) unlike active forms of yoga. The PNS is the part of the nervous system that functions to slow the heart rate and increase intestinal and gland activity (digest mode).
“I would describe yoga as ‘conscious relaxation’ because the body is positioned so the muscles relax and the mind quiets,” says Sandquist. Try these poses Sandquist suggest to relieve sore legs, feet and arms, as well as to reduce fatigue and lower blood pressure. “Incidentally, all of the props needed for these poses are usually readily available in a studio or spa!” adds Sandquist.
Looking for a restorative yoga class in your area? Check out this global database of trained and certified restorative teachers.
Restorative Yoga Poses
Elevated Legs Up the Wall
Helps to relieve sore legs, feet and arms, reduces fatigue and lowers blood pressure.
Lie on the floor with your back with your pelvis elevated on a blanket and legs up against the wall. Set the arms out the side away from the body and elevate the hands to soothe tension in the forearms and hands. Place an eye pillow over the eyes and cover with a blanket. If you feel a stretch on the back of the legs, move away from the wall. Stay in pose for 15 minutes.
Calves on a Chair
Relieve lower back pain and legs are refreshed.
Lie supine on the ground with your calves resting horizontally on the seat of a chair or sofa. The back of the knees should be supported by the seat and the angle between the feet, knees, and hips should be roughly 120 degrees. If this angle does not relieve backache, reduce the angle 90 degrees. Set the arms out to the side away from the body and elevate the hands to sooth tension in the forearms and hands. Place an eye pillow over the eyes and cover with a blanket. Stay in this pose for 20 minutes.
Resources: Self-Care for Massage Therapists
Playful Self-Care for Hands & Wrists | Massage Therapy Journal
12 Self-Care Secrets | 4 Credit Hours
Balancing Act: Take the Stress Out of Finding a Good Work-Life Balance