The Wings Fell Off Somewhere
By Deb Carroll
In the vernacular, 2020 was a:
Whatever you might call it, it has changed the way the world works.
At the end of February 2020, I returned to the bosom of our country (Canberra, for the uninitiated – it’s where everything exciting happens) from an amazing PD program in my favourite place in Oz – Melbourne. I’d been keeping an eye on the stories coming out of China regarding the emerging virus that might be pretty nasty because I’d been there a month prior to the outbreak. I never really went back to full time work.
I spent my time in ‘iso’ setting the stage for 2020. Deliveries of adequate gin, wine, snacks and groceries – before the funds ran out – to safely ensure at least a 10kg weight gain on my small frame. I then put my mind to the necessity of making sure I had some sort of income other than the credit card or redraw facility on my mortgage. Yes, yes, I know the children will inherit the debt but I’m of the mind to leave them a scrap or two for comfort.
I had ample time to play on the internet (called boredom), trawling various news feeds and shopping sites offering the best face cream for wiping away 45 years (geez, at this rate I’ll be approaching virginhood in no time).
Zooming My Business
Then I found Zoom. I’d already been using Skype with my O/S clients, but this Zoom thing might be the thing to keep me afloat.
Well, we are all Zoom savvy now, aren’t we?
My transition to online has had its moments of grief and glory but overall it has worked well.
I cover a few bases though – a multidiscipline business, movement therapy and remedial massage.
From March 2020, I offered online consults via Zoom to every remedial massage client in shorter sessions because, honestly, humans have the attention span of a gnat as a standard point of existence and worse when they are preparing for a massage and now have to actually think. The 30-minute consult was too long for some, while others went overtime. I always allowed an hour for everyone at a base rate of $25/15mins. I’m still doing Zoom for those too afraid to leave home. We are mostly working on the psychology.
Zoom remedial massage is about teaching people how to self-treat in times we can’t have hands on therapy. It is supporting people in the moment, where they are. This is the homework we all give people and hope they will do. The Zoom platform gives us the opportunity to meet and treat without all the cleaning. A way to empower people.
I have found it interesting to work with really resistant folks. Toying, playing, inviting them to find their wings of independence in the online world. Also exploring my own resistance because I really do not like online for my own sessions. I’m getting there though and now have online movement lessons, mentoring, psychology, PD and social interaction. I still have hands on remedial massage when I can.
Zoom will never replace hands on therapy but it is a really useful tool for working with clients who are immunocompromised or do not have support systems in place to enable them to get to a hands on treatment. These people really need the work. Keep it as a ‘possible’ in your kit bag of options.
Online Learning From The Couch
Zoom works both ways – I’ve just attended a 5-day conference with ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education Therapy Association) – I’ve been a member for 10ish years – streamed via Zoom from New York, USA. You have no idea how hard it is to stay awake at 2am Oz time, even when the content is enthralling, and not fall asleep later the next day into the shoulders of your client mid treatment.
Note to self. Do NOT take bookings the following day. Thank heavens for recordings.
AMT has been my guiding light. Do those people ever sleep?
I’m still in business – just – now attracting people who have multiple health issues and autoimmune conditions. The business is growing again but in a different way.
Word of mouth and referrals are a slow way of building business but reaps amazing returns if you have patience and has proved to be a good solid base for me. It does need the business owner to do the initial footwork. Go out and physically meet the people you want to refer to you. And do it regularly because people forget. My best referral people are in my personal health network. I also plug my GP anytime I visit. (Geez, I’m paying to see her so she can listen to me.) Be gentle with them. Work out their strengths and weaknesses and you have a guaranteed referral base. Though, having said that, you might need to filter people and that will take a bit of time.
I now have people returning, which, with an increased session fee, has put me back to a bit under where I was prior to COVID-19. That’s manageable at this end of my career.
Tips from Experience
For all of you out there who are experiencing moments of anxiety about your massage career:
- Trust yourself and your skills
- Open your wings
- You are fabulous
- Even better for being a member of AMT
- It will improve
- Keep up your PD.
About the Author
Deb Carroll has spent twenty odd years in the massage industry and close to thirty years in movement therapy, which has made for a slightly odd view of the world. Deb has no parrots but does have a cat that likes to sit on her right shoulder. Aaaarrrrrggggghhhh.