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Submitted By Anonymous

When I became a massage therapist in 2002 we got very little information on how to actually market our practice as a business. Make sure you have a business card and hand them out at every opportunity was the advice we got. Over the years I basically taught myself how to create a brochure and some informational pamphlets for clients. My advertising consisted of going to local events – a local health food store anniversary every year where I do free chair massage, events like military veteran observances or yearly Community Day celebrations, and regularly volunteering my services at nursing homes and a veteran medical center.

If you were confronted with the same situation again, how might you handle things differently?

Response from Anonymous

I would take advantage of new technology. It wasn’t until I had my practice for about 4-5 years that I even started using a computer in my practice. Until then all my administrative work was done by hand, or with business cards and brochures (taken to a professional printer). Now I need to keep up with the massage therapists who are just graduating and probably have grown up with the Internet and websites of their own. I’m just finding it really hard to find the time to maintain a practice and keep up with learning all of these new things!

Response from Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies

It was the same for me when I was in massage school. We learned how to be great massage therapists, but not how to be a good business manager or promoter. What good is being able to do the work if you can’t get a constant stream of new clients and help maintain a steady income from both new and established clients. I taught business for awhile at a local massage school and, in addition to doing the usual things like creating a business plan and figuring out taxes, one of the things I emphasized was to keep up on new things – whether it is through continuing education and acquiring new, up-to-date bodyworking skills, new equipment or keeping up with ever-evolving technology.

Most of us got into the field of massage therapy, not to spend time on computers, but to help people maintain good health, make them feel better and help to heal from injury or chronic pain disorders. We love doing the physical work of massage. It is so rewarding. What gets hard is when you have to do it all yourself in a private practice or even a practice where two or three massage therapists share the administrative work.

The Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies has a new sister site, “The Massage Source” that I recently signed up for. It actually frees up some of the time I have been trying to devote to getting new clients and offering my existing clients a way to keep informed about massage. It is so easy to use, in part because I don’t have to learn any new technology or special computer language. Of course I am happy to see articles that I have written be available on the site, but it offers so much more than that. If someone in my area is looking for a massage therapist with certain credentials it is easy for them just to enter a zip code, or town and get a list of massage therapists near them. All the information is there. I only wish it had been available when I was first starting out!