Now my ‘last-minute massage therapist’ does a good job and although it is only a short chair massage and not a full body one I still like to go to him because not only does he do an excellent job at getting those computer-induced knots out he also keeps mall hours.
He’s there until 9 p.m. six days a week, and he’s there all day on the weekends.
Is that work ethic or what?
The fact that these chair massage chains are popping up in the malls across the US should raise a few eyebrows among individual massage therapist in my opinion.
I know plenty of massage therapists in town that is complaining that their practice is slow.
Their patients don’t have the money for a massage; they need a second job because there isn’t enough business and so on – and yet here are these therapists giving chair massages in the malls who are busy and available seven days a week.
I know some of the people who went to work for online companies and providing reviews into the realm or portable and regular zero gravity massage chairs, as on this website here.
Do you think that’s going to make it easier or harder for the individual massage therapist in town to find new patients? (I’ll give you a hint. It won’t make it easier!)
You see I have seen these massage therapists in mall kiosks all across the country and what I started to notice was that the therapists in all of these kiosks seemed to Asian in almost every location.
It didn’t matter to me.
They were out there promoting the profession and getting business, but it was a little unusual to see in South Florida because there isn’t an Asian community here like there are in most cities.
So today while I was getting my massage I mentioned to my ‘last-minute massage therapist’ that I like their business model and work ethic and then asked where they were from.
Now, this is where your ears should perk up if you work for yourself or expect to make a good income working for somebody else because what he told we were this.
The business has an owner, and he and his massage therapist co-worker work there.
He said that he and his co-worker are from China.
Yes, they have licensed massage therapists from China.
They speak to each other in Chinese, and my therapist seems to be the only one at this kiosk that appears to speak English well. The two of them keep the booth busy though, and they are always doing a lot of massages.
I don’t know about you, but I was stunned when I heard this. I knew that American businesses had primarily relocated to China, and nearly everything is being imported from there, but now I find out we also have people in business opening massage clinics here and importing massage therapists from China as well.
Now I have no idea why this is so.
Perhaps the owners are Chinese, and they like working with therapists from their country, or maybe it’s just that they will work for less money. I can tell you this though they indeed work harder than most people I know.
The primary therapist is always there whenever I go to the mall whether it’s morning or night, seven days a week.
Heck, I don’t even want to work 60 hour weeks either, but they seem happy to do it no matter what the hours are.
However, it does raise some interesting questions about the future of massage therapy.
Will enough of these therapists come here to make it hard for local massage therapists who don’t want to work seven days a week?
Will the discount chains and mall kiosks get so popular doing volume massages for less than the price for massage as a whole drop?
I suspect that the answer to both of those questions is ‘yes.’ What is unknown is the degree to which it will happen.
If that scenario makes you nervous, upset, or angry, then it should. I am on your side by the way so don’t shoot the messenger.
I was pleased to see that there was a significant display promoting massage in the mall at Brookstone and I was also glad to see that the mall now has affordable massage therapists that work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. so that more people can get a massage whenever they need.
The fact is that it’s convenient and affordable for me especially when I either don’t have the time for a whole 1-hour massage, I need emergency pain relief brought on by too much computer work, or my regular massage therapists aren’t available.
So this has nothing to do with outsourcing or immigration.
What I wasn’t pleased about was that this kiosk wasn’t run by those local massage therapists who are always telling me how hard it is to build a massage practice.
Instead, I found retail stores promoting massage and massage therapists from 6000 miles away working their butts off.
I also have to say that I applaud these Chinese therapists because I briefly worked overseas as a chiropractor and I know firsthand the challenges of working in a new culture with limited language skills.
Although I think this could and should make massage therapists nervous, upset or angry, I do not bring this to your awareness to cause you grief or upset.
Instead, I want to bring into your awareness that these are good business models that are appearing in the massage therapy profession.
Big business is noticing how much people like massage and investors and entrepreneurs alike are making the most of it.
So why are they so successful with this model and why aren’t their local massage therapists at these kiosks instead?
Well, I can tell you from talking to massage therapists and massage students about to graduate that they don’t teach business skills in massage school.
It’s not your fault that they didn’t teach you that.
There’s only so much they can teach you while you’re in massage school and technique is the most important while you’re learning.
The problem is when you get out and ready to start your practice you haven’t been prepared to run a business, and that’s when therapists get challenged big business, entrepreneurs, and investors.
What’s the solution you ask?
What I am suggesting to massage therapists is that you must develop real business skills to create a thriving practice that can support you and help your patients.
I am not talking about slick ads, high pressured selling, gimmicks, or super low fees.
I am talking about learning real practice management skills.
Let’s face it. You have a fantastic product in massage therapy.
Nearly everybody wants it, and everybody needs it.
By learning practice management skills, you will not only be helping yourself, but you will also be helping every single person that walks in your practice’s door.
You are part of a beautiful profession that you should be very proud to be a part of, but unfortunately, too many therapists are struggling to get by financially while big business is making a fat profit in the same town with the same people. They aren’t better than you or smarter than you.
They just learned practice management skills that you don’t have yet.