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CHAIR MASSAGE with Connie Scholl
Running time: 40 minutes
Since chair massage is the fastest growing segment of the massage industry, it makes sense to know the basics, whether chair massage makes up only a small fraction of your practice – or the bulk of it. Connie Scholl built a sizeable corporate chair massage practice from scratch, and in the process introduced thousands of corporate office workers to the benefits of seated chair massage.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
Basics of bringing seated chair massage to your clients
How to do a brief, 5-minute chair massage routine (great in the workplace)
How to do a longer, 10-15 minute session
Tips and pointers for building your chair massage practice
Ideas about hiring employees to work for you
Helpful information about compensation
An insider’s tips on referrals
ABOUT CONNIE SCHOLL:
Connie Scholl earned her license in massage therapy and has created a thriving corporate chair massage practice over the past ten years. Starting with less than $1000, but filled with self-confidence and technical expertise learned in massage school, Connie has grown her business slowly and steadily. Today, she and her professional staff bring seated chair massage to thousands of corporate employees in businesses in Fairfield County, CT through her company, Greenwich Muscular Therapy. Connie also conducts on-going infant massage clinics for new and expectant mothers.
How long have you been a bodywork practitioner? What made you decide to enter the profession?
I became aware of massage as a bodywork therapy when I was only eight or nine years old, and I accompanied my parents to their chiropractic appointments. Two of my mother's cousins were chiropractors, and many family members were involved in or used complementary health care services, including massage. So, when I played field hockey in high school, and was bothered by aches or pains, it seemed perfectly natural to turn to massage for comfort and healing. It wasn't until I was 18 or 19 that I became aware of massage as a profession, an area of learning that I could study and practice. Then, I began to seek out schools and ultimately chose the Swedish Institute in New York City, the oldest school of massage therapy and allied health sciences in the United States. I graduated in 1993, and have been practicing ever since—close to ten years.
What led you to specialize in seated chair massage?
In 1997, I had a client, a senior partner in a large financial firm, who was very enthusiastic about massage and its benefits. He introduced me to his colleagues, and they agreed to allow me to provide on-site chair massage for all their employees. Eventually, an entire room was set aside, so that my staff and I could administer seated chair massage. Research indicates that chair massage improves employee morale. Ultimately, the employer benefits by having a grateful employee.
What are your credentials and how did you earn them?
After completing my training at the Swedish Institute, I became certified and licensed, and I continue to maintain my status as a Certified Licensed Massage Therapist. I'm also certified as an infant massage instructor. Finally, I belong to the American Massage Therapy Association and complete a specific number of continuing education hours each year to meet the Association's requirements.
What advice would you give to some one who is considering becoming a bodywork practitioner? To someone who is planning to specialize in seated chair massage and start a business?
Go for it! The market is definitely not saturated. There are many people who have never had a massage. Providing massage therapy is good for the client and good for the therapist. If you are a compassionate practitioner, the possibilities for gratifying employment are endless.
If you want to specialize in seated chair massage, I recommend that you not spend a lot of money on overhead, such as office space, etc. Invest in advertising and marketing materials. Fine tune your approach to the company you are targeting. Consider producing a videotape to market yourself and your services. If you can devote yourself to providing one modality, and you do not crave variety, then chair massage may be a good choice for you. Be aware that the therapist must use the thumbs a lot in chair massage. Working for five or six hours without oil and through clothes can be tough on the thumbs. I recommend educating yourself in proper body mechanics to ensure longevity in this field. The advantages are that chair massage can be done virtually anywhere and requires no special equipment, other than you and your chair.
As far as starting a business, people are often intimidated by the prospect: I say, take the risk, and the universe will support you. Once you really get clear and serious about your goal, then people seem to show up and provide thesupport you need. People need our services. So my advice is: Get really serious and extremely clear. Use creative visualization, treasure maps, whatever works. Be focused and specific about what you are actually trying to create. Know what you want. And go for it!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Without question, it's the feedback I receive from clients who say, "You've made me feel so good. You've changed my perspective, my entire outlook." It's especially gratifying to know that I've made someone feel better. Also, there's much to be said for using the gift you've been given, and I do feel that I've been given a gift in my ability to do this work. Finally, I know that through my bodywork practice, I've created something. Over the years that I've been in business, at least 3000 people have come through the door. It's really a give-and-take kind of process: I help them, and they in turn help me. My long-time clients are confident in my work. They send me referrals, and these have been and continue to be the biggest source of my business.
What do you think is your most distinctive characteristic as a bodywork practitioner? In other words, what do you bring to the client's experience that sets you apart from your competitors?
I would have to say that it's the way I interact with people from the moment they enter my office. Part of my gift lies in making people feel comfortable, putting them at ease. As a result, they trust me, and the work is always more effective and more healing if it is received in a trusting climate. I listen to my clients, tune in to them, so that I can make a connection. I greet each person with a smile and a handshake, and explain exactly what I will be doing. I'm confident in my ability, and they sense this. My confidence comes through, and instills trust.
"A MUST HAVE for all massage therapists who are working in or plan to enter the lucrative chair massage market!"