As I said in my earlier blog post, making massage a part of our regular routine of self-care mostly requires that we stop thinking of massage as luxurious or frivolous pampering and start thinking of it as a tool for reducing stress, addressing muscle tension, facilitating pain-free range of motion, and supporting general well-being.
This is no small feat, but I often encounter people who have made this shift in thinking and who want to get regular massage, but don’t. Almost all of them are impeded by two common stumbling blocks. So I’d like to address those here, give you some tips and share some insights I’ve gained over nearly ten years practicing massage.
#1 I know I should get a massage. I keep meaning to schedule an appointment, but…
Before you leave the hair salon, before you leave the dentist’s office, what does the person behind the counter say?
“Let’s schedule your next appointment.” And you do.
Use the same tactic for massage. At the end of each session book the next. Sure, things may come up. You may need to change or cancel that appointment, but your massage therapist will understand. And maybe you won’t need to reschedule! Maybe today you’ll turn the page in your calendar and say, “Hey! I get a massage this week! Sweet!”
No matter what, you are way more likely to stay on a regular schedule if you make a regular schedule. If you leave my office, planning to call me in three weeks (or even just when you get home) I can almost guarantee that something will come up and/or you will forget. It will be a lot longer than three weeks before I see you again.
#2 Massage is expensive. I can’t afford to do it regularly.
Yes, massage can be expensive, but most massage therapists (especially those of us who work in private practice) are willing to be somewhat flexible with our rates. Here’s the thing: you have to ask for what you need.
And the way you ask is important. If you ask me, “Do you have a sliding scale?” I will likely say no. Talking about money is uncomfortable for everyone and this is an open-ended question that leaves me guessing what it is that you want to hear. I dread this question and I have no idea how to answer it because I haven’t seen your latest tax return. I have no idea what you can or can’t afford. And this is my job. I love my work, but it’s work. The sliding scale question can feel like an accusation. “You charge too much and you know it. What are you really worth?”
On the other hand, if you say to me, “I’d really like to get a massage from you regularly, but I’m on a tight budget right now. Would you be willing to see me once a month for $___?” I am much more likely to say yes. With this short sentence, you’ve demonstrated your commitment to self-care, you’ve offered me acknowledgement that my service has value, and you’ve given me a clear sense of what you can afford.
I’d also like to add that massage gift certificates are a great way to let others care for you and to alleviate the financial burden. The next time someone says, “Is there anything I can do?” or “What do you want for your birthday?” be honest! Tell them that you’re trying to take care of yourself and you need their help. Maybe they can buy you a gift certificate. Maybe they can watch your daughter so you don’t have to pay for massage and a sitter.
Ask for what you need clearly and honestly and you will get it. People want to help you. It feels good to help someone else feel good. Trust me, I do it all the time!
Hearts Strides is honored to have Kerry as a guest blogger, we look forward to hearing more from her, we appreciate her passion, insights and support. If you are in the Austin area please reach out to Kerry, I’m already looking for a way to get there myself!