The Truth About Massage Envy

topic posted Thu, May 29, 2008 - 6:44 PM by  "Marley" ˚˚...

Whether you're about to graduate from massage school and you're looking for a place to start your career, or you've moved (or are about to) to a new city and have to start building your practice from scratch again (like I did 3x now), there are plenty of ways you can go which I'll be happy to tell you about, but whatever you do, STAY AWAY FROM MASSAGE ENVY!

I had a bad feeling about Massage Envy the very first time I saw their sign while passing along the freeway over a year ago. However I ended up in a desperate situation where I felt I had no other options but to work for them and I can now say from direct experience what my intuition warned me about from the start:

MASSAGE ENVY is straight-up EVIL!

Here are just two links to review so you're not taking my word alone.

I wish I could say I had left them -because that was my goal- but I was simply in a position where I couldn't afford to yet. Then one day I walked into work and I'm pulled into the office to be told I was being fired because of my hairdo. No warnings. Nothing in our Employee Handbook saying we'd be fired for having "bad hair". No chance to comply with the subjective image they wanted. They just axed me.

Keep in mind that I simply had a 2" H x 2" W x 10" L mohawk in my natural hair color. The rest is buzzed -not bald- and is considered these days as a tasteful, contemporary and even conservative hair style.

Keep in mind that *most* jobs will give you a warning first, and an opportunity to comply with their standards of presentation.

Keep in mind that I had never called in sick, was never late, never had a complaint, had one of the highest request rates, had been given written praise from clients, and was was always helping out around the place which earned me praise and respect from the managers.

Keep in mind that Massage Envy *depends* on their therapists to make money and that I was giving them *36 hours* a week of the kind of skill and professionalism that only 1500+ hours of training and 13 years of experience can provide.

Losing me cost them a *lot*, so why take such a loss over something so easily fixed by a minute under the clippers at the salon next door?

Maybe you'll see the obvious reason when I describe what happened about 2 weeks before I was canned.

Right about the time I had my hair cut on May 8th, I went to my manager to ask him to look at my options such as Work Comp because I was working so much that my hands were hurting for the first time in my 13 years of practice and I couldn't afford to work less with their dismal pay of $15 per hour of massage. He said he wasn't sure so he'd talk with the owner. Two weeks later: Canned. Coincidence? You probably won't think so after you read what's next.

The managers frequently confided in me that the business was struggling due to being chronically short-handed (hm, I wonder why?). One of the owners even set up an MLM presentation in the front lobby one day and said in front of the staff "This *has* to 'work'!" (meaning things were *that* desperate).

Now of all the Massage Envy owners and employees I've spoken with over the past year, our location was the only one that required their therapists to put in *500 massage hours* before paying them the $2-$4 bonus they're supposed to get for every client who requests them while every other Massage Envy pays this bonus right from the start!

We're also supposed to get a bonus for every client who signs up as a member after getting a massage from us, but there's no way for us to track that.

It's already clear that they're pocketing those request bonuses, and considering how they're doing all they can to hold onto their profits, it's pretty likely they're withholding that other bonus too. With no way for us to track it, how can we know if we're getting shorted these bonuses?

Tomorrow I meet with a Labor Law/Discrimination lawyer to look at how far this case can go. Right now, I share the opinion of many others that this will reach far beyond the two owners of this Massage Envy branch.

Keep in mind that I'm not the only one here. There are *770* Massage Envy locations with *hundreds* more getting ready to open! My story isn't the only one. Consider the big picture:

Massage Envy is a TYRANT that is exploiting massage therapists everywhere while bringing down the quality and respectability of our entire industry by making it CHEAP in every way.

John Leonesio, CEO and Founder of Massage Envy, says his mission is to offer massage therapy at a rate affordable to the "average" person. He's making **millions** at the expense of not just *thousands* of massage therapists but the entire industry as well.

To put this in a more personal perspective, reduce your pay by 75%.

Everyone wants to pay less and have all the perks of affluence, but can you imagine making 75% *less* for what YOU do?

Why should you offer what you do for less while others continue making their normal income? The only way charging less can really work is if EVERYONE EVERYWHERE dropped their rates in concert. Think that's ever going to happen? Not a chance.

Massage Therapy is like anything else. It has a certain value because of the benefits it gives people and because of the skill it takes to properly administer it.

People pay more for organic than conventional agriculture. There's a reason for that. People pay more for a Lexus than a Toyota. Same thing.

Most people can't afford to have or do *anything* they want *anytime*, so we have to make CHOICES. We have to choose what we'll spend our money on according to what we VALUE.

Massage Envy undermines our very economy and, in the long run, will undermine our society by distorting our perspective of values.

One of the major reasons our economy and society experiences degeneration and general problems is because the average person doesn't see past their own nose. They don't see the BIG PICTURE.

If we as a society want to truly create the kind of change we want to see in the world, we have to do more than "Be the Change" -we have to understand what changes to actually make in light of the Bigger Picture so that our actions can create the critical mass necessary for social & economic transformation.


If you work for a Massage Envy, STRIKE!

Organize all your fellow workers and leave your location.

Remember that you don't need Massage Envy as much as they need you!

If you're a Massage Envy customer or member, BAN THEM!

To EVERY MASSAGE THERAPIST, graduates and students alike:

Go to your schools and WARN EVERYONE about Massage Envy!

Do all that you can to assure that the TRUTH ABOUT MASSAGE ENVY is known by everyone, everywhere.

You'll be doing yourselves, your communities and society at large a great service.
  • There's no way they can charge as little as they do for massage and pay a living wage. $15 a massage is NOT. $25 a massage is NOT a living wage. It is not worth the rehab for RSI that would be created attempting to break even working at places like this! It is a disservice to CMTs everywhere.
    I discourage everyone from going to spas. Unless it's a co-op, most spas are slave labor....and they even break laws.
    My stylist friend tells me it's ILLEGAL to pay people only a small fraction of cost and not charge for down time- to do that she says you need a "rent a table" situation. Interesting...
    • Unsu...
      Massage consumers have to figure out what they are going to pay for and what type of experience their money is going to buy. Our work is sweat equity. Sure we can make a lot of money but crossing the line in to too much work does take its toll. I have not met a bodyworker alive who gets better after the 3rd, 4th or 5th massage of the day. Of course some consumers are buying the cleanliness and safety of a spa and are intimidated to try an independent but a true massage connoisseur eventually figures out that the best massage to be had is by paying someone who charges enough to get by on a couple of massages a day. But alas the massage schools have turned into puppy mills attracting employees of 7/11, McDonalds and Circle K with promises of a higher low wage job. People who never should have attempted a massage career in the first place plop down there money to "learn" massage. So I do not dislike massage envy or its ilk of low wage spas as they sort of serve as a big cold lake to toss a bag of puppies in who never should have been born and bred in the first place.
  • i really do appreciate your's obviously filled with some frustration and anger...and that's not always a bad went there in a desperate situation and usually crappy shit happens when we make choices based on that....not that we always have options (otherwise it wouldn't be a desperate decision), but it's not as surprising when shit starts hitting the fan when you remember the state of mind you were in when you made the choice...

    i think catering to the masses is unfortunate in any industry....i see massage envy as no different than fast food places...cheaper prices, cheaper labor, cheaper quality....i wish we lived in a world where finding reasonably priced, quality service/products was easier and more accessible, but it's just not the way it is.....the majority of people will pay less for less quality...the majority of people don't even know most of what happens in their lives or why....

    not to get all granola on ya, but i really do hope you learn from this experience...what desperate decisions produce...getting clear about what work environment is healthy for you...and i hope this ridiculous experience ends up being the best thing for you...saving you from continuing to work in that crappy place, with that crappy energy, with that risk to your hands/health/spirit....and i hope you spend more energy seeking that which will really serve you and your talents than the energy you spend being angry and revengeful toward massage envy.....rise above it and move forward to better things....
    • Lady, I appreciate your consideration regarding how to learn from this experience; however the only thing I've learned is that there are evil, greedy, soul-less people out there who are all too ready to take advantage of vulnerable people.

      Had I a way to survive without working for Massage Envy, I certainly would have taken that route. But now that I've been chewed up and spat out, I can't help thinking about all the people out there who don't have the ability or resources to land on their feet.

      There aren't just people coming from low-paying jobs, there are single mothers out there too who depended on their husband for a living and massage therapy appears so promising at first to them. But as others have pointed out here, spas are incredibly opportunistic, and Massage Envy epitomizes this. It simply sickens me to no end to see the suffering of people who are already doing all they know how to do have their lives turned completely upside down by the callous, whimsical wave of a selfish owner's hand.

      So understand that for me this isn't about vengeance. It's about *Justice*. Yes, there is anger, and it's an appropriate emotion that can be useful in taking action when handled consciously. I have no tolerance for vampiric capitalists and I have developed a keen commitment to see such scoundrels be exposed and shamed for what they are. And maybe this is the wrong side of granola, but I hope I can do something so that such people will learn why to live a more righteous life where they honor and respect their fellow human being; and if they will not learn, then perhaps they can be made an example of for others to learn from.
      • oh i totally get it hon...and i'm behind you in spirit...and admire the warrior in you

        i think my approach reflects my own life experiences....i used to be the warrior...but i found it wasn't healthy for me overall....what i learned for myself is that there will always be places like massage envy....there will always be people who end up working there for whatever reason...there will always be people who end up being customers there for whatever me, it's part of the diversity of the world...not necessarily right or wrong...but it just IS.....and those people who seek something MORE will find it in other places...hell, i drive right by a million fast food places on the way to my organic foods

        and it seems that the most gifted, loving, open, trusting people fall victim to greedy self-advantaging systems that don't serve them my first interest lies with THEM...and i tend to be more concerned with how it affects THEM...and how those experiences can change their in your story/post, my response was more directly concerned with YOU as a person who is seeking MORE and encouraging you to do so....and in your seeking of justice, i hope you also are mindful of how that process feels to you, and hope you don't deplete your amazing energy on that pursuit that could be used instead to get you closer to where you really want to's really the advice i would try to give to myself

        but again, i hope you approach the situation in any way that feels good to you and i hope you find what you are seeking in your next job
        • Unsu...
          I thought of mentioning the single moms in my response to your Massage Envy thoughts Marley as they certainly make up part of the people who are graduating en masse from the schools but stuck with the low wage dead enders Bad choices in men and places of work it is quite sad. Personally, after a few low wage jobs myself mainly prep and dishes in a restaurant I decided that part of my moral code would be that I did not want to have money made off of me or make money off of others. In a capitalist society that is a vow of poverty or at least the eternal middle class. My code at times has been a tough one to stick with as I was offered for free the right to run a chair massage franchise at the Crossroad mall between Boulder and Denver as the management was trying to suck some of the street talent from the Pearl Street Mall. I think that part of the responsibility for the current debacle in the massage economy rests in the lap of the school owners like Cortiva who have built a massage empire by hostile take over and deceptive career advertising. The propaganda they put out about the ease with which a living can be had through massage is deceptive. I will never forget Jan, our dean of students at The Desert Institute of the Healing Arts, telling me after I had flown down to Tucson to check out the school, "You know, Zeke, Massage Therapy is not just roses and hundred dollar bills." Ironically DIHA is now a Cortiva school. We could use more Jans.
          • Unsu...
            Geez I'm sorry you went through this love. I too can relate to the issue where personal image was attacked. I did not work for massage envy, but did commission at a few wellness centers. The last one really pissed me off. I was busting my ass day and night advertsing, dishing out money, doing free chair massage for a whole year. I was hired to take the overflow because the other therapists were taking a different bodywork route (craniosacral, fascial unwinding). So anyways I even did filing. I made special flyers, encouraged the creation of the now existing website. I was told I could decorate my room, but every time i brought something in, the owner didn't like it. She said put something that's personal, reflects me. I was gonna put up my art that wasn't dirty or inappropriate. We did pregnancy massage and worked on kids there also. I had drawn a side view of a pregnant elf and a cute playful fairy girl. I felt the children would appreciate it and the mommies. So when i brought it there all the therapists picked it apart, dissing on it...I was really hurt. In either case i went and bought three nature pictures of stones and waterfalls. I was trying to avoid the traditional nature pictures, and wanted to add some more creativity, as that's what I feel enriches your space. Anyways...I got over that then I was told to put some mouse of gel in my hair. I have very wild curly hair, beautiful. It wasn't until I was older that I embraced it. We were taking professional pictures and she wanted me to look "perfect." I'm a natural girl, clean, and creative looking. I think as long as people are polite, and clean then personality is just an added bonus. Everyone is different and dynamic so no way was I mouseing my hair. I didn't even like that shit. I told her I loved my hair and I wasn't doing that. So then another day she told me maybe the reason I wasn't getting clients was I wearing tank tops. Now I get very hot in the summer, it's humid on the east coast. I would wear a tight tank top to hide any nipples and a long one to cover my navel and comfortable cotton pants or those guacho pants. I looked ocmfortable and no one cared. Mostly all my chair massage clients came to see me and many had become regulars. Sooooooooo anyways... I needed more. I had gone to her and claimed that I needed more business. She said "I'm sorry most call for me." I saw new cleints always coming and going, yet I wasn't seeing them, the ones I promised from the beginning. She was always tired, looked worn out. I was ready to take some work ofher hands. She was to greedy and took ownership of the clients. I just wanted to pay my bills doing what I loved. One time a client was booked with me and i walked in and she had just finished working on him. He was coming to me regularly and liked me. Anyways he said his mom originally intended the gift certificate for the other woman. Ok whatever but no one called me to cancel his appointment so I wasted my gas to go down there. They were just like "oh sorry." I was upset with the owner and my client. I think he was passive and a pushover anyways. He allowed his mom to decide which therapist to choose. I dunno perhaps the owner had some persuading to do with it, who knows. Oh yea on many occasions I'd be talking to her and she'd be ignoring me, like I was invisible. Fuck that used to piss me off and hurt me. When I first started working there there was this "training " period where she would teach me different techniques. I didn't want to be "trained", I just spent thousands of dollars and was ready to work. I just did it anyways to humor her. I love learning new techniques, but on my time, if I choose too. I wasn't interested in offering her style of bodywork, I had my own. Anyways it turned pretty ugly, me crying a lot, my man holding me, wanting to tell her off. I told him it was my battle. I new she had a control issue and was insecure so she wanted to hurt me because I was different. I wasn't affraid to be myself and people liked that. Clients liked me and found my style and honesty refreshing. They would tell me this. I was just glad I could provide comfort and special healing time for them to be themselves. Anyways I wrote her a letter saying everything that hurt or pissed me off. She then after tried to play the poor me card to get out of it. It didn't work. She had hurt me and I felt it pretty badly. She ended up letting our contarct run out on purpose then canned me last minute before i found another job. Anyways its all good. I work from home now, and make much more money, and have more freedom. I say fuck corporations, controlling owners, and anyone who can't allow you to be you. There are bigger and better opportunities for people like us. This attitude has helped feel better about my life in so many ways. Even if it's challenging to get there, the journey is worth it. Love and Light My Lovelys...Be Strong
            • Thanks Guys, I really appreciate the stories and support.

              I'm definitely watching my energy with all of this, and I greatly appreciate Lady's focus on doing what feels healthy for me.

              I'm still learning where to draw lines for myself and which battles to take and which to let go.

              I had my meeting with a lawyer today and she's going to check with her superior about whether they'll take this case or refer me.

              I think Lady's absolutely right about how there will always be entities like Massage Envy, and people who will be drawn to what they offer. It *is* a free world of diversity after all, and I agree that it's far better to simply know ourselves and promote what we can offer rather than try to fight off all that we disagree with.

              I've been feeling called towards teaching for a long time now, but I have self-doubt about my abilities as a teacher so I've been hesitating to pursue that. I'm definitely afraid to take the risk of embarrassing myself and even more so embarrassing the school and people I represent.

              Like other times I've been hesitant and conservative, this situation I'm in may very possibly be the Universe pushing me out of the proverbial nest knowing that I'm ready before I do.

              For years I've also envisioned my own eco-village/holistic school/retreat center as well; and I have some books on health and healing in mind that I've been trying to work on. So I'm feeling uncertain where to commit my energies and have been doing my best to do what it seems I have to while keeping open to flowing into the Destiny that Fate has set for me.

              Btw, I also really liked what Joy said:

              " I wasn't afraid to be myself and people liked that. Clients liked me and found my style and honesty refreshing. They would tell me this. I was just glad I could provide comfort and special healing time for them to be themselves. "

              I have felt and experienced this exactly! I seem to live in a perpetual dance of social neurosis where I'm not sure how much of my spirit to show others while at the same time wanting to show them that it's okay to show theirs. I think a *lot* of people are uncertain who they are or should be, or how to live in their Truth -and I think these fears/uncertainties are triggered when they see others who are more certain of themselves and freely expressing their spirit and living an authentic and fulfilling life. It seems to me that people will either reject that in fear and retreat to their comfort zone or embrace it with zeal.

              More and more I'm becoming more comfortable about just being who I am and letting the cards fall where they will without attachment or anxiety. My essential motto has become "If you're not having fun and enjoying Life, then what's the *point*?"

              I think our world will vastly improve in every way when we give permission to ourselves and to each other to follow our Bliss (as the great Joseph Campbell would say).

              I feel really blessed to be dialed into this community of open, awakened spirits. Thank you all for your Beautiful Being!
              • So go into business for yourself!
                I just watched Louise Hay "You can heal your life" movie. I highly recommend it.
                Watch that and start your own practice.
                Charge $60 an hour, that's 4 massages from ME.
                Best of luck.
                • Unsu...
                  Wow, I have been thinking of writing something about Massage Envy for sometime now, but felt I really didn't have the experience to back it up. What I feared would happen to me, has indeed happened to someone here.

                  I am a very recent graduate of a fine school (sort of corporate, but the instruction was incredible and the support staff were/are top notch) anyway, they have lots of recruiting visits from spas and Massage Envy is one of them. I interviewed with them and when I was told that I would make $15 per massage I decided to go into private practice (after I cried for several hours when the reality of day spas like this hit me). I feel it is completely unethical to pay a good therapist so little money. That is why they get marginal therapist who have just recently graduated. I think the turn over rate must be VERY high. If I offered my massage for $15 in my private practice I would be booked from now till christmas 2020, but I would rather give my massage away for free than dishonor my abilities like that.

                  I too have worked at terrible jobs due to desperate circumstances, but when it comes to my massage I have vowed NEVER to let anyone use me or my work and to ALWAYS treat myself with respect. Before I will take a job for so little money I will get a job as a barista or waitress or something. Now and forever will I hold my massage up and keep it honorable to myself.

                  I have discouraged as many fellow students as I could from interviewing and being used by Massage Envy and their ilk (Knead a Massage is another one in this area). I applaude your efforts. Keep us posted on how things go. I would like to see the fast food of massage disappear myself.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    Yes, I agree! I decided I would rather work PT jobs that are not massage related so I could save my energy for my own private practice....and control how much I do so I don't get any injuries!
                    Believe that you can, get yourself out there, you are worthy!
                    • Yes, I've been looking for other work I can do for reasonable pay, but I haven't seen anything I qualify for, or at least I can't think of what I can do.

                      My mother is a physical therapist and taught me shiatsu when I was 10 and had me work on her every day after dinner. She remarried when I was about 12 or 13 and my stepfather told me I was "too old" to "do that" with my mother anymore. That confused me but I accepted it because my mother backed him up on this, and I ended up massaging friends occasionally in a very casual way. Massage essentially just became part of who I was (and still am) and was one of my ways I connected with people (and still do).

                      I actually have had a studio for my private practice in a very nice salon where the usual salon smells don't permeate my room. Since I don't have enough clients yet, I do a 60-40 split (60% to me of course) with the owner and charge $70/hr.

                      Meanwhile, I work for a day spa in town where I get paid $25 for an hour of swedish massage, $30 for deep tissue, etc. It's not too bad considering that I have absolutely no expenses there. I just show up and massage while the owners market and book me, supply me, etc.

                      They don't keep me busy enough which is why I had to work for Massage Envy to begin with, and, I hate to say it, but I was offered a job at a Massage Envy in my town and I still need the income, so... ugh. However, I made it absolutely clear to the manager at that location that I have every plan to move on asap, and we shared a mutual understanding that we'd be "using" each other ;o) She fully understands and respects my forwardness and self-respect. She also has pink hair and tattoos, so we already know my mohawk won't be an issue. I think this situation will work out fine, but then again, if my case ends up becoming a class-action suit against Massage Envy Corporate, then I will have to decline working for them for obvious reasons.

                      I also work 2 days a week at a chiropractic office where I only get paid $14 per hour, but at least it's consistent since it doesn't matter if I'm working on people or not, although I usually am. The trade off here is that I only do 20-30 minute massages on clothed people, so I see 8-12 prospective clients a day which the chiropractor encourages us to solicit our private practice to. He even makes business cards for us with our private numbers on them and pays us $30 for these free 1-hr massage gift certificates he gives to his patients who refer new ones to his office. The way I see this is that I'm getting paid to do hands-on advertising instead of paying to advertise in a paper or something like that.

                      I have to admit that I'm not more savvy than this about marketing myself, and even if I was, my funds are limited for that (at least for now). Funny enough, I went out last night to hang out with a friend and she introduced me to others and they all wanted my card. By the end of the night I had given out about 6 cards (and taken a few numbers from some single hotties as well, booya!)
                      • ...Maybe a great way to market myself (while I'm still young and good-looking) is to go smoozing at the single bars ;o)
                        • Btw, I hope my conundrum can be understood and forgiven here. I know it must seem quite hypocritical for me to tell everyone to ban Massage Envy and ask those employed by them to go on strike. (fuck) I just can't think of any other way to make enough money right now -and I was thinking about that before I bought a car that I'm making $510 payments on. Ironically, I bought this car just days before I was fired! I I thought of selling the car as soon as I was fired, but to be honest, even if I didn't have these payments, I wouldn't be able to live on what I made without Massage Envy, so rather than go through the trouble of selling it (probably for less than I bought it once I drove off the dealer's lot) and getting something for less than what I'm selling my other car for so I have some money to live on a month or two, I feel I have to make a compromise I don't want to.

                          I know from years of experience, and seeing how the economy is right now, that my business won't increase soon enough to make it without this temporary compromise or finding something else. ...In an effort to not work for Massage Envy again though, I've hit up some some massage schools nearby in hopes I can get a teaching position (that will hopefully pay well enough).

                          Really, if there was *anything* else I knew I could do, I would do it.
  • Unsu...
    Wow, thank you for posting those links. I'm sorry to hear of your situation and wish you the possibility to resolve it.

    I encountered Massage Envy last year at the New England Regional AMTA Conference and was suspicous the moment I saw the ponytails and polo shirts, reminded me of McDonalds. The reps were very polite, very selly sales people. I walked away from the table with a canvas bag full of ME propaganda and the sense that this was a bad sign for the industry.

    I also wondered why a place like that was allowed to represent at the conference but the truth is that this is capitalist america so all they had to do was rent the table space.

    So this being capitalist america people are going to go where things are inexpensive. Unfortunately the masses don't often distinguish inexpensive service or merchandise from cheap service or cheap labor that in the long run hurt us all.

    It is a tough position to be put in, to be able to afford your morals, may we all survive the choice.
    • Unsu...
      So have we decided that massage envy is like slave labor? Maybe we need to start a fair trade massage system...Hey we all have to do what we can to pay bills. I've even thought of getting a part time job at Walmart because I live in the boonies and I refuse to work massage anywhere else. I just can't compromise my beliefs, I'd rather shovel shit all day long instead. All my local business's aren't hiring and no one is looking for childcare. Sometimes things are good client wise, but then sometimes not so good. I've even lowered my prices to be more affordable because of teh ridiculous gas thign going on. Man what are the prices of gas in Cali? It must be like $5 a gallon now. Hope you're all riding your bikes as much as possible. We want to really move to a healthier place so I may get some crappy job just to get to a better place. This has troubled me having to do this, but my art is not something I will ever ever compromise again. I know that one day I'll have my own center in a gorgeous healthy place and it'll be all worth it.
    • Unsu...
      I have always, always charged a shade over the prevailing massage rate. Mainly because I do not want to do too many massages and feel like I can do better quality if I limit the amount of massages I do. I encourage Massage Therapist who seek my counsel to do the same as you are not bound by market forces and if you participate in them you are part of the problem not part of the solution. (Of course, that its, if you think low wage massage is a problem.) When, and its rare, a client asks why I charge more, I tell them my reasoning and ask them, "Hey, what kind of car do you drive? If the clients answer is something fancy I tell them "Why, don't you buy the used Geo Metro I saw on Craigslist for 2,000 dollars It is still a car."
      As for Massage Envy's representation at the AMTA conference they are part of our massage reality. It is nice that the AMTA tent is big enough for raw capitalist ventures that promote the economic exploitation of their members. . . It would be nice if the AMTA had a big enough tent for those of us who do not believe in forcing clients to drape, or believe that not every state should punitive and arbitrary licensing laws. I am not going to hold my breath on that one and that is a can of worms for another thread. . . .
      • I have for many years considered creating some kind of Massage Therapist Union to help prevent our exploitation. I've never been part of a union before, and I have no idea how one would be created, but it seems this will become more and more needed as companies like Massage Envy and their kind proliferate and destroy our industry.

        It blows my mind that AMTA would tolerate ME. That just stinks of corruption to me!

        I think it would also be great if some way could be found to educate the masses about our industry so they know how to value what we do.

        I like your Geo Metro analogy Zeke!
      • Btw, anyone here have any ideas what other work one can get paid at least $25/hr with little or no training?
        • 1) I work as a substitute teacher a lot, and it's $150 a day in SF. I don't have many people who want massage before 3, so it works really well. All you need is a BA in anything and a professional wardrobe.
          2) I just signed on to this new site about being an Internet searcher "guide"...check it out! But before you do hit me for me e-mail so we can profit share. I've also joked about doing phone sex or working for the psychic hotline, but I haven't actually done it yet.
          3) I drove home from Harbin today, and gas in Napa was $4.36 for low-grade unleaded.
          4) I bet if you posted some hottie photos of yourself in little muscle tank tops giving massage on craigslist, you'd get business. Find a space to work from. Watch Louise Hay's movie and "the secret"...then tell everyone you know you do massage. Do some for free outside a clinic and hand out cards. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say "My skills are worth at least $_____. " Then believe it. Post to
          Good luck!
          • Thanks for the tips Molly!

            In the past I would have issues about using my sex appeal to market myself, but I got over that a while ago. I choose to think of it more as my looking *healthy*. I'd prefer to go to someone attractive and healthy myself, and I wouldn't have any mischief in mind. Besides, if I get clients who come to me hoping for something beyond my scope of practice, I'm perfectly capable of transmuting or deflecting that energy in a positive way that will gently pursuade the wrong type of clients to go elsewhere.

            I already got a space to work from, so now it's just about hooking up a trade with a photographer and a model to help me do some shots to advertise with.

            LOL, I'll have to look into the phone sex thing -at the very least out of curiousity. I've been complimented on my voice quite a bit actually, and I can see myself doing such work pretty well. I think I'll have to let that idea digest a bit more though.

            Yeah, fuel prices are out of control. Honda finally put out a hydrogen car but it's available only in SoCal. I look forward to that fueling infrastructure expanding quickly so I can get one of those myself. I just hope they'll make it available in their Si coups.

            I was talking with a friend in FL yesterday and she suggested I hook up with several traveling performance groups that we both know. I can't believe I didn't think of it before! I will be in HEAVEN if that works out well since I love travel, performance arts and massage! Now I'm wondering how to work out the mundane details of that like laundry and supplies on the road.

            I contacted all my old clients and friends when I moved back here, but everyone had either committed to a new massage therapist or are having too much hardship with this economy.
            • Unsu...
              Haha... you guys are a riot. Molly it's not all about looks lol. Although I can say that I'm sure it has helped me get clients. I'm a pretty cute girl with cool wild and crazy hair. My eccentricity has always set the stage for opening clients up. I do agree with Marley though...I'd rather go to someone who is radiant and healthy looking. I think if you had a creative yet professional website with beautiful pictures that show your personality, it will help bring the clients you desire. I'm hoping for more artists, musicians, health conscious hippies. I get lots of business men that pay the bills, but most are subconsciously looking for something else. I just ignore it, and direct my energy more towards healing not sexual thoughts or desires. It's very refreshing to hear you have great respect for the massage world. Ya know Marley perhaps your niche market is the oddballs too. Ya know the creative folks. My good friend who is a professional drummer came to me and loved my massage. I use lots of swedish and lomi lomi techniques. Haha and he's in a metal band, but likes a soothing and gentle massage. Plus I use tribal, middleastern, and native american music. It not only helps ignite their creative spark, but gives them opportunities to explore new music. Anyways I traded a massage for percussion instruments from him. I think when he's not on tour, which is hardly ever, he'll be coming to me again. I also had another bass player earlier this week. It was his second time coming to me. I had an opportunity about 4 years ago to work at the middleast club in boston, but broke up with my man at the time. He was the bouncer and was gonna get me in there. It would have been cool and I do think more musicians and artists could use some healing and inspiration. Afterall bodywork is a great tool for evolving, and growing with yourself, a support system that helps people become better creators of their lives. I'm not really into working at stuffy doctor offices or rehabilitation centers. I'm an artist so why not reach out to other artists? Just a few thoughts..Love you Guys -Joy
              • Unsu...
                When you are young and attractive it is easy to say that it is not about looks. But we are human animals and so much of what we do does tie back to looks. The taller a man is (up to a certain point) the more money he will make in life. A younger massage therapist, not too young to smack of inexperience, with clear skin and nice definition will inspire a feeling of 'I want to be that healthy' in a prospective client. Just like the dominance and size of silverback gorilla or a chimpanzee will color how he lives his life how much food and sex he will get. When I hear comment about whether looks matter, I often think of this woman short and stocky who has a sunken and smashed in face who lives in my neighborhood of Rockridge. She runs around in a Huck Finn type outfit complete with a corn cob pipe and a banjo---almost everyone averts their eyes from her because of how odd she looks. She doesn't talk crazy talk or panhandle she just looks so strange that a repulsion is set of deeply and genetically in everyone that looks at her. If she had chosen massage as a career and posted a picture off her drastic deformities I really do not think she would get as many call as Joy, Marley or me. There is nothing wrong about using all of your skills to promote your business. Just because you might get more business wearing a muscle tee in a photo does not mean that the ethical thing to do is take scissors to a potato sack to even the playing field.
                • Unsu...
                  I don't consciously play off my looks. I'm just pretty positive many clients are inadvertently attracted to me due to my quirkiness. It actually frustrates me when I'm chosen for looks and not skill. I agree though our world is based on aesthetics. Even as I get older I see changes in myself that concern me. However I have a huge 7 inch scar from heart surgery. I know what it's like to be looked at funny. My teeth aren't the greatest and I have lordosis that gives me a pelvic tilt. I've worked very hard at loving my deformities. I know this is only my human vessel, so I try not to let ego take over. I do like looking good, part of the human psyche. I think more these days people are attracted to my positiveness, my laugh, and ability to get through every day no matter what. You guys should watch Shine, a most inspiring movie about a pianist. If you watch it you'll understand why I led you to it.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    If my looks bring in clients, why not? It's the skills that keep them coming back for more! In reality, a muscle tee would be a quite functional massage outfit....I think my clients come back for my skills and quirkiness as well. I certainly am not perfect looking, but anything helps in a saturated market! Funny the therapists I prefer the most- one is a stocky middle aged gay man who does lomi lomi he stretches me like nobody else can. He's AMAZING and I always see him packed with clients- obviously for his expertise since he's not so attractive and his office is a mess of kitchy Hawaiian knick-knacks. I also love receiving from a friend from massage school who is a mtf transgendered person. She's really self-conscious about advertising and getting herself known because she's over 6 feet tall and apparently trans...yet she is so present, sweet, calm, nurturing....I love that energy!
                    • Unsu...
                      "The Truth About Massge Envy" ? - Legalized ( and therefore without thought legitimized in some short-sighted peoples eyes ), grossly disrespectful & undervaluing slave labor by the owners, management & all involved in keeping Massage Envy & similarly thieving spas, chiropractors & other underpaying businesses in business, as well as the short-sighted or out-right uncaring clients who patronize them.

                      Maybe I've simply lost my patience for those type of legalized sweatshops, their owners & management? Though frankly, some things are not worth supporting in my feeling.
                      • Unsu...
                        Great music! though a little cheesy
                        thanks for the lead---
                        I shall check it out I love a stocky guy. I always got watsu from Glenn at Harbin before he was booted. . .
                        • Yeah, his website is cheesy, his office is messy and kitchy, his massage is out of this world!
                          Jerry claims to work on the Hawaiian royalty when he's on the island.
                          Plus his walls all covered in all of his certs and he goes to Hawaii for classes regularly.
                          He talks to my tattoo and askes her (she's a fairy) if I've been aking care of myself...kinda cute.
                          "Your little menehune tattoo says you should take flaxseed every day, would you like some?"
  • I wasted one year of my life to massage envy and I regret it. It is just another evil corporation which tells their owners how to be slave drivers. I was told after one year I dont deserve a raise and was screamed at by my boss. It seems thats the case with all massage evnvys slave wages exploitation and a preditory workplace that pounces on people straight out of school or who just lost their job. I was fired for having a bad attitude which consisted of me trying to organize a walk out for better wages. Places like massage envy make me realize why therapists need a solide union to protect us from the evils which is the coporate world. 50 minute massage is a joke and so is massage envy. Becoming a member their is like wearing a swaztika and working their is like being hoarded into the gas chamber you just want to go on your tip toes and breath the gases straight in so you can die quicker. this place will drain your healing soul straight out of you and make you hate your job. I would personally like to say we as massage therapists deserve better than 15 an hour for life and if you want slavery then by all means work their.
    • If folks chose not to work for Massage Envy they would be out of biz in a New York minute. I went for an interview at one of the San Diego Massage Envy's. Did not take me long into the interview to know to keep clear of them and others of their ilk.

      Does not take rocket science to know that MT's are going to get min. wages in such a heavily discounted massage clinic.

      We have enough rules, laws, etc. to deal with as it is. Please do not wish unionism on us also!
    • Unsu...
      Organize! It works.

      You can contact your local service workers union and they would be happy send a rep to talk about organizing a union.

      If you don't mind paying a membership fee and paying a fee out of your check every week, a union organizer can help to bring people together-and fight back should management start firing people.

      Spas and massage envy types will be the last establishments in the USA without organized labor because employees have a short term outlook on their job. Look at Las Vegas-Nevada. Every politician running for office goes to speak to them and court their vote. Massage is a relatively new profession. MT's are not organized and have no voting bloc. A sure way to be ignored in this country.
  • Thank you for this
    My mother is a therapist and has been for 15 years now, I am not even sure of the any hours under her belt. She has decided to go and work this company, that I too, Of course. (ENVY) just all wrong, at first glance felt it was all wrong. Trying to talk her out of it, maybe also her only option, has been with them now 8 months or so.... Yes I think this is a disgrace to everything righteous comforting beautiful and delicate about the whole profession, massage therapy is most likely the most conditioning to the body and the soul, from all healing standpoints.
    A few stories she has shared with me.
    People coming in unclean (not bathing for days)
    People coming in (smelling of urines) always the over weight
    People coming in with disgusting fungal feet
    One person not complying with the sheet code, disregarding the integrity of my mom and her work
    One person coming in with a skin Problem(scabies) which my mother then contracted and couldn't eleviate for 4 months, (mind you ) still working, having too. Well cleaned bandaged and covered every day. I am sorry mom.
    Yes, the place San Antonio De Zavala Location, is a diatribe of uncouth and greedy no loving disillusioned loafers,
    and i am sorry the place was ever funded for business to begin with. Also the turn over is high, managers and front help especially
    Back in the Day My Mom owned her own spot, it did alright for a while, but we were in conservative south east texas town, (boo)
    The only reason it and others like it were and are able to exist is because of the way the schooling started to change and increase in population back in the late nineties, then so many out there making house calls and the salon industry changing, people began to change their perspective on the entire practice, (thus becoming Industry).

    WHAT HAPPEN TO WORDS MEANING.... In the case of everything.

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