• A Day in the Life of a Massage Therapist

    drawing of massage therapist giving massage

    If Everything Happened on the Same Day

    Last week’s post was kinda weighty, so I thought I’d lighten things up a bit this week.

    As with any job or profession, massage therapists have things we do every single day (d), as well as things we do on a weekly (w), monthly (m), or even occasional (o) basis. Some of those things are part and parcel to the job, others are just a consequence of having to deal with other humans, and some quite frankly have a bit (or a whole lot) of a wtf?!! quality to them. What follows is an approximation of what our day might look like if we did all the things (or most of them) on the same day.

    1:00am – Awakened by text/phone call asking if there are any massage openings in the next hour. What the…??!!? (o)*
    *Thankfully I’ve only had to deal with this a scant handful of times in the 17 years I’ve been a therapist, but some deal with it on the reg.
    1:01am – Hang up without reply then screenshot the text &/or number & time sent. Block number. Go back to sleep.
    7:00am – Cell phone rings. It’s several hours before the office opens, and an hour before the alarm is set to go off, so let it go to voicemail. After all, your office isn’t open yet and that’s what voicemail’s for. (o)
    7:02am – Get up an hour early since you’re now wide awake (o), put the kettle on, and listen to VM that was just left. Caller wants to know when you’re open, even though your hours are clearly listed on your website and Google listing. Sigh.** (o)
    **This is just one example of the vast majority of our voicemails. Most are requesting information that’s listed prominently on our Google listing and website. It would be easy to get upset at these, but I’ve been on too many websites that have outdated information so I really can’t blame people for double checking.
    8:00am – Drink tea and have breakfast. Go through personal email. Read blogs and newsletters you subscribe to. Maybe listen to a podcast. (d)
    8:30am(ish) – Go through work email. Read blogs and newsletters you subscribe to. Approve appointments made with online scheduling. Send forms to any new clients who just booked. (d)
    9:00am – Make list of must-dos for the day. Get the easy ones done, get more complex ones started, or get difficult ones broken down into smaller tasks. (d)
    9:30am – Get ready for, and go to, work. (d)
    10:30am – Arrive at office with yesterday’s sheets cleaned and folded, as well as computer, lunch, and anything else you need to bring in. (d) Turn music on. (d) Boot computer and printer. (d) Make sure all tech, including credit card reader are charged. (d) Call 7am caller back and tell them you’re open from 11am – 7pm. Politely respond to their question of why you didn’t return their phone call sooner with, “because I just got into the office.” (o)
    10:45am – Get out first client’s file and review. (d) Put glass of water on table in changing area for client. (d) Check whether there’s a note about heat; turn on table warmer if appropriate. (d)
    10:50am – Run down the hall to the restroom before client arrives. (d)
    10:53am – Return to office and greet client who’s already there. Do intake, leave room to let them get changed and on the massage table. (d) Wash hands. (d)
    11:00am-12:00pm – Massage (d)
    12:00-12:30pm – Wash hands. (d) Take payment and rebook client. (d) Return email from prospective client who said they were just on your website and wants to know what appointments you have available despite prominent link to online scheduler, but doesn’t give a time frame (Are they looking for appointments today? this week? this month? forever? Morning? Afternoon? evening?)… give them the openings you have for the next week and provide link to your website so they can use the online scheduler if none of those times works. (o) Chart the session you just finished. (d) Change the sheets. (d) Wash the client’s water glass, get a new one out and fill it for next client. (d) Get next client’s chart out and review before they get there. (d)
    12:30pm – Wonder where your client is, because they’re not at your office. (o) Pull out birthday postcards for the next month. (m) Start addressing them while waiting for client. (m)
    12:37 – Greet client. Let them get on the table. Wash hands. (d)
    12:40 – 2:00pm – Do intake as you start the massage. Do the massage and make sure to end on time. (d)
    2:00 – 2:30pm – Wash hands; payment; rebook; charting; change linens; clean, change, and fill water glass; return emails; eat lunch; review next client’s file. (d) Have conversation with suitemate who stopped in to chat because your door was open and they had a gap in their schedule. Literally shoo suitemate away when next client walks into your office. (o) Intake, wash hands. (d)
    2:30-3:30pm Massage. (d)
    3:30-4:30pm – Wash hands. Payment. Rebook. Show client self-care they can do between sessions. Charting. Change linens. Clean, change, and fill water glass. (d) Make tea. (d-ish) Return voicemail of prospective client who wants in TODAY; tell them you’re booked solid today (because you are) but give them your next availability. Possibly book an appointment, possibly dodge a bullet (especially if you got a creepy, “happy ending” vibe – since that crowd only ever want in the same day.) *** (w) Finish postcards. (m) Work on blog post (w) or newsletter (m). Remember tea is still steeping, remove tea bag, add honey. (o) Continue working on blog post. (w) Hear client enter suite. Quick pull their chart and review. Slam entire cup of (really strong) lukewarm tea. (o) Intake. Wash hands. (d)
    *** This is why some therapists refuse to take same day clients.
    4:30-5:30pm – Massage. (d) Tell them every muscle I’m working on and why, in answer to their continual questions about their anatomy and physiology.**** (o) Deflect questions asking me to diagnose their problem; prescribe vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements; or contradict their doctor.# (o) Use mindfulness training to focus my attention on how their body is responding to what I’m doing. ## (d)
    **** I’m always happy to satisfy someone’s curiosity about the human body, but it can be distracting if it’s constant.
    # I could lose my license for doing any of these things. So I won’t. Period.
    ## This gets used during almost every massage (In a perfect world, it would be every massage but, hey! we’re only human.)
    5:30-6:00pm – Wash hands. (d) Run down hall to use restroom – maybe drinking the entire cup of tea in one go wasn’t such a great idea. (o) Wash hands. Payment. Rebook. Charting. Change linens. Clean, change, and fill glass. Pull empty chart for new client. (d) Aaaahhh… 5 minutes to meditate. (o) Start to eat a snack. Wave at client when they walk in because you have a mouthful of snack. ### (o) Review paperwork they brought, and do intake. (d) Give any needed instructions on getting ready for massage (how far to undress, how to get on the massage table, which way to lay, what to cover up with, etc.). Leave room so they can get on table. Wash hands. (d)
    ### It never fails. Seriously. I swear if we had a snack 15 minutes prior to their session, they’d be 15 minutes early that day. Shrug. Y’all should just get used to seeing us chew. lol
    6:00-7:00pm – Massage (d)
    7:00pm – 8:00 Wash hands. Payment. Rebook. Create chart for new client. Chart session. Change linens. Wash glass and put away. (d) Enter new client info in scheduling software. Enter client name and email in e-newsletter sign up (only if they checked yes to receiving newsletter on intake form of course). Close books for the day. (d) Balance books for the week. (w) Turn everything in office off. (d) Pack up computer and laundry to take them home. (d)
    8:00-11:30pm – Go home. (d) Put sheets in washer. (d) Change clothes. (d) Eat dinner. (d) Work on blog (w) or newsletter (m) or postcards (m). Spend time with family. (d-ish) Put sheets in dryer. (d) Relaxing activity. (But sometimes housework. Because adulting.) Fold sheets and set them with everything else you need to take to the office in the morning. (d)

    So obviously this can’t (and isn’t meant to) be a full accounting of every possible thing we do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even occasional basis. It’s really just a tiny behind-the-scenes look into our world. Some days our email and/or voicemail overfloweth and other days, not so much. Some days we have really chatty suitemates and/or clients, some days all is quiet. Some days the tenant next door is really loud and disruptive, some days they’re not there at all.

    There is no “typical” work day doing massage because we spend out day dealing with people… suite or office mates, fellow tenants, clients, and prospective clients. Some people are having a good day, some a lousy day. Some people are in a lot of pain, some people are treating themselves. Some people have no idea what an inside voice sounds like and some people are very sensitive to loud noises. Some times an office mate’s client (or one of yours) has bathed in their perfume and the vapor trail lingers for hours. The list of possibilities is endless.

    We could get snippy and snarky about some of the less than optimal things that happen, and on bad days we might. But most days we manage to go with the flow and you have no idea that we’ve had 17 calls from various phone numbers all claiming our Google listing might not be up to date, and it isn’t even noon yet. And that’s the way it should be. But now you know…

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