Tag Archives: massage

Oh me, oh my- My year in pictures.

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“To survive, you must tell stories.”

-Umberto Eco

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cover    For more information on my published novels, click here!

thevillagepoetpress  Visit The Village Poet Press

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The Six Month Plan

World English Dictionary
Business Plan
-n
A detailed plan setting out the objectives of a business, the strategy and tactics planned to achieve them, and the expected profits, usually over a period of three to ten years.

Stacey Katheryn’s Dictionary

Business Plan

-n

A detailed plan setting out the objectives of her business, all in her mind and scarcely scribbled in miscellaneous notes throughout office, the strategy and tactics planned to achieve such objectives to grow and develop her business, The Village Poet Press, into a small yet sustainable company with continual book sales in a period of Six Months.

Writingiswriting

In the essence of this quote, I will tell you why I am waiting six months to publish my next book and putting the focus on my “business plan”.  I hate the term “business plan” don’t you? It sounds all formal and unpromising and demanding. What I have is a solid understanding of exactly what I want this company to be and exactly how I am going to get there. That was all I needed for my massage practice, and it’s flourishing. That was five months ago.

Ah yes, I was going to tell you why. Because it’s summer, because I’m going to be moving soon, because I’m spending more time editing than I am writing, because my living space is being quadrupled as an office space for the business aspect of my practice, and my Village Poet office/writing/researching space and storage space and I am having a very, very difficult time with it. It’s going to reflect in my writing, and to put the best to the test, I’ve had ONE book sale on book four, and that was my best friend Jay (thank you, Jay).

I love my blog, I will definitely continue to blog, but from here I will be pursuing avenues of marketing and business development and essentially, what I’ve done for my massage practice. Hopefully by the end of these six months, I’ll have a readership. Book Five is a VERY important book to the series (and me), and I want people to enjoy it.

Also, once I move and have a bigger space for my writing, I’ll be able to WRITE and not have to worry about all the aspects that shouldn’t be allowed to enter my mind while I’m writing.

So, wish me luck! 🙂

Stacey

*********************************************************************

“To survive, you must tell stories.”

-Umberto Eco

*********************************************************************

cover    For more information on my published novels, click here!

thevillagepoetpress  Visit The Village Poet Press (My publishing company)

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Red Flags for new LMTs

redflag

I’ve been a Licensed Massage Therapist for awhile now, I’ve done my fair share of massages and I just graduated school in November. Already I have come across handfuls of “red flags” I feel obligated to warn other new massage therapists  about (or even ones that have been at it for awhile).

scrubs-personal-safetyAs Massage Therapists, our reputation is shaky at best. The reason being how we’re perceived and portrayed by the media, human trafficking, television and movies, jokes and rumors, society, people who use our titles to cover up that they’re members of the sex industry, treating us as little more than whores.

Rather than the healthcare practitioners we are. Our reputations should be as healers, givers, doing what we do to help improve your mental and physical health. The benefits of Professional massage are astounding. Yet many do not and will not realize that, and will refuse to.

massage therapistRed Flags

#1.  When a client calls you and asks you questions such as “Do you provide full body massages”, “What kind of ‘other’ types of massages do you offer” or starts asking you to describe your draping style in detail, “So what kind of draping do you do? Is it fully nude? Is there a towel?” (Yes, I’ve actually had this question asked. )

How to deal with it: In such case as the man asking for ‘draping details’, I told him that I use full draping, in case he was worried, everything is covered except for the body part I am working on, such as an arm or leg. I assured him it was very modest and secure. If they begin asking about your modalities, you can tell them you offer Professional massage dictated by ethical massage standards and according to state law. For fun, I even told him I offer prenatal massage too. This dissuades them and lets them know you are a Professional. If you are uncomfortable with their questioning, DON’T feel the need to “put up with it” or worry you may lose a client or be rude if you say no. Your safety is priority 1 in this business. They say “first do no harm” in regards to your clients, and I agree with that, I took the oath too. But I say, be choosy with your clientele. If something feels wrong, IT IS. You can tell the person, “I am a Professional Massage Therapist, and it sounds as if you are seeking services I don’t provide. Please do not contact this number again.”

Red flag

#2. Clients who say they are only in town that day and need an appointment right away. I’ve been burned by this more than once. If you doubt their sincerity, you can begin asking detailed questions about why they are seeking massage in such urgency. Are they injured, do they have an old injury flaring up, etc.  It’s completely your choice whether to accept them or not, but do keep in mind their urgency may not be urgency, but dishonesty, and this can lead to all sorts of trouble. Also, I’ve noticed, that many of these “short notice” appointments don’t show.

frustrated1Red Flag

#3. Multi Level Businesses and distributors. Many people who are independent distributors for a multi level company that sell products such as vitamins etc, find it an easy marketing tool to make one-time appointments with massage therapists and other healthcare providers to give them the opportunity to market their goods. These are usually the ones that make up excuses as to why they cannot book a second appointment by saying they are from out of town, they’ll be gone for a long time, etc. Usually without prompting. They will make excuses for their appointment, rush through paperwork, and make multiple references to their product before going into a full spiel usually at the end of the massage. You are not under obligation to listen to their spiel. They’re not coming to you for help. They’re coming to you for profit. If you find their product interesting and are genuinely interested, then by all means, allow them to engage you in their conversation, etc. Just beware. I was offered a “job” at a salon purely to give the owners more opportunity to try and get me and my fellow massage therapist friend (who found the “job” for me) to buy their products and try and convince us to become distributors (and use me for free receptionist work). A lot of them get commission and extra points/money for talking others into becoming distributors. They never scheduled me any clients, and it was a huge disaster that wasted A LOT of my time.

PyramidSide Note:

Male massage therapists: Keep in mind that all these situations apply to you as well. Do not be afraid to let your client/potential client know you are a Professional, you adhere to strict ethical behavior and expect the same of them. Some female (and male) clients who are looking for the “wrong” kind of service may have more of a tendency to get handsy during the massage than if their therapist was a girl. ALL MASSAGE THERAPISTS: Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT feel embarrassed, shy, rude, ashamed, or mean to tell somebody NO, to immediately terminate the session, to tell somebody you will not put up with that kind of behavior, to kick them out, etc. It is your RIGHT to protect yourself in ANY way. If they begin to get inappropriate (sexual remarks, innuendos, trying to touch you, intentionally trying to expose their genitals/breasts to you, etc) immediately let go, step back, STOP THE MASSAGE, and tell them their service is done, you expect full payment up front and they are not welcome back. Then step out of the room. DON’T FORGET TO DOCUMENT THE ENTIRE EPISODE IN YOUR SOAP NOTES. That is capitalized because it is dire and crucial to get your side of the story down as soon as possible and in as much detail as possible. Just in case they make false claims against you in retribution, that SOAP note is your savior. Remember: You are a Professional. And ALWAYS trust your gut instincts.

MaleLMTAnd as they say, I got your back, jack. If you’re having issues regarding your clientele, find another massage therapist willing to help you out. Don’t feel alone. Go to an old teacher, mentor,  call up an LMT out of the phone book and describe your issue. Come online and find an LMT to talk to. We’re all here for each other. Don’t ever think you have to deal with your Massage Therapy woes alone. We may help people, but it’s important we take care of and protect ourselves as well, and nobody understands that like a massage therapist.

Namaste, and good luck to all 🙂

Stacey

massage1

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“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity”

-Edgar Allan Poe

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cover    For more information on my published novels, click here!

thevillagepoetpress  Visit The Village Poet Press (My publishing company)

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The Best “Wrong Job” Ever Done!

moneytunnel

So this is what my brain looked like last night, when I realized I had ONE day to get my finances finished and sales taxes figured out, as it was due in full TODAY. Yikes. I couldn’t remember how he told me to fill out the form! I blanked on everything! Context: My state’s sales tax is 6%. The form wanted me to write down the figures for 4%. Why?? (Answer: State tax) It wanted a city code, for which city I made money in. It said 1%! Why?? (Answer: I had the wrong code) And where the hell does the other 2% come in that makes up that 6%?? (Answer: City tax)

So, here is what I did. I did the math for 4%, the math for 5% (in case the 1% city tax code was the right one) and 6% since I knew state tax was 6% (That’s what I pay when I shop in this city, anyway). I will wholeheartedly admit to not being a mathematician. But I managed it. Then I took the form, since the tax man had VERY enthusiastically pointed out to me last time that I HAVE to put the city code down for each transaction (I thought he meant to put down each transaction, not just if the transaction took place in different cities) and I wanted to be prepared, I itemized everything on the form, and brought precise money to pay for either 4%, 5% or 6%). Very precise. Very accurate. Very wrong.

I approached the lady at the front desk by showing her the form and telling her, “I’m pretty sure this is wrong, but I did my best.” She laughed and took it, looking it over and said, “I’m pretty sure it’s wrong too, but it’s very precise.” She called the tax man to let him know I was there and needed to go over the form with him.

While I waited, we joked around, the nice lady and I, about the weather, about taxes, so on and so forth. I explained an abridged version of how I came to do the form the way I did, and she laughed and told me, “If it helps, it’s the best “wrong job” I’ve ever seen!” LOL. I cracked up. Because in fact, it did help. If I was going to do it wrongly, at least I did it thoroughly. She said she sees people throw stuff together, get their figures wrong, hope they won’t notice, do sloppy work. This was the most precise way to do it wrong she’d ever seen, hahaha. I am actually proud for that. Even the tax man was impressed by it, lol. (And not in a mean way). Plus, I got to meet a really nice lady today and I got a nice thorough explanation for exactly how to fill out the form and the accurate code for the city (I was a digit off. It was a 2% code I needed but the only one I found was a 1% code that is added on top of the 6% in certain cases, such as if I worked in restaurant, sold alcohol, or did business on an “Indian” reservation.) So it wasn’t that bad of a situation. I learned a good lesson, and was very grateful the man took the time to help me fill out a new form box by box instead of just running through it and telling me to bring it back later. Next time, I know what to do, lol.

And I’m pretty sure I gave them both a funny story to tell, too.

Anyway, now I know how to do it in the future, and in the future I will do it as I go along instead of waiting for the last moment. And hope that next time, I’ll have more to not have to itemize, hehe.

Stacey

*******************************************************************************

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity”

-Edgar Allan Poe

*******************************************************************************

cover    For more information on my published novels, click here!

thevillagepoetpress  Visit The Village Poet Press (My publishing company)

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Finances, Chocolate Chips and Sake

Here we go. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. (Hah, wait, I don’t see any bens in these files…) I’m doing my finances. Especially, most importantly, my business finances. Creating expenditure and profit lists, client information lists, that sort of thing. That was last night, I stayed up until five AM doing this.

Tonight, it’s time to catch up on my SOAP notes (Subjective, Objective, Action, Plan) that is legally required following massage.

OMG, this post is so boring I just about fell asleep. Or it could be the Sake. Yum. I came home from my last massage of the day to find an open bottle of Sake sitting out. So, naturally, I helped myself to some. I’m also making dinner. The problem is, I worry that some nice gentle rice wine and curry (do those two often go together? Never mind, I’m going to be done with the Sake far before dinner’s done cooking) will make me drowsy.

And the original title of this blog was not-so-destined to be “Hands Off The Kindle” Why? Because it’s been my go-to device whenever I need a break from life, and it’s become somewhat of a crutch as of late. And guess what, I’ve needed that quite often lately. Sick nieces and sick grandmothers and major life changes and jackass boyfriends aside, whew, I’m a little worried I may be getting overwhelmed.

Then, comes flush that warming feeling deep inside that alcohol tends to provide during times like these, along with the slightly increased amount of erase-and-retypes.

Everyone has a favorite book. Everyone has a book that they read and say, “God I wish I was there.” That speaks to them on so many levels, in so many ways, that you find a piece of yourself in every character, you can relate to the way this person speak, that person acts, even the side characters- hell, sometimes even the enemies- provide you with that little feeling inside of belonging and hope. And that, my friends, is the whole point of stories.

Excuse me, while I ensure my curry is not burning, and add the tomatoes.

Wait, I just answered my own question. Sake DOES go with curry, because I’m serving my curry dish with rice, and Sake is rice wine (the only wine I can stand, by the way)

And in what universe does “My grandmother is sick in the hospital and I may have to go there in the morning and then I work all day tomorrow and I’m busy in the evening, so I will call you on Saturday” equates to “Yes I will drop everything and have dinner with you tomorrow” ? Sorry to say, not MY universe, whether certain people expect it or not. I honestly do not feel that text deserves a reply, so it is not getting one.

Right, yes. The books. The stories. They’re escapes, are they not? To be someone else for just a little while, to live their lives, to follow their stories, their adventures and share with them their emotions and life. I can very easily see how reading can become anyone’s escape, unfortunately, I fear that not enough people nowadays use it as such. More people need to read, is my opinion. Nowadays, people turn to Sake and other alcoholic beverages. The only issue is that I cannot do finances and read and blog and catch up with my SOAP notes and work on story boards and decide whether or not to turn my Legends franchise into an actual publishing company (purely for the sake of easier taxes, perhaps) or not, if I am reading. Which is why I have been reading so much. (You know, doing what you don’t really feel like doing being impossible while reading… Definitely an appeal there…) But it occurs to me simply that I am avoiding a lot of things right now. SOAP notes being the least of them.

Oh dear, yes I know I’m not the only one with issues. But see, my favorite characters’ issues I can share in and not have to take actual responsibility for. But I can live it, and feel how they are resolved, and feel good at the end of the book. Life just isn’t like that.

I am making a dire mistake. I am taking an emotional day and topping it off with Sake and the song “The End of The Innocence” By Don Henley. The last genuine year of my childhood, 1996. After that it was nothing but taking care of the sick and injured and sacrificing my own needs to ensure things and people stuck together. This is the first year I’ve focused solely on me. And even then, I’m not solely focusing on me.

But I remember the sunshine, riding my bike in the bright sunlight and gentle Oregon winds minutely scented with a touch of comforting sea air, the tall grass swaying, the summer evenings of my childhood dipping into soft dusk, then night time, where I would read and assure myself that the sun would rise again the next day. And it always did. As it always does.

What is a one sided relationship anyway? In short, exhausting. Bringing up my favorite (one of) sayings;

“Trying to understand the behavior of others is like trying to smell the color 9”

It brings me great comfort when I find myself stressing and trying to figure out exactly how someone’s mind can take someone else’s tragedy and somehow make it about themselves. And no matter what I do and say, it will always be about them.

No, sorry honey, that’s not how my universe works. And never will it, I don’t have the patience, energy or lack of self-respect to be the minority in a relationship. My world is equal grounds, or my grounds are off limits. The end.

I wonder if I may regret this post come time for me to be less warm inside. Probably not. I’m on the warm side, not yet tipsy, and not desperate enough to become so. Just taking the edge off the planet, is all.

Off comes the edge, in comes the realization that I need to take care of myself. With that comes the brutal point I MUST concede that sleep, right now, is more important than SOAP notes, more important than math and finances, more important than story boards and indecisive decision making. So here is my plan. Put leftovers away. Drink a ton of water. Go to bed.

Hopefully the nightmares will hold off for a night, and I can get restful sleep, and maybe feel prepared for my day this time.

But probably not. Not with everything going on.

At least this is my second to last day at the store. That’s going to help A LOT.

Good night, my dear friends.

Stacey

 

 

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Big News

Big news in both career departments.

Let’s start with the biggest.

I AM NOW A LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPIST!! (Throwing pretend confetti and drinking fake celebratory booze and dancing with myself as if there’s no tomorrow) Yay! I have so many things to say about this but…. The words elude me. I think I need to let a few happiness tears fall first. I want to thank everyone for their support. I had so many people online and off that supported me through all of this, it was amazing.

The other news.

I am almost done with book 3. I am about one week away from finishing the first half to the satisfaction of the internet, which coincides perfectly with the time I will begin posting snippets 🙂 Publication date is set for March 13th, so be on the lookout for wordpress snippets coming soon!

I have so, so many things to blog about, my mind is racing (Oh dear, when isn’t it) but this time, it’s racing with so many things…. things that I find genuine inspiration in…. and want to share with you all so much. But I have work in a few minutes, and unfortunately, I wounded my wrist a little and it’s not keeping up with the pace in which I want to write. Does that ever happen to other writers? I wonder. How, if you are unable to keep up the pace of typing to match your mind, you lose your flow. Hm. I know that happens all the time to me, lol.

Well…. Yup, time to work. Hopefully once this wrist heals and I can begin working on my massage career, I can do less work at the store and retain some sanity. I love the store, I love the people there, but I’m eager to begin this new facet of my life.

Have a wonderful day everyone!!!

Stacey

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Massage and the sex industry- You couldn’t be more wrong

girl ashamed

People wonder why I take offense when people equate my career as a massage therapist with something of the sex industry.  People find it funny to associate massage with sex and money and “services rendered.” While I was in school, I told an old coworker what I was studying, and he told me I should call my business “Happy Endings” because people would find the double entendre funny.

I tried to explain the unprofessionalism aspect of it, the crudity aspect, the ethics, the image, the legalities, what it would do to the image of me, my career, career field and colleagues. As a matter of fact, I’ve had similar conversations with people since before I started school, and yet still, my points are not quite acknowledged or understood. I began to wonder if I am being too respectful in my kind explanations, giving up when I realize I’m getting nowhere.

So I’m changing my strategy. Because it’s an issue worth speaking out about. An issue not often spoken of, and thanks to the media and television- an issue highly misunderstood.

You think it’s funny to joke about somebody going in to a pretty young massage therapist and getting their “happy ending” or “full body massage”? It happens. In other countries, in our country, in your town. It happens.

What most do not, or will not realize is that this “massage therapist” may very well be a victim. A victim of human trafficking, of rape, of abandonment, physical abuse, and slavery. She (or he) is probably forced to take the money you hand her for your “happy ending” and use it to pay off a debt she doesn’t owe to human smugglers, pimps who abduct, buy, or coerce these young women (and boys) into the sex industry using threats and/or acts of violence, promises of jobs and legitimate employment, claiming they owe them a debt and cannot have their freedom until they pay it back. They are beat and raped and terrorized if they don’t do the jobs they are told to do, if they don’t cooperate. They are often drugged or tortured for compliance. Many are from other countries and can’t speak our language, don’t know any better, or are sold by their own families. Many are not even 18 years old yet.

The practice of hiding this criminal, depraved and perverted business behind the term “massage” is one not unheard of, and used purely to evade police and legal involvement, anyone finding out what they are doing, while still getting across the message that it is a “physical” endeavor to those seeking the services these poor young slaves are forced to provide. It’s beyond heinous, and has given the term “massage” a meaning that it should never, ever, ever be equated with. Perversion, abuse, atrocities of indescribable nature.

Massage, real massage, is a healing practice of the mind, body and soul. It is about healing, human touch, with physiological and psychological benefits that cannot be measured. It is spiritual, it is health, it is acknowledgement that the human body cannot function without full homeostasis, the true balance of the mind body and spirit as we were meant to exist. Harmony, peace, health. It promotes and creates homeostasis. It can’t get much better than that.

So when you joke around about “happy endings” and ask me what kind of “extra” or “non-menu”  services I offer, please keep this in mind- The next time you go to get a “massage” from one of those “therapists”, you may just be assisting in the criminal enslavement and sexual abuse of a victim, a possible minor, either foreign, or domestic. (Yes, the human trafficking problem in the USA is JUST AS PREVALENT as many other countries. It is happening right in your state, right in your town, right under your nose.)

And even if that isn’t the case, if you find a “massage therapist” working of their own free will, you are still involved in illegal activity and the promotion of human trafficking and using the term “massage” as a cover. Stop and think. Think about how many young lives have been destroyed. Is it so funny now?

Remember, Massage is about healing and harmony. Not sex. Give it and real therapists the respect they deserve.  Speak out against human trafficking and enslavement. Thank you.

massage-therapy-1-hands

 

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Being a Graduate

I decided to write this while I am still stunned, still crying, and still in denial.

I am a graduate!!!!

Why did I decide to write it in this frame of mind??

Because holy-fucking-cow I’m a graduate!!!!
I am now an official certified massage therapist. Next comes the license in a couple of weeks. Yikes.

And every single moment has been worth it. Every single second, every single trial, every single triumph, has all been beyond worth this moment. Every moment.

Wow, and for once in both my written and non-written aspects of life… I have no words.

They’re there, just waiting for my denial to diminish. All I can say is how damn proud I am of my classmates, my teachers, and myself.

The end.

No, just the beginning…

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The miracle that was my first massage

From the first moment I shook her young hand to the moment I first spoke to her, found out her troubles and concerns, discovered her history as we spoke softly as I guided her to my massage table, and when she sat down on the edge tentatively, emanating nervousness and concern not just for lack of massage experience, but also due to the fetus growing inside of her young womb, I knew I was hooked on helping people.

Despite not knowing until later just how young she was, on the cusp of childhood and adulthood, no doubt barely out of high school, I knew there was something pure about her and it wasn’t just that unique and incredibly special pregnancy “new mother” energy about her. It was the young “I’m lost in the world and still trying to find my way”. At seven months pregnant, I can only imagine how hard her life is right now.

I’ve had two hours of prenatal massage training and I am nervous until the very moment I realize she is more nervous than I am, and as she tells me about her pains and her problems prompted and guided by my gentle questioning, I begin to realize… I can help her.

I talk her through the process so that she understands, I educate her through my training on the possible reasons for her pain and discomfort, she gets on the table under the sheets and blanket and I begin the massage. At first she is tentative, this is a whole new experience and I could, with a fair amount of accuracy, assess that it has been a very long time since anyone has touched her with any kind of care, or healing intent. This is far beyond muscle relaxation, far beyond the muscle releasing techniques to loosen the pull on her muscles and low back, it’s beyond my weeks of training and hours of prenatal training. This isn’t about the massage, it is about her, and it is about her baby, and it is about her quality of life, and how I could improve it.

This girl, who has probably not once relaxed in her entire life, finally began to relax. First her expression gently folding from one of trepidation to one of comfort, then her muscles following suit as they realize it’s ok to relax, and then… She fell asleep. With a slight smile on her face, taking deep breaths of comfort and security, something I could also safely say she is unaccustomed to.

With one of her hands on her baby belly, and her other hand in mine, she lets go of the worries in her life, at least for now, as I relax the muscles in her hand and gently break apart the fascia in her palm as tense as she used to be. With my gentle touch, I’ve told her muscles that it is safe, and it is ok to be relaxed and healthy. To me, this sight seems a miracle, and perhaps it was.

She confirmed to me later on that she was more relaxed, felt better and was in less pain. But the comfort still lingering on her face and in her eyes told me more than that. For once, if only just an hour in her young life… she felt safe.

And that is a sensation not to be taken for granted. But we all know that. I wish her the best in her life and her motherhood. And I am more than grateful for the gift she has given me of not just the ability to learn and practice what I was taught, but for showing me that strength has nothing to do with muscle mass. It has everything to do with letting go of your pain long enough to let someone hold your hand.

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Yes, I AM still alive!!!!

This was originally going to be a cute little poem, since I don’t believe in cute little paragraph-sized blog posts to let everyone know I freakin miss them and miss wordpress as I have been so so sooooo busy with school (and a broken computer) that I am unable to go online except for the very minute amount of occasional spare time on another’s borrowed computer, however, the poem stopped at two lines and I thought, “Holy crap, I can’t even write a poem today” Maybe it’s not enough caffeine, too much sun in the hot 100’s + the last couple of days (or the muggy 93 degrees now) or because my mind is swimming with muscles and tendons, but… what was I saying? Yes, oh yes, I keep losing my train of thought, that’s what I was saying.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing good and I miss everyone so much! I’ll come back on soon and type another blog. Until then, not much to say except I’m finally through A&P and I’m on to actual massage now!! YES!!! Going to school was the best decision I ever made.

 

Me!

 

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