Spotlight on a Massage Therapist

Massage Therapy is an amazing occupation with a variety of career paths available. We feature interviews with graduates of Irene’s Myomassology Institute sharing their successes, challenges, rewards, and advice.


Paul Mattson Graduated February 2019

Irene’s – Where do you work?

Paul – I am self-employed and have started my own massage practice:  Vita Nova Massage, LLC, and will be relocating to Farmington, MI effective June 1, 2019.

Irene’s – What are your specialties?

Paul – Reflexology, Thai Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy.

Irene’s – What are the top two things you love the most about your career?

Paul -The first is that I love helping people.  I have been in the helping and healing professions all of my professional careers. I spent many years in social work before becoming a Massage Therapist.  Doing massage energizes me, and there’s something invigorating about working so closely with my clients.  The body tells the story of the client’s life. As a massage therapist, I get to help them “rewrite” that story.  I find it personally energizing and revitalizing to my spirit. The second is that I love being my own boss and setting my own schedule.  I find this helps me to be a better therapist because it allows me to take better care of myself so I can care for others.

Irene’s – What are your favorite modalities, or what techniques do you find most effective?

Paul -Thai Massage is my personal favorite.  I love the benefit that it provides through compressions, stretches, and movements.  However, I do find it challenging to convince clients to try this modality, probably because it’s something which most are not familiar with.

The techniques I have found most effective, and that I learned at Irene’s, are Trigger Point Therapy and Reflexology.  I have successfully worked with clients in treating trigger points. Most recently I helped to relieve trigger points in a client diagnosed with MS who I have been treating over several weeks.  It took some time but it felt great to be able to find the right treatment methods that benefited her.  Reflexology works in combination with other therapies. I feel I must be doing something right with this modality because nearly every client who I practice reflexology on reports they fall asleep! While that’s not the therapeutic intent, I believe that achieving that level of relaxation certainly has a benefit.

Irene’s – What was your greatest success with a client?

Paul – Recently I had a client who came to me complaining of pain and tingling in her left arm.  She said she had been to her doctor and the doctor told her it was carpal tunnel syndrome. He had even prescribed her a wrist brace to wear.  Before beginning her first session, I completed 2 tests for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), which both came out positive.  I then did 2 different treatments with her for TOS.  She texted me about a week later and said (verbatim), “Good morning Paul!  I don’t know what you did but the tingling in my hand has subsided almost completely & I can’t attribute it to the wrist brace they gave me – cuz I haven’t been using it!”  Reading that made me feel awesome!

Irene’s- Where is the first place you worked?

Paul – Immediately after graduation, I started my own business, Vita Nova Massage.  I did interview either via phone or in-person with several potential employers that contacted me via Irene’s, and although they were great options, they just didn’t seem to be the right fit for me.

I began by renting space in a clinic in Livonia with 3 other therapists and will be moving into a new space that is much more conveniently located in Farmington as of June 1 this year (2019).  Within the same building are an Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner, a chiropractor, a spiritual counselor, and an energy worker.  I feel that I will be a good fit in this wellness community.

Additionally, I recently accepted a position at Irene’s as an instructor.  I will begin teaching business classes at Irene’s in June of 2019 and am very excited about this new chapter in my career.

Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success?

Paul – I seek to maintain my passion for what I am doing and to look at each client who comes to me as an individual with specific needs, hopes, desires, and dreams.  As I said before, I believe the body tells the story of their life, and I seek to read that story and to help them rewrite the ending by facilitating their healing.

Additionally, I believe that I am a lifelong student.  I have amassed knowledge and experience over the course of my lifetime and don’t downplay that because it is extremely valuable and has helped me to be who I am today.  However, I also don’t allow that to feed my ego, and I do my best to practice humility.  This keeps my heart and mind open to the knowledge and experience that I can gain from others.

Irene’s – What do you do for self-care?

Paul – I have spiritual practices in which I engage.  I meditate, pray, and journal every day without fail.  This helps to keep me balanced and centered.

I exercise regularly, at least 4-5 days per week.  It helps me to relieve stress and to maintain my energy level, as well as to be able to do the physical work that Massage Therapy demands.  

Since being in massage school, I have also adopted a plant-based diet (no meat) and believe this has contributed to my overall health and well-being. My doctor agrees!

I also trade massages whenever I can, and try to schedule a trade at least once per week.  I like to experience the techniques that other therapists practice, and pick up some “tips and tricks” along the way (it’s part of the “lifelong student” philosophy).

Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best? 

Paul – I have tried several marketing strategies, including social media, website, print ads, and direct emails.  These have their place and their benefit, and without them, some of my clients would not have found me.

However, I have found that the best marketing tool is word of mouth. Getting a client to rebook and to recommend you to others is by far the best marketing tool for my business, in my experience.  And the only way to achieve this is to provide my clients with the best experience possible.

Irene’s – What do you feel the biggest mistake you’ve made, and how did you address it?

Paul – Probably the biggest mistake I’ve made is spending money on marketing tools without thoroughly researching them first. And overestimating my capabilities in developing and maintaining a website.  I am currently the owner of a domain name for the next 3 years, and until recently (when I hired someone to complete it for me) it has sat idle for months because I was “stuck” on how to complete and publish it.  It was a costly but valuable lesson.

Irene’s – Do you have any advice for new therapists?

Paul – Be patient with yourself.  Take time and trust the process.  If you approach your career with good and true intentions, with a heart and passion to help others, the rest will fall into place for you.  You will attract the right people into your life who will help you on this journey.  I know because this has happened to me so far.

Also, don’t get discouraged when someone doesn’t like, enjoy, or benefit from your massage therapy.  It will happen.  There are some people with whom, for whatever reason, you will not be a good fit as a therapist.  And that’s okay!  I have learned to accept that and to wish them well in their journey, as well as in their search for another therapist.  That is the better solution for both client and therapist in the long-term.

Irene’s – What is the best way for clients to contact you?

Paul – My preferred way is via phone call or text message at (248) 270-2686. My second preference is to email at   I also have the option to request an appointment through my website at

I can also accept messages through my Facebook and Instagram business pages – search for VitaNovaMassage7.


Irene’s Myomassology Institute is a nationally accredited massage therapy school located in Southfield, Michigan.  Scholarships and Financial Aid are available for qualified students to help them pay school tuition.  Our students graduate with a state license prepared for a successful career as a massage therapist.  Irene’s lifetime job placement services maintain an abundance of massage career opportunities for our alumni.  Irene’s student massage clinic provides affordable massage to the public with discounted prices for seniors and veterans. Irene’s massage supply store equips massage therapists with the necessities to manage a successful career.