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.
Stacy Leasure Graduated September 2008
Irene’s – Why did you become a Massage Therapist?
Stacy – Massage has been a part of my life since I was five. My summers were usually spent with my grandmother in Arkansas. One day I grabbed her lotion and asked if I could massage her feet. My cousins were sent outside and my five-year-old self had all my Mema’s attention! This became our daily routine and I reveled in the one on one attention and discovering the human body and how I could help with something as simple as a foot massage. Over the years I began to incorporate more of the body as I massaged my grandmother, till I was basically giving full-body massages on the floor at 13 years old. Her favorites were, of course, foot massages and she was a fan of hand massage as well as a scalp massage.
On December 11th, 2004 I gave my grandmother her final massage as she passed away. To this day I can still clearly see that moment. I was at the foot of her bed, massaging her feet and thinking about the last 15 years I had spent giving my grandmother the gift of touch. That moment was the first time I truly felt “energy” from another person’s body. One moment I was massaging my grandmother and in an instant, I felt a shift of energy, looked up and saw the monitors showed no signs of life. She passed peacefully and with a final foot massage from her granddaughter.
The next few years were filled with signs that I should go to massage school. On my 23rd birthday, I decided to take the leap and look into massage schools. During my tour at Irene’s, I knew this was the place for me. Susan Vert told me there was a new class starting in just 8 days and if we got on the ball we just might be able to make that work. 8 long days later, I sat down in my first hands-on class and the girl sitting next to me was named Emily; my daughter is also named Emily. I smiled and knew everything was
about to shift in my life.
Irene’s – If you weren’t a Massage Therapist what would you be doing?
Stacy – Everything I am currently doing: Graphic design, copywriting, social media marketing, learning, writing, building websites and fundraising.
Irene’s – Where do you practice massage?
Stacy – Currently I have a home office in Berkley MI and see clients in their home.
Irene’s – What is your favorite aspect of being a massage therapist?
Stacy – Massage therapists get to be one of the best parts of someone’s day! You are there to help them connect with their bodies and give them space to let the body heal.
Irene’s – What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your massage career?
Stacy – Connecting with people, hands down! When people find out you’re a massage therapist, it seems to bring a spark to the conversation. Fellow therapists know what I’m talking about, “Ohh! I have a spot right here!” as they reach for their <insert body part> “Can you massage it!?”
Then there are the fellow therapists, bodyworkers, and entrepreneurs you meet at the variety of events and conferences we attend. They can bring lifelong friendships and mentors to your life as well as opening your mind to new modalities, tools and new ways of thinking.
Irene’s – Do you have any massage specialties that you incorporate into your massage practice?
Stacy – Irene’s provided an outstanding foundation for massage. Between the standard curriculum and my choice of electives, my first decade of massage was spent fine-tuning my “toolbox” I had acquired. As well as expanding my knowledge on my chosen electives: Thai Massage, Hot Rocks, Chair Massage, Reflexology, Sports Massage, Prenatal/Labor Massage, and Spa Treatments.
Irene’s – What are your favorite bodywork modalities, or what massage techniques do you find most effective?
Stacy – Reflexology is where it all started for me and will always be a favorite. Thai Massage is not far behind. I had unknowingly been doing Reflexology and Thai on my grandmother all those years ago and didn’t know what to call it, other than massage, till I went to Irene’s.
As for what massage techniques I find most effective, hands down my recent Tru Pro Training at Trunamics with Lynn and Ann Teachworth have been a HUGE game changer! Reciprocal Dynamics and Structural Dynamics provide a unique and advanced approach to working with the human body. I’m excited to continue my training with the Teachworths.
Irene’s – What has been your greatest success with a massage client?
Stacy – My very first massage client when I started in Irene’s Student Clinic will forever be my greatest success. Going into my first shift at the Irene’s Student Clinic I was filled with excitement, nervousness and a good dose of “I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I’M DOING” going on. Barb handed me my client file and told me where I had to go to give this client a massage. I gave it my all and ended the session and waited for my evaluation form.
“Sure will like to do an exchange with her.” – Irene Gauthier
Having Irene as my 1st massage client was a blessing. If I can give Irene a massage and she likes it so much that she wants to exchange, well I can face any client and not be intimidated. I got this!
My most recent success was when I worked on a friend that had gotten their first massage from me, a 90 minute Thai Massage and said “That was the best massage I’ve ever had! Why did I wait so long to get a massage from you!?” After I learned Reciprocal Dynamics I worked on them again. They had an issue with their jaw and less than 90 seconds later they were WIDE EYED saying “OMG! What did you do!? The pain is gone!” Yeah, that was pretty sweet.
Irene’s – Where is the first place you worked after you graduated from Irene’s massage school?
Stacy – For myself in my home and then I expanded into chiropractic offices and spas to fill my schedule.
Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success as a massage therapist?
Stacy – Knowing how to connect with a person. If you take the time to truly listen you can hear so much.
Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best to promote your massage practice?
Stacy – Consistency is the key to any business when you’re talking about marketing. Social media is huge and you can easily find information on how to use any platforms. Pick a platform and learn the ins and outs, then move to the next one and on again. I enjoy helping people improve on what they have and helping them expand their knowledge.
That being said, all the marketing in the world will only get you so far if your skills are subpar. Ensure you are providing top-notch service and gladly refer your clients to trusted colleagues if you find you’re unable to help them reach specific goals. That one act will reflect positively on you, build client confidence, and continue to encourage word of mouth.
Irene’s – What do you feel was the biggest mistake you made as a massage therapist and how did you address it?
Stacy – The biggest mistake I have made as a massage therapist is self-doubt. Confidence is the key to moving forward and growing. Mistakes happen, learn from them and then go make new mistakes.
Irene’s – Do you have any advice for new massage therapists?
Stacy – Spend time cultivating your skills, expanding your knowledge on what you learned in school, stay confident, be open to failing, be open to growth, read some books, take some classes and you’re going to do great. Definitely take the Trunamics Tru Pro Training, it’s 120 hours but well worth the investment.
Irene’s – Where can people connect with you?
Stacy – Website: http://leasuremassage.com/