Spotlight on a Massage Therapist Massage Therapy is an amazing occupation with a variety of career paths available. We feature interviews with professionals in the field and share their successes, challenges, rewards, and advice.

Melissa Whitaker Graduated Septemeber 2009

Irene’s – Where do you practice massage? 

Melissa – I currently work at Avanti Salon & Spa in Clarkston & I rent space once a week for private clients. 

Irene’s – What is your favorite aspect of being a massage therapist?

Melissa – My favorite aspect is being able to help people by doing something I love to do. It’s also a nice perk to be in a relaxing environment (depending on where you work) & not have to wear heels to work!

Irene’s – What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your massage career?

Melissa – Knowing you’ve helped a client feel better & provided relief is one of the best feelings. It’s very rewarding to see the results of your work and have clients return to you because they want to continue feeling great. 

Irene’s – Do you have any massage specialties that you incorporate into your massage practice?

Melissa – Aromatherapy is a passion of mine and something I’m always continuing to learn more about.  My background as a personal trainer also helps with my massage clients.  It allows me to talk with clients about particular health & wellness issues as part of an overall treatment plan.  Those plans include massage as well as exercise & stretching. 

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

Melissa – Sports massage, stretching & deep tissue massage are usually what I do the most. It is a little frustrating for me when I get clients who want a feather-light massage. But, of course, the session is about the client so I do my best to do the massage they request.

Irene’s – What has been your greatest success with a massage client?

Melissa – My greatest success is in building trust with clients.  This is paramount in your practice.  Building that trust to a level where they start bringing their kids to see me is huge.

Irene’s – Where is the first place you worked after you graduated from Irene’s massage school?  

Melissa – I worked in a salon-spa in Livonia.  I also worked in the student clinic at Irene’s Myomassology Institute for a while.

Irene’s – What do you do for self-care to provide longevity of your massage career? 

Melissa- I trade massages with a few friends but definitely not as often as I’d like. I work out on a regular basis and try to maintain a pretty healthy diet. 

Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success as a massage therapist? 

Melissa– I attribute my success to, listening to clients, always furthering my education & truly loving people. 

Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best to promote your massage practice?  

Melissa – 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?  

Melissa – Stretching myself too thin in the beginning by working all hours of the day to accommodate client schedules. 

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

Melissa – You don’t have to take the first or every job you’re offered. When you first graduate it’s very exciting and easy to get caught up in being offered a position.  It’s okay to consider all your options and be a bit picky about where you work.


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.