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.
Mia Shaughnessy Graduated June 2018
Mia was awarded South Lyon’s BEST Massage Therapist for 2019!
Irene’s – Why did you choose massage therapy as a career?
Mia – I am not sure how I ended up in massage therapy, it kind of just happened! I went to Schoolcraft right after graduating high school; I decided 4-year college/universities were not the paths that were meant for me. I thought about becoming a cosmetologist or hairdresser like my mom, aunt, and grandmother, but I decided I wanted to be more in the wellness category instead of beauty.
Irene’s – Where do you currently practice massage therapy?
Mia – I own a spa in Downtown South Lyon called Balance and Composure Massage located at 125 N. Lafayette Street. Before opening my location, I worked from home for a year and a half.
Irene’s – What is the most rewarding part of your massage career?
Mia – Well, there’s a lot. One rewarding part of my career is how happy every one of my clients is to see me, even if they are having a bad day, or how much happier they look after their massage. I also love achieving my goals whether it is related to business, finances, or goals with my clients. In 2019, while still working from home, I also received an award from the City of South Lyon for Best Massage Therapist!
Irene’s – Do you have a favorite memory from massage school?
Mia – I loved the day when we could bring a guest to school and have them experience Irene’s, as well as receive massage. It was a great experience for me because we could show them all the work we put in over the year.
Irene’s – What was the best class you took at Irene’s massage school?
Mia– My favorite classes were the Orthopedic Massage Class and Structural Integration class. I loved the anatomy courses and learning about the Kinesiology portion of massage therapy, but these two classes really pieced the puzzle together and helped me understand the body a lot better.
Irene’s – What bodywork modalities or massage techniques do you find most effective?
Mia – Trigger Point Therapy can be really effective for some people, but I have found sometimes it can cause the muscles to tense up for some and then you have to all start over. I am also a huge fan of the pin and stretching, and Dynamic Stretching. I think as a massage therapist it is important to incorporate some stretching because most people don’t do them, which makes our job more difficult.
Irene’s – What was your greatest success with a massage client?
Mia– I had a client come to me with pain in their back from a workout injury. In the beginning, we did a lot of structural evaluation, muscle assessments, trigger point therapy and targeted massage for the area. He wanted to come frequently to get started with treatment, then gradually decrease his visits as his back got better. He was working with myself and a chiropractor, as well as being diligent with suggested stretches and workouts, eating healthy, drinking enough water, etc. This was my greatest success because he is better now with no pain, and no longer needs a massage!
Irene’s – Where is the first place you worked after you graduated from massage school?
Mia – After graduation, I immediately started working from home and also started working for a chiropractor in West Bloomfield.
Irene’s – What do you do for self-care to provide longevity of your massage career?
Mia – Every morning before work, I drink a smoothie with plant-based protein like almond butter or peanut butter. I trade Massage with 2-3 therapists every month, drink a lot of water, eat healthily and make sure I am taking time off if I need it.
Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success as a massage therapist?
Mia- I have an extremely supportive boyfriend who has been there for me through all the ups and downs of Myomassology School, the MBLEx, opening up my own business. He is always there for me and helps me keep going at the end of the day, even on the worst days. I am very thankful to him.
Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best to promote your massage practice?
Mia – Starting off with a google page is a great way to start. Make sure your clients leave reviews there, and not just on yelp or massagebook.com.
Irene’s – What do you feel was the biggest mistake you made as a massage therapist and how did you address it?
Mia – Cinnamon essential oil…I took the aromatherapy class at Irene’s, which I LOVED! I always make sure my dilutions are accurate before applying essential oils. This was a friend, and not a client luckily, but it still was not a good situation. When I used cinnamon-infused cream, she was more sensitive to it than most people. She felt that it was stinging and burning.
If this ever happens (no matter what essential oil,) get massage oil, olive oil, even vegetable oil if you have to and put it all over their skin. Massage cream will not work. The massage oil will cling to the essential oil and it will draw out of their pores. Wipe off with a cool towel and use more oil if needed.
Irene’s – What continuing education have you taken after graduating from massage school?
Mia – I have taken a couple of classes through the Brookbush Institute online for my certification as a Human Movement Specialist and will be taking the Human Trafficking class at the end of March at Irene’s.
Irene’s – Do you have any advice for new massage therapists?
Mia – Always make time for yourself and make sure you are getting a massage, too!
Irene’s – What is the best way for massage clients to contact you?
Mia – My number is 734-718-5826 or my email is MShaughnessy.MT@gmail.com. You can also visit Balance and Composure Massage at 125 N. Lafayette Street, South Lyon, MI. 48178. https://www.balancecomposuremassage.com/
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.