Medical Doctor Meets Massage Therapist
By Todd Fiorentino
A friend of mine went into business with his spouse. The conversations at cocktail parties usually went like this, “Isn’t it great to be your own boss?” “Yes, we get to pick which 50 hours per week we want to work.” Everyone knows that being a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. You don’t have the security of benefits packages from large companies, and your paycheck fluctuates with the market. There’s more, but you get the picture.
In his case, his wife was a graphic designer, and he was an accountant. So it worked well—he did the books and she did the design work. The business was a smash eventually employing a team of artists, and their biggest client recognized the talent and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Their client basically said (to himself), here is my entire graphic arts department for my company right here. All I have to do is give them jobs and buy the business.
There’s no question that working with your spouse complicates the relationship. Money talks are a given with marriage, but this adds a whole new level. It’s funny how you work so hard to get out of working for other people, only to be sucked back in. And herein lays the entrepreneur’s dilemma. If you are truly successful, it’s hard not to either become that large company you were trying to escape, or perhaps be eaten up by one.
Either way, for the serial entrepreneur, it’s important to have one person in the “regular” workforce while the other is dabbling in “the next great thing” or making a better widget. I don’t mean to devalue entrepreneurship. Quite the opposite; in my household, I qualify as the entrepreneur, but could not have reached the success we have without my spouse, who is a medical doctor. Doctors are one of the few industries at near 100% employment (if you’re an unemployed doctor, then it’s because you chose not to work in most cases).
I am a massage therapist and owner of Energy Rising in Pittsfield, and the new Stockbridge Massage on Elm Street. My wife helps support the work, and we reinvest profits into the companies, in service of the community. In her mind, this is physical medicine. It’s another piece of the puzzle. Physical therapists, osteopaths, orthopedics and massage therapy—everyone specializes in a different piece.
One of my recent clients wasn’t getting the results she had hoped from cortisone injections. She was suffering with burning pain in the top of the foot and ankle. They were injecting the lumbar spine following a car accident. I was really enlivened when she told me the pain went away completely for a number of days following my massage. I followed the nerve from the low-back down to the foot, freeing up the soft tissue around it, and did some focused work directly on the foot. It worked!
Another one of my clients wasn’t breathing throughout the whole session. Then, right around 50-minutes, I saw her abdomen start to rise and fall. She was finally breathing deeply, relaxing and letting go. These are great moments for body-workers as we try to cut through the debris, residue and clutter of the mind. So many things impact us without us even knowing it. But our subconscious body stores them up. Your thoughts can create muscular tension leading to negativity and pain, which affects your relationships and others’ perception of you. In some essential sense, I feel like we’re trying to release the true you on the table.
Energy Rising, my first company, was really a value proposition for the community of Pittsfield. We basically said, “Massage is not only for the wealthy, everyone deserves a massage.” We priced it accordingly, and didn’t charge for deep tissue upgrades, essential oils, etc. And neither Stockbridge Massage nor Energy Rising charges more for pregnancy massage. This is just one of those things that has been built into every spa menu, but makes no sense. It doesn’t take more effort on our part to do a pregnancy massage, so why penalize these women?
Another aspect of the value proposition with both Stockbridge Massage and Energy Rising is that we are offering 60-minute and 90-minute sessions. If you look at most spa/resort menus, you will see their prices reflect a 50-minute or 80-minute session. So you lose time, and you pay for any upgrades; your bill is almost always over $100 for a massage. For house-calls, we’ve seen rates ranging from $25-$30. Both Energy Rising and Stockbridge Massage offer house-calls for only 10%. We deliver these items at cost.
Finally, what’s different about Stockbridge Massage and Energy Rising is that we match clients up with therapists based on the given musculoskeletal issue. We have a staff of seven licensed massage therapists (LMT’s) each with their particular specialties. We have some very rare modalities represented in our group such as Feldenkrais; in most cases, you have to travel to NYC or Boston for a Feldenkrais session, but we have it here. We also offer medical massage, cranial sacral, Reiki and reflexology. All of our therapists offer deep tissue, sports, integrative and spa treatments.
The reality is that many clients don’t want to drive up to a castle, put on a waffle robe and receive an expensive shortened treatment. Stockbridge Massage and Energy Rising offer an alternative to resorts and spas. We are local independent massage therapists. The majority of our therapists have 5+ years experience in the field, but we are also grooming new talent. What I really like about our new therapists is that they have the very latest in training. So much has changed in our industry as it becomes more medical. Our new therapists have benefited from the increased science and hands-on requirements passed by the state.
So, that’s my story. It’s meant to be an introduction to my new business, Stockbridge Massage with some history about Energy Rising, which has been serving the community for 3+ years and has nine on-location accounts (B&B’s, inns, spas, etc.). We are committed to serving you, and feel that massage is an important part of physical medicine. I’m so glad my wife feels the same way, and I want to publicly thank her for supporting my team of talented massage therapists.