The True Cost of Your Massage

Some things just aren’t worth getting cheap. Low price tags are undeniably seductive, but too often the old chestnut about getting what you pay for turns out to be true.

Beyond quality, however, it’s important to consider how much it costs to bring you the things that you love. With this in mind, so much of what we take for granted– or even belly-ache over the price of–can suddenly seem like a bargain. Massage is one of those things. Let’s take a moment to break down the costs our massage price covers:

Overhead
This broad term is too easily glazed over, but in our case, these are just a few of the things we need to cover to provide you the massages you love:

  • laundry – not only do we have to pay for the machines and maintenance, the actual process of keeping our sheets and towels clean takes considerable cost and effort. While we try to be thrifty, we try to purchase products that will effectively remove unsightly grease stains and disinfect, all while not leaving behind any perfumes or odors. Checking all those boxes comes with a cost.
  • equipment – Did you know that most professional massage tables Massage therapist standing by massage table with hands crossedstart at about $600? Then there’s the towel warmers, the heating pads, the sheets, the music players, computers, printer, furniture, etc. It all adds up very quickly.
  • power – the heating, lighting, and air-conditioning for the whole clinic is fueled by a significant portion of the fee you pay for a massage.
  • rent – we love our clinic, and many of you have told us that you share that sentiment. But it doesn’t come free! We went out of our way to find a great deal on this place so we can keep our costs as low as possible while providing you a great massage experience.

Promotion and sales
If you’ve ever come in with a voucher, consider yourself lucky. Those promotions have done wonders to bring in new clients. But that has come with a considerable cost. Each of those sessions fulfilled actually costs us far more than we get paid for it.

Social Media Networking Time

This blog, our Twitter feed, Facebook page, and Pinterest boards also cost us in time and money. There are also costs that come with advertising and networking as we try to bring in new clients.

Education
Sure, massage practitioners don’t have the student loans of doctors, but they don’t get anything near the pay of doctors either. Most LMTs have to take on some debt in order to afford their training. Doing paid massage work is their time to service those debts one big payment at a time. The less they get paid, the more the interest piles up over the years.

Just as a side note, the training to become an LMT is far more extensive than you might think. It takes hundreds of long hours studying anatomy and physiology, not to mention the hours spent practicing and learning techniques. Amy Gunn, one of our owner/operators, even spent some of her training examining dissected cadavers at a local university. So no, becoming an LMT doesn’t involve the kind of training you would need to become a doctor or a nurse, but the layman might have a hard time telling the difference.

And the training doesn’t stop there! Washington state law requires that LMTs acquire about 12 hours a year of continuing education. There are always fees that come with that training, and your massage practitioner is paying for those.

Healthcare
Most LMTs simply can’t afford health insurance, and have to rely on either the state or pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare costs. Most clinics, like ours, likewise can’t afford to offer health insurance as a benefit. It should be noted, however, that our practitioners are able to purchase supplemental insurance at reduced rate.

Liability insurance
This protects the practitioner in the event they get sued. However, that insurance protection is a requirement for a massage license in Washington state, and comes with regular costs that need to be covered.

Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LMTs make an average of about $18.25 an hour in Washington state as of 2014. While we pay our practitioners well above that average, you need to understand that their pay is per massage hour. Given how hard massage can be on the muscles and joints, most practitioners can’t stand to do more than six massage hours in a day, and no more than about 20-25 total hours in a week!

With that kind of pace in mind, the experienced, skilled LMT who makes you feel like a million bucks isn’t taking home much more than the teenagers serving you iced tea and chili cheese fries.

Feeling guilty yet?
All kidding aside, we realize that the cost of a massage is a stress for many, if not most people. We’ve tried to do everything we can to make sure that our business remains viable. It’s a real balancing act trying to keep the lights on, keep our practitioners working and happy, and satisfying our clients at the lowest possible price. But we love the challenge. We may not have the lowest price point in town, but the quality and experience we offer our clients is second to none.

If paying full price for massage is difficult for you to manage, we have created several ways to pay for a massage, including prepaid massage packages offered at a significant discount. We can even bill against a workers compensation claims or personal injury protection claims for car accidents.

Whatever you manage to work out, we appreciate your business. Each day we’re grateful for the chance to do what we love. Anyone hoping to get rich as an LMT might want to consider doing something else, but that’s just it: we do this because we love it.

Before you balk at our price or go elsewhere chasing a bargain, considering the costs involved could transform your perspective.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. Follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

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How A Little Salt Can Help You Sleep

Get the low-down on one of our most popular products. Peaceful Nights Bath Salts combine a rich blend of essential oils formulated to soothe your nerves and help you sleep.

Now through 10/31/2015, our handmade bath salts are $1 off! Stop in to get yours today.

Special thanks to former intern Byron Benson for writing the script for this video.

Tom Gunn is the Director of Marketing and blog editor for the The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

A Sweet Treat for Hands and Feet: Handmade Sugar Scrubs

It sounds weird.

It sounds delicious.

It’s neither, actually. Our handmade sugar scrubs are a sweet treat for your hands or feet. This product is a gentle exfoliation treatment that’s perfect for the extremities, but can be used anywhere you would like softer, more rejuvenated skin.Peppermint Handmade Sugar Scrub

Where does it come from?
Like most of our products, Handmade Sugar Scrub is made under the same roof as our massage clinic using all-natural ingredients. These ingredients include:

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Pure Vegetable Glycerin
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • All-Natural Fragrance, including essential oils

Our own Amy Gunn formulated this product herself and does most of the manufacturing with her own hands and with the help of our staff. Ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible.

Why sugar?
While salt is often favored for spa products like this, salt can dry out your skin. Sugar has a similarly rough texture to exfoliate without damaging the skin.

How do I use it?

1. Before applying, open the container. The ingredients may have settled, so you’ll need to stir things up before using. Use the scoop (included) to gently stir the product so all the ingredients are well mixed.
2. With the scoop, apply the product to rough or dry skin. Most people use it for hands or feet, but it can be effective anywhere on your body.
3. Gently scrub in a circular motion.
4. Rinse with warm water, moisturize, and enjoy softer, healthier skin.

What does it smell like?
Handmade Sugar Scrub comes in five fragrances, including:

Sweet Pea
We use this fragrance popular fragrance in several of our products. This floral smell manages to gently delight your senses without coming on too strong.

The subtle smell of sweet peas makes this fragrance one of our most popular, for all our products, but especially the sugar scrub.
The subtle smell of sweet peas makes this fragrance one of our most popular, for all our products, but especially the sugar scrub.

Peppermint
This fragrance comes from therapeutic-grade essential

Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.
Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.

oils. Not only does it have a crisp, clean scent, it creates a pleasant cooling sensation on the skin.

Energize!
The natural citrus oils in this fragrance will get you moving. This is perfect if you plan on using it first thing in the morning or any time you feel a lull in your energy.

Citrus Blossom
This is a sweet blend of mostly fruity undertones with the slightest hint of floral and musk. The effect is that it slightly elevates your mood while soothing your senses.

White Grapefruit
This is scented with therapeutic-grade grapefruit essential oil. Sweet and mouthwatering.

Custom Order
If there’s a scent you’re particularly fond of, we may be able to make it for you! Email or call (425-243-7705) for more information.

Where do I get it?
You can stop in at our clinic to pick some up! We’re open 9 AM to 9 PM Monday to Friday and 8 AM to 8 PM on Saturday. We’re located at 200 South Tobin St. in Renton, Washington.

It can also be purchased online from our products page. If you’re from Renton or the greater Seattle area, you can save on shipping and pick up your order directly from our clinic.

Tom Gunn is the official blogger and marketing director at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

Know Your Therapist–Amy Gunn

Know Your Therapist is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage therapist. If you aren’t sure which of our talented therapists would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are both personally and professionally. This is part 2 of a series of posts. Click here to read Part 1.

Amy Gunn has been a massage therapist since 2000 and is one of our most experienced employees. She’s the co-founder of our clinic, and is as passionate about business as she is about massage. She’s built a loyal following over the years, so she can be hard to schedule on short notice, but her clients will tell you her massages are well worth the wait.

We sat down with her and asked her a few questions about her life, her work, and what makes her particular brand of massage unique.

Tell us a little something about your personal life. Hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.

Amy Gunn, LMP, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage
Amy Gunn, LMP, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage

I’ve been married almost 11 years. We have a superhero-obsessed son who is 3 going on 18. He definitely keeps me busy when I’m not at work, and I love it.

I’m a little embarrassed by my number of different hobbies. I really love to write novels (nothing published yet), and knit (always have a project or two in the works) I’ve also dabbled in several different musical instruments. I used to be a decent cellist, but I sound pretty rusty now.

I also did martial arts for several years and really enjoyed it. Lately, I’ve been getting my aggression out at the gym running on a treadmill and doing strength training.

Tell us about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?

I was actually getting ready to go back to school on scholarship for business marketing back in 1998-99 when I suddenly realized that I didn’t really love the things I was doing and couldn’t imagine doing them for the rest of my career (I mean seriously – I still can’t understand why people enjoy working at a desk all day long!).

I took a break from school instead, and I guess heard one too many commercials for a local massage program. I thought “Hey, I could do that…” Yeah, honestly–that was about all the thought I put into it at first.

I happened to live a few miles away from the Utah College of Massage Therapy, which had such a great program that many people regularly came from out of state, and even out of the country, to study there. I had some great teachers and learned a lot of different modalities, but especially loved my training in deep tissue and other treatment work.

After I graduated, I hung up my shingle with a massage room out of my home. I did that for a few years, and then moved to only outcall sessions for awhile.

Most of my early career, though, was spent doing additional work with hospice agencies, which was rewarding, but stressful. I drove a lot. By the time I left Utah in 2009 I had put over 120,000 miles on my 4 year-old car, and I was pretty burned out too.

I took a few years to go work for someone else at a local franchise. I actually enjoyed a lot of it: mostly the fact that I was working with a team of other LMPs for the first time in my life. But I missed being in the driver’s seat and feeling like I had control over the direction of the business. When I started working there, I’d actually thought that I was just winding down my massage career before doing something else completely. Instead, I found it got me excited to get back out on my own again, this time with even more knowledge under my belt.

I started my own practice called This Side of Paradise in early 2013 and initially just rented space from Kylee and her business, The Good Life Massage. We were technically completely separate businesses. But because we were sharing a single treatment room, we ended up making a lot of business decisions together.

This pretty naturally morphed into an official business merger a year later, though we had no idea that would happen when we first started sharing the space. It’s been awesome to see all the growth we’ve had in the past year since we merged.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?

I love working one on one with my clients. The most rewarding moments are when someone walks out of the treatment room with a completely different outlook on life because they finally found relief from something they thought was going to plague them forever.

What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?

I enjoy giving serious treatment work, partly because the body is a puzzle and I’m trying to work out how to put it back together. I love a challenge! I can go deeper than many therapists do, but in a controlled way. Don’t ask me to go as deep as I can unless you know what you’re really asking for.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.

I would probably have to pick flying. Which is maybe ridiculous considering that my ears hurt like crazy when I get on a plane.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.

I’ve been into having vegetables with every meal lately. I’m not perfect at it, but I work at it. What I like about trying to live this habit is that it has challenged my creativity and sense of adventure.

I’ve gotten very good at sneaking spinach into things like protein shakes and pancakes–where my family and I get the benefit, but they don’t feel like they’re just eating rabbit food.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …

… that I don’t judge their bodies nearly as harshly as they judge themselves. They may look in the mirror and see flabby this or saggy that–imperfections they see above all else.

To me, the human body is a sacred thing–a miracle of nature. And I think that, no matter how the bodies of real people measure up to the ideal body images that are in the media.

I honestly don’t remember those things my clients may hate most about their bodies. What really stays with me is who they are as a whole person. My hope with every massage is that my clients come away feeling more complete, more comfortable in their own skin–more in harmony with the world around them.

Thanks, Amy!

Click here to book a massage with Amy today!

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

To stay up-to-date on last minute openings in the schedule and blog posts, follow us on twitter!

@goodliferenton

You can also follow our Facebook page: facebook.com/thegoodlifemassage

Tom Gunn is the official blogger and social media marketer for The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on twitter @tomgunnpoet. 

Know Your Therapist–Kylee Davis, LMT

Know Your Therapist is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage therapist. If you aren’t sure which of our talented therapists would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are both personally and professionally.

Our first entry in the series is from one of the founding members of our team, Kylee Davis. In 2012 Kylee Davis opened The Good Life Massage within a few years of getting her massage license. What started as a one-room clinic with two therapists has now grown to a four-room clinic with as many therapists as of this posting. She’s tenacious, outgoing, passionate about her work, and regularly wins the friendship and loyalty of co-workers and clients alike.

We sat down with her and asked her a few questions about her life, her work, and what makes her particular brand of massage unique.

Kylee Davis, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage
Kylee Davis, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage

Tell us a little something about your personal life: hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.

Not many clients see any of the other hats I wear. I’ve been married for almost 10 years to my best friend, and I’m a mother to two amazing kids. I’m a geeky fan-girl, best expressed in my love for British television, with my two major loves being Doctor Who and Merlin. I also can’t describe myself without including my love for music. I sing in a community choir, and often at church, as well as every day with my kids. Though I don’t have as much time for this next hobby, I LOVE to read. I can get lost for hours in a good book. I’m a huge social media junkie. I use it for work and home; Facebook, Twitter (just started on that), Pinterest (I use it almost every day for something), and Instagram. Lastly, I also love to dance and be crazy, but I also really enjoy stillness and time to reflect.

How did you get started in massage? What events lead to you working here?

Initially I came to massage because I wanted a career with flexibility for a family-based schedule. My son was nine months old when I started massage school. But within two weeks of classes, I fell deeply in love with the complexity and beauty of the human body. I had found my passion!
After I got out of massage school, I worked for someone else for about six months. I didn’t love the environment and wanted to set up my own space. I wanted time before and after each session to talk with my clients and educate them regarding their body, their session, etc.
So The Good Life Massage got started in June 2012. Then Amy (Amy Gunn) started sharing space with me in 2013. After a year, we joined forces and became business partners, and now we’re here. I love walking through the door every day and feeling such peace and clarity.

I love that my business is more than just clients and numbers. It’s about lives and passions and ups and downs. It’s about finding inner peace, wellness, and stillness when needed. It’s so much more than can be expressed in a few sentences. I feel blessed to have come to this place where I can serve others doing something I love.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?

 In my life, regardless of the circumstance, I always want to know why. It’s been that way since I was a child. My favorite part of my job is helping people find out the “why”: why is my low back hurting? why am I limited in this motion? why did my neck flare up after months of being fine?

Sometimes the why is a physical thing, other times its answer is found in the emotional connection of brain and body. I’m excited to come to work when I know I have a puzzle to figure out.

 What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?

I wish I knew the answer to this. I think the reasons point back to who I am as an individual: I’m a very thorough and perfecting person. I think these traits come out in my massage and make me different from other therapists. Whether it is a session focused on relaxation or a specific treatment plan, I want to perfect that session–I want it to be as thorough as possible, always exploring the possible reasons for that pain, tension, or discomfort. I try to make sure it’s never just a “routine session”.  Finding a way to connect with my clients is very important to me, as I really value the trust and relationship I build with them. So I try to honor that in every massage. I’m not just here to make a living or use the skills I learned, I want to make a difference in someone’s life every single day.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.

Only one of those two? Personally I would love the ability to apparate. (Did I mention I also love Harry Potter?) Being able to get from one place to another instantly would save me so much time as working mom.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.

This is a hard one. There are so many! I’m working on a number of these with a health coach. I think my favorite habit would be the building of habits. For so long I thought I had to tear down all my “bad” habits in order to be healthy and all it got me was negativity and no progress.

Now I focus on building up new habits. The mental shift of building up has made it so much easier to work on my health; it creates a drive to keep moving forward. Even on a rough day where I don’t make much progress, I know I am heading in the right direction.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …

The power of their minds. I still don’t know all the full power of my own, but I do know that we possess so much more strength than we tap into on a regular basis. Our brain is just like our body and needs to be fed the most nutritious things possible. Often the things we hold on to are junk food and don’t serve us well.

If we believed that we are capable of anything, what would we do? Would we sit by and let life wash over us or would we grab every opportunity with fervor and drive? I try to remember this saying (found it on Pinterest – see I told you I use it every day): “A bird sitting in a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but in the power of her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” I wish my clients and the entire world could tune in to this strength!

Thanks, Kylee! This was only part one of this series, so watch for more posts about our therapists in the coming weeks.

Click here to book a massage with Kylee today!

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

To stay up-to-date on all our promotions, news, events, and last-minute bookings, follow us on social media.