Podcast

Episode 389

Dec 1, 2021

In this special Wednesday episode, Allissa has a chat with the "Massage Sloth" and author Ian Harvey while they discuss Ian's new book "Massage is Weird".

Listen to "E389: Massage is Weird with Ian Harvey" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 389

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Transcript: 

Allissa Haines:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money and improve your quality of life. I am Melissa Hayes and I am here today with the massage sloth, Ian Harvey. Hi, Ian.

Ian Harvey:

Hi everybody. Hi Allissa.

Allissa Haines:

I'm so excited. We're doing this. So this is an extra special Wednesday, December 1st episode. We have never published a podcast episode on a Wednesday before. We are doing that because it is the launch day for Ian's new e-book, Massage Is Weird: How to Beat Burnout and Kick Butt as a Massage Therapist. We will have all kinds of links in the podcast notes, you can also just go to Amazon and search for Ian Harvey or search for Massage Is Weird. You will land on it. It is $8.99. It is an e-book download, and I got to read an early copy and it is fantastic. Okay. So I've gushed enough, but Ian, I guess I want to hear kind of the short version of how/why you became a massage therapist and what you've been doing in that massage career.

Ian Harvey:

So I became a massage therapist because I was a just desperately touch deprived young man. And I had chronic back pain. I did all of the standard stuff. I went to the doctor, I went to a chiropractor, I tried physical therapy, I got some help from each of those modalities, but one day I got a massage, and the massage therapist worked, I told him about my low back pain, he worked on my hips and it was like a light going off in my head. My hips are attached to my low back, my low back hurts because my hips are so dang tight, and from then on, I was just obsessed. I was obsessed with how the body is connected. I was obsessed with making contact in a way that can teach people things. That was just such a cool concept to me. So I started reading books, I started practicing on my friends and eventually I went to massage school. And that's my origin story.

Allissa Haines:

How long have you been a massage therapist?

Ian Harvey:

Since, let's see, I got my license in 2006. I first went to massage school in 2001 when I was a young lad of 19, but I washed out because I was too anxious.

Allissa Haines:

And I think that being packed into classrooms full of other people, having to touch each other does not necessarily help anxiety.

Ian Harvey:

It was a trip. Fortunately, the people at the Florida school of massage where I went to, they were very kind and they let me separate the academic portion from the contact portion. So it was a very soft landing. It was a very kind way for them to do that, that they didn't do for everybody, and I felt accommodated and I felt seen, and I was able to make it through mostly, but then I took another five years off, went back to college and then I finally did massage school. So I've been doing massage for about 20 years, but I've been licensed for 15.

Allissa Haines:

That's awesome. So you run this whole empire, the Massage Sloth empire of hands on teaching videos and also self-care for massage therapists and clients. How did that happen?

Ian Harvey:

It started with another channel, where I was just making little videos of stretches and self care for clients. And it was fairly narrowly focused, and I eventually went on to work at a massage school just for about a year. And there, I was like, "Well, I'm already making these videos for clients. Why don't I make videos for my students?" I made about three of them, and there were all these people watching them, like tens of thousands of people watching these videos. I didn't know why, but I just decided to go with it. I was like, "This needs a name." I settled on Massage Sloth because that felt right. And all I know is that when I was in massage school and shortly thereafter and long thereafter, I was hungry to know what other people were doing with their hands. Like, "How are you guys doing this? How are you guys treating the back? How are you treating frozen shoulder? How are you treating all these different conditions?" And so I thought, "Well, I'll show it. I'll show everyone how I'm doing it. No reason to keep it secret. I'll pretty much put all my secrets out there," and that's kind of been my philosophy ever since.

Allissa Haines:

I will say that I watched a video on low-back and how to handle it when your client comes in with the, "I pulled my back out," low back spasm kind of stuff. And I watched it a while back, and then again a month ago and I had a client, I hate that kind of visit. I hate it. I don't do it, but I had a regular client come in like, "I threw my back out yesterday," and I was like, "Oh, God." But it was so delightful for me, I remembered enough from the video about pace and slowing it down and doing a lot of stretching and not even stretching, pardon me, but slow skin stretching and movement to kind of expand the tissue and it was really, really helpful. So if y'all haven't seen the videos, check out the Massage Sloth YouTube channel, and there's a handful of things. Now I have the attention span of a fruit fly, right? So for me to watch any massage video is really tough. So I can watch them in two minute segments, but I can off the top of my head think of three or four different techniques that I use often that I gained from your videos. And that's really helpful for me. So thank you for creating that. I want to jump into your book.

Ian Harvey:

My book. Oh yeah.

Allissa Haines:

Your book.

Ian Harvey:

I wrote a book.

Allissa Haines:

What led you, first of all, before we start going into some of the stuff you cover in it, what made you write Massage Is Weird? Why did this book happen?

Ian Harvey:

I wrote the book because there is a pattern I've been seeing in so many massage therapists and in myself, of feeling inadequate and alone. Just feeling like I'm the only massage therapist who thinks they suck. I am the only imposter in this entire business. And everyone thinks this. So many people think this, so many people spend their days meeting a new client, racking themselves with self doubt and just fear and just feeling alone, and I want people to know that one, you're not alone. A lot of people have these thoughts of inadequacy, of worry about their competence, and two, that you don't need to worry because your massage is awesome. How do I know your massage is awesome? Because all massage is awesome. And if that were the only thing that I could put across with this book, I would feel satisfied, but that's just the first chapter. And then I just kept writing.

Allissa Haines:

It's good stuff. Okay. So I kind of want to get to my notes because I liked when you kind of opened with that, and when you talked about how we all get out of school kind of thinking like, "I can fix whatever ails you," and then there's kind of that frying pan to the face of, "Oh crap. I can't fix anything." And then the concern that you can't do deep tissue massage correctly or well, and that's why you're not fixing, and I'm air quoting the crap out of that, and you talk about kind of getting through that and also what massage can do. And I really appreciate your evidence informed approach that melds really well with a holistic approach to the nervous system and the body. So if you cannot fix people, I'm totally just reading right out of the book now, if I can't fix people, what can I do? Can I change anything again?

Ian Harvey:

That's a good question, Allissa.

Allissa Haines:

Thank you. I've been practicing.

Ian Harvey:

So that journey that you described of feeling kind of all powerful and all knowing, and feeling like you have x-ray vision and having an answer to every ailment and then getting into the real world and finding that things are messy and that people are messy and that outcomes are not always guaranteed. It's not ways as easy as it seemed in the classroom because you're no longer in the classroom. It's just a very different setting with people with different expectations, people with bodies that you've never seen before. People with histories that are vastly different than you've ever seen before, people who have had low back pain for 20 plus years. And it's just not feasible to snap your fingers and see that back pain go away.

Ian Harvey:

Even if you saw that kind of thing in class, even if you've seen that kind of thing in continuing education seminars, things in the real world are messy. And so the fix, the massage miracle, doesn't seem to happen quite so often in the real world. And that can be, like you said, a frying pan to the face. It can be a blow to your ego as a massage therapist. It can be a blow to your sense of competence and influence and power as a healthcare practitioner. So if we can't consistently do those massage miracles, what are we doing? Are we just spinning our wheels? And I say, no, we are not just spinning our wheels.

Ian Harvey:

So I lay out some of the evidence for this that we're not changing the length of people's IT bands. We're probably not permanently changing the length of their fascia or reconfiguring their bodies. We can't choose to make the left side of their body long and the right side of body short and leave them loping out of our massage room like a massage monster. We cannot do that. That is not within our power. So what can we do? We can help our client find a comfortable new sense of balance, a comfortable new homeostasis by coming at it the same way that physical therapists come at their jobs. They're not necessarily looking for one session fixes. They're looking for 10 session fixes. And I think that that's something that we can do as well, by consistently informing the body of what it's capable of. The process is what's important.

Ian Harvey:

And all of this promise of quick fixes, of one session fixes I think can take us away from the simple satisfaction of over time, having this communion with someone's body and gently and slowly convincing it that, "Hey, I can stand up a little bit straighter. I can move without this hip pain or this hip clicking." My piriformis and related muscles don't need to have all of this high tone, and over time they can unclamp on that sciatic nerve. And that's what I want to promote that even if we aren't miracle workers, we can still do amazing things over time, and with the help of the client's nervous system.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. I really like how you bring in the attention to the nervous system. I love that that's getting more traction now in our field and also that as I think more about it and learn more about it, my work has changed and calmed down and slowed down and also getting better results.

Ian Harvey:

Yeah.

Allissa Haines:

Let me think about it. I have so many notes that I'm I know I'm going to have to skip some, so I love in your book when you're like, "Hey, this thing, this rule that you learned in massage school? You can let it go." And you talk about that specifically in relation to body mechanics for the therapist and with the idea of interacting with the table in order to protect your own anatomy posture and whatever. So what is that concept all about?

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. So I feel like we all come out of massage school, I feel this is fairly universal, with a fairly strict form of body mechanics. And if you're not doing those body mechanics, then you are endangering yourself. It looks kind of like having your butt stuck out and strong. It looks like twisting your body. It looks like going into lunges, going into squats and letting the power come from the movement of your body as if you were a martial artist. I don't do a ton of that because it makes me very tired. I don't like being tired.

Allissa Haines:

No, I found that once I trashed most of the body mechanics concepts I learned in school, my body felt much better and that I didn't need a better lunch. I just needed a table that goes up and down.

Ian Harvey:

Yes. Yes.

Allissa Haines:

Who knew? I needed a better tool.

Ian Harvey:

Yes, exactly. And so what you were talking about, interacting with the table, it can be such a load off of the body. A lot of people are taught in massage school, do not touch the table because then you might touch your client with your leg, and that is unforgivable.

Allissa Haines:

"My clients cannot know that I have legs. That is impossible, it's horrifying. They cannot know that I have an elbow that I might rest their hand in."

Ian Harvey:

Right. And we as massage therapists, we are still whole humans when we walk into the massage office. We still have our entire bodies, we still have bodies that break down, that become fatigued. We have our own needs. We sometimes expel various gases. You can cut that out if you want to. No. So we stay human even in the massage room. And part of that is realizing that we can bolster ourselves. We can bolster ourselves against the table just by bringing a thigh against the side of the table. That can make so many moves feel so much more comfortable by bringing both thighs against the table and allowing your upper body to sway by shuffling your feet as you move and getting your lower body under you and sliding across that table. That can be a much more supportive process than being a foot away from the table and never coming anywhere near your client and using your low back to stay strong and to repeatedly draw you back to standing. That I found to be very quickly fatiguing, and even I think that's a source of pain in a lot of massage therapists just continuously using that low back like that.

Allissa Haines:

I can only agree. As someone who learns how I need to change the height of my table by evaluating the gentle low back ache I have that night or the next day. At some point in your career, you worked at a massage franchise, is that correct?

Ian Harvey:

I did for about a year and a half.

Allissa Haines:

I love conversations about franchises. You know, massage Business Blueprint, we specifically and intentionally serve very small, independent massage practices. We have occasional conversations about what it's like to be an employee or to have employees. We don't dive too much into that, but there's always a clench that happens for me, at least, whenever a new franchise or larger massage establishment opens its doors near me, and I've had it happen a couple times in my career. And especially the first time it happened, I didn't have a full practice at that point. I clenched and got scared and thought they're going to get all the clients and they did not. You talk in your book about how we are not in competition with massage franchises, and I can only agree because the service we offer is very different. And I found that massage franchises have done a really good job of getting massage available to a wider group of clientele and potential clientele.

Allissa Haines:

More people have had massages because these fast and affordable service options were available. And they've kind of done a good job of teaching people that massage exists and they might like it, and also creating consumers who are like, "Yeah, I would try massage," so that when one of my, my clients gives their friend a gift certificate, they've only ever been to a franchise, but they're like, "Yeah, I didn't hate massage." And then they come to me and now that experience of a massage with me, which is dramatically different from their experience they had at the franchise, typically, has created an educated consumer. Now they know the difference, they were more willing to come to me because they had had a massage experience, which was accessible to them because of schedule or affordability or whatever. And then they come to me for one reason or another, and now we have an educated consumer that understands the difference between a fast food massage and what I do.

Allissa Haines:

I hate that comparison. I'm sorry. So I think that's my theory on why franchises are not. I get that there can be terrible employers and all of that, and I don't want to discount that, but they have done a service in creating more massage consumers and then potentially more educated and discerning consumers. And I really love what you note about how we're not in competition with them because of how they deal with therapeutic relationships. So talk about that a little, if you don't mind.

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. So, I agree with all of that evaluation because they are great at creating first time clients. They're great at getting massage as a service out into the public consciousness. People try it, people jump into it, and oftentimes they find themselves slightly dissatisfied because massage franchises are not great at maintaining a therapeutic relationship. I talk about this a lot in the book, what is a therapeutic relationship? How do we cultivate it? How do we cultivate rapport? And 10 minutes between clients is not great for keeping up with that client and their progress and who they are. 10 minutes between clients is great for getting a lot of clients through your doors, but it's not great for much else.

Ian Harvey:

If I've got low back pain, I need a bit more time to tell the story of my pain. If it were that fast, then how can you even keep up with that person? How can you deepen that relationship? I do have some tips for people in the book who are in a franchise setting, but like you, I would also like for people to get out of that setting, give yourself more time, and at the same time, give your client more time, and that can be the simplest way of creating that rapport is just giving yourself longer than three minutes. I like a nice half hour buffer between my massages because sometimes there will be a conversation that needs to be had.

Ian Harvey:

So we don't need to compete on price. We don't need to compete on policies. We don't need to trap people in a 12 month contract because we've got something else that keeps people around, and that's the therapeutic relationship. Your massage will be a different world than what they can get. No matter the quality of the therapists at that franchise, and there will always be excellent therapists at those places, but the timing is different. The setting is different and you will be able to give them something that is customized and that will feel nurturing and made just for them, which is really just not something that tends to happen at a franchise.

Allissa Haines:

And I think it's worth noting, the thing that I noticed when visiting a franchise is that the start to finish experience, and I've had this not just at franchises, but at other large massage establishments, the experience start to finish from booking to paying and leaving was so much more like a doctor's or dentist office than it was like what I wanted in a full massage experience. I had to talk to one person to book and then I get checked in, and I call to book and I talk to one person and then I show up that day and it might be somebody else different working the front desk. And there's a lot of people around, or a few other clients around, or a waiting area where someone else is sitting, and then the massage therapist comes out and gets me, and then I get the massage and then the massage ends and then I check out at the desk and I'm paying that receptionist again, not having any more communication with my massage therapist, and you leave and rinse and repeat.

Allissa Haines:

And it's fine. I actually did a year membership at a franchise because I knew a few therapists who worked there and I knew they were great. And I was like, "I'm going to try this experience." And a lot of it worked for me and a lot of it didn't because it made me feel like it wasn't as fulfilling and holistic an experience every time I got a massage. So when somebody's getting a massage with people who run a small one person or very, very small independent practice, the whole experience of a client coming to me is me.

Allissa Haines:

They book online. I'm not talking to people very much, but they book online and they get an email that's got my name in it with the confirmation, and then they get a personal email from me if they're a first time client that welcomes them and gives them a link to my intake and gives them a picture of my front door in case they're not familiar with the building.

Ian Harvey:

Nice.

Allissa Haines:

And then they come in and I am standing there greeting them. And then I am bringing them to the massage room, performing the massage. I am checking them out and rescheduling them. So it's a very different experience. And it's a much more, I don't want to say much more therapeutic, but such a more personal service than what you get at a different kind of massage establishment, and it's apples and oranges. And I don't necessarily think one is better than another, depending on your experience.

Allissa Haines:

But I will say I went for physical therapy over the summer for some stuff, and one of the things I loved about it is it was a small place and they had a receptionist who would check people in and take their forehead temps because COVID, but I would never be more than five steps in and the PT would come around the corner and greet me, like he was paying attention to greet me. And that was so different from lots of other medical experiences that we have.

Ian Harvey:

Absolutely.

Allissa Haines:

There's a huge service element to somebody walking in the door and being greeted by their provider and never having to sit down to wait. It is such a warm and welcoming experience that immediately makes the client feel like they are the priority, and because they are. I got nobody else coming in. It's just you, and early in my career, one of my clients walked in the door and I'm always greeting people really happily, and one of my clients was like, "I come in and I always feel like I'm the best thing to happen to you today when I walk in the door," and I'm like, "You are," back in the days where I had one client a day. "I've been waiting for you all day," and it's great. It's a wonderful, fulfilling, again, it's an actual therapeutic relationship with a lot of different elements to it. And it's so important for us to remember that what we can provide, even outside of the hands on work, is so different from other kinds of businesses. And that's huge. I tangented there. Sorry.

Ian Harvey:

That was a good tangent. I liked that tangent.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. There we go. Talk to us a little bit about burnout. I love that you addressed this in the book. What do you got for some short version? I don't want you to give us your whole book here, but thoughts on how we can avoid that, because man, we had a flood of people leaving this industry in the last two years and there is a shortage of massage therapists and I'm worried the rest of us are going to get so busy we burn out. So how do we avoid that?

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. So my theory, I've come up with a theory and it's that burnout is basically dehumanization. We are either in an employment situation that treats us like a machine, or we create that same situation in our own business. So being treated like a machine, by that I mean always being on, always being expected to, "Oh, you want to come in 7:00 PM on Friday when I'm not open? Yeah. I can fit you in. You want to come in on that hour when I'm supposed to be at lunch? Yeah. I can fit you in." That, "Yeah, I can fit you in," philosophy, it can feel empowering, it can feel like strength at first, like I can get through this, I can conform to anything, I can put my body through anything. But eventually you come to realize that your body has limits. Your mind has limits. The lack of a barrier between your home life and your work life starts to wear away at you. It starts to be a degrading process.

Ian Harvey:

And that's something that we tend to do to ourselves, because we feel like if we don't, then our clients will leave. And that is something that I have found to be flatly false throughout my entire career. I have been able to enforce all manner of interesting and even rather strict barriers, strict schedules on my clients. I've been able to change my office location. I've been able to increase my prices all without apology, all without making exceptions or grandfathering in people and people didn't flee. They didn't leave me. Instead, they followed me and the few people who did leave, it just made my life better.

Allissa Haines:

These changes that we make and the clients who stick with us through them, it's such a nice experience of culling the herd to be sure that our practice is full of the right kinds of clients for us. But it's terrifying, right? I was terrified. I closed my big office right when COVID started, and I knew I was going to reopen a small, just me kind of place. And I ended up moving two towns over, and I really thought I was going to lose a lot of people. And it turned out one, my location was actually better for a handful of clients, but also three people, they're 15 minutes to my office very easily became like a 30, 35 inconvenient minutes to my office, and the three people who were furthest away that I really thought I was going to lose, one of them emailed me right away and said, "This is a little bit too much of a distance for me." She didn't come very often anyway.

Allissa Haines:

"So I probably won't see you there." You got it. And the other two, I privately contacted and said, "I know this means a little bit more of a commute for you," and one of them was like, "I drive two hours just to go to an acupuncturist I like. We're fine." And I was like, "Oh, oh. And the other one came back too." So these fears, sometimes they're warranted, but it's also okay when somebody stops seeing us because it makes room for another client who could be a better fit. Ain't nothing wrong with serving one more person in the world.

Ian Harvey:

Absolutely.

Allissa Haines:

And it's okay when your service to someone ends because of pricing or scheduling or location or whatever, it's okay when a relationship ends, and it opens space for us to serve more people.

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. I have a somewhat high bar that you have to get over in order to see me. That high bar is that you have to make it through my online booking process. I don't book via telephone, I don't book via email. I will help you if you're having difficulty with my online booking process, but I need the people who can be self-sustaining in that way, because that's how I deal with my own anxiety. It's how I manage my own business related stress. So if this stuff is happening automatically in the background, I live a simpler and easier life, and certain clients, they want to have that phone call and those clients go see other people, and that's okay.

Ian Harvey:

And you can set these bars that people have to get over. You can require a credit card or prepayment, and you can have faith that the right people will get through that process. So find these elements in your workplace that are dehumanizing, that treat you like a machine and also find humanizing elements, find things that speak to your creativity and to your passion. So if you're listening to spa music because you think you have to, stop. You don't have to do that. You don't have to be the ideal massage therapist, the perfect massage therapist. I listen to Radiohead in my practice because it's something I can groove on. And if my client doesn't like it, I'll play something else, but I'm certainly not going to play spa music.

Allissa Haines:

My favorite thing is when a client brings in their own playlist. I love it. I love it. I've given massage to the Grateful Dead and Florence and the Machine, and there is a, not even kidding you, a rock and roll bagpipe band out of New Hampshire called Albanach. It's amazing. It's a heavy metal bagpipe band. It's amazing, and I've given a massage to an hour of their music.

Ian Harvey:

That sounds awesome.

Allissa Haines:

That's my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Anyhow, thank you for giving us permission to expand what a therapeutic practice is to suit us so that it can be sustainable for us financially and emotionally for as long as you want your career to be. So when we made some notes for this podcast recording, I kind of opened some stuff up and said, "What do you want to highlight?" And your very last bullet is massage and communication as a forgiving process. So tell me what you mean by that. Tell me what deep thought is happening here.

Ian Harvey:

So this is a theme that recurs in my book and it was kind of what I was saying earlier, that we don't need to be the perfect massage therapist. And the reason is that massage is fairly forgiving. Think about the best massage you've ever had. And I bet that it wasn't the strict, perfect, very regimented style that a lot of continuing education classes might be teaching. I'm betting, it was a playful massage. I'm betting it was one where you and the massage therapist were both having fun and listening to good music. And the massage therapist was experimenting and following their intuition. And that's something that I want my readers and for every massage therapist to take on faith. I want you to have faith that if you give a weird massage, if you give an intuitive massage, if you are playful, that you're not going to get worse results. I think you're going to get better results.

Ian Harvey:

And even if you screw up, even if your brain blanks and you can't think of that leg stretch that you had been wanting to try, or if you can't think of that perfect way of working with the psoas that you've done in the past, even if you forget to work with the left side of your client's back because your brain is all over the place and you just don't do it, massage is a forgiving process because the nervous system is forgiving. The nervous system is wise, and if you work in an asymmetrical way, the nervous system is going to figure it out. It's going to take all of those pieces that you gave it and put it together into a shape that makes sense for the client.

Ian Harvey:

So you can be weird, you can be improvisational, you can be asymmetrical in your massage and your client is still going to have a great experience, and their outcomes will still be good and maybe even superior to what they would've gotten from those heavily regimented massages. And the same thing with communication. If you say, "Um," a lot, your client will not remember the ums. Your client will filter those out. If you stutter a lot, if you have trouble saying something difficult, like asking someone to restrain their breast tissue so that you can work on their pecs, if you stumble through that, they will not remember the stumbles. They'll remember the river of experience that you create in that session. They'll remember that whole flowing, lovely massage and the little stutters, the missteps that you might be magnifying in your mind, those will seem like nothing. And they will be instantly forgotten.

Allissa Haines:

I had this happened yesterday.

Ian Harvey:

Oh, tell me.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. So I had a client come in, who I've seen a bunch of times, and it's not been a long time. It's one of the only clients I've taken since I returned to work. And so I've probably seen her like six or seven times. And she came in and she talked about some stuff going on with her right shoulder and her right mid back and her right hip and, okay. So I'm halfway into this massage and I'm ready to start. Not even halfway, but I had done my kind of like warm up, get into the groove and I'm ready to start dealing with her priorities. And I could not remember what side of the body she had said was an issue, and I'm picturing her when she was describing it to me. And I'm like, "I know she even pointed."

Allissa Haines:

So I was like, "Ugh, I'm going to have to ask," or I'm going to have to guess, and then I might not serve her properly. And she's not someone who talks during a massage. So I was like going to have to initiate a thing and, ugh, I just clenched all over, but I did it. And I was like, "Okay." I put my hand on her back, "I'm having a moment. And I cannot remember if it's your right or your left side, that's causing an issue." And she's like, "Oh, it's my right side." And I did the work and it was great, and I beat myself up for the whole rest of that massage. I had to interrupt her relaxation to ask, and I feel like dumb ass and all these things right? And then I finished the massage and she comes out and we're booking her next one.

Allissa Haines:

And she's like, "Oh gosh, I'm so glad that you asked and then you were able to conquer that area." I'm beating myself up because I feel like I did a crappy thing by forgetting what she told me at her intake and having to ask. And she's so grateful she has a massage therapist who will be like, "I'm sorry, I'm a stumble bum. What did you need again?" So it really is, communication is forgiving. It's a forgiving process and it's a back and forth and it's a let go of what your perception of what you look like is because it's probably wrong. And clients just want someone who's going to ask their priority and then deal with their priority.

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. And clients want a human. They don't want a robot. If they wanted a robot, they could go to those chairs at the mall. They want a human. Me being vulnerable, me stumbling, me being a little bit bumbling and awkward that gives them permission to be a little bit awkward and messy as well. And that can be a nicer experience. That can create rapport in a way that being the perfect massage therapist would not.

Allissa Haines:

It is true. When people see your flaws and they see how you recover in order to care for them the way they want to be cared for, that's huge. Okay, so we've covered so much. Ian, remind us of where everyone can find you and your work.

Ian Harvey:

Okay. So if you search for Massage Sloth, you can find me everywhere. You can find me on YouTube. You can find me on Instagram. You can even find me on TikTok now, which has been weird.

Allissa Haines:

You're so good on TikTok. I want to be you on TikTok when I grow up. If you want to hear Ian sing, go to TikTok. It's fantastic.

Ian Harvey:

I think I set that to friends only, I'm too embarrassed.

Allissa Haines:

Oh, I didn't even know. Wait, you can set things to friends only?

Ian Harvey:

You can.

Allissa Haines:

Oh my God. I didn't know that.

Ian Harvey:

But I'm also at massagesloth.com, and if you go to massageslot.com/book, you can read about my book. You can see some samples of it and you can kind of get an idea of what you'll be getting into before you buy. So I just wanted to put that out there and yeah, that's where you can find me. [crosstalk 00:41:55] Massage Sloth.

Allissa Haines:

And if you're listening to this Massage Business Blueprint episode, our podcast for the first time, if you were sucked in because Ian was on it and you already follow him, I want to tell you a tiny bit about MassageBusinessBlueprint.com. We are a bevy of resources for massage therapists. We also have a private community, our Blueprint Mastermind community where independent massage therapists can share experiences, ideas, and access a ton of resources, all about building a successful, sustainable, independent business. And we especially have a free download right now, a very clear "How to Get New Clients" e-book. You can go to MassageBusinessBlueprint.com/getnewclients and get that free download and just check out our resources, and maybe you'll like us, and maybe you won't. So I want to wrap up this episode with a little humor, because we were talking before we started recording.

Allissa Haines:

And I was thinking about asking Ian what is his most embarrassing massage moment ever? And partly because I was thinking about the most embarrassing massage thing that's happened to me in my career. So I'm going to tell my story and then I'm going to let Ian tell his ridiculous story. So it was a couple of years ago, I had a new male client coming in, probably like mid twenties. Really nice guy. Came in, got on the massage table, gave him a massage. And then at the end of the massage, my normal routine is I usually put my hand on the back and I say, "Okay, you're all done." And I put my hand on their leg where I've left a spare hand towel. And I say, "There's a towel here if you need to wipe off, take your time getting up so you don't get dizzy." That's something I say, especially to people with their first massage.

Allissa Haines:

"Come on out when you're ready." So I put my hand on his shoulder, I say, "Okay, we're all done." And I put my hand on his leg where I left the towel and said, "There's a towel here if you need to get off." And then I realized what I said, couldn't fix it and went, "Come on out when you're ready." And then I walked out of my massage room and was beet red. My office mate was like, "Why are you all red?" And I told her, and I was just like, "Oh my God." And I didn't fix it on the spot. I could have fixed it on the spot. And yeah, so he came out and he was really nice. I don't know if he noticed that I was bright red, probably because I was bright red, paid for a massage, did not rebook. And I never saw him again. I don't think anything gross happened in the room after I left that. So I'm confident nothing did. So super mortifying, still haunts me in nightmares on occasion. What kind of ridiculous and embarrassing stuff have you done?

Ian Harvey:

I would like to point out that the world kept turning after that experience.

Allissa Haines:

It did. And I still have a successful fulfilling massage practice.

Ian Harvey:

Yes.

Allissa Haines:

Just have nightmares on occasion.

Ian Harvey:

So my embarrassing experience happened two Fridays ago. I had a model over to help with a video. I'm getting heated just talking about this. I made an entire video. An entire video. And after that process, which requires many retakes, it requires a lot of moving the camera around, making sure that everything is in focus, making sure that I've got 10 different things all working my audio, my video. I go outside because I'm a little hot. I'm cooling off. I look down and my fly is down. My fly has been down the entire video. I rush back inside. I'm looking at the footage. I'm like, "Okay, you can't see it there. You can't see it there." And then there's this one shot where I'm half squatted down. My fly is right in the middle of the shot. And it's just wide open to the elements.

Allissa Haines:

That's fantastic. Oh, so much editing to do.

Ian Harvey:

No, it's not. It's not salvageable. It's not.

Allissa Haines:

I'm so sorry. Oh, that's fantastic. But it's nice that other people do jackass things on occasion.

Ian Harvey:

Exactly. It is. We all do. And the world keeps spinning.

Allissa Haines:

It really does, and we all still have jobs. So thank you so much for spending this time with me.

Ian Harvey:

Thank you, Allissa. It's been fun.

Allissa Haines:

Every so often we have guests. People must be really tired of Michael and I, because we get a lot of emails that are like, "I love that guest," and sometimes people are like, "I listened to that episode four times," and I feel like this is going to be one of those episodes. So everyone makes sure you check out Ian's book. Massage Is Weird. It's coming out today, December 1st, and I think that's everything I have to say. Go to massagesloth.com/book for more, you can go to massagebusinessblueprint.com to check us out. Everybody, have a really great day.

Ian Harvey:

Yeah. Have a good day, everybody.

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