As a young child I was drawn to massage therapy. It has been my dream since I was in Kindergarden. While other children
played "House" or "Cowboys and Indians" I was playing "Massage Spa". Tucked away under slab stone tables my two "employees" and I would exchange 5 minute back and arm massages for 5 wood chips to a line of eager children every day at recess. I became known by everyone, including teachers, as Emily the Masseuse. In my teen years, when I pursued an acting career, I was found backstage giving massages to the performers before their cue. Massage has always been apart of my life.
One day I found an informational packet from a massage school in my file cabinet. Although I had no idea how it got there, I went to their Open House and the teachers and curriculum really spoke to me. I enrolled and studied my hardest to complete the courses. I put my life on hold to dedicate myself to school.
You would be surprised how much you need to know as a massage therapist; all the bones, all the muscles and all the systems of the human body, how those systems work, ethics and business practices, HIPAA laws, how to take clinical notes (SOAP format), and then the actual massage techniques and corresponding body mechanics. I learned that if you are not properly trained or if someone has specific ailments, you can really injure yourself, or worse someone else.
All of my training and education made it possible to go out into the world and begin working. My first job was a small spa in Santa Clarita. The owner's ethics and practices were questionable, but I conducted my business to the best of my ability. I worked over 5 days a week from open to close. I worked mostly alone, since the other contractors didn't want to run a shop by themselves. I learned a lot about management during this time. I cleaned, booked appointments, did massages, opened, closed, filed paperwork, tried my hand at marketing, did the laundry, and fed the fish (yes fish in a spa). After a little over a year of working there full time (as an independent contractor) our facility was shut down due to my employer not paying rent.
It was upsetting and frustrating (mostly because I never got paid for all those hours) but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. That poorly managed spa had laid the foundation for me to open and run my own Wellness Center.
OM...Healing Bodywork was one of the best experiences, lessons and gifts I have ever been given. My parents financially invested in the opening and start-up of my business and my mom and I ran it by ourselves. As an interior designer, my mom made our facility beautiful and relaxing and with our team of extremely talented therapists and estheticians we created the perfect healing environment. We had probably only 2 unhappy customers in our entire run (one lady didn't like a therapist's choice in music, the other thought the massage wasn't deep enough). We had 5 stars on Yelp and Facebook. I was proud of how hard we all had worked and amazed I was able to build a business and manage it while also pregnant. We went to Wellness Fairs and Psychic Fairs and people everywhere we went loved our therapists and our products (locally made, all organic and natural).
However after 18 months of business, our overhead became too much for my parents who just wanted to retire. We had some potential business partners who were interested in taking my parents' share, but my mom was hesitant to let go of the shop she designed. Once the property management increased our rent over $1000 it made the financial burden on my parents and myself too much to bear. I am eterally grateful to my parents for believing in my dream and for the support they gave me. The experience I gained from running my own business and treating hundreds of clients has really helped me grow as a therapist and a human being.
I have now set out with a new business in mind: Rainbow Raaja. My hopes are, with time, I can have a custom mobile office built so I can travel to my clients. I plan to offer my services for energetic trade (meaning if you don't have money, I would accept an object, job or activity in exchange for the service). People with true health issues or financial suffering don't have to feel as if they can't take care of themselves.
Health is wealth as they say. If caring for people and teaching them how to care for themselves allows them to grow stronger and heal, then that's all the satisfaction I need. Money can't buy happiness, but I know when I have a client who truly is grateful and enjoys my services, it is far more rewarding than a piece of dyed paper.