Your Contribution to Healing the World

Touch opens the heart and eases fear. Do we, or do we not, need this on a grand scale today?

I regret being away from my post here during the last several months.  I have been on a sabbatical of sorts, diving deep into the world of today’s massage therapists.  More on that later!  What feels urgent this morning is the need to keep massage therapists doing what we do, with all the inspiration we can muster, because it matters.

After the recent shootings in San Bernadino, California, and the Paris attacks, the world seems scarier and scarier.  I had a conversation about this with my 16 year old daughter on the way to school.  She said, “Mom, the world is a really scary place right now.”  It is indeed.  In all my 54 years on the planet I can’t remember things being scarier than this.  Fear is a devastating avalanche that feeds all that is wrong in the world, and it seems to be gaining momentum at the moment.

So what can massage therapists do? 

Healers, it is vital that you drink deeply from the well that sustains you, so you can give your powerful healing work to your immediate circle of influence.  Healing always has a ripple effect. The person we touch, who leaves our session at ease and centered, goes out into the world calmer, with more love and less fear. You may not even think about what this means, but the impact is extraordinary.

The mother who receives massage therapy from you is more patient with her children.  Consequently, her children grow up feeling loved and nurtured, and they are settled in themselves and ready to make their contribution.

The CEO of the big company who receives massage is less stressed, so she makes decisions deliberately instead of in reaction.  Consequently the effects of her decisions are more positive, more people friendly, more Big Picture oriented.

What if all our lawmakers received massage once a week?  How would their decisions be affected?

What if every international problem solving meeting of minds included massage as part of the agenda?

What if that drunk driver who just caused a fatal accident had managed his stress by receiving massage instead of partying?

Any one person who has access to his calm and wisdom makes decisions and speaks truth that has a ripple effect into the world that he occupies. Any one person whose anxiety is calmed and has access to love instead of fear behaves differently than she did before.  This has a ripple effect into the world that she occupies.

And how do you, the Massage Therapist doing physical work that is physically and energetically labor-intensive, keep yourself at your best, making your full contribution?  You place your self care at the very center.  Everything changes when you do this.

Tune in to your Source.

Drink from the Well, the practices that you know sustain and energize you.

Trust yourself. Understand your value.

Feed your soul, feed your body, feed your mind.

One thing I have really come to understand over the last several months is that when it comes to money, most of us have it backwards. We focus on money, and making more of it.  We buy books. We repeat affirmations.  We enroll in coaching programs. Or, we just don’t deal with it at all and hope for the best.  I’m amazed at how many Massage Therapists do this!  We think that having more money will increase our impact, and if we are struggling financially we feel unimportant. The deeper truth as I have come to understand it is this:

Money is a natural consequence of full self expression.  Full expression of your wisest, most evolved self is a natural consequence of placing the resource that you are at the center of your priorities.

During this frenetic holiday season, when the holiday hoopla is a thin band-aid over our global anxiety, remember how important your work is, and take care of You.  It matters.

Happy Price, Sad Price

I know that exhaustion and worry are directly opposed to prosperity.  The question is, how do you find a good groove with creating money when you are in worry?  The irony is that when money is tight is when you have to be in a state of positive expectation and gratitude to turn it around.

Energy is magnetic.  It attracts like to itself.  I don’t believe that you just send out good vibes and lo, all that you need shall come to pass!  No indeed.  Being actively in service is what it takes to prosper.  The trick is to be in service joyfully, from our fullness.

So, the sad price is the price many of us go to when we think we are in need of more business.  I got this idea from John Eggen, who is one of the entrepreneurs whose work I subscribe to, and this message came to me in my inbox. It seemed particularly relevant to massage therapists.

If I ask you to give me a massage for $30.00, does the idea of doing this make you happy or does it make you sad? Of course this depends on a lot of variables.  Are you just starting out?  Are you experienced?  Where do you live? What’s “the going rate”?  Do you need to get your first clients to get you going?  Are you busy but you feel you need more money to get by?

23 years ago, while I was still a student, I decided that my student rate was $35.00 for a massage.  I was influenced by one of my instructors, who said, “I wouldn’t want a massage that was worth less than $40.00.”  I deduced from her statement that my rate right out of the starting gate was going to be $40.00.

Since I was still in school, getting any paying clients at all was a win.  I figured that for my clients, getting my massage, which I knew was good, for a student rate was a win.  So I told any prospective client that my student rate was $35.00 and that the day I graduated it would be going up to $40.00.  The week I graduated, I had 12 clients booked.  It was a great start!

These prices made me happy.

When you are working at your happy price, you enjoy your work and do it well.  When you work at your sad price, you are resentful, exhausted, and feeling devalued.  This is not a prosperous, magnetic state!

You may naively suppose that I am suggesting that you charge top dollar for your massage, as a lot of business coaches do.  Nope.  The right price is the price you feel good about, because it is a win for all, and it will change organically.  You’ll have to shoot me before I’ll do a massage today at $40.00.  Not here, in the Bay Area, not with the experience I have under my belt, not with my current client load.  What I charge sounds like riches to some of my massage therapist coaching clients, and one of my colleagues who works with Hollywood movie stars says I charge too little.  It’s all about what you feel good about, and feeling good makes you magnetic.  If I had a dollar for everyone who has said they want to work with me because “I just love your energy!” I would have a tidy stash!

Cultivate the energy of joy and your love for your work will ease the path for you in ways you can’t imagine.

“I work for goals.  Miracles work for me.”  -Stephanie St. Claire

My “happy price” for mentoring massage therapists is a great value right now, while I’m beta-testing my practice building materials!  Let’s have some fun practice building together!  Check out my current programs here.

How to Compete with the Spas

How to you go to bat for precious clients when there are spas springing up all over your neighborhood?  How does a skilled, qualified and experienced Massage Therapist compete with Massage Envy and their ilk?

How do you respond when people ask you what you charge, and then quote Massage Envy prices?

I think the answer is this:  The local spa has familiarity and visibility working.  They are top of mind.  They spend lots of advertising dollars, follow up and signage to make this happen.  The massage from your local spa may or may not be comparable to yours, but that is not the real issue.  Massage Therapists can compete with the massage mills by developing visibility and trust in the community.

Massage Envy in particular has worked hard to equate the name with affordable massage.  If someone is new in town and needs a massage, he or she may not know any other place so that’s the first choice. With a few small changes in your approach and a willingness to be visible consistently, you can be the first choice.

Independent massage therapists definitely can compete effectively with the spas.  We just need to work hard at getting to be top of mind for the people in our communities.  Now, how to do that?

1.  Get people’s minds linked up to you when they think of massage.  Talk about your work often.  Give your card to your friends and neighbors.  Offer advice when appropriate about muscle pain.  Be willing to do five minutes for someone who’s suffering.  They may not be in the market for massage, but they will know someone who is!  Wear your corny “Every Body Needs Massage” t-shirt or equivalent.  Don’t be shy!

2.  Get visible in your community.  Go to small business meet-ups.  Offer a free evening workshop at your local Parks and Recreation center.  Show up at your local Farmer’s Market with your On-Site Chair (get the appropriate permission first).

3.  Start a mailing list, if you haven’t already.  You may naively suspect that you will use it to sell massage…no indeed!  You will use it to offer value to the people on your list, so they get in the habit of opening your mail to see what new goodies about being well you are offering to them.  And, incidentally, you’re the massage therapist!  Anyone you know can be on this list.  You are not bugging them, you are offering value.  Be sure you do and no one will be unhappy.  They’ll be glad to open your communications and they’ll remember you when they need a massage.

4.  If you don’t have “Certified Massage Therapist” or something similar as your email auto-signature, get it on there!  Every time you send an email to anybody, they will receive a reminder of who you are and what you do.  The next time they have back pain or feel over-the-top stressed they’ll think of you.

If people know you, like you and trust you, how many dollars they have to spend to see you instead of a stranger at a spa will hardly matter.  If it does, then there are better clients waiting for you!

A word-of mouth Massage Therapy business builds slowly over time.  It takes persistence and diligence, but if you stay focused your efforts will certainly pay off.

For more tips on how to work smart, not hard, please subscribe to my email list.  You will also receive my free report, Five Ways for Massage Therapists to Earn More and Work Less.


The Flaky Massage Therapist: Is this You?

Before you get upset at this absurd question, take a deep breath.  It’s ok.  There is a stereotype about us out there in the world, and I want to take it on.

Most stereotypes exist because some small grain of truth exists in some small population.  We are no exception.  I had an experience of a flaky massage therapist last night.  I was supposed to receive a massage at my home, and she dropped off the planet.  This was especially disappointing to me because I have been searching for some time for a therapist who could give me the massage I want.  This also, incidentally, would be the massage therapist I would consider subcontracting to when I need some help.  I received from her at a local spa, and I called her and scheduled my massage.  It was scheduled about a month in advance.

The disappearing act may be a little extreme, but there are other ways we can show up as flaky.

There’s the “woo-woo” factor that a lot of folks expect.  Now I know full well that energy and matter are intimately related, and intimately create each other.  :).  However, I don’t go to a session draped in crystals.  Some folks do.

I once had an intuitive Reiki student who was so spot-on that nothing could be hidden from her.  She could pick up all kinds of information, just from hearing my voice on the telephone.  She also deliberately wore skirts that dragged on the ground by a good couple of inches.  She said that this helped her feel connected with the earth.

So what’s going on here?

There is a wide spectrum of flaky and dependable in the massage therapist world.  Most of us fall somewhere in between.  Here are some valid questions to ask yourself to discover where you fall.  There are not wrong answers, and change always starts with detached awareness.

Are you taking care of yourself?  

Most of us enter this field because we are committed to helping others to take care of themselves.  Despite knowing better, we ourselves get the leftovers.  If you are not taking good care of yourself, you may be working in pain, exhausted, or scattered.  Voila, the flake factor, one session at a time!  When I am burnt out, my body mechanics stink, I am tempted to chat to distract myself from my discomforts, and each massage leads to further exhaustion. Not the path to my best work!  Fortunately, after 23 years I have learned better, sometimes the hard way.

Are you out of your body?

This is a further look at the previous question.  Most of us went into this field because we had an amazing experience receiving.  If your first massage blew your mind, you probably needed it, a lot!  It was magical and amazing, and we are our own perfect client.  Your clients come to you to help them get into their bodies.  To do that effectively, you need to be fully in yours.  I find it interesting and significant that so many of us have health issues that require awareness to manage.  We are teaching what we need to learn.  Embrace this truth and you will not be fighting against yourself.

Are you money averse?

Why of course not, you say!  But wait a minute.  If you refer a client because you can’t see her, do you ask for a kickback from the therapist you send her to?  Do you love managing your money?  Do you offer crazy discounts to people because they “need it and can’t afford it”?  Do you balance your checkbook?

Did you grow up hearing arguments about money?  Have you heard over and over that rich people are jerks?  Is money the root of all evil?  Being money averse sounds crazy, but it is not at all unusual.  If you grew up in an atmosphere of anxiety and conflict about money, dealing with it may not be your favorite thing.

So, are all massage therapists flaky?  Obviously not.  Enough of us are though.  And plenty of us are afraid of money, out of our bodies, or not taking care of ourselves.  Is this you?  If it is, you’re not wrong, you’re in need of some TLC.

Isn’t that what you’re in business for?

The Path to My Dream Job Was Just Not Giving Up.

The other day I was giving a massage to a kid who was recovering from a number of health challenges.  I knew that after his massage that day he would sleep well, something that has been a challenge for him.  I was reflecting on how amazing it was to be working with kids, working with medical conditions, working with caregivers…my dream job.

I work one day a week in a hospital, with oncology patients and kids who struggle with eating disorders.  This is my idea of a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.  I would not be thrilled tearing athletes apart, but you might!  It doesn’t really matter what your dream job is.  What I am noticing is that the longer I do this work, the more credibility I have, and the more likely people are to trust me with their bodies, and the more likely parents are to trust me with their precious children.

When someone asks me, “How long have you been doing this?” and I tell them it’s been 23 years, they frequently pull out their appointment book.

This is not to say that staying in the business was easy.  It wasn’t.  Building a practice in massage therapy is a challenge in every way.  It is hard in the beginning.  It can take an extraordinary amount of faith and deep soul-searching.  Entrepreneurship is self-development, plain and simple. It’s so much easier just to get a job!

The hard part can be just hanging in there getting clients, week after week, sometimes in ebb and sometimes in flow.  It takes skill to keep them engaged, because I noticed in the beginning of my career that as soon as people started feeling better, it was easier for them to forget how dire their need was in the beginning.  Then I would not hear from them in awhile, until they were back where they started.  Then we would be back almost at Square One.  I learned over time how to circumvent that by keeping the benefits top of mind.

Even if you work for someone else, you still have to keep your clients engaged so they keep coming back.  Unless the skills to do that become habitual, it can feel like a struggle. The thing is, your dream job in massage therapy is built by tending to these basic nuts and bolts skills, day after day, until they are just habits.  Maybe your practice is not your dream job in the beginning.  Maybe you are one of the fortunate ones who create that right away.  Regardless of who your clients are, anyone you work with will help you develop the skills to build a practice that you can shape to your liking.

When I started, I wanted to work with women.  I wanted to work specifically with women who were struggling with emotional or self esteem issues.  When I was in school, they called me the “emotional release queen” because people cried on my table.  During clinic, the sounds of emotional release would emanate from my cubicle.  I was excited and prepared to go out and help women.  Woo-Hoo!

It didn’t work that way.  My significant other had a friend who was suffering from shoulder pain. This friend was an architect, and his neck and shoulders told the story of hours over a drafting board.  This man was happy with my work and referred his friends.  Before long, my practice was full of young male architects!

To this day, I am really good at unlocking necks and shoulders.  I learned fast.  It was a great skill to have early in the game.

If you take the long view of your work as spiritual practice (for me that is clearly true), then your practice as it evolves will grow and stretch your skills in every way.  Just embrace the curriculum and don’t quit.  One day you’ll realize you’ve created your dream job!

When You Don’t Get To Have it Your Way

We love to create zen, do we not?

So what happens when our best intentions are thwarted, and you don’t get to create the experience you want to for your client?  Yesterday was one of those days, and it was so funny that I actually warned my client that I was going to blog about it!

To protect their privacy, I will call them Client, Daughter, and Guest.

Client is a very kind elderly lady with mobility issues, so I go to her home.  The environment is lovely.  We set up in her living room, which has huge picture windows to the yard which is lovelier than any park I know.  In the summer, we set up outside under the a big oak tree.  There is usually no one around.

Yesterday, I knew something was amiss when I had to move two huge garbage cans to get my table through the side yard to the back door.  When I got there, there were people everywhere!  Despite our confirmation call the day before, Client had forgotten I was coming.  Her son and her daughter were helping her clean out her office, the accountant was coming to work with her spouse, and she had guests from Africa that she was trying to figure out where to settle.

Undaunted, she decided to “share” her 90 minutes!  Fortunately, I always bring extra sheets.

Daughter was first.  Since she was in workout clothes, I decided to switch the mood to a sports event.  She had to leave in 20 minutes, so I made it count.  During the massage, Guest arrived and squealed a greeting and came in for a hug.  We laughed and continued.  Client came in and shoved a fingerful of spicy mustard under Daughter’s nose, to see if her grandson would like it on his sandwich.  When she left, Daughter and I howled with laughter.  Client laughed too.

You may wonder, how was Daughter’s massage?  She booked a 90 minute session next month.

Next came Guest.  Guest is a very hard working woman from Africa, who literally carries heavy loads on her head.  She has an unreal number of adoptive children and is an active missionary.  She soaked up her half hour like a desert soaks up rain.  I felt honored to offer this to her.  The chaos around us didn’t matter.

Then it was Client’s turn.  She was glad she was generous, but happy she would get her next appointment to herself!

Now, because I believe in the power of touch and because I know Client to be generous, I told Client how deeply Guest received, and how I would love to provide Guest with a 90 minute session.

Next week I will go to Client’s home and do two 90 minute sessions.

The learning from this?  I never underestimate how powerful a good massage can be, regardless of the environment or the circumstances.  I have seen children feel 100% better in their hospital beds after ten minutes of focused, caring touch.

Selling a massage, when done right, can be a sacred act.  I know that all concerned will benefit because I made my request to be of service.

The funny part is that Client thanked me over and over for my flexibility and humor.  All in a day’s work!

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Self Care is Spiritual Practice

My original post at was about self care.  Like so many moments of inspiration, it comes pouring out on a wave of heightened awareness and is eventually forgotten.  Alas!  However, my best friend Susan reminds me!  She is also a massage therapist, and she has taken a snippet from that post and attaches it to all her emails!

She sent me something today, and voila, there were my own words. What a timely reminder!  Here’s the snippet:

“Self care is love in action. 

            When I care for the temple that houses my spirit, 

my spirit is happy. 

            When my spirit is happy, I will expand, take risks, be creative, give back. 

            When my heart is open I will find my own treasures there, and share them. 

            When my body is rested, well fed and tranquil, my mind is not so cluttered and I can be patient and focused. 

In this way I have more to give to others and to myself. 

 In this way everything I give to others is mine also.” 

Ah, motivation!

You can read the whole post here.


My name is Elizabeth Danu, and I have been blessed to prosper in the business of touching people professionally since 1991.  I have built massage therapy practices in five different locations, including the Island Republic of Malta.  Recently, after taking over a year off for medical reasons, I did it again.  While some things have changed since I started 23 years ago, I found that I still knew how to do it.  What I also found was that a lot of new massage therapists are working harder that they need to.

I also have met plenty of seasoned massage therapy veterans who are dismayed by the changes that have occurred in our industry. While we have made significant progress in some areas, other trends are disappointing.

A lot of massage therapists are earning less than they deserve, and working very, very hard.  Too many of us are burning out.  I just heard a business coach refer to massage therapy as a “humble” profession.  I beg to differ. 

Professional, mindful touch can bring deep transformation and create profound, lasting  health improvements.  We are healers.  Respect and prosperity are  the logical consequences of our dedication.  My intention for this website is to provide resources, inspiration, tools and support for massage therapists who are ready to prosper in every way.  We deserve to thrive financially, physically, and spiritually.

Keep your eye on this space, much more to come!    273336_1503664596_35001062_n