As a massage therapist and business owner I think it is important to stay up to date on the type of therapies being offered by my competitors. It is easy enough to do an internet search to check out therapy menus or CE offerings, but my favorite way to accomplish this goal is to book an appointment. Now I love my regular therapist, but without question I gain a competitive edge by educating myself in regard to what my fellow therapists are doing in session.

By diversifying where I receive treatments I open the door to tune in to emerging treatment ideas, intake procedures, pricing structures, not to mention the many what to and what not to dos I get to experience firsthand. This also helps me as an educator since I can take the experience back to the classroom for my student’s benefit.

Recently I have noticed that more and more therapists I visit are integrating massage tools into therapy sessions. There are a number of great massage tools on the market that are designed to save therapist’s hands. Although properly designed tools that maximize effect and minimize effort have been around for years it is my experience that they haven’t been consistently utilized.

I was curious to understand the tools-assisted therapy trend I was noticing. I really wanted to know why I was suddenly getting treated with tools like the Renewdle, Bamboo-Fusion sticks,and the CranioCradle. I began asking therapists how they had learned to incorporate massage tools into sessions and I heard the same answer from every therapist I asked - “I took a class”.

It seems that one difference between a great massage tool sitting on a shelf compared to getting used is a function of whether or not a CE course is offered to teach therapists how to use it. I can say that the therapists I visited were all new to the use of tools in session and were still practicing how to integrate it with their existing techniques. That being said, they were all competent (I am assuming this was a result of the courses they had taken) and the experience was very beneficial from a client perspective.

All the therapists I spoke with intend to broaden their treatment menus and charge an additional fee once they have gained mastery of their tool of choice! Tool assisted therapies offer clients a unique experience while potentially increasing profits and reducing labor for therapists. As a client, my therapists didn’t charge me more to integrate the use of tools in my sessions, but I did tip a little extra out of appreciation. As a therapist, the reminder of the benefits of tool assisted therapies has encouraged me to incorporate tools into my sessions.

Emerging treatment ideas are just one example of the type of insight you can gain from receiving massage from a variety of therapists. If you don’t already, challenge yourself to receive a massage at a new place every other month. You may be surprised how much you learn!