Dying on the Vine (Part 1)

Many people come walking (occasionally crawling) through my door with various ailments that are affecting their daily lives. The number of 50-year-old people that I have massaged who have 80-year-old bodies is staggering. It's like their bodies are "dying on the vine". Nearly 70% of Americans brush twice a day and see their dentist regularly. Everyone knows that if you neglect your teeth, you can lose them. But most of us struggle to be as consistent with exercise and nutrition, even though neglecting your body can mean losing your overall health.

In my experience, there are certain common factors that contribute such poor health, such as poor diet, inactivity, and stress. Many of the same people that "crawl" through my door hope that I am going to "lay hands" on them and miraculously heal them in a visit or two. After I make it clear to them that I am not a voodoo healer, I then use massage, fitness training and nutritional consultation to start reversing the effects that neglect has caused their bodies.

I want you to live a long, healthy, pain-free life. I've compiled eight simple (but life-changing) tips I have learned in my 15+ years working in the healthcare field. So please, read this and apply these things in your daily life, and I promise you, you are going to feel significantly better in just a few months.

1. Drink water. Most importantly, drink water as soon as you wake up. 16 oz in the first hour is ideal. Then try to get about 8 oz every 2 or 3 hours after that. Gatorade and flavored waters don't count - plain water only! Get hydrated, and keep yourself hydrated.

2. Eat breakfast. Eat within an hour of waking up an preferably at about the same time every day. What should you eat? Eggs, bacon (yes, bacon!), white potatoes are totally acceptable in my book. A great alternative to the all-American breakfast is steel cut oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon.

My personal favorite - an onion bagel with low-fat cream cheese and smoked salmon. This might not be your thing, and that's ok. You just need to understand that your body needs certain nutrients at consistent times to work properly. You are what you eat, so if you're going to choose to eat poorly, your body will suffer aches, pains and low energy. However, when you consistently deliver the proper nutrients to your body you will enjoy the effects of a fast burning metabolism. I only mention breakfast here because it's the one meal I feel like you should not miss, but total nutrition is very important. If you don't know much about proper nutrition, call my office at 513-423-0035 and make a consultation appointment today to get on the right track!

3. Consistent strength training. Do weight-bearing exercise twice a week, on the same days, for a half hour only. I like two days of rest between the first training session and three days of rest between the second training session. I like to train on Mondays and Thursdays. Other options are Tuesdays /Fridays or Wednesdays/Saturdays. I also recommend finding a personal trainer. Most people don't know enough about fitness and strength training to fully benefit from the time and energy they spend in the gym. Done correctly, you can maintain a significant amount of muscle mass with only an hour of strength training a week. After a few months training an hour a week with me, my clients have experienced increased bone density, joint stability, improved blood circulation, weight loss, and increased strength. And these are just a few of the positive effects - my clients have shared some amazing success stories - check them out here: http://www.romanmassagefitness.com/testimonials/.  

Look for tips 4-8 in my next article - Dying on the Vine (Part 2)

What it Means To Be The Professional Your Clients Expect

Building a successful therapist-client relationship begins long before the client lies down on the table. An attentive & experienced therapist knows this and takes it into account when he plans and prepares for his clientele. Here are some important points to consider: 

The client’s experience begins at the first interaction.

Whether a client makes his appointment in person or over the telephone, the pleasant experience must begin there. Work to cultivate a warm, energetic, and pleasant environment. Focus should be on the client and making his or her service one that she/he will want to repeat. For example, try scheduling the appointment at the client’s convenience instead of a time that works well for the therapist. 

A professional location sets the stage.

When choosing a therapist, clients prefer a business location that is safe and convenient (ample parking). We are located a small office park that has plenty of parking, and our associates make sure to leave the parking spaces in front our office door open for our clients. 

Filling out paper work and waiting for appointments can be unpleasant, so prepare a comfortable waiting area to prepare clients for their upcoming service. Our waiting area is tastefully decorated and offers stuffed upholstered chairs, refreshments and reading material. We also offer custom apparel for sale that our clients can browse while they wait. 

You are what you wear. 

It is essential that the therapist dress appropriately to present a professional appearance. Some massage therapists wear scrubs but I find the look a little sloppy and it reminds me of the sterile atmosphere of a hospital. Because my practice also includes personal fitness training, I wear fitness or business-casual apparel customized with my business logo. 

An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.

Rushing to prepare a room while the client waits can make him/her feel unimportant and start the service on a negative note. Conversely, preparing the room so that everything is ready when the client arrives sends the message, “I have prepared for you because I was looking forward to your being here.” We recently updated our massage room to include a large cabinet that holds sheets, towels, and face rest covers to help transitions between clients run smoothly. Have the registration forms ready on a clipboard with a pen. This is another way of saying ,”We are expecting you, and your unique needs are important to us.”

I use the time while they complete their paperwork to double check the massage room. Our most popular massage features hot stones and aromatherapy. I now have a chance to make sure the stones are clean and hot and that the aromatherapy oil is at hand. Searching for components of the massage gives the impression that the therapist is inept and unprepared. The double check helps guarantee good service!

Take time to get to know new clients.

Therapists should greet new clients with a smile and a handshake. When the paperwork is finished, look it over for information that may help give an appropriate massage. We always ask new clients what is going on with their bodies. Their answers also give clues to the best way to help their bodies. As we leave the waiting area, point out the water cooler and the rest room for his/her convenience.

The massage being helpful and pleasant is the crucial factor in the equation From the minute the client and the therapist engage one another the therapist’s attention must be focused on the client. The client must feel that the only person on the therapist’s mind is him or her and that the entire purpose of the massage is for his comfort and wellbeing.

Acknowledge your limitations.

It is important that clients understand the limits of therapy and therapists. I tell them I am a great therapist but a terrible psychic. I count on them to tell me if they are hot or cold, if the pressure is too intense or not strong enough and other information that only they know. Maintain focus on the client. If they want to talk, do so, but answer briefly if they ask you questions about you. The massage is always about  the client!

The client’s experience shouldn’t end just because he/she has left the office.

After the massage the therapist may make suggestions about future visits if the client’s condition warrants it. Such suggestions should be just that. I avoid trying to pressure the client to reschedule at this time. A hard sell can make the client uncomfortable and ruin the feeling the massage has created. The therapist, no matter how good, cannot afford to neglect a client. Each deserves attentive service from the first encounter, the initial arrival at the office, the massage itself and the final interaction between the office staff and the client. At each juncture there is a possibility of sabotaging the therapist-client relationship. Care must be taken to insure that each interaction is handled with the end in mind, proper service that leaves the client happy with the service he or she receives.

Creating a New You Step 2: Take Action

In Step 1, I talked about setting goals and the importance of positive self-talk. To illustrate step 2, I'll use the example goal from my last post: 

Goal: I plan on being in the best health and physical condition I can possibly be, in one year. 

Now that your goal is set, you need to decide what actions you need to take to reach that goal. For example:

Action Steps to Reach My Goal

1. Call ROMAN and schedule a Fitness Assessment. See how smart you are already?! This will determine your current fitness level vs. your goal fitness level or condition.

2. Research! Start by reading my manual. Really spend time considering how you can incorporate nutrition and lifestyle changes into your life to help reach your goal.

3. Find 30 minutes twice a week to strength train with ROMAN. Preferably, the same days, at the same time to help develop a routine. 

3. Go to the grocery so I can begin the "Head Start" nutrition program. Understanding proper nutrition is just as important as working out - especially if you're trying to lose body fat!.

4. Find two days a week to do a half hour of hard, HARD, cardio. Three times a week is better, but let's not be overly enthusiastic and burn out to fast.

5. Get a massage! Research shows the health benefits of massage is comprehensive - especially in conjunction with an exercise program. Massage can speed muscle recovery and help prevent injury, which means reaching your goal as fast as possible!

6. Stay positive! This takes work, I know. Try reading Pscho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz for encouragement - it worked for me!

Creating a New You Step 1: Defining Your Goal

Ok, let's begin our journey by clearly defining our goal. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, said, "The most important things I say are the things I say to myself." 

For me, I plan on being in the best health and physical condition I can possibly be, in one year.

Say that out loud. Really, own up to it. Say it loud and say it proud baby! This is something to be excited about!

Now, when you said that out loud what we're you really saying, and feeling inside. Was there any doubt , or other negative self talk or emotions. If so, I have something I want you to start repeating over and over daily. At least 5 times a day, for the next three months.

It is very important that you not only pay attention to your self-talk, but that you change your self talk. And if you find yourself to be REALLY negative, I want you to download something like Pandora and listen to stand up comedy once a day.

Roman Roberts  L.M.T. Owner

How to fail.

Don't let this year be another lesson in how to fail. You know, start something all gangbusters you want to accomplish like an exercise program, and then find yourself three weeks later making excuses and not getting it done. 
Failing is not a good habit to start. It will affect your entire self confidence. Don't set yourself up for failure by not doing what you need to do to get the job done. Or be honest wit yourself and admit that you know what you want, but your not sure how to get there. That's when you seek out a professional and listen to someone who has helped lots of people reach the same goals you have.   
So, again, don't build a "Failure Mechanism" (Psycho-cybernetics) , by doing the same old things.  Set yourself up to win by being smart, and working hard. I. E. Call ROMAN! Good Luck friends.