Saturday, April 19, 2008

clients with more issues than usual

Ok, so I am a lomilomi practitioner, and whoever comes to me for help - needs help. I deal with cranky injured people in pain, tired and snappy preganant ladies, overstressed workers, happy relaxed people on vacation burned to the crisp and then saltied up, and everything in between.

Everyone has some issues. Some people have more issues than usual. Those show up rarely and one wonders what's going on. This week my ex-boyfriend is (unsuccessfully) trying to come back, so perhaps I am miffed and attracting some types that I usually would never even meet.

This week, two cases of unusual clients:
Case 1: a middle-age gentleman made an appointment for his wife. It was their anniversary. So, they went horse back riding, then ate lunch, then showed up in my office. It was hot outside. I asked them if they were thirsty and gave them some water and we chatted a little. The neighborhood dog barked and one of the neighbors yelled hi at someone across the street, JUST as we were sitting. She said he pays the bills and she stays home and is on her feet a lot. I asked her about injuries or pain? She said: none. But then looked and her husband and asked him what he thought, if she had any pain?
He was looking around, at my picture of Paramahansa Yogananda, asking me where my accent was from. He mumbled something in answer to his wife and then asked her if she would be comfortable getting a massage here, dog barking, etc.?
She said yes, why? it is nice and breezy, the music is nice,...
He said more loudly and sternly: but would you be comfortable?
She picked his hint and jumped in: well, my stomach is full, we just ate, that's the only thing...
I said: well, if you want to do something else, that's fine with me. Since you made an appoitnment without knowing me, I won't take it personally. Talk about it and let me know.
So I went out of the room and they talked, and then HE said that her stomach was too full and she would rather leave. As she was leaving, she was saying: well, in one hour I'd take you up on it... And I was thinking: wow, you still want me to think you are so nice? I don't think so.
They left me some change (because *I said they took my time) and left.

This is the first time something like this ever happened to me.
Later I thought: EVERYTHING about MY WORK is on that web site, and he spoke with me over the phone several times. Yes, the neighborhood dog and a small office is not on the web site. So, if someone cannot stand my small office and picture of Paramahansa Yogananda and occasional bark, then.... Then they are not supposed to be here! I must say that as soon as they left, the neighborhood became quiet, which is typical.

So, should I have said to them: pay 65$ and feel free to leave any time, since you are cancelling at the last minute.

They didn't really inconvenience me too much because I had clients just before them, so it was ok, I didn't have to make a special trip.

However, as a healer, maybe I should have, because that teaches them responsibility and taking care of others. The husband saw my web site and talked with me over the phone several times.

As my business grows, I will have to be much more strict and deal with such rudes very sternly. That's the only way. Being polite and firm.

On the other hand, everyone gets what they need. They got as much healing as they could handle. it was a miniature healing session, where they could see themselves.

She said he pays the bills and she stays home. He looked, behaved and talked like a control freak. Something was strange about his eyes. They were ... hm? slanted and mean. I don't know if he felt me not really liking him, and that made him bail. I don't know. It felt as if sitting there sipping the glass of water I gave them made him unconfortable, as if this small act of kindness was ruining some strange belief they, esp. he, had. Also, it definitely felt as if the woman was on his strings. Whatever he said, she did.

On my end, I need to be much more careful about people like these and make sure that I protect my interests. If they went to lunch just before massage, and still showed up for massage, that's their problem.... They are still obliged to pay me for that hour. However, if they show up and say they don't like my office, they are free to walk away. I also can refuse to treat anyone I am not comfortable with. It goes both ways...

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Case 2: this happened earlier in the week. A hotel gave my number to their guest. He called, then cancelled, then called again literally on 45min notice. I did have (only) that hour free, so I rushed to get there, skipping lunch. He said he needed maintenance massage, nothing to fix, but his lower back was bothering him. Then he said he doesn't need his arms or neck massaged. That's the first warning sign... So - I massaged his back, legs, paying attention to lower back, then flipped him over, worked on legs, and then some chest and shoulders and ended doing cranio-sacral therapy on the head.

He was very relaxed and asleep at the end. He got up, said I really worked his lower back well. Then he said that the "last 15 mins of massage were useless, it is relaxing to work on the chest and head but it doesn't do anything, the time should have been spent on the legs and back." He gave me a "friendly suggestion" to skip those parts in the future, they are "irrelevant."
???? Then he said that "in his youth he did massages and in his hands felt like he did a good job."
I said: I kept on asking you how you were doing, why didn't you tell me that you needed more on your legs? I also explained the muscular structure, how the chest needs to widen in order for the neck to fit in, how the neck muscles go all the way to the lower back, how the tense liver points between the ribs raised his shoulder tops, etc. He just looked at me in amazement and muttered: yes, back muscles are pretty big...
In myself, I thought: and you claim you have massages once per month and cannot communicate your preferences??? and how could you even possibly estimate the time correctly, being half asleep? In fact, I worked on the last parts for 10 mins and the last 5 mins of that was OVERTIME. You don't appreciate me going an extra mile? And certainly not the fact that your lower back feels better although I had to be totally inventive and make it happen without working on your neck??? And, you have no idea about massage but feel free to tell me what to do? How do you know people liked your massage back then? and other thoughts went through my head as it became clear to me I was dealing with a total asleep, ignorant person. He didn't give me any tip, and as he was giving me the money he repeated that the last 15 mins was useless. I said bye, have a nice day, and left quickly.

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In conclusion: everyone who needs therapeutic help has some issues. Everyone gets what the treatment they need. "Know it all" probably tells everyone what to do, and maybe I am one of the few if not the only one who actually spoke back. The "suspicious husband" correctly sensed that staying around Yogananda at al would have changed his life, and he refused, but at least he got to see himself and his wife in action.

There is no telling what the healing will do. As I said, I am not a massage therapist, but much more than that, massage is just one part of what I do. It is impossible to tell what shape the healing will take, because it is not in my hands, but God's. In any case:

EVERYONE GETS THE HEALING THEY WERE MEANT TO GET. Including the therapist!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

"I will call you"

In the last several weeks, I received phone calls from about 5 (sounding relatively young) males and 1 female visiting the island who "found my number while googling on their blackberry" or whatever other gadget they were using.

They call in the last moment and then ask for massage for several people on that same day, or think they can get here in 30 mins, etc. They inquire about massage by asking me "what we guys have available," so it seems they think I am some kind of spa.

It is completely evident they have no experience in getting good massages. Seems like they go to their friends and feel free to do as they please. They spend money on some gadgets or whatever it is they spend money on, but not on people-oriented services.

They all finish their call by saying they will consult their friends and then say:
I WILL CALL YOU BACK.

And they never do. The proper way to say it is: we will talk it over and call you back if it fits our schedule.

I have enough customers to keep me busy and on some days I am totally booked and cannot squeeze anyone in. How come they don't understand - if a massage therapist is good, they are BOOKED and it is advisable to book in advance as much as possible. Yeah, if you luck out then you might luck out and get an appointmnent on the same day with a GOOD massage therapist. Maybe. Maybe not!

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