The Technologically Challenged Massage Therapist

Face it; most of us are not technical. Most of us know how to use Facebook, and basic Microsoft Word, but that’s about it – and that’s ok. When I started teaching massage in 2001, all I knew was Microsoft Word. In 2005, I had to up my skills, and I started to learn more about technology. The first thing I delved into was video, and in 2006 I started learning about how to make a website. I started to learn Photoshop in 2009, and that is my main photo-editing program. In the past year, I’ve been using to incorporate some quick designs into my photos, and I use FCPX for video editing.

Technology can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Right now YouTube is the second largest search engine, and Google is #1. Most people search how to perform something on YouTube, and it’s full of educational videos. I’ve never taken a computer or video editing class. It definitely showed when I first got started, but it drove me to be all I can be.

FaceBookHere are some basics to get you started with Photos, Videos, and Websites:

Photo Sizes: 800px (Great for web), 1500px (Great for web, some print materials, and is ok for cropping), and 4000px+ (Great for editing and print, but you would need to resize them for web).

Resizing Photos: If you want a free photo-editing tool, try Canva. It’s pretty easy and doesn’t cost you anything if you use your own photos (Some designs you will still have to pay if they are more complex).

Photos: I have over 10,000 massage photos for sale on, or here is a service I use for other types of photos (Subscription). There are tons of sites that offer 

Video: 1280×720 is HD (Great for viewing on your computer, and smartphones), and 1920×1080 is larger HD (Great for viewing on your TV).

Shooting video with your phone: Only shoot in a landscape format (Sideways) and portrait (Tall) for photos (Photos can be shot in landscape, too.

Shooting Video: I use my DSLR to shoot video, and when I started I used Flip Video. You can also use your phone, but I highly recommend to use a Microphone, or Bluetooth Mic. Most audio on DSLR’s and smartphones are not the greatest.

Editing Videos: There are many basic apps on your phone or some free ones for your computer. I started with Windows Movie Maker, and when I switched to a Mac, I started using iMovie – I upgraded to FCPX about four years ago, because I wanted more options.

Editing Photos: Use Photoshop, if you want to spend days (even months) learning a new program. There are tons of free ones online: Canva, Fotor, Pixlr, and others.

Audio in Videos: I use for most of my music in my videos (Subscription). It’s royalty free, and they have 1,000’s of songs. Here is a free one.

Social Media Sizes: Here is a link to know what sizes work for Social Media.

Websites: There are a lot of free programs out there that you can use to start a website (even AMTA and ABMP have free ones), but you really need to eventually have your own. A lot of websites are now using WordPress, and many web hosting companies have WordPress built into it. You can pay under $6 a month to have a company host your website. I now use Host Gator, but there are tons out there. I use Dreamweaver for and WordPress for some of my smaller ones.

Email: MailChimp is a popular email service. It’s free up to 2,000 emails, and after that, there is a fee. There are others you can research, too.

If you are a Massage Therapist, most of your clients are using technology, so it just makes sense for you to get your skills up to date, to reach potential customers. If technology really frustrates you, consider hiring someone to manage your website, newsletters, and social media accounts – it’s called outsourcing, and tons of companies go that route.

Ryan Hoyme is the owner of and

For The Love Of Teaching Massage Therapy

FaceBookI started my teaching career January 2001, and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done!  I was hired on a Friday, received my books that day, and started teaching on Monday.  Let’s just say I didn’t sleep at all that weekend before I started, because I was reading all the books.  That first week of teaching, I kept asking advice from other instructors, and I got 100’s of different opinions on how to teach.

For the first month I taught right out of the book, will minimal lab in a technique class.  I only did it that way, because the person in charge of the massage program at that time told me it worked for her.  After that first month, I started to feel more comfortable and decided to add my flair.  Well, that was not acceptable to the Director of the program, and she kept having meetings with me to change the way I was teaching.

I was disappointed by most of the massage technique books at the time, that there were hardly any photos and mostly text.  How can you teach a technique class, with no instructions on how to perform massage techniques?  I decided to change that and started developing more techniques, besides the  ones I already knew.  I first drew the techniques (Not the greatest artist), but I knew what I was teaching, and it was easier for the students to remember them.  After a few years of using my drawings in one of my classes, I decided to up my game and took photos of the techniques.  That worked well, but some of my students were still having a hard time remembering them.  My last phase was to shoot videos of the techniques (2005).  Videos worked great, and I finally covered all my bases, so that my students could remember them.

CHOTHES117I quit teaching April 2012 to start working from home – managing social media accounts for many companies (The only reason I quit teaching, was because the director of the school was thinking about cutting the massage program).  It was a lot of fun working from home for the first few months, but then I noticed it was hard turning work off when I work from home.  I typically put in 14 hour days, and that was wearing me down.  My kids even text me…when they’re at home with me.  I’m more of an introvert, but I still need to be around people. 

Just a few months ago, a cosmetology school that was going to be starting a massage therapy program contacted me – and just last week that dream came true…I’m going to start teaching again!  I will continue working for the companies I now work for…plus adding more content to (Because I LOVE what I do), but I’ve had this small void in my heart for the past 3+ years, and it’s time to fill it with teaching!  The ONLY reason I started MassageNerd in 2006, was for my students and I will continue giving them the best education I can. Sleep, who needs sleep???

On a lighter note, my Wife wants me to get out of the house more. :) 

Why Do I Laugh So Much?

I get asked that question a lot at massage conference, and my response is: “Life is too short NOT to laugh.”

Let me give you a little background on myself. Most of my childhood I didn’t laugh much, and suffered from Clinical Depression and OCD. I was give different antidepressants in my teenage years, and that seemed to make my moods feel blah! I even ended up in a Psychiatric Unit a few times in my teenage years.

I didn’t embrace my current personality, until I was going through massage school in 1997. I quit all my antidepressants while I was going through the program, and on my own decision. I was feeling better, and I found something that kept me busy, so I didn’t obsess as much.

I still suffer from depression and OCD, and I’ve learned to keep busy. OCD is who I am, and it’s helped my career over the past decade. I can’t do anything small, and I’m always thinking of ways to keep myself busy, so I delve into work. Now, I just need to find a balance between work and play.

I’m not looking for sympathy, and I just want people to find peace with their hiccups in life.

To quote my favorite T.V. show: “It’s a gift… and a curse.” – Adrian Monk

When at home, I’m  working  in the dark on my computer, playing Techno music, and trying to spend as much time with my family as possible. It’s what helps me keep my sanity.

If you want another perspective, I’m making up for lost time in the laughing category :)

From a Negative to a Positive

One-day back in 1999 (my first year of owning my massage business), in walked an elderly gentleman. He didn’t look happy to be getting a massage. The first words out of his mouth were “My wife scheduled me for this massage, and I don’t want to be here.” He never received a massage before, and he seemed uncomfortable. I tried to change the subject, and asked him to fill out a health form. I then proceeded to ask him if he had any hobbies (People usually light-up when they talk about their passions). He said woodworking, of which I knew nothing about.

Portrait of aged teacher looking at camera with blackboard on background

After he’s done filling out the form, I looked it over and started asking him some questions. His wife booked him the massage appointment, because she was sick of him complaining about his back pain. I asked him about his arthritis, and he stated “I don’t have it much anymore in my fingers. I broke my fingers to take away the pain, and it helped.” As you are imagining, I had a shocked look on my face! He complained that a few months ago, his doctor put him on rat poison (That is what he called his blood thinners).

I explained to him what the massage process. He immediately stopped me when I told him he could undress to his comfort level. He said, “Why do you need my clothes off, when I only have lower back pain?” I let him know that sometimes the gluteal region can refer pain to the lower back, but he only took off his shirt (I was ok with that).

He did not speak at all during the treatment, and luckily it was only ½ an hour. I was emotionally drained after the massage. I wished that he would not book another appointment, and he didn’t.

A few weeks have passed, and I get a call from his wife. She wanted to book another massage for her husband. She said, he didn’t complain much about his back pain, after he saw me. I had mixed emotions. Should I deal with the negativity, again?

After a few days, he came in for his massage appointment. Now that I knew his personality, I tried some humor. I asked him is he still on his rat poison? He actually laughed! During the massage treatment he started to open up. I didn’t feel like he was sucking up my energy.

This is what I learned from this gentleman:

  • I learned a hard lesson not to take things so personally. I also incorporated more humor (when necessary), into conversations.
  • Every single client is going to have good days, and bad ones.
  • Always look at the brighter side, and not to feed into their emotions.
  • The more scenarios you run into, the easier it will be in the future to deal with them.
  • In massage school, you only learn a part of what you need in the real world. It’s a good start; so stay awake during your ethics course.
  • If a client doesn’t like you, or you couldn’t help them, they won’t come back. Just don’t take it personally

So, the next time you have a negative client come in, just remember it’s probably not you!

Ryan Hoyme is the owner of and






Sharing is Caring

It’s in our nature to share feeling, thoughts, and other thing with people. I’m constantly hitting the share or retweet buttons on social media, or I’m creating my content. The Internet has made it easier to share things with people, but it’s also been a trigger point in my side (Pun intended).

I started, January of 2006, and since the beginning, I’ve noticed people stealing my photos and videos. It’s really frustrating to see my work on someone else’s website or social media account, and them not giving me credit. I’ve even seen people put their logo over my watermark and some have even cropped it out. I work hard at creating content! I just wish some people would respect that, and either buy their own, or create it themselves. I’ve even seen large massage companies stealing photos of mine – pretty sad. Someone even said: “I just do a Google search for images.” Well, I’ve got news for you; most images on Google Search are copyrighted. Even photos that you can buy usually have rules for using them. So, make sure you read the Terms of Service agreement before purchasing them. Leaving the watermark on a photo after you download it is stealing , so just don’t do it.

Facebook, and other social media websites have made it easy to share photos with a share/retweet/repin button, but some people haven’t figured that out yet. Just imagine your clients knowing that you are stealing photos from others, would YOU want to get a massage from someone who steals? It doesn’t make you look professional at all!

Have you thought about the repercussions of stealing content from others? It can vary from being asked to remove it, or you will have to pay them royalties. Adobe recently sued Forever 21 for pirating photoshop. If you would like more information on copyright, view this link (It breaks it down with questions people have about copyright laws).

Social media sites have made it easy to embed posts on your website.
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As you can see, I embedded the post below…

So, the next time you want to download a photo from Facebook or other places, just hit the share button on your social media profiles, or embed it on your website.

Ryan Hoyme is the owner of and

The Many Sizes of Social Media

I’ve been managing social media accounts for many years, and I started in the social media arena in 2006 on Youtube. Things were a lot simpler back in the day, but now it can give a person a HUGE headache with all the different sizes required for photos. Since 2006, Youtube has changed their main layout at least three different times, and don’t get me started about Facebook :)

The rule of thumb (pun intended) for photos on social media websites:
* Profile photos: Usually a square shape (100×100, 250×250 and so on).
* Photos as posts: Most social media accounts recommend either a square (Instagram), or a photo that is wider (Landscape size) for Twitter and Facebook.
* For Pinterest and Tumblr: these sites look better if the photos are taller (Portrait size).
* Cover photos: totally different story. Most of them are wider (Landscape size), than narrow (Portrait size) – but every site has different dimensions.facebook-cover-imageEditing Websites
Here are two great sites: autreplanete and internetmarketingninjas, that you can make your photos the right sizes for  your social media accounts.

Here is a list of sizes (This is just a generalized guideline):
– Blog Graphic: 800 x 1200px

– Business Card: 8.5 x 5cm
– Card: 14.8 x 10.5cm
– Document: 21 x 29.7cm
– Facebook Ad: 1200 x 627px
– Facebook App: 810 x 450px
– Facebook Cover: 851 x 315px
– Facebook Newsfeed: 1200 x 1200px
– Facebook Post: 940 x 788px
– Facebook Profile: 180 x 180px
– Google+ Cover Photo: 2120 x 1192px
– Google+ Newsfeed: Minimum 497 x 373px
– Google+ Profile: 250 x 250px
– Instagram Cover: 2048 2048px
– Instagram Post: 640 x 640px
– Instagram Profile: 110 x 110px
– Invitation: 14 x 14cm
– Kindle Cover: 1410 x 2250px
– LinkedIn Cover: 646 x 220px
– LinkedIn Business Logo: 100 x 60px or 50 x 50px
– Photo Collage: 25 x 20cm
– Pinterest Profile: 165 x 165px
– Pinterest Post: 735 x 1102px
– Poster: 42 x 59.4cm
– PowerPoint: 1024 x 768px
– Social Media: 800 x 800px
– Twitter Header: 1500 x 500px
– Twitter Newsfeed: 1024 x 512px
– Twitter Profile: 400 x 400px
– Youtube Cover: 2560 x 1440px
– Youtube Desktop Display: 2560 x 423px
– Youtube Mobile Display: 1546 x 423px
– Youtube Tablet Display: 1855 x 423px
– Youtube TV Display: 2560 x 1440px
– Youtube Thumbnail Preview: 1280 x 720px
– Youtube Icon: 800 x 800px
– Tumblr Profile: 128 x 128px
– Tumblr Posts: 500 x 750px

Hope that helps, and please embrace technology – it’s a lot easier than you think!

Ryan Hoyme is the Owner of (Largest Massage Website) and (Largest Massage Website for Stock Photos)

Tips and Tricks for Shooting Your Own Massage Photos


I’ve shot massage photos for over a year now, and I now have over 17,000 photos. I have shot many good ones, but twice as many bad ones. I will explain some of the things that have worked for me below…


1. Massage Room Size

I have shot massage photos in really small massage rooms, in a large studio, and even at my house. The area that I loved the most was in massage rooms, because they look more realistic, but the ones in the studio had better lighting. If you don’t have a studio you can shoot massage photos in, make sure you buy some lights, or make sure the overhead lights are fully on, and even some extra lights you can arrange in the room.

The biggest problem with shooting with too much lighting is you have to be concerned about shadows. I have brought my daughters on some shoots, and I’ve had to manually move the lights each time I wanted a different angle on some other shoots.


2. Oil, Lotion, Cream or Gel?

What do you think would be the hardest to use in a photo shoot? Cream and lotion have been the hardest for me, because if the therapist doesn’t have it all worked in, it can show-up under their fingernails, or in-between their fingers. If you are using a flash, oil and gel can be hard, because it can give more of a reflection.

It would be ideal to use lotion, and make sure the lotion is totally worked into the client (and not under your fingernails), before you start taking photos. It will give you enough glide, and not give you much of a glare if you are using a flash on your camera.


3. Props

I typically don’t use props in my photo shoot, because it takes away for what the true purpose of the photos are. What most stock massage photos are notorious for, is they totally distract from what is being shown, and most of them are unrealistic (ex. Flowers in the client’s hair).DSC_3757-


4. Angles of shots

I typically try to get as many angles of a certain technique, as possible. Also, it is a good idea to shoot portrait, and landscape with each one, because you never know how you will use the photos. On social media, landscape photos work the best (Facebook and Twitter), but shooting portrait works for best pinterest, and some forms of marketing. On your website, it all depends how your webpages are laid out.

It’s also a good idea, to shoot some of your photos with the therapist just off-center. The reason behind this idea is if you wanted to add text to some of your photos, you can easy do that. Also, you can have the therapist/client in the far background, too.


5. Massage Sheets

There are many different types and colors of massage sheets out there, but you really have to take these things into account:

*Are you using lotion or cream – Then don’t use black or darker colored sheets.

*Flannel – I love flannel the best, because it can typically show less of the wrinkles in the sheets.

*Colors – White usually works the best, or more neutral colors.

*Patterns – It’s best to stay away from patters, because it can distract the views of you photos more.

*Stains – Check your sheets before you use them, so there aren’t any stains.

*Tight – Make sure your sheets are tight-fitting.


6. Camera

I started shooting my massage photos with a Nikon D80 DSLR, and then eventually upgraded to a Nikon D7000 DSLR. I will be purchasing a newer one soon, because it’s always smart to bring two camera with you at all time. Cameras can be relatively cheap, but the most expensive part of the camera is the lenses.

You can use a point and shoot camera, as long as you have good lighting, and the therapist isn’t moving too much, otherwise most of your photos can be blurry.

JPG vs. RAW – I will shoot in both formats, and I love RAW, because you can adjust so much more with your photos.

I don’t recommend shooting photos with your smartphone, and you can even ask a friend to borrow their camera if you don’t have an adequate one.


7. Massage Client

Ever since I started shooting massage photos, I always had both the therapist and the client sign a release form. It is always important to cover your glutes, and to make sure everyone is protected.

Some of my shoots, I’ve asked the therapist if they know of a friend that would be willing to be in the photos, and other times I’ve lined them up myself. It’s important that they know exactly what to expect, before they even get there.


8. Editing Software

There are tons of photo editing software on the Internet today (, and a lot of them are free (you usually have to pay for it, if you want more options with it). I’ve been learning photoshop for the past few years, and I’ll typically straighten out some wrinkles in the sheets with it, or change the color of the photos. I love using photoshop, but it can be frustrating for the non-technical person.

I will doing more blog posts on this topic in the near future…

Ryan Hoyme is the owner of and


Time for some closure…

It’s been almost a year, since I was at the Boston Marathon.

It started out to be one of the highlights of my career, and I was excited to go there on behalf of Bon Vital, and the Massage Therapy Foundation.

The day of the race started out like any other day, and it seemed really calm…but with 1,000’s of marathon runners, and 1,000’s of fans cheering them on.


I was set-up in the grandstand to videotape the MTF runners to cross the finish line. Then, an event that has changed my life occurred. I heard a loud sound right across from me, and quickly turned on my video camera to see if there was going to be more fireworks (that is what I thought it was at first). I then caught the second bomb on videotape, and slowly saw a lot of bodies lying on the concrete after the dust started to clear.

There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought about that horrific event, and it will forever be ingrained in my mind. It has gotten better with time, and seeing a counselor soon afterwards helped. I’m really looking forward to attending the marathon again in April of this year, and not only to see all the MTF runners cross the finish line, but also to put some closure to the memories that have haunted me for the past year. I will not allow last years event haunt me, and I know the marathon will be 10x’s safer.

My #1 goal this year, is to “NOT” be on national T.V.!

I’m ready to face my fears head-on, and it’s time to be “Massage Therapist Strong!

After 17 Years…

Yes, I’ve been in the massage industry for 17 years now, and I’m feeling like dinosaur! 


While was in massage, received my first massage table from my parents as gift, 

and it was an Earthlite table. It was great table, and it met all my needs at the time, 

but recently have realized that it was time to get major facelift…I mean table lift. 

Back then my parents paid over $600 for the table, and it wasn’t even the highest priced 

table out there at the time. There wasn’t much for cheaper tables in 1997, and I’m glad my 

parents got me quality table, because you must invest in your supplies. 

I have always told my students that the lowerend tables are great for starting out, 

and you get what you pay for, but you need to upgrade to something that can last a life-time…or at least 17 years :)

Below is my video review of the Infinity Conforma™ Massage Table from Earthliteand yes; 

did get purple table (because my wife and daughters love the color purple).

MassageNerd’s Year In Review…

2013 has been a wild year for me, both good and bad, and I’d like to share it all of you.

I started off the new year, by deciding to take better care of myself and to start dropping some pounds (I actually started November 2012), and I have shed 50 pounds so far, and just 15-20 to go, so I can fit into size 32 pants again. I first started doing it because people kept commenting on my videos that I was fat, and finally decided to do it for myself, because I had borderline sleep apnea and that is totally gone now, and the biggest benefit for me is my wife says I hardly snore at all.

I launched my Consulting Business in January, and I’ve been videotaping and shooting photos of REAL massage therapists ever since. So many massage websites have photos with non massage therapists, and horrible body mechanics, and my goal is to bring it back to the true vision of massage therapy. I plan to continue on building this business, and I really see a need for it, and I hope others do to.

April was a hard month for me. Bon Vital’ and the Massage Therapy Foundation asked me to go to the Boston Marathon to videotape the three runners as they cross the finish line. Well, I never got to videotape them, because when I first heard a loud sound (I thought it was fireworks), I then turned on my video camera. I videotaped the second bomb going off, and it is a memory that will never leave me. It took me over a month to get back to somewhat normal, and I still deal with it from time-to-time, but I received counseling soon after it happened, and I needed that. I now know the true effects of PTSD, and my biggest hang up was; I felt bad for feeling so crappy about the incident, because so many people were injured, and I didn’t have any permanent damage. My physiologist classified it as survivor’s guilt. In the first 12 hours after it happened, I was interviewed over 30 times by news stations all over the world, and the next day I was on Katie Couric.

Here is the video I shot of the 2nd bomb.

Youtube has still been good to me, and I recently crossed the 165 million mark, averaging over 40,000 views a day, uploaded over 4,700 videos, and I have 40,000+ subscribers. Youtube is now the 2nd largest search engine, and I think I‘m contributing to that, by being on it 10+ hours a day :)

Facebook has been another story. I love facebook for the most part, but it can be addicting, and it’s really hard to express your true feelings and emotions on social media. I started the MassageNerd Group this year, because my FB page was getting too many questions asked, and it was filling up people’s news feed. I wish social media could become an in person platform, but we have what we have, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

I went on my first vacation, that didn’t involve work or visiting relatives. It was a cruise to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary, and we renewed our vows after the cruise. I think I’m hooked on cruises now, but I wished I lived closer to a port.
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My daughters are in 2nd and 6th grade, and they have exceeded my expectations in their schoolwork. My youngest was at the bottom of her class for reading level, and she recently shot to the top of her class…funny how 30+ minutes of reading a day will make you excel.
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November was a hard month for our family! The typhoon hit the Philippines, and most of my wife’s relatives were right in the path of it. Most of them live in Palompon, Leyte (just a few hours away from the hardest hit areas). It was five days, before we knew if they were ok, because all the power and cell phone towers were destroyed. They had to travel to another island to buy a generator and call us to let us know that they all survived. My wife is part of the Philippine American Association of Rochester MN, and they have been organizing many fundraising events, and they have raised over $5,000 so far. We have been sending money over to her relatives regularly from our own money and some of my friends also sent me money to help them out in this disaster.

Her hometown…before and after.

Core Products
giving back.

That’s my year in review…how about yours?