Transitioning to Self-Employment

Today marked the end of an era. At three o’clock this afternoon – after twenty-one years, eleven jobs and five-and-a-half-years of working the same one — I went from being partially self-employed to fully self-employed.

Now this might not sound like a huge deal to you, but to me? I held onto that last vestige of working-for-the-other-guy the way Dr. Oz holds onto his one o’clock time slot: mercilessly and with a smidgen of desperation. Over the last several months, as my own business grew busier, working at the resort spa morphed from financial necessity to psychological security blanket. I had always worked for someone else! Was I really ready to swim in the choppy waters of free market capitalism while depending on a child-sized flotation device labeled LIPOMI’S BUSINESS ACUMEN?

I knew I’d never know if I never tried. I knew I was suffering from burnout while juggling ten-hour Sunday shifts at the resort spa, appointments with my own clientele, and managing my continuing education business to the best of my ability given the complete lack of residual hours in my day. I was also becoming increasingly aware of the effect that death and grief can have on a person (me). It became almost painful for me to be away from my better half every Sunday, and I didn’t want to get to the point where I resented my massage therapy career choices. I love what I do; it gives me purpose. I hope I never lose that.

For better or for worse, all signs were pointing to “hey Andrea, dump the resort spa job”.  This option was made even more attractive when I received some timely external validation from marketing expert Seth Godin by way of his book THE DIP: I was caught in a cul-de-sac. A dead-end job was taking time, energy and attention away from other promising projects that needed me – all of me – to succeed. I may be slow to process information, but after being bludgeoned repeatedly by obviousness in its most obvious form, I knew what I had to do.

The email was polite and to the point. I gave my manager a little bit more than two-weeks’ notice. I only hesitated for five minutes before hitting “send”.

And here I am! Sitting at a Starbucks just down the street from my former employer with a refreshingly recalibrated focus on what matters most. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the opportunities that came my way while I was employed by other guys: steady paychecks, priceless experience, awesome clients, sweet coworkers, lessons, stories, inspiration and adventure…but all chapters must come to an end, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this new one as it unfolds.

* Are you on Instagram and/or Twitter? Search for #AndreasLastDay to see more photos and videos from, ya know, #AndreasLastDay. *

Join Us In Vegas!

Big news, friends! The deets for July’s Young Thumbs CE workshop have arrived! Allissa, Ryan and I have been working overtime to plan this entertaining, informative and innovative class that gets you 3 NCBTMB-approved CE hours and quality time with, you know, US.

Class size is limited to 20 participants, and we’re giving Young Thumbs readers first dibs. I’ve posted the specifics below. You’ll have to pre-register at Eventbrite so we’ll have your seat saved and your certificate ready for you. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s Vegas!


Ethics, Schmethics: The Vegas Workshop

(aka Young Thumbs Day)

3 CE hours in NCBTMB approved ethics

Cost: $30 (Yes, you read that right.)

When: Thursday, July 24, 2014  1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Where: Emergency Arts, 520 East Fremont St., Downtown Las Vegas (aka not The Strip. This is way cooler than that.)

What: Hospitality nut Andrea Lipomi, video powerhouse Ryan Hoyme and marketing geek Allissa Haines will be in attendance to head up this new and innovative ethics workshop.

We know what you’re thinking. We’ve all taken ethics classes that promise to be interesting and not the same old ‘don’t-sleep-with-your-clients’ schtick. Then it turns out to be the boring ‘don’t-name-your-clients-online’ class.  Ammirite?

This workshop is different. No, really.

Are you on the prowl for simple ways to up the hospitality quotient in your practice? Are you losing the battle with burnout? Could your professional life use a boundary makeover?

Attendees will be surveyed well before the workshop day to determine their specific needs. Each attendee will be asked to submit a question for the class, and we’ll all work through it together.

Part structured mastermind group, part freestyle learning, and part extremely confidential peer counseling, this workshop is about collaboration with minimal lecture and zero stuffiness.

***IMPORTANT: You MUST pre-register for this workshop at Class size is limited to 20 participants. Registration ends July 10th, 2014.***

But wait! There’s more! We’ve decided to make a fun-filled day of it, so you’re also invited to join The Young Thumbs for the following optional events:


Lunch at Eat.

Please bring cash to pay for your own meal. Separate checks will not be available, IRS compliant image of receipt will be provided via email to each attendee after the meal.


Dinner and Adventuring! (Details TBA, but we promise it’ll be a blast.)

Please bring cash to pay for your own meal. Separate checks will not be available, IRS compliant image of receipt will be provided via email to each attendee after the meal. Dinner will NOT be fancy or crazy expensive.

***Please visit The Young Thumbs Facebook page regularly during the entire week of July 20th. We’ll have lots of last minute Vegas shenanigans to announce – and we want you to join us!***

DOWNTOWN LODGING: The hotels on and near Fremont St. would be happy to have you. We can personally vouch for the lovely, recently remodeled rooms at the Downtown Grand.

CARPOOLING: If you’re staying on or near the Strip, we may be able to help with transportation to get you to the workshop. Please email Andrea at by July 10th, 2014 with your situation and we’ll try our best to be of assistance.

REFUNDS: If you require a refund, please submit a request to helpinghands@confidentmassage.combefore July 10th, 2014.

CONTACT: If you have any questions, please contact Andrea at (702)468-5886, or at

We’re so excited we can barely contain ourselves! See you in Downtown Las Vegas this July!

(Andrea Lipomi is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork as a continuing education Approved Provider, #451780-11.)

The Young Thumbs Take Las Vegas

During Wednesday’s episode of The Massage Nerd Show, Allissa, Ryan and I made an announcement worthy of attention from the finest massage therapy news outlets and celebrity gossip magazines:


That’s right, friends! Starting around noon on the day following the World Massage Festival’s four-day Vegas run at the Tuscany Suites & Casino, we are going to eat, workshop, eat, drink, conspire, eat, and shenanigize our hearts out! The festivities will be centered around the Fremont East neighborhood of Downtown Las Vegas, an area north of the Strip and home to lots of exciting, new and innovative development.

We’re still working on the deets, but so far we’ve decided:

  • This day will revolve around fun. If you’re looking for boring, we will only disappoint you.
  • Components of the event will be optional. Want to lunch with the crew, but skip out before the workshop (topic TBA) begins? Not a problem! Care to meet up later on in the evening instead? DO. IT.
  • The day’s expenses will be minimal. You’ll be responsible for paying for your own eats, drinkies, and any extracurricular entertainment. Know that we are totally committed to keeping the workshop super affordable too, because we love you.
  • Emergency Arts will be accommodating our workshop space demands. They are located at 520 East Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101. If you’re looking for lodging in Young Thumbs territory, there are gobs of (affordable!) hotels in the ‘hood.
  • Further details will be posted on as we get closer to the blessed event.
  • Any questions? Please ask ‘em in the comments section below.

Watch the three of us talk about this stuff (and more).

Please save the date, and pack accordingly. :)


Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.


This wasn’t how I expected my six month stint in nail school to end. Today was a surreal, jacked up day for a lot of people, and I feel a little bit guilty about being the luckiest girl in the world.




8:00 am: Ms. Lorraine, my nail technology instructor, sat on the metal steps outside the entrance to Destination Academy, a lit cigarette held with the assuredness of a military veteran turned hairstylist with a combined 40 years in the trenches.

“I’m glad you came to school today.”

“Ummm, why?” I asked suspiciously.

“It’s your last day. They’re closing down the school. You’re going to be the last graduate.”

“Oh shit.”

What followed was a chaotic morning of classmates (hair, skin and nails) arriving at school to be met with a frazzled “Pack up your stuff and hurry! The constable is here and he’s going to lock the doors. Your hours will be forwarded to the state board. Take everything with you. Quickly!” Teachers and office employees wore the same shocked expression as students. Panicked tears fell and tempers flared.

Some students had pre-paid their tuition in full (anywhere from $4,000 – $20,000), and still had several months remaining before they were scheduled to graduate. Teachers began planning their day’s trek to the unemployment office. The ethical office employees took responsibility for locating and rescuing everyone’s paperwork that proved their attendance. Countless boxes, cases and computers were shuffled out of the building into waiting vehicles.

Destination Academy is (was?) located above Destination Manhattan, a day spa and salon owned by the same person. Upon emerging from the second floor, it became obvious that the shitstorm that had enveloped Destination Academy was relatively mild in comparison to the bedlam laying waste at ground level. Here, dozens of employees and chair renters scurried to remove their belongings – including large items, like furniture and stationary massage tables – from the building before the ever-present yet even-tempered constable had the locksmith change the locks.

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, moving trucks pulled up one after the other while fuming beauty professionals directed the movers on where to haul cabinets, bins, and gigantic hair dryers. Cell phone use was ubiquitous, as friends and family members were summoned to listen, calm, and ultimately show up in pickup trucks. Appointment cancellation calls to clients came next, and without warning. Not surprisingly, Gary, the hairstylist turned salon and beauty school owner — who apparently hadn’t been paying the rent for who knows how long – was nowhere to be found during this entire debacle.

I could tell you that this turn of events came as a complete surprise, but that would be a lie. I attended Destination Academy in 2008 to be educated in the science of skincare, and rumors of school closure ran rampant back then, too. Just last year, a handful of trusted sources informed me of bounced checks (both payroll and payment to vendors) and declined company credit cards. Kits and textbooks for newly enrolled students were on “backorder” for months, and basic items (gloves, hair color, facial products, etc.) necessary to perform basic services (hair coloring, facials, etc.) would run out, never to be replaced. But we tend to get lulled into a state of complacency when at the 11th hour we manage to make do with what we have. I mean, the lights were still on in the damn building as recently as 7 o’clock tonight, and rumors are just rumors, right?

As for how this affects your humble narrator, I just really hope it doesn’t. Thanks to my lovely teachers (and for everything it’s worth, I consider you ladies friends to whom I am eternally grateful), I was able to sign off on my attendance sheets proving 600 hours of instruction before I went home today. Hopefully the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology accepts my paperwork without incident, at which point I can schedule my written exam, and after that my practical exam (where I have my way with a fake plastic hand while state employees observe with a critical eye). If I can maintain any semblance of luck at all, I will be set up to do natural nail manicures and pedicures at Feetish Spa Parlor sometime this spring.

And that’s pretty much it for #AndreasBeautySchoolAdventures. I had begun working on a rather boring and uninspired blog post last week in anticipation of my red carpet-walking, certificate-receiving graduation extravaganza, but apparently life detests a dull blog post even more than I do. As a reminder, you can hit up #AndreasBeautySchoolAdventures on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to take a gander at how I’ve spent five long hours per day, five long days per week, over the last six long months. Hopefully the 202 morsels of hashtagged wonder that pop up prove that it hasn’t all been bad, or all for nothing.



What a day.



Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.

Lessons in Randomness, 2013 Edition

The year-end recap is a clichéd concept, I know. But these nuggets were hard-earned and I’ll be damned if I don’t bust out Young Thumbs style with what I’ve learned over the past twelve months. (Disclaimer: I’ve always been the last girl in the room to get her hands on a flip phone, LA Gear kicks or a clue, so please forgive my passion for the obvious. My next post will be more quasi-intellectual, I promise.) Onward!

  • Snap photos. Use your phone, roughed-up point-and-shoot from ’03, or camera obscura if you’re lucky enough to have one. When you see something beautiful, interesting, horrifying or hilarious, capture the moment. (You never know when you’ll need it for a blog post.)

    Dollar store photo ops. Take 'em.

    Dollar store photo ops. Take ’em.

  • It is possible, over the course of thirty days, to gain five pounds, lose your mind, and skip an entire menstrual cycle due to stress.
  • Say no.
  • Just because it happened just now does not mandate that you post it just now. Enjoy the moment and the company you’re in.
  • Whole Foods will raise the price of OJ $3 overnight. You will think you’re at Kohl’s.
  • Engaging in honest, hours-long-face-to-face convos could be the most accessible way to inject fresh bravery and fear-conquering intimacy into your life. Try it.
  • A random encounter can lead to magical things.
  • It is OK to ask that loud, obnoxious person to keep it down.
  • Your absurdity demands a bone-crushing embrace and resplendent laughter.
  • Say yes.
  • Just when you think you get Google AdWords, you don’t.
  • Every one of us is a microcosmic niche market.
  • It is perfectly fine to pick up a journal you last touched during 2009 in 2013, and half-fill it with sloppy handwriting and incomplete sentences.
  • Forgiveness: be beggy. Permission: no asky.
  • You are never too old to learn a lesson, to train yourself to do something new or be something new or think something new, or to go back to school — but you’re kidding yourself if you think any of this will be easy.

Here’s to a delightful 2014! <3


Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.

The Best BBQ Advice You’ll Ever Get (from a Massage Therapist)

A guest post from Leslie Forrester because she’s awesome (and wrote about food). 

bbqAdmit it, you clicked because you were like WHAT???  This is the story of stories.  You’re a massage therapist, you know you can help people, but you get the blank stares and the “Oh, I’ll call you”.  But your table is empty more often than you would like.  What to do?  You’ve tried advertising or social media.  But eventually you have to go out and talk to the general public.

Many people who are unfamiliar with what we do have misconceptions about massage – some of them are completely incorrect and some are just a little a little outdated, shall we say?  With all the continuing research, even the most seasoned massage “junkies” in our practices need some updated information.  But how to go about that?  It’s very easy to dazzle people with our knowledge – our own knowledge base is very different than the general public’s, and there is a danger in getting too technical – and often you can do damage to a potential therapeutic relationship by overuse of jargon.  You want to be technically correct but it can be to the detriment of their overall understanding.

WWJD?  I’m not saying that I bring religion into the session – but I do use analogy very extensively when I am out and about in my public networking and during my intake process and the conversation that happens during and after the sessions.  I embrace the parable and the analogy.  It brings our work to the public in a way that all the jargon and modality talk can never do. There are a few specific examples I’ll share with you.

The Bridge

I use the bridge extensively with clients or potential clients who are involved in chiropractic care.  I live in Tampa Bay, where there is a gorgeous suspension bridge called the Sunshine Skyway.  Think Golden Gate – cables, bridge, arch, etc.  The point of it is about tensegrity – the body working together.  The basic wording I use goes like this:

The body is like the Skyway Bridge – If you want to move the bridge, you need to loosen some cables and tighten others – if you don’t it means either the bridge is going to go RIGHT back to where it was or fall into the sea.

The Beef Jerky 

I use Beef Jerky as an example with clients in intake when I have to explain fascia and myofascial release.  Lots of clients are men doing physical work that makes them sore and that’s how they end up on my table.  This analogy really speaks to them.

Ever try to rip really good homemade beef jerky in half?  You know the white stringy bits – it’s not just in cows and pigs, it’s in us too!  It wraps around all the muscles and in the spaces of the body, making it hard for muscles to separate and work properly.

Cobwebs – I use cobwebs to describe fascia to the non jerky eating set.  Fascia looks like cobwebs and acts like cobwebs, sticking to itself and everything around it.  Who hasn’t walked into a web and had it stick to their face?

Let’s get to the BBQ advice, though.

Clients and people who get to know me want to know how I can tell, what do I feel, how do I know what hurts?  Obviously it’s not as simple as JUST the information in the above video, there’s a lot of anatomy and school and everything but that doesn’t help them to understand in the same way that explaining if your body in general feels medium-rare and I come across this one little spot that is well-done…that’s probably the problem area.

If you didn’t click through on the video, there is basically a handy temperature guide for red meat  – on your hand.  If you touch right at the fleshy part at the base of the thumb (abductor pollicis brevis, for those who are keeping score) with all fingers loosely extended, that’s rare.  Put down your middle finger, that’s medium, and if you make a fist, that’s well done.  So STOP cutting into your meat to check the temperature, it lets out the good juices that make steak yummy.

And if you want to make your body feel yummy, get a massage.

Leslie Forrester is the owner and solopreneur at Quality Life Massage Therapy, located just outside Tampa, Florida. She has used these and other networking techniques to fill her practice from scratch in just two years. You can find her on linkedin, Facebook, and at

Image courtesy of artur84 /

There are no super heroes


A little background before this lesson.

I am one person. I am single. I do not have children.

I run a small massage practice, seeing 16-20 clients a week. I sublet the second treatment room in my office to another full time massage therapist. I sublet to a third therapist, she’s part time and bounces between the rooms depending on the day.

We’ve created a lovely office-sharing situation, but really, I’m the head honcho. I pay the landlord, keep the place stocked with paper towels, clean the place (but I’m not great at that so thank goodness my officemates are proactive about helping). I don’t have laundry machines, so I drop off and pick up a few times a week at a local laundromat that’s been giving me a great deal for 8 years now.

I figure my massage practice keeps me hustling for about 40 hours a week. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. If I was better at time-management I could knock that down a few hours, I’m sure.

I also have a little marketing/teaching gig going. I teach at Bancroft School of Massage Therapy five to six times a year, a 3.5 hour session on marketing to each class. I teach at different events, mostly continuing education gatherings for massage therapists, once a year or so. I’ve done a webinar segment for another company, and I’ve got another coming up. I handle online marketing for 2 small organizations, and create most of the website content for another. I have 2 people who work part time helping me with these tasks. I do a bit of 1 on 1 consulting. The marketing gig takes up 15-20 hours most weeks.

So the maths say I work about 55-60 hours a week. Which is fine for me, because, again, I’m single and have no kids. I don’t watch much tv and I like being busy.

I’m not bragging. I’m confessing.

But here’s the catch: I’m full-up. Some weeks I struggle to make time to learn about every new social media platform, the new trends in marketing, take my own massage continuing education, clean my bathroom, feed myself, pay my part-timers, and write my own damn blog posts. I took a few weeks off in January, to ‘get ahead’ on work, and I ended up crashing and just barely catching up. This blog post is two weeks late. Oops.

There are people who are way, way more productive and efficient than I am. But there is no one who can do it all, and do it all well.

You’re rational people, so you understand this. 

And yet. It’s so easy to be taken in by people who play the Superhero online. When we see someone who is seemingly ‘doing it all’, we believe the bullshit. We become enamored, and all rational thought leaves us.

“Oh my goodness!” we think. “This woman has multiple businesses and a family and can still write 10 books in a year! I want to be just like her! I will buy everything she sells because then I can be like her and my life will be so much easier/better/happier/more productive.” It’s very, very easy to get caught up in that whirlwind of admiration. I’ve done it, I know.

Except that it’s bullshit. 

No one has it all. And if they do, it’s certainly not a breeze.

I joked a few weeks ago, “I wish I had recognized the value of a Sugar Daddy while I was still young enough to snag one.” I think I was paying bills at the time. But really, even if I happened into a small fortune tomorrow and was able to work for free in a school for kids with autism, adopt 5 babies, and met the love of my life, I still couldn’t have it all. I would be missing the satisfaction of knowing I built 2 businesses from the ground up, on my own. I would be missing the pride and fulfillment that comes with being able to support myself financially. There’s always a trade-off. No one has it all. No one can do it all.

Accept that it’s bullshit. 

There are no fast answers. There are no shortcuts to a successful business. It’s about work.

It’s about putting in the time, learning as much as you can about your trade and how to sell it. It involves doing the legwork before you hand over a wad of cash to someone who pretends they can save you. Sure, you can contract some stuff out and often that’s the wisest decision. But you still have to know enough about what’s happening to be sure you’re not getting screwed. You need to read a ‘How to hire a website designer” article to know that YOU should purchase and own the domain name, so you don’t end up at the mercy of a designer who drops off the map. If a deal, or a person,  seems too good to be true, it may well be a scam. Proceed with caution.

Accept that no one can save you.

Only you can. By being smart. By doing the legwork. By learning stuff you don’t want to learn, so you can oversee tasks that you delegate out.

There are no super heroes, except you. And you are more than capable of saving yourself.

Allissa Haines is a massage therapist with a full private practice in Plainville, MA. She creates marketing and business resources for massage therapists at and is an educator at, an online learning center for massage therapists and students. She is also marketing consultant, professional speaker, and wanna-be ukulele recording artist.

Thirty Two Add-On Service Ideas for Non-Spa Massage Therapists

(This post is inspired by a question asked over on the Massage Nerd Group on Facebook today. If you aren’t a member, yet, come join in on the discussion! 1,838 minds are better than 1.)


I have a lot of fun with spa services. You will probably see me write about them a lot. I love to have creamy concoctions that smell pleasant smeared onto my skin and massaged in. I love to have my dead skin cells sheared away with tiny crystals and to have hot steamy towels envelop various appendages while I soak it in and pretend to be Cleopatra. It is heavenly. Moreover, I love to design, implement and execute these services in my practice. For me, it is soothing, relaxing, artful, and restful.

…however, this post isn’t about me. It is about you. The therapist who doesn’t sit by as they massage hot oil into a client’s scalp or apply warm sugar scrub to the feet and enjoy the service by proxy, like some therapeutic succubus, vicariously living through every girly spa treatment she gives.

(…what? I said it isn’t about me…)

It is about you, the therapist in the trenches who doesn’t want to bother with essential oil selection, whether to use raw turbinado sugar or salt, or use a mortar and pestle because it makes them feel old timey and cool. You, who when asked about “spa services” cringe when you think about the additional laundry, the oil stains, the salt granules between the toes, the ooey gooey, creamy, slimy, smelly, sticky, girly, messy stuff flying around all the time. You think about all of the bowls and bottles and canisters of extra stuff you have to procure, mix, and handle…and it just seems like more trouble than it is worth.

Fear not, non-spa massage therapist, for you too can offer add on services that can help increase your bottom line and add value for your clients without adding to your laundry basket or taking away from your ability to stay goop-free. For the purposes of this article, I am including both energetic types of work and more clinical approaches in order to satisfy/address a wider audience.

Here is a list of ideas, in no particular order:

1) A scalp massage add-on. You can do this dry, or with your lubricant if it is good quality. Some people hate stuff in their hair so of course be sure to ask first. A little goes a long way. If you feel like you want to add something a little extra or different, you can use a shampoo brush or scalp massaging instrument along with your hands and fingers. They even make battery operated scalp massagers…which I haven’t tried yet but want to. I’m not sure if they would work well for clients in a service but might make a good product offering for self care.

2-5) Reflexology add-ons. If you are trained in reflexology you can offer it on the feet, hands, ears, and face.  It can be incredibly relaxing and doesn’t involve any additional product or set up.

6) Abdominal Massage add on. You can use or combine different modalities, or receive training specific to this area, such as Maya Abdominal Massage. 

7) Facial Massage. You can do this dry or with your lubricant if it is very gentle and of high quality. I prefer to use jojoba, virgin coconut or safflower oil on the face. A little goes a long way. There are lots of CEUs and instructional videos on this subject.

8) Acupressure.

9) Reiki.

10) Cupping

11) Facial Cupping

12) Facial lymphatic drainage

13) Dry Brushing exfoliation

14) Hot and cold stone massage. If used as an add on you can simply use 6 stones, and a refrigerator or small heating device. There’s no need to heat up or cool a set of 30 stones. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.

15) Hot or cold stone facial massage. Both can be great for headaches and can be very relaxing.

16) 15 or 30 minute therapeutic stretching and/or ROM time. This can be a great add on for those that request relaxation massage but you know they could use something a little more. They are more receptive to it because you aren’t taking away from their full treatment time.

17) They can book a time block for 15/30 mins before or after their massage to just zone out on the table. You can call this “meditation time” or just “decompression time” etc.

18) A lot of my clients enjoy therapeutic hair pulling. These are usually my clients who constantly have in weaves or extensions, and they book their sessions in between getting new sets installed. I have been trying to come up with the best name for this service and I think I will add it my menu as “Hairapy”. I know, gimmicky…but I don’t want it to get confused with the scalp massage options I offer.

19) Kinesio Taping

20) Craniosacral Therapy

21) Indian head massage

22) Asian reflexology. Did you know that there are actually many different methods of reflexology besides the Ingram method? Check them out. You might find something you like better.

23) Ice massage add-on. Water, mini dixie cups, and a freezer. You will need one hand towel for this one.

24) The Toasty Toes add on. For those clients that get cold feet easily. You can have them in this the entire time and end the massage with an extra 15 minutes of massage on their nice warm feet.

25) Ice plunge add-on. For those that work with their hands a lot. You walk them through it and include printed instructions on how to effectively do it at home. all that is required is a little ice and water (easy if you already have a freezer in your office) and a small tub or bucket.

26-31) Other self-help protocol add-ons. You can add self-help protocols with or without tools such as tennis balls, specific stretches and ROM exercises, etc. The “add on” would be an extra 15/30 mins allotted to teaching them how to use the information or tools effectively, maybe a print out reminder, and a set of tennis balls etc.(example: wrist relief, shoulder relief, low back relief, foot relief, neck relief, headache relief, etc)

32) Extra 15/30 minute samples: I usually let my clients know that they can “sample” a different modality during their regular massage time to see if they like it and want it added in later. I have decided to start advertising this as an “add-on”, in the hopes that people won’t have as much trepidation because they know they are getting their full massage time, with just 15 mins “extra” of trying something new.

I hope these ideas have been helpful. I realize different therapists might already include some  of these services in their regular session pricing…my intent was to include as many as I could think of on this list to stoke the imagination.  If you are a therapist who chooses to maintain a goop-free lifestyle and you feature “add-ons” in your practice, please let us all know what they are below. We would love to hear from you!

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis /

Sometimes massage therapists are not very nice people

This post is rated R for language.

I have some things to say to some people

To the Facebook Dude

No, you do not get to call me elitist because I have a vocabulary that rocks. I earned that prolific phraseology. I’ve seen what food stamps look like. I worked my ass through a cheap state college and I put my second hand salvation army-ed pants on one leg at a time. Just like everyone else. I’m right here in the trenches, up to my elbows in oil 25 hours a week. So, no. Just no.

Also, I don’t think myself superior. While I could always use a lesson in humility, our exchange was not an indication of such. If you took a damn second to look at the history of this here bitch you’re insulting, you would see that I apologize like a grown up whenever I find I’m wrong. I invite readers to call me out on my bullshit, and for the past three years they’ve been doing just that. And I’m a better person for it. I’m as humble as they come. (<–that right there is humor. Chill the fuck out.)

Example: A few years ago I had a knock-down drag out discussion with a colleague that left me bitter, raw, hurt and pissed off. It was not a good parting. I still think that about 50% of what I said was right. No doubt he disagrees with that. But you know what we did the moment we saw each other at the next event a year later?  It went like this: I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around. Arms opened. We hugged. Before any damn words were spoken, we made up. Because that’s how adults behave when they want to do and be better. I’m sure someday he & I will find ourselves on the same side of some big massage profession issues. Because, “The ties that bind us are so much stronger than the opinions that divide us within this field.” Yeah, that’s right, I said that. I’m quoting myself. Deal.

PS- You were right about one thing, I do like to have the last word. Good thing I have a handful of blogs to publish my elitist shit, huh?

To the Non-Science-y People

Stop overreacting and making yourselves look like defensive morons. You’re not morons. I know you’re not. But this extremist attitude that massage therapists who appreciate research and encourage an evidence-informed practice are over-intellectual snobby assholes is more about the chip on you shoulder than anything else. Know how to ditch that chip? Learn something. I practically had to bang my college professor to get a passing grade in the sciences* and even I can handle working through an online Basics of Research Literacy course. So can you. (I will not link to it here because they deserve better than to be tied to this shitbag post, google it. $59, 6 CE Hours! Yay!) Think the science-y people are assholes? Fine. Learn their language, make a decent argument and then tell them so. But I bet once you learn the language, and know the people, you probably won’t think they are (all) assholes anymore. You might still disagree with them. Fine. But your karma will be in better shape.

To the Super Science-y People

Calm the fuck down. (<–yes, I see the irony here). Sometimes you’re scathing and mean and make the already frightened, intimidated people even less likely to try to learn. I know the really extreme wind-chimes huggers come off as defensive morons sometimes. But most aren’t. Rome was not built in a spaghettimonsterdamn day. (<–see what I did there? Ha!) It took a really long time for the general public to accept that the world isn’t flat and epilepsy isn’t a result of demon invasion of the brain. It’s going to take a long time to teach the teachers who are still hung up on the old myths and to educate legions of therapists about evidence-informed practice. The bulk of massage therapists are passionate about helping people. They believe strongly about the methods they use. They are kind, compassionate people. It’s just going to take time. Some will never, ever come around to your point of view. Be nicer anyways. I’m a pretty confident chic and y’all still scare the crap outta me sometimes. That’s saying something.

To me (I don’t live with a cat anymore, so I have to talk to myself)

Oh, Allissa. It’s cute that you used to think the massage world was an all-the-time happy place. But Greg was right when he said, “Sometimes massage therapists are not very nice people.” You’ve learned that there are so many competing organizations, with so many different ideas of what’s right and wrong and good and bad for the profession, it’s a shit show. Maybe remember that most of us are just keeping our heads down and seeing our clients and stick to helping them directly. Focus on that. Also, stop swearing so much and eat more vegetables.

To everyone (if you made it this far)

I like Anatomy in Motion. I’ve liked the app since it came out a few years ago. I use it often in my practice. I like the Facebook page, because it has pretty pictures and interesting information. I now consider Melissa, the co-creator, a friend. And she’s built quite a following in a very short time, because the information is interesting and beautiful.

Every day Melissa gets complaints that the posts are too science-based. Every day Melissa gets complaints that the posts are not science-based enough. I personally have watched science-y people get all pissy, declare they will never look at the page again and then continue to bash the page, and Melissa, in a rather uncouth way, in their personal profiles. (Ditto for the unscience-y peeps.) And you know what? Melissa has the class to rise above it, and still link to some of the various asshats’ writings and work. Because it’s good stuff. Because she loves the profession and wants the best for it, more than she dislikes the sometimes shitty, classless attitudes of the writers. Because she gets that you catch more flies with honey. And no, it’s not because the Facebook page sells a zillion apps and she makes a ton of money. That page has 95-thousand-ish likes, and a very, very small percentage of them have purchased the app. It is a labor of love.

You know who you are. Stop being dicks, please.

Go like the page. (Or not, whatever.) When she posts something you think is awesome, share it! Other people will probably think it’s awesome. When you see something you hate, ignore it. Or maybe ask a few questions, in a kind manner, so you can understand better the people who do like it. That’s it. Consider. Be nice. Move on.

An Alternate Plan would be to decide I’m the biggest asshole here and unite to destroy me. At least you’ll be working together.

The End

*This is not true. I got a C, but I had a crush on the professor, so I probably woulda.

The backstory that kinda doesn’t matter anymore -or- The Epilogue that probably shoulda been a Prologue -or- the part Kat said I should ditch and she’s probably right

Last year I wrote a guest post for Massamio’s blog. I’m pretty sure the topic wasn’t my idea, and I even remember resisting it. But Ben insisted, so I did it. That’s how “3 Massage Myths You Should Stop Repeating ” came about. I tried really hard to be rational and cite good resources (I’m not a science writer, people) and still be fun and not oh-god-so-boring-I-can’t-read-this like I find lots of science-y articles to be.

A bunch of people read it. Some agreed, some didn’t. Melissa of Anatomy in Motion made a cool graphic, linked to the piece and posted on her Facebook page. Comments ensued. Some positive, some negative. That’s cool, she had like 70,000 followers at the time. That’s a whole lotta opinions, and of course some people will think my writing is that of an asshat. No biggie.

Melissa posted it again the other day. Again, comments ensued, both on the blog proper, and in the Facebook thread.

I read them. (I don’t know that I actually read them all the first time she posted it. That may have been wise.) I’m cool with comments  saying I’m not science-y enough. I’m cool with comments saying I’m too science-y and have no faith in The Universe, etc.

But this happened:

Facebook Dude: Bad post!

Me: I love feedback, but this doesn’t really help. Care to be more prolific with your thoughts?

Facebook Dude: No, you don’t love feedback. It’s obvious that you don’t and berating to the Massage profession. It comes as no surprise though, being squeezed through the gnashed teeth of an elitist vocabulary. The post was insensitive and degrading in its content and tone. The level of Therapist and Instructor bashing is appalling. The Universe doesn’t work according to paid research and studies. It works on its own paradigm. Don’t bother banishing me from your site for I am banishing you from mine and deleting all shares. I’m sure you won’t risk too much exposure and will delete this post too!

<<At this point another reader who didn’t like my tone gave some really thoughtful feedback. I heart her.>>

Me: Wow, guys. This IS good feedback and I do truly appreciate it. I tend to write in an…enthusiastic way. It is certainly not for everyone. And this was a guest post for another site. Typically I cover much different topics. So I appreciate hearing that my regular style may not have been the most effective approach to this particular topic. I wholeheartedly apologize for coming off as degrading. Yes, part of me thinks you may have taken the piece too personally, but I sincerely appreciate how you’ve expressed that, and it WILL guide me should I cover this kind of topic again.

Then I reached out to Facebook Dude privately. I repeated that message, I expanded upon it. I thanked him for his passion, and I assured him that I would take this lesson with me. 

I did this not because I’m particularly classy, but because I really hate when my style alienates someone, especially on a guest blog. Especially when it’s an important issue. Also, I have ‘I Want Everyone to Like Me Like Monica From Friends’ Syndrome.

His response was not friendly.

I tried again. I apologized more clearly. I expressed how much community matters to me.

His response was even less friendly. Actually, it was rude, insulting, and ended with “Here’s some constuctive [sic] criticism free of charge, learn some humility before you spew your crap out into the world!”

Then he told me to not contact him again. 

I guess sometimes massage therapists are not very nice people.


I’ve never consumed an alcoholic beverage in my entire life. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, joint, pipe, hookah, or taken a hit off a bong. Second hand smoke? Probably. First hand experimentation of the chemical variety? Nope!

We can get into the whys and what fors if you’d like: I didn’t grow up in much of a drinking, smoking household, and it was pretty strict. I had taken Prozac for a couple of months to try to alleviate my teenage OCD, but quit when I realized I could become dependent on it. Cigarettes smell like death, and lots o’ (drunk) people annoy me.

Maybe I have control issues. Maybe I feel the need to go against the status quo. Maybe I’d rather spend my money on clothes and breakfast. Maybe I’m just the most uncool person you’ll ever meet.

It’s OK, you can tell me I’m uptight — I’ve heard it before. Go ahead, become the millionth person who’d “love to see [me] get drunk for the first time”. Gaze into my eyes with bewilderment when, instead of hitting you with a heavy tale of rehab and broken dreams, I relay the history of a life devoid of cool.

I’ve lost so-called friendships over my choice to live the non-alcoholic life. The time these “friends” wanted to spend in my sober company decreased in proportion to the growing quantities of alcohol they were consuming on a now daily basis. In retrospect, these individuals did me a favor, but at the time it hurt. Alas, the only thing I had to drown my sorrows in after each parting of ways was a carton of unsweetened almond milk.


Even more pressing than the question “Why doesn’t Andrea drink?” is the question “Why is Andrea discussing this on The Young Thumbs?”


I opened my own little one-person day spa in February, and I am working hard to make it successful. I’m tickled to report that Feetish Spa Parlor is the center of my existence, is truly my happy place, and that cash money is slowly — but steadily — flowing into my bank account.

Obviously, marketing is on my mind every day. Spotting opportunities to meet new people, injecting myself into new social settings, taking advantage of the countless free events that take place in my community; you’ll see me out and about more now than ever before. And I enjoy it! It’s new, unfamiliar, and actually really fun! I have made some interesting new friends, and I don’t give a shit if they fall asleep each night spooning a six pack (of Coors Light).

But there are certain events that revolve around the availability of free alcohol that I just haven’t been able to bring myself to attend. And I feel like maybe I’m missing out on something by ignoring the siren’s promise of free whiskey on the rocks: Not to drink, but to surround myself with normal social behavior, an uncool anchor in a sea of libidinous lubricated linguists.

I watched “Blood Into Wine” on Netflix with an appreciation for Maynard James Keenan’s drive to get grapes to grow on the side of a mountain in Arizona, however I have no interest whatsoever in going on a Napa Valley wine tour. But what if I knew the tour bus would be full of wealthy wine snobs looking for a new spa experience in Downtown Las Vegas? Would I stuff my pockets with business cards and board the drunk bus to Napa?

You’re über cool, but let’s pretend you’re me.

What would you do?


Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.