Why I’m saying “Thank You” to Massage Envy. And meaning it!
As with most things in life, not everything is “black and white.” This is no different in the case of my opinion of Massage Envy.
Ask almost anyone in the massage therapy industry what they think about Massage Envy and 99% of the time they are going to have a strong opinion one way or the other.
I myself wrote extensively about my opinion on the franchise in a past blog on this website, and for the most part I’d say it was not overly positive.
I won’t rehash my own personal gripes with Massage Envy, or those of so many other massage therapist to do not think highly of the chain. Instead what I’m actually going to do today is something I didn’t think would ever come to pass: I’m going to thank Massage Envy.
The reason for this relates directly to one of the few positives I noted in my prior blog. Massage Envy does offer an opportunity for new therapists to not only work and make some money in their chosen field, but also to gain extremely valuable experience getting their hands on lots of bodies.
Most of our therapists here at Body Well have some other part-time jobs and some of their own personal clients. Some of them also have shifts at Massage Envy. This includes both new therapists as well as those who have been at it for some years.
About six months ago a young woman who had been recently licensed applied to work for us here at Body Well doing mobile massage. Becoming a Body Well contracted massage therapist involves a number of steps in our screening process. The final element of this is an in person demonstration, usually for yours truly. Of course getting all of these massages is the absolute worst part of my job! (Just kidding of course)!
Anyway the young lady came to meet with me and to perform her demonstration. While we prefer to work with more experienced therapists, occasionally we will consider those who are newer. Some therapists are just extremely gifted and have all of their stuff together even fresh out of school.
In the case of this young woman, unfortunately, based on a number of factors including substandard equipment, her difficulty getting everything set up quickly, and most importantly her mediocre (at best) technique, I felt that she just wasn’t ready to be a part of our roster. I have to put myself in our client’s shoes. I have to think to myself: “Is this a massage that I would be comfortable paying for?” And “would I be inclined to request this therapist to come back and see me again?” The answer to both questions in this case was no.
I certainly take no pleasure in trying to explain to someone that something they’ve trained for, for many months and put their heart and soul into is not up to our standards. I did explain to her that I felt that she had some of the raw materials that could eventually be worked into something much improved and if she wished she could come back at a later time and try again.
Fast-forward about six months. I saw a new application in my email inbox from someone with the same name. At first I thought perhaps she had simply forgotten that we were the ones she had already applied to in the past, and I disregarded it. A week later she called and asked if I had received her information. She explained that she had been working at Massage Envy for several months in the meantime and felt that her skills were greatly improved. Massage Envy had also paid for her to take some courses to learn additional modalities including prenatal massage, lymphatic drainage massage, and more.
She had also invested in some better equipment.
She was ready to take me up on my offer and give it another try, and I was happy to honor my promise to provide that opportunity
She arrived for the meeting looking more professional in appearance that she had on the first visit, and she was proud to display her new Stronglite massage table and new Custom Craftworks massage chair as well. (Both decent brands that strike a good balance between quality and value). I have to admit that I was even a little bit nervous for her, because it’s hard enough to tell someone the first time around that they don’t have what it takes. What if she was still not up to my standards? How could I explain that without crushing her ego or possibly creating some resentment?
Fortunately this need not have been a concern. I was pleasantly surprised from the moment she first laid her hands on me at her improvement. All of those dozens and dozens of hours and customers visiting her at the Massage Envy definitely helped her immensely to improve her technique, presentation, and her confidence. Lo and behold she had become Body Well material!
I am really quite proud of her and admire her persistence and determination. A lot of people could learn a valuable lesson from her.
So anyway, I have to genuinely say thank you to Massage Envy for providing beginner therapists like her the opportunity to grow and improve. No matter what anyone complains about the franchise, it’s hard to argue that they are a complete negative for Massage Therapists.
Daniel Melmed, Owner & Founder