Interview with massage therapist Jan Jakubowski

Jan  Jakubowski Massage therapist


Where do you practice massage therapy?  A Touch of Balance Massage for Health

Where do you practice massage therapy? Scottsdale, Arizona

Are you an employee or self-employed?  Self Employed

What year did you begin practicing massage therapy?  1989

Describe your practice, the modalities you use, and what you try to achieve.

My practice is within a highly professional atmosphere, The Quiet Center in Scottsdale Arizona.  High levels of ambiance are always my focus, along with clean and sanitary operations.  Professionally laundered linens are very important to me, as are high quality oils, lotions, creams and aromatherapy products.  There is no expense spared in offering my clients as close to what they would receive in a resort spa.

I offer a full range of massage therapy and body work, specializing in deep tissue massage and reflexology.  Other integrated forms of body work are implemented into each session as needed for each client’s session that day.  That can be anything from trigger point therapy and sports massage techniques, to Reiki or Swedish Massage.

I focus on providing my clients with what I have come to term “Integrated, Result Oriented Body Work and Massage Therapy”.  To me this means, as deeply and therapeutically I may need to work on a client, relaxation is just as important.  I am not a no pain/no gain therapist that believes a massage has to hurt to be effective.  Deep tissue work done incorrectly can actually traumatize the tissues, and I have experienced many massages where this is overdone, or not done properly.

I do my best to achieve results that have each client walking out of my door minus what they came in with as far as tension, emotional stress and pain go.

What kind of experience do you want your clients to have during a massage?

I want my clients to feel confident that the money they spend on their massages are going to benefit them when it come to achieving results.  I want my clients to feel that once they lay on my table, they are in a safe place to relax, unwind and allow the massage to unfold.  I want my clients to say “I feel great”, “That was great” and “I always hate it when it’s over”. I hear this a lot!
What do you enjoy most about being a massage therapist?

I enjoy working with my long standing clientele that I have come to know well, and being able to see the progressive results of their regular massage treatments.  Working with people in this way has opened up the reality of what massage therapy can do to benefit one’s health and well-being, unlike seeing someone once as in a resort spa.  I love helping people in this way, and it is very rewarding to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life – for the better!

Is there anything else that you’d like to describe about your practice?

I  focus on trying to educate all clients as to the many health benefits of regular massage. I offer reduced pricing for all clients who schedule in this way.  I try to avoid being effected by other low priced massage establishments, and offer prices that are set to each clients budget as much as possible (within reason).  In helping people receive more healthy massage, I am doing the world a bit of good.

Which massage school did you attend?  The Phoenix Therapeutic Massage College

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best) how would you rate your school?

I would have to rate it a high 5, as it was my mother’s school at the time I enrolled (one of the very first schools to open in Phoenix).

What was your favorite part about your school?

That is was my mother’s business and that she was a pioneer in the massage therapy industry at the time.  Massage was being taught in a way that was real and not about graduating huge numbers of students for profit.  The teachers that taught were not only accomplished therapists themselves, but they understood what massage was all about.  Techniques were flowing and skillful, intuition was included in the process, and it was not all about what you knew intellectually.

Describe additional education, formal or informal, you have received since graduating from massage school.

All continuing education requirements have resulted in regular enhancement:

Sport Massage
Lymphatic Drainage

What advice would you give to prospective massage therapists about education?  About practicing massage?

The advice I would give is that a therapist should realize that it takes time to Master massage therapy, and their education is just the beginning of the process.  I would equate this to graduating from elementary school, and progressing into high school, college, and a Master’s Degree.  After 23 years of consistent practice, I can honestly say that I am still learning and progressing with each passing year.

The educational time spent in massage school is necessary, but after a while, your intuition and hands should guide you.

Not everyone is cut out to be successful in this field.  Having the correct body type, hands, and being very strong are definite pluses.  The endurance required to give a great massage is considerable. This is very strenuous work!  Limit yourself to 5 or 6 clients a day if you want to avoid burn out and injury.

In today’s economic climate, I would avoid getting caught up in too many low price offers.  This always comes back to haunt you, because clients will never want to pay more.  Set a price that is usual and customary for the quality of massage you are able to provide, and hold up standards that have fallen since I became a therapist.

Too many therapists today are overworked, and underpaid, and that will not change unless we do something about it.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before starting your journey as a massage therapist?

I wish I had known what was going to happen when massage therapy boomed and became trendy.  I am worried about the future of private practitioners due to the large massage franchises, the prices they charge, and how it is becoming harder to compete with that pricing.  Massage is not what it was back when I began. Most therapists were revered then, highly paid, and were independently operating their own businesses.