When I was in massage school no one talked about the power of helping others.

Maybe we were supposed to know that comes with being a massage therapist. More likely it’s something you learn long after graduation; at least that is how it worked for me.

Twenty-five years ago this month I graduated from massage school.

Power too often these days is meant in a negative way. For these purposes it’s only a positive word.

Massage is powerful in so many ways. If you have had one, you understand.

Lake Tahoe promotional massage photo circa 2007. (Image: Taylor Flynn)

But giving massage is also powerful. That’s the part I don’t remember being taught, or if it was, I didn’t understand it at the time.

It’s powerful because people are turning over their bodies to you. Being naked on a table can be a vulnerable scenario for people. Clients put tremendous trust in me. I take that responsibility seriously.

People are on my table because they believe in self-care, they have pain they want to relieve, they want help recovering from physical and emotional stress, they want a tune-up, they want an hour (or more) of time just to themselves.

There are countless other reasons to get a massage. The benefits of massage go on and on.

Each body is like a puzzle. In some ways I’m trying to get all the pieces to work better together. It’s a rewarding challenge to help people. It’s powerful—in a good way.

I have to admit this is the first year I have gotten regular massage. I finally decided money should not be the deterrent. I suppose as I get older I feel like I can’t afford not to get them regularly. Self-care is too important.

Each month I get a 90 minute massage. Sometimes I have her work on a specific body part, sometimes she finds spots to work on I didn’t know were in need of special attention, and other times it’s what I call a tune-up—where nothing in particular is focused on, deep work is usually minimal, and all parts seem to get the same amount of attention.

While massage has never been my sole income, it has at times been a large part of it and other times the table was in storage or got little use. In Tahoe I rented space where I had two rooms, one big enough to fit two tables—so three massages could be going on at the same time. I had about six therapists who worked for me as independent contractors.

Today I strictly do outcall massage. This means I go to people’s houses. As long as it continues to be rewarding work, I want to keep doing it. The combination of massage and writing bring wonderful balance to my life.

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