• Nick Peterka

Episode IV - New Hopes for Massage Therapy with Crystal Calanca

An

d Crystal has…A LOT of thoughts. But these are not surface level flights of fancy, oh no! I have no doubt that any one of the topics we touch on could (and should) produce an hour long conversation in its own right. Even her thoughts on Star Wars are fully considered. What does Star Wars have to do with massage therapy? I find that most good conversations include a Star Wars tangent at some point. Next you’ll be asking what midichlorians have to do with the force…uh…no comment. Nerd talk over.


If you are a bodyworker, you should listen. If you are a student of massage or bodywork, you should listen closely. If you are even considering such things, lean in. You are about to get schooled!


Topics we discuss:

  • Crystal’s path into Massage Therapy

  • East West College of the Healing Arts

  • Boundaries

  • Longevity - a more holistic approach

  • Balance in life

  • Reverse scheduling

  • Being present with kids after a challenging day

  • A Star Wars tangent

  • Crystal’s go-to self care

  • American style massage

  • International massage

  • Traveling as a massage therapist

  • Imposter Syndrome

  • Practice building and pricing

Crystal’s Website | Crystal on Instagram @crystalcalancalmt

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LINKS

East West College

University of Montana Missoula

Le Petit Outre

Article reference from International Journal of Bodywork and Massage Research on Boundaries

Massage Hodgepodgcast with Jenelle Woodlief

Brené Brown

Henry David Thoreau

Billy Holiday’s Greatest Hits

The Music of Jenny Lewis

Star Wars Episode IX

The Mandalorian

Loyly Sauna

Maria Mercati

University of Oslo in Norway

Mieux Massage

International Massage Competition

Akimbo podcast with Seth Godin

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**Music** "Swing House" by RKVC via Youtube Audio Library

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*Please note that this transcription is generated by a computer. While it has been lightly cleaned up, there are wonky typographical and formatting issues throughout.


Nick: 00:00:09 Welcome to the massage hodgepodge cast. My name is Nick Peterka, a licensed massage therapist here in the Portland, Oregon area. And I am joined by Crystal Calanca, a fellow licensed massage therapist. Say hello.


Crystal: 00:00:29 Hello.


Nick: 00:00:30 Awesome. So glad to have you here.


Crystal: 00:00:32 Thank you for having me.


New Speaker: 00:00:33 Tremendous. So I met you at a class at East West college, correct. Where it turns out that you're a teacher, although I only know that recently we'll get to that. And it was an amazing boundaries class with Sarah Davis continuing education, continuing education class. Thank you. But you are a practitioner in town and I thought maybe to begin you could give the, the audience as it were, a little background on how you came to be a massage therapist and what your practice looks like.


Crystal: 00:01:04 Yeah. Happy to do that. It's a bit of a story. I definitely did not grow up exposed to massage therapy at all. I grew up with in a blue collar like farming steel working community where touch was a little complicated, you know, like side hugs. I come from side huggers. Right. And so I just didn't know anything about massage therapy. And I was working on my undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and archeology in Northwest Montana, University of Montana Missoula to become shout out. Right, exactly. How did you know? Spoiler alert. It's nothing like Indiana Jones.


Crystal: 00:01:50 And I was doing a lot of mountaineering at that point in time. And I had an accident. I had a mountaineering accident in glacier national park and blew out my posts cheerier cruciate ligament in my right knee. Wow. Uhuh. I'm coming down off of an ascent. It was really scary. Made it off the mountain and then couldn't hardly walk. Right. So I went to three different doctors. And in this story, I'm only like 22 years old, right? So I go to three different doctors. Every single one of them is like surgery, surgery, surgery, and I didn't know a lot about surgery or the body at that point in time, but I felt like that was awfully young for my first knee surgery. Also. I thought it was so weird that all of these doctors had assessed me, but not a single one had actually touched my knee. Yeah. Which I now know you and I both know the industry term for that is palpation. Right? I didn't know that term, but I thought, gosh, this is so strange, right. That they've imaged it, that they've handed me pamphlets, that they've looked at it from across the room, but nobody had actually manipulated the tissue. Huh? Right. So I spoke to a friend who is a downhill skier and this friend was like, you should go see my massage therapist. Okay. And I thought, well that's weird.


Crystal: 00:03:15 I was like-


Nick: 00:03:15 What kind of voodoo magic is this?


Crystal: 00:03:18 I was so skeptical. I was so very skeptical, but I tried it and it changed my life. So working with this massage therapist helped me understand that I had a lateral patellar tracking issue. Okay. In that leg. Right? So we worked that out, got the knee cap back into its spot. It alleviated a ton of the pressure in the joint. And so I was like, cool, I'm great. Right? But then I was thinking about starting a doctorate program in my line of work and I was accepted into one and then it was time to start it. And I kept kicking the can down the road and not starting it. And I thought, gosh, this is something like maybe I don't want to do that. Maybe I don't want to pursue that degree in that direction. So I found myself getting more massage.


Crystal: 00:04:05 Oh. . So what I did is I had had this understanding of massage at this point is very medical focused. But all of a sudden it became this critical tool and helping me navigate some big life choices and some identity issues. Some emotional stuff. And I fell in love with it. And then it was my partner at the time who was really being patient, hearing me talk about, I don't know what I want to do, what I want to do. And he was like, Hey, you know what? Every single potluck we go to or barbecue that we go to, you tell anyone who wants to hear you say, Hey, have you thought about a career in massage therapy? Cause my massage therapist seems like she's got it pretty well figured out.


Crystal: 00:04:53 And he was like, you know, I really think you're probably talking to yourself. Right? And I was like, huh, well no, that's not true. At first I was like, you don't know me. I was like, Oh wait, you do? I'm totally talking to myself. So I took a year off of everything, call it my hallmark movie year. Okay. I worked at a French bakery. Yes. Le Petit Outre in Missoula, Montana. Shout out! It's a great place. Everyone loves you when you're selling them chocolate croissants.


Nick: 00:05:21 Was there like a corporate building coming in next door who was going to destroy and-


Crystal: 00:05:24 Not yet, thank God. No, there was a no true hallmark. There was a brewery next door, so that was pretty symbiotic. But I spent a year just asking myself literally like what I wanted a day in my life to look like. And I started arriving at these, these big concepts of like, I want to be in service to people. I want to help people feel better. I also didn't not want to work 40 to 60 hours a week for like a corporate entity. I'm very entrepreneurial. I knew that that was going to be part of it. I'm also fascinated with cultures and the overlap of cultures and bodywork certainly has like a broad area of content for that. And so by the end of that year I was like, yeah, that's what I'm going to do. Wow. I'm going to go to massage school. So yeah, that's how I fell into it. That's amazing. Thanks.


Nick: 00:06:13 On the first episode of the show. I talk about how I don't have a cool story and how I've always been really self conscious about it.


Crystal: 00:06:20 And Nick, it's never too late to go leave your knee cap on a mountain.


Nick: 00:06:25 I don't really do that. I was just like, it just kind of came up and I was like, yeah, that sounds interesting. And I went to East West college and it was awesome.


Crystal: 00:06:32 Well, you know, that's an interesting thing too about living in Portland. So I mean I guess I'm a little biased cause I'm a graduate of East West and I teach there, but I have a lot of respect for that Institute. It's actually how I ended up in Portland going to that school when it was time for me to study, I did a deep dive and I wanted a really excellent educational experience. And so yeah, like I went for that school. But what I tell a lot of people is if you already live in Portland, maybe you don't know like how great it is. Yeah. Okay. And that's okay. I just, yeah, I was just like, that's the one you go to. It is like I did zero research. Yeah. I was like, that's the one I went to. Well, so how fortunate you are that you happen to live in the same town.


Nick: 00:07:11 Right. For sure. So that's the origin story. Yeah. What does your, I wrote some notes cause I sure I Googled you. Researched your style is and mix of deep tissue, Swedish relaxation.


Nick: 00:07:26 Thai, craniosacral. Tuina. It's a little bit of a hodgepodge about that.


Crystal: 00:07:32 I would even add it a polarity. Okay. So while I've studied polarity quite a bit since that, since that was written with Linda Hunt, she's incredible.


Nick: 00:07:39 She was my first teacher, first-class first teacher. Really? Yes. She was incredible. Oh absolutely. I feel so fortunate to complete that the East West or to continue the East West training, I was keep meaning to go get work from her cause she does polarity and energy.


Crystal: 00:07:57 Absolutely. Yeah. She's a gorgeous office in Southwest Portland. It's a whole experience.


Nick: 00:08:02 I gotta go.


Crystal: 00:08:03 You have to.


Nick: 00:08:04 Yeah. What was she talking on the podcast? We'll see.


Crystal: 00:08:09 You know what's cool about her is she does all this Shamanic work. Oh yeah. Which would be really neat to talk to her about. Oh, that's cool. Yeah.


Nick: 00:08:16 All right. File that under, under the umbrella of things to follow up on. Yeah.


Crystal: 00:08:21 What else did you find out about me?


Nick: 00:08:25 Well I've met you at the, at the class. Yeah. And I think we, we know that we're both single parents. Yes, absolutely. Me perhaps more recently. Sure. Yeah. I was just divorced at the end of December, so I'm still kind of like navigating this new normal. Yes. Yeah. And it's not easy. It's so hard. Yeah. There's a lot that goes into it. And I decided to simultaneously fire up the massage hodgepodge. Sure. As a, as a brand, as sort of a a mission and a clinical practice. Yeah.


Crystal: 00:09:05 I think there's something so powerful about harnessing that energy of transition, even if you feel, I mean, I don't know if this is true for you, but even if you feel like you're backed into a corner or you're in a free fall or whatever metaphor you want.


Nick: 00:09:18 Can one be backed into a corner and free falling at the same time-


Crystal: 00:09:21 -was definitely my experience. But there is right. Like an energy to that. It's not a bad time to create a thing.


Nick: 00:09:31 Yeah. Yeah. And so that's where this is coming from. Awesome. right now. Yeah. So I feel like since we met in a boundaries class, yup. Wonderfully taught by Sara B. Davis Davis. She does. Absolutely. and it was incredible. Yeah. We should talk about boundaries and how you, I mean, it could be, yeah, I really do. I want to get like little round tables where we, we pick a specific boundary or ethical issue and there's like, there's like three or four people around the table all kind of coming at it. Absolutely. That would be really fun. But just maybe as a, as a global perspective, I'm setting boundaries and keeping them.


Crystal: 00:10:17 Yeah. This is one of my absolute favorite topics. So something that I tell my students is that what you learn in becoming a massage therapist is also going to change you as a human being across the board. Right. Especially the boundary work, right? Like the boundary work that we learn in our profession has a ripple effect into every relationship we have, including parenting, right. And like how we do life. So I feel very grateful for that training. I feel like I have this incredible toolkit that I wish everyone had. Right. yeah, that's my first just my first take on it.


Nick: 00:10:55 And I guess it helps you not just set boundaries with your, your therapeutic relationships, but it comes over into, Oh yeah. Your student relationships.


Crystal: 00:11:06 Absolutely. Everything. Negotiating contracts in the business world, like everything, just having like a very clear understanding, a not chart, like a non-emotional uncharged understanding of like, this is my boundary.


Crystal: 00:11:21 Right. cause I don't know about you, but like, so when I first started massage school and they were like, we're going to talk about boundaries, I literally was like, I don't know what that is. Oh yeah. Literally, yeah. This concept had never even been presented to me. Right, right. And so when I first started practicing it, it was often like really fraught and emotional work, right? Like setting a boundary and holding it. But the more I did it and the more I've done it in my life, it's really become easier every, I don't want to say it's easy, but like easier, every single.


Nick: 00:11:53 Can you think of any example where you've had to reinforce a set boundary?


Crystal: 00:11:58 Oh, sure. Let's talk about clients. Sure. Yeah. Okay. So some of the areas where I think boundary work comes up a lot is around like no call, no shows, and also clients who are often late.


Crystal: 00:12:10 Okay. Right. And so one of the policies in my business is that when you book, let's say an hour massage with me, that's an hour of my time, right? And so I definitely had developed early on in my career, this client base, it was really used to being able to show up 15 minutes late and then having the massage extend 15 minutes beyond the end of that hour long container. Because in the beginning I was slow and I didn't have a bunch of clients. Right. And so we really got, and then I started to get busier and this became incredibly complicated and problematic. And so I really had to like set that boundary and be like, listen, this is the beginning time and the end time of the massage. And when I started enforcing that boundary, I mean, understandably so, I lost some clients who had become really used to the way it was before.


Crystal: 00:13:01 And that was emotional work for me. It was painful to go like, okay, I have to really work on this, but I also have to like give that gift to myself. Right. Right. Of like this is the container of the time. Yeah. And then I have like, we don't have to go into this right now, but I also have big feelings about boundaries being too permeable, leading to burnout. Like we always talk about burnout in our field and people tend to frame it is just the physical, right? Like your body gives out, which is something we have to, you know, pay attention to. But in all the years I've been doing this, which is like 14 years, the majority of burnout I have seen is due to hyper permeable boundaries. Huh. People start to feel energetic, burn, absolutely laser to feel taken advantage of, not valued. I'm super stressed out. And then it's really hard to do the work from that place. Right. So really like when I'm saying boundaries, it's like giving that gift to yourself. So true.


Nick: 00:13:57 Yeah. Yeah. I think it's Brene Brown also speaks really one. I don't know if you know the author name. Of course. Yeah. I Huff her stuff. I decided that this year I just was like, I'm just going to read all of them. Yeah, absolutely. Just to do some of that self work and just, yeah, I just started, she has a book. Is it called the gift of imperfection? It's one of her smaller books. Yes. Phenomenal there. If you look at her website, she recommends her cause she's a lot of work. She recommends you go in a certain order if you're new to her stuff. So yeah. Cool. I think I'm in the imperfection is my favorite. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I haven't gotten to that one yet. I think I know rising strong, maybe. I can't remember which one I'm on. They're all good. Yeah. But she talks about not in that book I'm reading. I saw a video of it, but she talks about how setting boundaries are an act of generosity for the people around you. It's a kindness to everyone involved. Yeah. And what oo


Crystal: 00:14:52 Yeah. And part of learning about boundaries is understanding that like, you aren't responsible for the other person's emotional response. Right. You're really not. And once that becomes clear it makes it a lot easier for me. You know, I can set a boundary and a client or somebody can be disappointed, but I'm not responsible for managing that disappointment or fixing it or removing it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, there's so much tough love boundaries. Tough love.


Nick: 00:15:21 I think we'll wait for the round table to get into more. Like now my clients are going to listen to the podcast and I'm going to be like, she is horrible. I'd be like, even better than we imagined. Or is there going to be like generous with her boundaries? Totally. She's so kind to everyone with these boundaries. Yeah. Well since you brought it up in terms of like the boundaries can, a lack there of can lead to burnout.


Nick: 00:15:49 Something I like to ask every, every, I've done all of one or two interviews before this, we'll call it every, every what I'm seeking to ask. All other body workers that come on the show is about longevity, particularly people who, Oh, I love this topic. Who have, I love this. I just read it 10 years.


Crystal: 00:16:08 I just read a really great research paper on this topic where they specifically interviewed massage therapists who had been employed or had been working as LMTs for a, was either seven years or 15 years or longer. Right? And they did this research study and they came back with like four areas that they highlighted were necessary for longevity. And I'm not gonna remember all four right now. We will find, we'll find it in the article and we'll link to it. So good. It's to the International Journal of Bodywork and Massage Research, which is my favorite.


Crystal: 00:16:39 Very thorough. Peer reviewed research resource. But they interviewed these therapists and, and it came back the one of them was excellent. Continuing education, right. You have to stay curious and you have to continue to learn. I believe one of them was boundaries in business training, right. So you avoid that burnout and then one of them, and this one was really fascinating to me and it kind of speaks to what we're doing today. Professional connections, right. Was critically important for a longevity of a career. And I couldn't agree with that more. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: 00:17:15 That's, that is sort of a call it a selfish reason behind a lot of what I'm doing with massage hodgepodge is to, is to create that in person. Yes. Network. So much of what we do is like isolated. Very, yeah.


Crystal: 00:17:29 Yup. I like to say I work in a quiet room with one person at a time, not speaking all day. Yeah. I can get a little isolated a little bit. I like stumble out of my office at the end of the day, like an owl blinking.


Nick: 00:17:43 To that end, in addition to the, like on the mic round tables, I also want to have some off the mic round tables were important to you where the a I can be vulnerable and share, can get a little bit more clear about some issues.


Crystal: 00:17:58 I liked that idea. The ethics class that I teach for CEs is actually about how to recover from mistakes. Okay. Right. Because like hurting someone on the table, maybe possibly or like a boundary mistake or just anything, right. Or like accidentally saying something that offends a client, you know, but when these things happen, it's a really easy to just shove them down and not look at them, especially because we work so isolated. But there's a whole skillset around shame management, right. And like taking a look at mistakes or infractions and transmuting them into growth. Which is an interesting topic for me. So I like to talk about that and that requires off the mic vulnerability. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sounds like, sorry everyone. I'm not gonna, I'm not going to tell them.


Nick: 00:18:49 That's okay. I have to take you off to take your ethics glass now. Yeah. All right. Oh, so I meant to follow back. Yeah. That article you referenced, does it even mention body mechanics? That's what everyone's like to avoid burnout. Makes sure question. Make sure you're, you know, I can't remember you getting into the what, you don't make sure you're using your elbows and now you're saying it's really possible that it does and it just, you would think there'll be at least be one of them. But really interesting if it wasn't.


Crystal: 00:19:17 Definitely the other parts that I just highlighted for you. I was so happy to read those because I think they need more discussion. So it's possible the article talks about body mechanics, but I really zeroed in on this what is actually literally a more holistic approach. Right.


Nick: 00:19:34 Well, so much of the conversation about longevity is around body mechanics,


Crystal: 00:19:42 Right? Which is important. Yes, of course. Yes, it is definitely a part of it. But maybe if we were going to like make a, a pie chart of career longevity, in my opinion, you know, body mechanics wouldn't be more than 25% of that. And that might even be a generous estimate. It's important. It has to be there, but Oh my gosh, there's so many other issues. Yeah. Beyond the body mechanics.


Nick: 00:20:07 Yeah, for sure. So there's something I want to ask you about. Okay. Many things. Okay. we mentioned that you're a teacher at East West college, that you have children. I do that you've a private practice. I do. We spoke off mic ahead of time that you also do mentorship and consulting. Do okay. That's a lot of things busy is good. You seem fulfilled with the things that are going on in your life. Talk to me about balance. Oh sure. Yeah. And I don't like, I don't like to talk. No, I'm happy. I like, no, no. Like I said in the first episode, which as of our recording hasn't come out yet, this first interview I should say. Yeah. Jenelle Woodlief and I speak about work life balance and sort of how that concept is broken. So I just feel like it shouldn't even use that word anymore. But which word? Work life balance. The phrase


Crystal: 00:21:04 There with like hashtag self care Sunday. Yeah, right. Yeah. These things have been a little co-opted and become a little complicated and it's quote unquote self care and a little bit to also one of my favorite. I have so many thoughts about that.


Nick: 00:21:18 So just life bound, like balancing all these things that you're up.


Crystal: 00:21:21 Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I'm a single mom. My kids are eight and 10. That keeps me very, very busy. I also have all of these different work identities. But a skill that I learned a long time ago from a mentor of mine that really helped things for me in terms of work life balance is the idea of reverse scheduling. Do you know this idea? I don't. Okay. So the basic idea here is that when we, let's say you're going to look ahead at next month's schedule, it's time to like plan out your schedule. We tend to look at the calendar and put in first all of our responsibilities, right? Work here, you know, birthday parties to take kids to here like this, that, this, that, that. And then when it comes time to schedule anything fun for you or relieving for you? The idea is, well maybe I'll get to it maybe around the things.


Crystal: 00:22:16 And so reverse scheduling is actually looking at your calendar and going, okay, well what do I want a week in my life to look like? And then holding space for fun and joy and stress relief. Also, I have a great therapist. I really believe that therapy, talk therapy is a helpful self care tool for us as well. And my therapist has been a huge support in that saying like, you know what, you're a single mom. Like you need to make sure that you have fun sometimes. And I guess sometimes maybe we need people to give us permission to do that. So, okay. Whoever's listening, I'm giving you permission. You all have, I'm giving you permission to do that cause you do, you need to have fun. And something I think a lot about with massage, cause this is such a fascinating job, right? It's, it's different than anything else.


Crystal: 00:23:10 My feeling about it is that I have a source flame almost like a pilot light or something am and that has to be lit and active in order for me to do this work. And if I'm not careful, if I don't protect that source flame, if it gets low, if it gets snuffed out, I literally cannot massage people. Right. I can't, I can't make myself do it. I mean, for example the first six months after my separation from my marriage, I'm sorry, I'm touching mic. Say that again. So for the first six months after the separation from my marriage, I, I couldn't massage people because that source flame was really diminished and I just needed some time to build it back up. Yeah. So the self care component I take really seriously. I'm also a big believer in creating almost like a Rolodex.


Crystal: 00:24:09 Well, maybe people don't know what those are. A toolkit. I feel like so often now when I'm teaching, I just age myself Rolodex. Is that a watch? No, I'm having some sort of a toolkit of things that you know, that you enjoy to do already selected because something else that will happen to me if I'm not really good about reverse scheduling is I'll get an unanticipated amount of time dropped in my lap like two hours or four hours. And then I just panic. Oh. And I'm like, what do I do? What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? And so I think it's really important to cultivate a little list.


Nick: 00:24:49 You're, you're...I don't know, like you could get that, that chunk of time and you feel obligated to go do something important.


Crystal: 00:24:58 And you know what, that list of stuff you have to do, it never goes away.


Crystal: 00:25:02 And so, you know, maybe be kind to yourself so that you're less cranky about it.


Nick: 00:25:07 So about reverse scheduling is the idea to literally put in the time, like be like truly, literally the blocks on your calendar it says like, yeah, whatever the thing is.


Crystal: 00:25:17 And sometimes it can look like this and I'm a fan of doing this is I will leave a two to four hour, I ideally a two to four hour block somewhere in my week every single week where I just don't have anything planned. I don't know. Oh, me too. I don't know what I'm going to do with it until it shows up. But it's there. Right. And this is a really fascinating for me about this. When I first started doing that, the universe just went hard in the paint on that. I would just get phone calls from people I hadn't heard from him forever and they would literally be like, what are you doing Thursday at 2:00 PM?


Crystal: 00:25:51 And I'd be like, I don't know, but I'm not making plans. It was so weird. Yeah. I had to really defend the boundary. Yeah. Of that. So that's been really helpful. And then I also challenged myself to make time every week for the other things that work well for me, which is yoga. In the winter here in Portland, Oregon, it's so cold and rainy. I like to go to the sauna, things like that. I try to build it in.


Nick: 00:26:17 Let me paint a little scenario for you. Sure. cause this kind of thing is top of mind for me. Yeah. You, I don't, do you ever have clinical hours on the same day that you teach?


Crystal: 00:26:26 Oh, sometimes I try to avoid it, but today actually is,


Nick: 00:26:29 Let's imagine a day you have a notably draining client for whatever reason, you have a, a challenging student interaction in class.


Crystal: 00:26:40 Never happens.


Nick: 00:26:44 And, and then at the end of that day, you have to be present with your kids. Oh, this kind of like right now while I'm building the-


Crystal: 00:26:52 Shoot an arrow right at my heart.


Nick: 00:26:54 I know like, I'm like, yeah, I'm with the kids. I have two boys, but I'm not with not with them. So I know this happens to me sometimes. Yep. It happens to me more often than I would like to admit. Yeah. So cultivating a toolkit. Yeah. To be present. I'm, I feel like I'm getting a little better every day at it.


Crystal: 00:27:16 This is a reality of the work that we do. You know, I talk about it a lot in terms of bandwidth. I only have so much bandwidth in a day. Right. And like sometimes that runs low and sometimes that means that, you know, my kids don't get the best version of me at the end of the day.


Crystal: 00:27:34 And I certainly don't have an answer for this, but I can tell you, I guess my opinion about it and what's worked for me what's worked for me is just being really honest with my children and modeling it instead of trying to hide it. So I'm not particularly interested in showing my kids a one dimensional version of an adult. Right? Right. I actually want to see them, see me struggle and work through it. Right. And so, and they're, they're a little bit older now. They're eight and 10, so it's getting easier to have these conversations with them. But I'll just tell them I had a very big tough long day. Right. I might sound a little grumpy, I might sound a little checked out, but like that's what's happening for me. And that's been incredible because then we have this like whole dynamic together and a lot of times they'll end up like helping me make dinner or something like that.


Crystal: 00:28:27 And I guess for me, where I find some grace for myself, which that's really important. Right, right. Finding some grace for yourself is in the idea that I'm really trying to model for them cause you know, it's going to happen to them someday, you know, whether they have kids or not, you know, they're going to have a day like that and hopefully they're going to remember how I talked about it with them and it's going to normalize it.


Nick: 00:28:53 Yeah. So much more valuable than trying to, you know, create the veneer of everything's okay. And-


Crystal: 00:28:59 Yeah, a Pinterest childhood is not really my specialty.


Nick: 00:29:04 There's no level of, of like charm that you can layer on top of that difficult day. No, they won't see through.


Crystal: 00:29:12 Exactly. It's just going to come across as so inauthentic. Right. They understand. They are so sensitive. Those little Buddhas that are our children, like they feel everything.


Crystal: 00:29:23 They know what's going on. They don't even need language. I mean, it's like 14% of human communication is a verbal, all the rest of it. Like they're picking up on all of it. So why not be honest with them. All right, this is what's going on today. Dad's tired and I'll say something like, I'm so glad you're here. I'm glad we're together, but I'm, I'm pretty tired you guys.


Nick: 00:29:45 Yeah. That's good. Yeah. So I feel like we've been dancing around just because it blends in so well with, with all of this stuff. Self care. Yeah. But you mentioned the whole, like hashtag selfcare Sunday and-


Crystal: 00:29:58 It is, is become a very loaded term,


Nick: 00:30:02 This is a recurring topic on this show. And my feeling is that it shouldn't be the things that you do or the things that you buy. Yeah. It should be a state of mind and an approach to life.


Crystal: 00:30:17 Totally. A mindfulness, a mindfulness, that it's okay to have joy and happiness and rest right. I mean, I have so many feelings about this. The first being the, I think American culture in general across the board is obsessed with productivity or at least the appearance of productivity. So how many conversations that we all gotten into where I could run into you and be like, Nick, what's going on? And you'd be like, I'm so busy. I did this, I did that, I did this, and then I'm going to say to you, totally, I'm also so busy and then what are we even talking about? Right, right. Because we're trying to place our value on this productivity spectrum.


Nick: 00:30:58 Do you still catch yourself pulling the busy card? Absolutely. And is it just, has it become easier? I do the same thing. Is it become easier for us? Like, yeah, I'm a, what am I going to do? Go into how really-


Crystal: 00:31:11 Well, sometimes I do, sometimes people are like, how are you? And I just tell them honestly. Yeah, they're shocked.


Nick: 00:31:15 Usually I pull that with a complete stranger. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally. Trader Joe's like, Oh, how's did you find everything you need? How is everything? Honestly, it's not good.


Crystal: 00:31:24 Yeah, totally. You're like, I'm looking into the void. I'm that close. And they're like, here's your peanut M and, M I hope they help you. Yeah.


Crystal: 00:31:37 So this concept and obsession of productivity I think is very dangerous. Yes. and so like first I look at it from that standpoint also. Yeah, I think self care should be reframed in terms of like self-compassion, right? Also, so, all right. I heard this metaphor years ago. I think it might've been Brene Brown, someone. She says so many great ones. This is not my metaphors. The point, and I'm also probably gonna get it a little bit wrong, but here we go. Somebody was writing about Thoreau and how Henry David Thoreau had talked about the mighty chicken. So bear with me. Okay. He's like the majestic chicken, which I love chicken. So I was like, okay. He's like, here's this animal that like once a day create lays an egg, which is literally like a Marvel of nature, the most perfect protein packaged for us, all ready to go. It's brilliant, right? What does it do with the other 23 and a half hours of its day? Wanders around, eats bugs, takes baths in dirt.


Crystal: 00:32:43 And he's like, but the whole time that that chicken is doing that, it's producing the next egg. Right? And so the, this must've been Brene Brown. So the idea here is that you have to give yourself that time, that time, that self care. It doesn't, in my opinion, it doesn't remove you from productivity. It's necessary. I can't do a lot of the work that I do and create the content I create unless I'm thinking about it in the sauna. Yes. Or getting a massage or taking my children fishing in the Clackamas river, like whatever. Those things are like they're actually critically important to the entire process. I think we're missing that in the conversation about productivity. Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: 00:33:25 So all that said around self care. Yeah. What are the things that do work for you? If we, if we want to get a question, you want to get granular?


Crystal: 00:33:34 Yeah, absolutely. My list, my Rolodex includes the following things,


Nick: 00:33:40 Updating your Rolodex to new technologies.


Crystal: 00:33:42 Totally. Maybe a cleaning my apartment and while my children are gone and then lying on the floor cause it's spotless clean and listening to records. Okay. Okay. That's one of them.


Nick: 00:33:52 Okay. Wait, pause. Yep. Drop a record.


Crystal: 00:33:56 Okay. Let's see what is on my-


Nick: 00:33:58 You mean literally? Yeah. Vinyl. Yeah. Okay.


Crystal: 00:34:01 I mean it's Portland. Nick.


Nick: 00:34:04 I gotta get some vinyl in here.


Crystal: 00:34:06 Yeah, that'd be so Cool. If our clients could pick records to put on, I mean,


Nick: 00:34:10 I'll let, I'll let people pick whatever.


Crystal: 00:34:12 Right. But like an actual record. That'd be cool. What's on my I think right now what I've been listening to is Billy holiday's greatest hits. I'm going to jam it on that lately. Pretty hardcore. Nice. Also anything by Jenny Lewis.


Nick: 00:34:24 Okay. Two things for me to check out?


Crystal: 00:34:27 Yeah. So there's that one. I also love going to movies. Yeah. I love movies. I love movie theaters. I love the Academy movie theater here in Portland. It's near and dear to my heart. And sometimes that requires me going to a movie alone. That's not always the case, but sometimes I just really, cause I'm a parent. Right.


Nick: 00:34:45 I love movies alone.


Crystal: 00:34:46 Totally. I know. I'm always like taking my kids to movies and they're like, blah, blah, blah.


Nick: 00:34:49 No negotiation about where to sit.


Crystal: 00:34:51 No one needs the restroom. Yeah. No one needs a restroom. Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: 00:34:56 I'm going to pause for just a nerdy second is just assume that you've seen the new Star Wars.


Crystal: 00:35:01 Oh, of course. Also all of the Mandalorian, which I considered my own private Christmas gift just for me. Oh yeah. It was good. It was.


Nick: 00:35:11 My my seven year olds. What's it called? Derby car. Yeah. Cub Scouts, Baby Yoda. Oh, I love that. We'll see how it comes out, but Oh my gosh. Oh, totally. Oh yeah.


Crystal: 00:35:25 No, I'm big time into Star Wars. And so are my kids, which is a delight. I'm glad we share that.


Nick: 00:35:31 My boys, they would say it's their favorite movie. Haven't seen it. Really? Yeah. Because I've like steeped them in Star Wars culture. Like their sheets are star Wars. They like, yup. I had to explain that Darth Vader was like really bad.


Crystal: 00:35:45 Cause it's a little ambiguous at this point. Right? Like if you didn't grow up-


Nick: 00:35:49 Looks cool to kids like well,


Crystal: 00:35:51 And they've seen his full arc. Yeah. We didn't see that arc when we were kids. We were just like, dad is a bad dude. Yes. Through and through. But yeah, they don't know. They don't know the Anakin connection.


Nick: 00:36:02 I mean they haven't even seen episode four yet. Right. They'll be watching them in really state order.


Crystal: 00:36:07 Exactly. Of course they will. Yeah. I mean, as a parent, as a mother of daughters, the, this latest trilogy has been really incredible for me. I mean, I never thought I would see a woman fly the millennium Falcon. Oh yeah. I actually burst into tears. Oh wow. Unexpectedly when Rey flew the Millennium Falcon as well. I just thought, Oh my gosh, my whole life I've been waiting for this and they're not even going to have to think twice.


Nick: 00:36:31 And now you could go to Disneyland and fly yourself. Apparently that's what they say. Well, I'm going, that's all there is to it. Yeah, I will. We will literally talk about star Wars for the rest of the podcast. The podcast has rebranded.


Crystal: 00:36:42 Massage therapy dorks talk about Star Wars.


Nick: 00:36:49 I've never seen a star Wars character receive body work. Oh, that's clearly missing from the Star Wars universe.


Crystal: 00:36:54 Clearly missing.


Nick: 00:36:54 Especially for storm troopers.


Crystal: 00:36:57 They should be getting like stick and poke tattoos and massages.


Nick: 00:37:02 Okay.


Crystal: 00:37:02 That's what it would be like if I was around .


Nick: 00:37:05 Okay. Oh, so I have derailed your talk about your personal stuff. If there's anything else you want to mention,


Crystal: 00:37:11 There's a bunch of things on there. I mentioned saunas. I like to go to saunas. Loyly Sauna here in Portland is incredible. Finnish sauna, North Portland . They actually have a Northeast and a Southeast location. I really like to pick a meal and cook it well, listening to music and get into a flow state, right? So that's really enjoyable for me. I'm a fly Fisher woman so I like fishing. I like standing and moving water and fishing. But honestly sometimes these things I'm mentioning are unattainable either financially or time wise. So I also learned the power of centering on a smaller moment. So for that, that for me is making a really excellent cup of tea and being completely present with it. To the point now where at the end of the ritual of making a cup of tea, I can put the tea cup on the saucer and then turn it.


Crystal: 00:38:11 So the handle is where I need it and the sound of that is almost like a Pavlovian response for me and I'll be like, Oh, okay. So yeah, I think it's important in that self care conversation that we're not always talking about self care that requires some money or the resource of time. Right? Cause what if you, all you have is a minute and a half while your kid is using the toilet, you know, what are you going to do? Okay. Well sometimes for me that's like, I'm going to make this cup of tea but I'm going to be really present with it and gift it to myself. Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: 00:38:44 Those are incredible thoughts. Well, thank you. You had to learn it. Yeah. Let's see. We've covered self care. Oh, I wrote a note. Oh, during my research, this may have been me digging through your, what is, what are you meaning by maybe it wasn't you - International massage therapy?


Crystal: 00:39:02 Oh yeah, that's me. That's, Oh totally.


Nick: 00:39:05 So do you just mean traveling to-


Crystal: 00:39:08 I mean the work of identifying it.


Nick: 00:39:11 Oh, go on.


Crystal: 00:39:12 Yeah, right. I will. Thanks for asking about it. Every single culture has an approach to body work, right? Every single culture. So I think like, something that really brought in my mind to this idea is the first time that I understood that other people, like people outside of the Unite d States actually refer to American style massage. Like, let me ask you, if somebody said to you, Nick, tell me what American style massage is, what would you even say?


Crystal: 00:39:43 I, yeah, I guess I would say we just co-opted Swedish Massage . Yeah. Made it our own thing. I know, right? Yeah. Not weird.


Crystal: 00:39:51 What's so it depends on the different, it depends on the place, right? So years ago when I was still married my, my husband and I were thinking about taking the kids to live in France for awhile.


Crystal: 00:40:05 I lived in Western Belgium for a little bit when I was younger and so I've always wanted to go back. So and I love to research. So one of my phases of research for that was I joined a Facebook group for American expatriates. So ex-pats, right? Meaning people from one culture living in another culture. So I joined this Facebook group and I just put out a message like, Hey everyone, hello fellow Americans living in Paris. I'm a massage therapist and I'm thinking about spending some time living in Paris. Is there a need for massage? Like what do you think? I was inundated, really inundated by responses and the responses all had the tone of, Oh my gosh, I miss American massage therapy. Interesting. And so I had to ask what is American massage therapy? And these Americans living in Paris identified it as massage on a table.


Crystal: 00:41:00 And very much like a deep tissue Swedish fusion, right? Yeah.


Nick: 00:41:06 I guess I'm an American massage.


Crystal: 00:41:08 True story. I guess we both are. But can you imagine like how that shifted my perception? Yeah. I was like right. I have to look at not just my fishbowl but like the whole thing also. I've learned a lot about TuiNa which is Chinese massage and something that we look about or we look at in like the research of things is like what is the conduit or what I like to call the pinch point between an entire culture or a body of study and then ours, right? Like where did those two things connect? And usually what we do with massages, we trace it through the teachers because there's very much like an oral lineage or like a showing people how to do things. And that's all right. But it's also complicated, right? Because everyone has their own bias. Everyone has their own background. And so the majority of Chinese massage I've learned was through Maria Mercati, rest in peace, she passed away not that long ago and an incredible teacher. But the truth is, is that I learned Chinese massage from a white woman, I think from the UK. And so it's gonna show. Absolutely. Should we not be asking like what does that mean? Right. Yeah. So I go off on a tangent.


Nick: 00:42:24 Yeah, no, that's incredible. So part of the, the longterm mission of massage hodgepodge as a, as an entity, as a community anyway, is to bring long form body work on video to everyone so people can watch it and, and like, so just everyday people might watch it and actually like receive benefits. It might be just be relaxing to watch a therapist at work other, you know, as other body workers, we could collaborate and say like, Oh, what, what technique is this here? Maybe you could try this differently or you can get feedback. Absolutely. but my hope is that over time I might, I'll take it on the road so that I can so that I can bring the world, Thai massage from Thailand, you know?


Crystal: 00:43:11 So what am I like, I'm just going to jam on this cause this is like one of my favorite topics. First of all, a lot of us massage therapists are travel motivated. We are people who tend to like to be nomadic and travel. So that's been very true. I've seen that in all my years of teaching. God, I have so much to say about this. It's interesting too, people get stuck a little bit on the licensing, right? So for people who aren't massage therapists, they might not know that our professional licenses in the United States of America for the most part, are issued by the state. So you and I are licensed in Oregon. That doesn't mean that we could go to New York and work. We certainly couldn't cause they actually have a higher educational requirement than Oregon. And then it gets even more complicated on the international stage, right?


Crystal: 00:44:00 Because now like in Belgium it's called, it's not called massage therapists, I think it's called physio therapists or something like that. So there's a translation issue in terms of just scope of practice. But beyond that, I think there's no problem with translation because it's ancient. Right, right. So an example I have of this is like most of us have learned cupping. Have you learned cupping?


Nick: 00:44:22 I haven't yet. Yeah. I almost feel peer pressure to learn it now.


Crystal: 00:44:26 It is a thing. It is a thing right now in particular fire cupping, which most of the fire cupping I've seen, and this might be incorrect, but most of what I've seen, my understanding is it's coming from Eastern traditions, which is cool. But I was looking through the ethnographic record for the Sami people in Northern Scandinavia. They're like a hurting culture. And so anthropologists had done this medical anthropology where they had gone in and just recorded like all of their medical practices.


Crystal: 00:44:53 They have been fire cupping with reindeer antler for thousands of years. Wow. Reindeer antler. And I was like, Oh, I thought cupping was just from, you know, China or certain middle Eastern cultures have it too. And so that to me is like what I get really excited about when we're talking about what you're saying, like put content out there, start collaborating because that conversation is so important and potent and in my opinion it's just ready to happen. Yeah. Yeah. There's also a university of Oslo in Norway, they're linked with the world health organization and they are doing this really interesting research study now about like the intersection between modern medicine and what they call traditional folk medicine. Right. And like body work is part of that. So the WHO is funding research in it right now and then like we're going to come along with our videos and like, Hey, I have something to say about that or I want to help facilitate connection around that. I want to learn from everyone. Yeah.


Nick: 00:45:59 For your part, do you think you could, would you be comfortable recorded? That's, I've gotten both. Oh, you mean video? Yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. Well, people are like, Oh, I don't want to be on camera to do a session and you've got to find the right client. Obviously.


Crystal: 00:46:13 That's true. I guess for me, I've had experience with it because being a teacher in the classroom, I always almost always have a student who wants to record my demos and so I just always ask them to please not put it on the internet, but I figure it's only a matter of time until that happens. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm all right with it. I don't really love watching myself, you know, that's its own emotional work. But I guess I believe in sharing the information enough that I'm willing to sit with it. The discomfort.


Nick: 00:46:44 I recorded a session recently and it was just so instructive. This is from a practitioner Karen with Mieux Massage in the Beaverton area and she's like 22 years of experience. How she's like, yeah, I learned so much.


Crystal: 00:47:02 Just to watch a master, like master level. Yeah. There's something to that. Yeah.


Nick: 00:47:08 I just like, I need to rewatch it and take note cause I was like filming, you know, I was like, just like, you know, all this, my mind is being blown the whole time. I was like, yep. Yeah. That's neat. Yeah. Yeah.


Crystal: 00:47:19 And it's interesting for me as a teacher to try to translate that level of expertise and break it down into digestible educational chunks.


Nick: 00:47:30 Well, I'm excited to forward some of these videos to your students because they're are so cool. Yeah. I had this, this notion for awhile. I thought it'd be cool to be able to get a massage from a master. Watching them give it to you. Oh, that was so I was trying to figure out how to like be able to the face cradle through the face, cradle at a screen that's giving you a live feed of them working on you still. It's fascinating. I'm still, because so many times.


Crystal: 00:47:59 That might remove you from some of the benefit parasympathetic response.


Nick: 00:48:03 But as an educational, as a for thing for cause so many times I've been in a session where I've been like, what are they doing?


Crystal: 00:48:11 You're like, is that an elbow? Is that a knuckle? Is that what is happening? Yeah, that's a cool idea. Yeah.


Nick: 00:48:20 I guess you could get the same benefit by watching it after, but to know in the moment when it, yeah.


Crystal: 00:48:25 Before we move on from this topic of international massage, I have to, I have to bring this up. I really wanted to take a group of students for it last year, but it didn't work out. But I want people to know about this. So there is now every year an international massage competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Nick: 00:48:43 The therapist in question that I just mentioned. Yeah. She participated in that last year. Yeah.


Crystal: 00:48:49 That's so cool. It's definitely becoming more well known, which I think is awesome.


Nick: 00:48:54 It is on the surface level a weird idea.


Crystal: 00:48:59 Oh my gosh. It's literally a juxtaposition to say massage and competition in the same sentence. It's, it has a level of absurdity.


Nick: 00:49:07 But the idea of raising awareness overall is a great thing.


Crystal: 00:49:10 Yeah. At, well, here's, here's how I feel about it. Sure. It raises awareness overall, but what I get excited about is in what other situation would you find yourself spending a weekend with massage therapists from every part of the world. Right. It's literally what I've been talking about. Yeah. You know, I want to go not just to compete, but to meet everyone and be like-


Nick: 00:49:33 I would want to go just to film all day.


Crystal: 00:49:35 Watch. Yeah, yeah. What are you doing? Look at that, look at this, look at that. And then walk away with, you know, a series of contacts. Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: 00:49:45 Okay. So another really important thing for me to ask you about, especially knowing now that you consult and you help people understand the business side. Absolutely. So, okay. Actually maybe these will dovetail. Yeah. Doing this project, this process, this podcast, this, I mean, this practice basically my entire new life. Yeah. I sometimes succomb to and suffer from imposter syndrome. Totally. So yeah. Yup. I've been, I was a massage therapist. I graduated in 2010 right East West college. Right. And practiced for about three years. Yeah. The boys, my first son was born. I started doing marketing for my now ex wife's dental office stopped being a massage therapist. It's inactive. Totally. I've been away. Yup. So I'm almost feel like I'm brand new. Totally. And I feel like I'm out here talking about it and like who am I to yeah. To be the one, the voice of this, you know, so I'm just trying to be curious and be open and be brave. Yeah, I'm sure you have thoughts.


Crystal: 00:50:56 I have so many thoughts. First of all, imposter syndrome is the great unifier. I don't know anybody who hasn't felt it right, but we tend to not talk about it and it's shame-based. So that's from Brene Brown right there. But a couple of different thoughts about imposter syndrome. Well I just recently saw a meme or something on-


Nick: 00:51:18 We can learn everything we need to know from memes.


Crystal: 00:51:19 In fact, I think I put it in my Instagram stories and it said something to the effect of we should all be brave enough to do a new thing imperfectly .


Crystal: 00:51:27 I loved that because something that I think about, and I had a teacher hand me this concept years ago, which is okay, let's let's run it through its worst possible scenario, right? Yeah. So you try a thing and it crashes and burns. Okay. You're, you should still celebrate that. And when I heard that, I was like, what? Why would you celebrate failure? And the idea behind it was like, you know what? It's so easy to just stay in your cozy little den and never poke your head out and never try a thing. So if you have poked your head out and you put a thing out into the world and you tried it and it didn't work, you should still be rewarding yourself because in some ways it's so much easier to not try. Yeah. So that really changed my feeling about it.


Crystal: 00:52:17 It really like empowered me to go like, yeah, this is awesome. And what I tell my students, and I've even done this for myself when I fail, because failure is one of the most profound learning tools you will learn so much faster, often through failure than success. And so I literally have created a printout awards for myself. No, I'm not even joking. Like I will fail at a thing and then print a certificate for myself. Congratulations crystal. You did this thing and you failed spectacularly. Yeah. And I'll have a little ritual around it, you know, like it'd be like, yay, yay me. Like it kinda sucks, but I want to stay focused on the fact that I'm still putting stuff out into the world. Another thought about this is and this is maybe an unpopular opinion, but if you don't have haters, if you don't have people who just don't like you you're maybe not putting enough stuff out there.


Crystal: 00:53:16 Yeah. Right. And so I had another mentor who was like, ah, I had my first super negative feedback. And it was like really hard.


Nick: 00:53:25 As an educator or as a therapist?


Crystal: 00:53:27 As an educator. Is a therapist that's different for me cause I feel like so much goes into a good therapeutic fit that I tend to not take it personally if somebody doesn't like my style. But this was, yeah. But this was something that I like created and put out into the world. And somebody was like, that person is like way too full of herself, or like this or that. It was, it really leaned right on the imposter syndrome. And I was crying and I was so upset about it. And this mentor said to me, Hey, congratulations. And I was like, I'm sorry, what? And she's like, welcome to your first hater. You did it.


Crystal: 00:54:00 You put enough content out into the world that someone disagreed with you. Good job. Yeah. And, and that was just monumental. And then the last thing I'll say about it comes from one of my favorite teachers. I mean, I've never met him in person, but Seth Godin Oh, sure. Podcast called Akimbo. His book, "This Is Marketing" is hugely profound for me. He said in a podcast recently about imposter syndrome. If you don't feel uncomfortable, you're not doing the right thing. Basically something like if you feel uncomfortable, if you feel imposter syndrome, that is a breadcrumb that you're on the right trail. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And I agree with that. So these are all tools I've put into my toolkit to deal with the discomfort because I'm not above it. It still happens to me. I think it probably happens to most people the majority of their lifetime. And so rather than try to avoid it altogether, cause I think that's fairly impossible, it's really like, okay, well how can we transmute it? So when we're feeling it, we're able to say, Oh cool, I'm on the right path. This is a good sign.


Nick: 00:55:09 Awesome. Yeah, you did have a lot of thoughts about that idea. So what I started asking you about it and then I got sidetracked because I wanted to know about that is what does your work look like as a business coach? What are, so I'm I just started Massage Hodgepodge. This, this, which is also a location in Portland, Oregon. So have an actual clinical practice. And I've done a lot of work around the brand and in the social media and I'm creating these videos. We're doing this podcast, but none of that specifically leads people in the door, which I'm starting to wake up to the, going back to the little old school and getting out there into the community. We have been doing a lot of that work more recently, but yeah, thoughts about practice building, about approach to business in general.


Crystal: 00:55:58 So, okay, let's talk about practice building. So there's a lot of things that go into practice building. I do think that our field is very curious in the fact that trusted referrals seem to be the best driver of business. Meaning that let's say somebody is in your neighborhood and they decide that they want a massage, they can just Google whatever massage therapists are around and maybe that drives business. But what's really going to drive business is they're at dinner with a friend and they say, Hm, I'm really thinking about, you know, seeing a massage therapist. And that friend is like, you know, you need to see, you need to see Nick. I see Nick. Nick is great. That right there, that's gold. Gold. Right, right. But you need, you got to get exact people to start with. Yeah. You have to hit that base threshold.


Nick: 00:56:49 Maybe where it comes back to like, I don't know. I mean there's so many different opinions about different Groupons and offers and strategies and this and-


Crystal: 00:56:59 There's so many opinions about that. I really do. And so another thing I think about is I have some magical thinking around money. Okay. Okay. And I've talked to a lot of business owners about this, not just in massage, but if you can find a way financially to alleviate the money pressure on your private practice, I think it stands a chance of growing in a really organic, beautiful way that's scalable long term. So what this looked like for me, let me give you an example. I'm being a little ethereal there. When I started my private practice, which I did as soon as I got licensed, I've had it from the beginning. Obviously I didn't have any clients. I was losing money on it, but I also went to work at the same time as a massage therapist for someone else.


Crystal: 00:57:49 Right. So that I could pay the bills. And then that gave me the freedom to build my private practice meticulously in the image I wanted it in because I wasn't chasing the money right now, of course, that's not going to be the case for everybody. That was a fairly privileged position to be in. I didn't have kids at that time. And so it was really easy to like work a bunch in all different directions. So I really want to make sure I'm like aknowledging right. That that's not going to be an option for everyone. But what I was able to do was build up a core group of phenomenal clients, many of whom are still with me. Oh wow. Who don't bat an eye at the cost. They don't need to be led to the understanding that massage therapy is important. They're just like dream clients who I continue to refer to you.


Crystal: 00:58:41 Exactly. Yeah. And it took time. That probably took I think about two years before I felt like I was at that point. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, connecting with people. Something that really helped me for connecting the beginning and I tell people to try this is find the business association for your neighborhood already in it. Join it, go to the meetings, offer to get up and talk to the group. I mean, if you are okay with that, I also understand that not everybody is okay with public speaking and that's alright. But if you are and you can get up and you can address the group, that's great. So I got so many wonderful referrals from the business owners in my neighborhood and I don't even do business in that neighborhood anymore, but I still have those contacts. It's been wonderful. That's great. Yeah. So that just get really active.


Crystal: 00:59:29 And then if you have the resource of time. Yeah. Right. So this is, I, I know I've said this a bunch of, this is something I tell my students, my catch phrase. This is something I tell my students when you first graduate from massage school or you're first starting out again, right? It can be so easy to panic about the lack of clients because we need money to survive of course. However, if all you do is panic about that, you lose sight of the fact that you have a beautiful resource of time. I don't have that resource anymore. I'm so busy like all the time. And so I really challenged people to remember that that is a powerful, valuable resource. And then say to you, what are you doing with it? Yeah. What are you doing with it? Because there's no shortage of events that need massage therapists, right.


Crystal: 01:00:18 To show up and like give chair massage and meet people and like hand up business cards and there's all sorts of things you can be doing like that. That's time well spent. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Those are good. I also have strong feelings about pricing and practice building. Do you want to talk about that? Sure, yeah. Yeah. Let's talk about it.


Nick: 01:00:37 I would love to hear what your thoughts about that.


Crystal: 01:00:39 So I think it's really lost on a lot of folks that because we live in a capitalist culture and we live in America the, the amount of money you charge for massage indicates a value whether you want it to or not. So what I see happening a lot is people will start out and they'll start with a deeply discounted rate and they think that's going to drive business. I remember an example of this.


Crystal: 01:01:09 When I first started out I was in this building. It was, I had a private practice and this other colleague of mine had a private practice. I started out at full market rate at that point for Portland, which was $65 an hour. This person started out at 45 an hour.


Nick: 01:01:26 As a standard rate.


Crystal: 01:01:27 Yup. As the standard rate. It was not like a special, it wasn't a discount. That was the rate. And it was hard for me to watch at first because she was so busy. Her books were solid. Yeah. And mine were not right. I'm still going to work for other people and like building as we go along and then we get a year in and I'm catching up to her. I'm not as busy as her, but I'm getting there. Let's say I'm like 65 70% booked. She starts burning out.


Crystal: 01:01:54 She's like, I can't do this many massages in a week. It's time to raise my rates. And I'm like, yeah, do it. She raised her rates to market rate- the client attrition was so small,


Nick: 01:02:05 So she had attracted a particular type of exact client that wanted the low price overall more than the relationship.


Crystal: 01:02:13 100% Nick. Exactly. More than the therapeutic relationship. Right. They were just, you know, and, and that's okay. But that's that kind of client, like they're looking for that deal. And so yeah, when she raised her rates, it was shocking to her how many clients didn't stay with her. Yeah. Because she thought, well, we've built up this great therapeutic relationship and they really enjoy working with me. Well, maybe that was true, but they also really enjoyed a massage at a deep discount. Yeah. And so you really have to ask yourself, what is this scalable product I'm building?


Crystal: 01:02:44 And also like what am I communicating to clients when I list my pricing and what kind of client do I want to attract to me? Right. You know? So for me also, I think it's really important practice building to visualize your ideal client. Yeah, this sounds so woo, but it's very hard for this over and over. Oh yes, you need to visualize or or there can be multiple ones. It doesn't have to be one person. This also for me leads into marketing. I market from that place of visualizing the person first. But visualize that. And for me it's somebody who has the resources and the time and the understanding. Now that said, I don't know if we have time to get into this today, but I think also an important part of this conversation though is talking about privilege and access and who has access to bodywork, right?


Crystal: 01:03:34 Because what I also see is a lot of people who say, yeah, but it really bothers me that marginalized populations can't get massage. So I'm going to offer like this deep sliding scale - to which I say, I think we should probably be organizing something to help people have access to massage, right? Like I would prefer if my colleagues were working less and getting paid really well for that time. And then we have additional time and resources to have that conversation around access. And this all ties into, I've just, I've just seen it in the last decade and a half. I've seen so many great massage therapist burnout energetically and emotionally, well, I'm only charging $45, but I don't want to raise my rates because I want to make sure everybody can have access to massage, so on and so forth. But I don't think that that's a problem that we solve individually just in our private practice.


Crystal: 01:04:29 Also, truly becoming single mom, it really sobered me up to the idea of like, if I'm going to be at work, I have to make this amount of money while I'm here. Right? That's all there is to it. I have small people who are depending on me for sure. But I do think it's overdue that we as an industry start looking at who has access to massage and finding ways to reach marginalized populations. Yeah. Removing that financial barrier. Cause if massage really is for everyone, like what are we doing about it? Right. Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. Wow. I have a lot of thoughts.


Nick: 01:05:05 There's so much in here I can't even, it's incredible. Well it's a, it seems like once this podcast is out for a while, I think you should you come back for a round two or a round table, we'll figure out a, a topic you can contribute to them. So many to choose from. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So tell the world such as it is all of my tens of subscribers where they might encounter you. I don't know. I don't even know if your, your, your seek new clients still.


Crystal: 01:05:40 Sometimes I have a waiting list. Listen, people are certainly welcome to add themselves to I think you asked me earlier what my private practice looks like at this point. It's actually only one day a week. Okay. Yeah. By referral. Only. So what you're not going to find for me right now is a super snazzy website. Most of my online presence at this point is actually on Instagram, which has been kind of fascinating for me. So my Instagram handle is @crystalcalancalmt okay. You can find me there and message me there for sure. A lot of the content that I'm talking about is on there. So yeah, that's where they can find me. Also, I'm, I'm on faculty at East West college of massage, East West college of the Healing Arts here in Portland, Oregon. Wonderful. And so yeah, you can find me there too. Those are the primary places.


Crystal: 01:06:23 And then I also, I do like discussion groups and groups that get together to talk about like research. Something I think a lot about is we as massage therapists don't really necessarily get a lot of training in research grants, case studies, and also critical dissection of those studies. And so I have little groups on that too that I lead just like, let's take a look at this research study and like jam on it and talk about it and see what we think.


Nick: 01:06:51 And if an, if an practitioner wanted to reach out to you about a business coaching.


Crystal: 01:06:56 Yeah, totally. Yep, exactly. Or they can, I mean my phone number is attached to that. They can also, they call text or email. But yeah, I offer a coaching for individuals or small groups. And that can be anything from the body mechanics they, we were referencing earlier to practice building to making shifts culturally in what they're doing. So yeah, that's become the thing that I love doing the most at this point in time is helping people with their professional development.


Nick: 01:07:25 Incredible. Well, Crystal Calanca, thank you so much for being on the Massage Hodgepodgcast.


Crystal: 01:07:31 Thank you so much for having me.


Nick: 01:07:33 And to everyone listening, we'll see you next time.



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