Las Vegas Massage vs Statesboro Massage
Before moving to Statesboro, I had a great love for massage therapy, or so I thought. At the time we lived in Las Vegas and had for nearly 20 years. Performing massage was a joy. What could be better than going to work performing 3 to 4 hours of massage 4 days a week and going home? Working in resort spas on the strip can be a very lucrative business. After work there was no thought of the job. Time away from the strip was personal time usually spent with the family. It was actually possible to earn a decent living working part time, honestly. But then we moved to Georgian low country.
It doesn’t take long to notice that this is not a massage therapy Mecca and that working part time will not be as prosperous in The ‘Boro. If you look around, and know what you are looking for, you can find a good number of massage therapists, but there are no hotel casinos that feed a booming spa market. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize how many of us there are here and they drive all the way to Savannah for massage. So, starting over after 20 years as a massage therapist has been an adventure filled with many lessons. The biggest one being the revelation that I didn’t really love what I had been doing for the last two decades.
That may sound strange, because massaging people in Las Vegas was great. It is just that here, in our small town, massage is so much more. It is more friendly, personable, and real. Working in that environment out west was very high volume, fast moving, and exciting. We had days when we would work on as many as 8 different people from all around the world. We worked on high rollers, celebrities, and people on a once-in-a-life-time vacation. Some people were there for conferences and would pop into the spa after a long day of meetings. Some were there to celebrate their 40th birthday. Each person had a completely different reason for getting a massage at the spa..
My favorite clients were people who were celebrating a personal event such as a birthday (usually 21, 30, or 50), a wedding, or even a family reunion. There is just something special about being a part of one of those milestones that warms the soul. Most of these people would only see us once in a lifetime and the massage, no matter how wonderful it was, would fade into the blurry memory of a whirlwind Las Vegas trip that was also filled with flashing lights, Broadway quality shows, shopping, and of course time on the casino floor or in the sportsbook for March Madness or the Super Bowl.
All of that was fine, mostly… There was always a hunger for more though. For me there has always been a drive to improve the quality of life for clients. That was the initial reason for getting into this line of work. Sure, people would come to the spa with pains that were able to be “resolved” in a single massage, as far as we could tell at least. We couldn’t really know though, because we never saw most of them again. We never actually knew if we “saved” the vacation, business trip, bachelorette weekend, or whatever the occasion was. There was still a need for more, and that is where Statesboro comes in.
My wife and I moved to Statesboro, Georgia with two of our children and our dog a little more than a year ago. It was clear from the beginning that starting up a small massage practice was going to be the plan. This was all part of our new adventure. There was a great deal of support from everywhere. All of the friends in Vegas were sure that this would be the perfect thing to fill what was I was missing in massage therapy and related bodywork (bodywork just refers to a broader group of styles of therapy that LMT’s are allowed to perform that don’t necessarily include massage) on the strip. Family also gave assurances that this was a great thing and everything in life had prepared us for this moment, and our supporters have only grown in number since getting to know this wonderful town.
How does anyone start a massage practice in a small town full of strangers? What was the preparation for this moment? How does anyone even feel at home in a new town? We had to figure that out first of all. I dug deep into the memory banks and recalled a time long ago when a friend asked, “Don, is there any place you don’t feel at home?” She asked this after noticing that everywhere we went, I did my best to treat people like, well… people who are appreciated. “Thank you” and “I hope you have a great day” were just a part of bringing a smile to the faces of people we would meet. Surely everyone likes to be greeted with a smile. After some reflection it was clear that this was consistent in how I was brought up in my sleepy Virginia town, it was the way I was trained in my first real job at McDonalds, and it didn’t change in the Forbes 5 star training I received at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It has just always been right. Just be your genuine self, friends advised. Everyone warms up when they see a smile. Here in The ‘Boro there is no shortage of smiling faces. Y’all made the transition into a small practice much easier. So as we smile together, you continually help get things going and have given guidance and support. Thanks for helping us feel at home here. It has been a great beginning.
Devine Hands Therapeutic Bodywork is a full time job. This is a lot different from just showing up 4 days a week for about 6 hours at a time. Almost every hour of every day has moments focused on this massage practice. It may be laundering the linens, responding to a text, or writing a blog post, but it is now a way of life not just a part-time job. There is also no anonymity here because everyone knows everyone else, and we see each other all the time. It is clear when a massage has been effective, because I hear about it while grabbing a bite at Sugar Magnolia’s, or running to the BiLo to pick up groceries. Here people are not usually on vacation, they schedule the massage around work, picking up the kids and the rest of everyday life. I see you everywhere; at First Fridays, the Farmer’s market, Chamber of Commerce events, PTO meetings, in the neighborhood, and everywhere else. When we see each other, we smile and I love hearing how you are doing, because we are not strangers. We are invested in each other’s lives. I think about you often, and even if you have not yet climbed onto the massage table, if there is some information or exercise that can help you, I will pass it along. I couldn’t do that in Las Vegas.
Massages were like sand castles that were quickly washed away by the hurricane force winds of the Las Vegas experience. That is no longer the case. I get to work with you as many times and as often as you would like. I get to truly be a part of your healing journey. I hate when you are in pain, but I love working with you to find resolutions to that pain.
Driving home from a busy day working on the strip, I used to play a game that consisted of trying to remember something about each person I had worked on that day. It is upsetting that I often would fail. That left an emptiness inside of me, and meant that there was no real connection. Now, as I drive home, I am thinking of you and your family, how you are doing, what can be done to help you more, and where I will see you next. I can reach out to you and share information that may help improve your health situation or ease your pain. I know your story and you know me. That was the part that was missing from massage for me. I love what I do now !
Do you wonder if you have to be totaly naked read my thoughts here.
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Don Devine, LMT MT012315