This month’s Therapist Spotlight features Lynn Temenski, a Licensed Massage Therapist in New York. Lynn is head of the Asian Holistic Health and Massage Department at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, where she supervises a diverse faculty of body therapists and clinical supervisors and hundreds of students. Her answers reflect not only her own experience but also the trends she has noticed among massage therapy graduates. A Licensed Massage Therapist since 1989, Lynn has been a teacher of massage and bodywork since 1991. She is also working on her doctoral degree and sees private clients in the New York area.
OneTouch Massage: What made you decide to become a massage therapist?
Lynn: Like most of the massage therapy students we work with here at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, I wanted to make a positive difference and impact on people’s lives and health. There is an appeal to working one on one with clients. I was also told, as many of our students are, that I had a talent for touch, and I wanted to use that talent.
OneTouch Massage: What advice would you offer to a recent massage graduate?
Lynn: Be proactive and take charge of your practice! Don’t wait around for it to come to you. Having realistic expectations is really important, too. Most newly licensed massage therapists will need to have a job to support them as they begin developing their private practice. Stay in touch with the college where you trained and with the alumni and career services department there so they can assist you. Establish a professional network through membership in trade associations and developing relationships with other healthcare practitioners.
OneTouch Massage: Looking back, what would you have done differently starting out as a massage therapist?
Lynn: One mistake I see commonly made is not thinking through how short term plans do or don’t work well with long term plans. It’s not very effective, for instance, to start a practice in New York if you plan to move to Florida in six months or a year, as it takes longer than a year to build a full practice. It’s also important to check the licensing requirements in the state where you hope to practice. It doesn’t make sense to train in California if you hope to practice in New York where the state requires over twice as many hours of training.
OneTouch Massage: What is one thing that has really made your business take off?
Lynn: Teaching yoga and doing chair massage at events has been the best free advertising.
OneTouch Massage: What keeps your clients coming back?
Lynn: I think the thing that is most important is dependable, reliable professionalism and consistency. Clients need to be able to count on knowing that their massage therapist will be on time, observant of professional boundaries, and fully present without being distracted, and they need to be able to count on the highest quality service. They appreciate their therapist remembering their specific needs and preferences, as well.