Mar 4, 2009

My other job

by Marielle Carlisle

Like I mentioned before in my “Here’s all about me!” post, I am a massage therapist. I used to work full-time, but now I only work Saturdays so I can stay home with the rug-rats during the week. I say I only work Saturday, but I technically consider it my day off and I practically sprint out the door Saturday morning.

I’ve been a therapist for seven years, and consider myself fortunate to work at a spa with a good reputation, with most of my clients being respectable, hygienic people. Because I work at a destination resort spa, I don’t get a lot of repeat clients. That means I have one hour with a person, and then they are out of my life forever, usually. Hence, people ask a lot of the same questions. Here are a couple questions that I hear everyday:

Don’t your hands get tired?
Nope. It’s more my back and legs from standing all day. If your hands start hurting, then your technique is wrong and you won’t last long as therapist.

How many massages do you do a day?
It depends. Usually 5-6. But no matter what number I say, people always respond with “WOW, that’s a lot!” Not really. The most I’ve done is 9. That’s a lot. 5 or 6 is a standard day, and I’m used to doing it.

I hold all my stress in my shoulders.
Okay, news flash: EVERYBODY holds their stress in their shoulders. It makes my job so much easier, because people have tight muscles in the same places. Takes a lot of guess work out.

Most people don’t talk much. But there are those special few who make my day so interesting with their unusual comments:

What race are you?
You mean, other than the human race? This same lady then asked me if I was Greek. I’ve never had anyone ever ask me that before. What do Greek people look like, anyway? Like me, I guess. To make matters worse, two of my co-workers were walking right behind us while this conversation was taking place and overheard the whole thing. They never let me live that down.

I’m afraid for you.
This is what a lady told me when she found out I was LDS. All I could think of to say was “Um, I appreciate your concern.”

What are your hobbies?
She actually used the word “hobbies.” People are always curious about how I got into this field, or want a little personal info (i.e. where are you from, do you have any kids), but my hobbies?

Watch out for the polygamists!
I had an in-room massage with a cute older couple from Germany, and when they found out I was from SLC, the husband gave me the above warning. I explained that I was LDS, and that the church does not practice polygamy. Awkward.

The list could do on and on. One guy was covered with a variety of tattoos (including scantily clad women!). At least I had something to read during the massage.

At the end of a couple’s massage, the husband started praying out loud, and his wife grabbed my hand and joined in with loads of “AMEN!” I could not get out of there fast enough.

I had a Japanese woman who spoke zero English. Z-E-R-O. It’s hard to communicate to someone to “flip over, and slide down the table” when you don’t speak the same language.

Ah, good times.

Anyone else have any interesting massage stories?


  1. My sister is a nurse who went through a massage school. She practiced the techniques on me. I asked her one time why would she work in such a profession where you get such "interesting" people. She told me it was her way to perform service to any of God's children. Neat perspective.

  2. The first time I had a massage, I had a panic attack half-way was the first time I ever had a panic attack. weird. I since learned that I had a great deal of pent up emotion just waiting to be released. I learned a lot about myself and how my body works that day!

  3. Enjoyed the humor you have found in your work. My daughter graduated from AZ College of Massage Therapy and is looking for work. Any suggestions?

  4. I learned the hard way that it is an exceptionally good idea to drink a great deal of water before having a massage. After my first one I was so dehydrated that I was ill for a good 24 hours. Not going to make that mistake again!

  5. I just had my first massage last month and kept wondering what it was like for a masseusse (sp?) to work on strangers all day. As a shy person I would never ask, so I loved your humorous perspective from the other side.

  6. Most people don't know that I'm a trained massage therapist. I got my training during a brief season of BJ's illness when he was doing well. Just about the time I had enough practical hours to go get licensed, he started going downhill and I never turned in the paperwork. I do a free one now and then, but not often.
    But one of my funniest experiences when I was getting in my practical hours was when my friend asked me to give her dad a massage. He showed up in some sort of little speedo thing and climbed on the table. Hmmm. OK. But when I was working on the soles of his feet he asked what kind of special tool I was using. Uh... my knuckles?


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