Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: September 2012

An interview with me! ... The Power of Touch Makes the Difference

I was interviewed by Marivir R. Montebon in her online magazine, OSM! It's pronounced "awesome" ... because she writes about awesome people like me! :) (I was somehow rejected by MODEST! magazine.)

Below are some excerpts:

How long have you been in the massage service industry? Why did you choose this particular career?

I began my massage therapy education at the Swedish Institute of Health Sciences in April 2007. I've now been working as a licensed practitioner for four years.

After working as a stage actress, touring the country for the better part of my 20s, I finally decided it was time to find more steady work that would allow me to stay home with my husband Jesse. It took a tremendous amount of brainstorming, reading, and soul-searching. It was clear that my interests lay in health sciences. I had a powerful urge to help people. I'm also a very kinesthetic person - understanding the power of touch and how it could be used to provide people with less pain, better health, and an improved quality of life was something I wanted to explore. As opposed to many other health professions, where office visits may be scary, annoying, or painful, massage could offer health benefits and a relaxing experience. I came across the Swedish Institute online, applied right away (while in Florida doing a show), and began school shortly after my return to New York.

There are various massage styles or techniques. How did you master all these techniques? Does it come with practice or [did] the knowledge from school matter more?

Techniques are learned and then practiced and honed over time. As far as styles, I think each practitioner has their own. Techniques are the easy part. Knowing how to do a thorough assessment and deciding which techniques would provide the best possible outcome for the patient is where more of the real work lies. And even once I've devised a treatment plan, that is subject to constant modification depending on the needs and comfort levels of the patient.

As far as which mattered more, school or practice, I'd say you can't have one without the other. School was my foundation. It gave me the tools I needed to practice safely and effectively. As with most any career, expertise comes with experience. Not only do I learn from my work, I also make it a point to continue to study. I've taken many continuing education classes since I graduated. I followed my interests and received advanced certifications in medical, sports, and prenatal massage. I think no matter what you do, you can always learn more. Especially in the health field where new developments and discoveries are being made every day.

I have tried a few sessions with you and I found it very helpful. How do you know what fits best for your client?

Every person is different. Even if two patients present with the same pain symptoms, it is not unusual to use two different approaches to treatment. What may be wonderfully beneficial for one person may not be appropriate for another. That's why it's so important to take a thorough patient history and assessment before beginning treatment. Once a patient is on the table, I make sure she knows that the lines of communication are open. I explain why I'm doing a particular technique and check in to see if the pressure is appropriate. I encourage the patient to let me know if he feels any discomfort or if there's anything he needs. In other words, I encourage my patients to take an active role in their sessions and in their health care. It's really a partnership.

What do New Yorkers complain most of when they ask for massage from you?

I see people with all kinds of pain and injuries, both new and old. I suppose the most frequent complaint I hear is neck pain often due to the hours spent on computers nowadays, and the lack of knowledge about proper ergonomics. If you spend a lot of time on a computer, check out my article on ergonomic essentials.

Do you have a problem with competition? How do you deal with it? What is your edge over the rest?

No, I've never found competition a problem. There are plenty of New Yorkers in need of massage therapy, more than enough to fill the treatment rooms of all therapists. If you know how to market your practice and are good at what you do, getting clients won't be a problem.

I think one of the things that keeps my patients coming back is the individual and undivided attention they get when they're here. I make it a point to really listen to their concerns and treat them as unique individuals.

Click here to check out the interview in its entirety.

Self-care tips for staying positive this fall

Fall is upon us, and though the weather is beautiful, the days begin to get shorter. For many, this can be a real bummer. Here are some tips for keeping your spirits bright even in the dark!

  1. Get massage at least twice a month! When you are relaxed and without pain, you maintain a more positive outlook on life. Neuroscientist Dr. Candace Pert writes, "Our emotions and our biochemistry are a part of one continuous loop that accounts for how we feel."
  2. Exercise: 20 minutes of cardio each day will reduce stress, improve sleep, and strengthen your heart. Find something you love doing. Some ideas are jumping rope, dancing, jogging, playing tennis, or taking an aerobics class. Whatever it is, have fun!
  3. Surround yourself with positive people - to inspire you, energize you and make you feel good.
  4. Do something to help someone else. This will interrupt any negative thoughts by making you focus on someone else's needs.
  5. Break the daily routine. Walk a different route to work, try a new place for lunch, call up an old friend, or take a luxurious bath instead of a hurried shower.

Just because it's fall doesn't mean you have to fall into a funk. Be creative, have fun and stay positive!

What's new with me ...

Big announcement: Jesse and I are expecting a baby!!! I'm almost 14 weeks pregnant and my due date is in March. Despite the fact that I've suffered from constant "morning" sickness for the past 9 weeks, the baby is doing great! My symptoms are easing now as I begin my second trimester, thank goodness, and I hope to be feeling like myself again soon ... well, that is, myself with a tiny person growing inside my belly. We're super excited!

Call or text me today

I'd be happy to answer
any questions you have!


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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

Available now!

Available now!

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