What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
If a client wants a Massage, I have the usual health information intake forms, and we discuss what their particular concerns are (areas of pain, medical conditions, surgeries, etc.) I answer their questions before I begin and as I go along.
If a client is seeking Cuddling or Touch Sessions, we first meet to discuss what they hope to accomplish through the sessions, and to set our intentions. You can read about the entire intake process for these services on my website on the Intake Process page.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I was trained in Massage Therapy at Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge, Virginia. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2014. Before deciding to pursue Massage Therapy, I had been an Elementary school teacher for 16 years. I also studied Nursing at Germanna Community College for a year prior to Massage Therapy school, but found Massage Therapy to be a better fit for me.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My rate for massage is $100 for one hour, but only $105 for 90 minutes. I do this to encourage clients to give me enough time to create a really luxurious experience.
My rates for Touch and Cuddling Sessions begin at $1 per minute, (60 minute minimum,) and increase only if a third party therapist or filing insurance paperwork will be involved. I accept cash and major credit cards. No checks, please.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I retired from teaching in 2011 due to depression and anxiety. I heard about Jackie Samuel in New York, who had opened a Cuddling service called The Snuggery. It resonated deeply with me, and I began researching and learning about touch. I found that it helped my depression and anxiety to cuddle. So, I trained as an LMT in order to meet the VA Department of Health requirements so that I could legally provide this service. Now, I do something that helps me while I'm helping others. Win win win!!
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have given Sports Massages to a High school athletes (with a parent present,) and hand and foot massage to a 90 year old woman in hospice (which I volunteered with.) I have massaged runners after the Marine Corps Marathon. I've given massages to people who have a history of abuse, tailoring my technique to accommodate their needs for time and space to process their emotions. I have clients with very different preferences in touch pressure, which I am always able to accommodate.
I have cuddled (professionally) with both men and women from 18 to 80, of a variety of ethnicities and orientations. People are people, and I enjoy them all. As long as someone can understand and respect boundaries, it's all good.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I lead a workshop at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library last February. I discussed how touch impacts your health.
I am also founder of a meetup group called Embrace the World. We give free hugs and raise awareness about the importance of touch to good health. You are welcome to join us. You can find us at meetup.com/embrace-the-world. Some people go YEARS without hugs. Let's fix that!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Make sure that their intentions and yours are aligned...so that your expectations and theirs are on the same page. Be clear about what you are looking for.
If you want a massage, make sure they are LMT or CMT trained by an accredited school and have a license from the VA Board of Nursing. People who are not professionally trained can accidentally hurt you. The therapists trained at NOVA come very well recommended over other schools in this area, in my experience. I went to a M.E. once (that chain massage place..) and had to teach the Therapist myself how to release Iliopsoas. You shouldn't have to teach your therapist how to give a massage...
Just be very clear about what it is you are looking for. Craigslist is not the place to find a Massage Therapist. You can ask friends for a recommendation, or you can look for providers on the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals website. Search Google for ABMP. You could also call Northern Virginia Community College, ask to speak to the Massage Therapy Department, and ask them to recommend a recent graduate in your area. NOVA grads ROCK!