Massage Connections, November 28, 2011. Oregon School of Massage
Report by Ray Siderius, Director

On Monday evening two prominent Portland area employers of massage therapists provided a useful picture of massage employment for students and graduates of Oregon School of Massage, and other schools. Jordan Barton, Massage Educator at Cold Water Creek, and Jim DeWeese, owner of three Oregon Massage Envy clinics described the environment in which their therapists worked, outlined therapist compensation and benefits, and expectations of employees. (The presentation was another in the OSM “Massage Connections” series.)

An important part of the discussion carried on during the Q & A session was about the degree to which these two businesses require LMTs to follow a protocol or format when doing massage. While both firms use terms like “protocol” and “branded” in describing the massages that happen at Massage Envy and Coldwater Creek, the presenters provided numerous examples of how their massage sessions were in many ways unique expressions of the practitioner’s skill. The standardization which happens has much to do with certain procedures such as draping and record-keeping whereas each session is expected to address client needs, and therefore varies a great considerably.

Both of these presenters were passionate about providing good service to their clients and developing good relationships with massage therapists. They indicated that one of the benefits of working in such an environment was the support and sense of community that developed. If you were being interviewed for a job one of their first questions would be, “Why are you doing massage?” They are looking for good good communications skills and team players…and LMTs who are passionate about their work. Those qualities are just as important to them as technical skills.

An experienced LMT working full-time at Massage Envy can earn an income, before taxes, of approximately $35,000. An LMT working full-time at Coldwater Creek could gross, before taxes, somewhat more.

Massage Envy and Coldwater Creek both respect that employed LMTs may be practicing elsewhere and that in some cases clients met at one of those firms could follow the LMT to other locations. They do, however, expect such client movement to not be the result of unethical practices, such as offering the client a special deal to move.

Both presenters reported that their respective businesses had not declined appreciably since the beginning of the current recession. They were clear that there are still many potential clients who have yet to fully appreciate the many health and well-being values to be derived from massage and, consequently, represent potential business for LMTs. They noted that massage continues to receive positive attention in the media.

Working as an employed LMT in a facility such as described here can be a professionally growthful part of one’s career development. See the story of OSM graduate Jason Minnix.

To get additional information about either of these businesses go to their websites.
• Coldwater Creek, The Spa: CLOSED
• Massage Envy:

Thank you to Coldwater Creek and Massage Envy for making this presentation.

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