Articles and News

Announcing our Specialized Kinesiology Magazine!

I’m so excited about my new project! I am publishing a new journal called Specialized Kinesiology Magazine (not the most inspired title, but highly searchable!) online. This international journal is designed for specialized/applied/energetic kinesiology practitioners and students from around the world. It’s a place to share ideas, new techniques and products, upcoming events, courses, videos, etc.

This magazine is free to national associations of specialized kinesiology to distribute to their members, either through on-demand printing, or by sharing the link so that everyone can read it online. This gives Associations a product they can share with members (increasing their value in Member’s eyes) and provides a beautiful medium to get valuable information out to SK practitioners around the world. Our funding comes from advertising.

Each issue will contain a Classified Ad section with free basic listings for classes (a link to the Association’s class listing page) and conferences. Please check the attached Media Kit for more information about these free listings and also how to purchase ad space in order to promote your conference, products, events, etc. to a large and targeted market.

By mid-October you will be receiving your link to the first issue, which we are calling ‘The Happy Issue’ since it’s pretty exciting to get a project like this off the ground!

Every issue will feature certain columns, offering interviews with the movers and shakers of the SK world, ways of growing your holistic business, upcoming conferences and highlights of past ones, new nutritional information, a deeper understanding of various modalities and much more!


Here are a few things you can look forward to in The Happy Issue:

–       An in depth interview with Sylvia Marina (Australia) describing her work in transforming DNA memories

–       A closer look at Agape Quest with Denise Cambiotti (Canada)

–       How to create a steady client base and keep your clients happy

–       A deep exploration of 5-element relationships with Sandy Gannon (UK)

–       History of medicine – an Anthropological look at medicinal herbs, with Kathleen Green (Ireland)

–       Listings of upcoming classes and conferences around the world, all in one place!


If you have ideas for articles, questions for writers, upcoming classes or conferences, or would like to advertise, please email

Deadline for The Happy Issue is October 5th, 2016

 Click here for the Media Kit!sk-magazine-media-kit

SK Storytelling

Two weeks ago we were at the large market in San Isidro where we do the majority of our grocery shopping for the week. This is not a tourist market and most of the gringos are conspicuously huddled in one corner eating vegan burritos. I was at the meat counter – chatting in my broken Spanish with the muchacho who calls me over every week promising to cut me the best steaks – when I turned around to see my husband chatting in English with an American woman and her daughter. When I finished at the counter I introduced myself. She asked what I do, and I told her I work with Specialized Kinesiology. Let’s face it; that usually requires more explanation. A lot more. I had my whole elevator speech ready to rock when she broke into a huge smile and said “Oh how wonderful!” I had to admit that’s not the reaction I usually get to that statement. And she replied, “that’s because most people don’t have any idea what it is!” and she told me her story.

We are hard-wired to respond to stories. For so much of human history it was our primary way of transmitting information, of explaining our background and how the world worked and why things are the way they are. And while I can’t divulge someone else’s story here without permission, it made me think that I would like to hear more people’s SK stories. For those of you in this field, what brought you here? For those who are clients, what prompted the call and what changes have you seen?

Last month I ran a contest asking people for testimonials and I got a few stories from people that were truly sweet and humbling. It’s one thing to know this work is amazing, it’s another thing completely to read words like,

“After one treatment, I could finally lift my arm, which I hadn’t done for months,”

“I’ve drastically reduced my insulin requirement,” or

“The blockage is now totally cleared.”

Just from these short sentences, you get a glimpse into someone’s life, their story and their journey, and that’s much more powerful than me reading off a list of benefits!

I am in the process of creating an international online Specialized Kinesiology magazine right now and I would love for part of it to be about sharing SK stories. So, if you have a story about your experiences in this realm, please post them here. Some of them will end up in future issues!

And we all lived happily ever after.

Alexis Costello


Beyond Massage – Muscle Testing for RMTs

No doubt about it, few things in life are as amazing as a good massage. How would you feel about a tool that would allow you to take your business as a massage therapist to another level?

I fell in love with massage as a practitioner first, before I started muscle testing. I loved the immediate change in a client; the way I could literally feel them relaxing and healing themselves under my hands and the exchange of energy involved. And yet, massage has its limitations. It can be frustrating for instance, when you realize that the basis of the issue is stress-related, but you don’t have any techniques that would allow you to work with the emotions. Or when people return with the same issues time after time; feeling good when they leave your office, but having symptoms return soon after.

Muscle testing (or monitoring) as it is taught in Touch for Health and other Specialized Kinesiology classes, uses muscles as indicators, allowing everyone involved to see and feel the way energy is working in the body. Muscles correlate to specific meridians. Meridian flow is the same energy that is being accessed through acupuncture and acupressure, and an experienced practitioner of these modalities can usually tell where energy is blocked fairly easily. They will briefly feel your pulses and might say that your ‘heart energy feels stringy’ or that the ‘liver is too damp’, leaving you to wonder 1) what the heck does that mean? And 2) how can they tell that by simply holding your wrists? Years of practice and a thorough understanding of the qualities of this energy in your body make this an interesting diagnostic tool, but most of us don’t have time to spend the next several years learning this.

Muscle testing allows a muscle to ‘speak’ for the involved meridian. If the energy flow through the meridian is in balance, the muscle is too. If it’s not, it is easy to tell. This is an easy skill that can be taught to anyone. Over four levels of Touch for Health representing only 60 hours of in-class training, students learn 42 different muscles that can be used to assess energy flow in the 14 major meridians of the body and several unique corrections to address energy blockages on all levels.

Experience with muscle testing can allow you to see connections throughout the body. For example, the Upper trapezius muscles, the psoas and the illiacus are all associated with the kidney meridian. So when you observe tension or weakness in these three muscles (and there isn’t an obvious injury to account for it), perhaps the real issue is in the kidney energy. This doesn’t mean that the person’s kidneys are diseased or failing (and we would never suggest that they are, as that would be practicing medicine without a license and can get you into lots of trouble!), but there could be a problem with energy flow and there are easy corrections that can help with that. Maybe the client would benefit from something as simple as drinking more water.

So massage is wonderful, but it could be made even better by combining it with some of the features that Specialized Kinesiology has to offer. A couple of years ago I wrote a course designed to help people become better practitioners called GEMS. One of the ideas behind this was the ability to move easily between modalities and incorporate whatever the client needs at the time. Doing a short GEMS session before a massage would allow you to easily determine where the client’s stress really lies and if any corrections (other than the massage itself) would be beneficial. When you do this, your client gets more out of their session as the full breadth of the problem is being addressed, not just the tight muscles. They feel understood on a deep level and the benefits are likely to hold much longer. This of course, leads to more referrals!

GEMS also addresses business start-up and marketing, and this is something that is available to all practitioners of all modalities who want to take their business to the next level. Are you allowing your personality, values and goals to shine through your marketing? Are you making use of social media and non-traditional forms of advertising to build relationships – not just broadcasting that people should use your services, but really connecting with them and providing information of value?

In a service-based competitive field like massage therapy, there needs to be a reason for people to choose to work with you. Some of this is personality, some is as simple as location, but there are things you can do to help them make the choice. Imagine the advantage you would have if you could balance energy flow within the body, figure out the root of the stress through muscle testing and had a clearer plan of how to run your business!

It probably sounds ridiculously simple, but one of the ways I introduced my massage clients to muscle testing was by using a muscle to determine which essential oils would be helpful for the client that day. I would check for the best oils, put them together in the correct ratio and then explain to the client what those oils are used for. It’s that easy. When people see and feel that their body can provide information of this sort, they usually want more.

In most places, classes like Touch for Health and other Specialized Kinesiology classes are recognized for continuing education credits and credits can also be obtained by attending conferences. If you have any questions about how muscle testing works, how to connect with fellow practitioners, finding a class in your area or what the weather’s like where I am, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


Alexis Costello is an instructor, practitioner, speaker and writer for Specialized Kinesiology, currently living in Costa Rica with her ever-expanding crew of children and animals. Visit for more details or follow @healthylexi


5 Reasons to attend a Touch for Health conference

also published on

Why attend a Touch for Health conference? After all, it’s not like the modality has changed. Maybe you don’t use this as your ‘real job’, so it’s hard to justify the travel expense, or maybe you’re afraid that you wouldn’t know anybody. Having just attended my first TFH meeting (I have been to IASK conferences and IKC gatherings before, but this one was new), I thought that I would share a few reasons why it is definitely worth it to attend, regardless of your level of training or experience in the Specialized Kinesiology world.

1)   Get hugged. A lot. By people you’ve never met before, but who are genuinely happy to see you. TFH conferences are pretty happy places to be for the most part and the people are friendly. If you have ever wondered if you are getting your requisite four hugs a day, this is the place for you.

2)   Speak your language. Show of hands, how many of you have trouble finding people in your area who really, truly get what your talking about when you go on about the latest class you took or how cool muscle testing is? It is wonderful to be surrounded by people who get it and who are willing to talk to you and share their knowledge on this fascinating subject. And who smile at you when they see you switching on in the hallway or holding your ESR points before a presentation, rather than pointing and staring.

3)   Get balanced. It had been months since the last time I was worked on, since I’ve moved to an area where practitioners are very few and far between. Many students of TFH or other SK modalities find that they end up working on everyone they know, but never get their own stuff dealt with. Getting worked on by experienced practitioners and having an opportunity to return the favor is great and can introduce you to new modalities and techniques, making you a better practitioner.

4)   Meet your heroes. In every SK class there are certain names that get thrown around: Matthew Thie, Charles Krebs, Toni Lilly, etc. Guess what? You can meet, listen to, chat with and possibly even receive balances from these people when you attend conferences. (Note: celebrity balances not guaranteed. Talk to kinesiologists at your own risk.) This year I got a chance to meet Sheldon Deal, one of the original ‘dirty dozen’ chiropractors (a group that included George Goodhart and John Thie) who developed the beginning principles of applied kinesiology. We can do the work we do because we have built on the strong foundations of these men.

5)   Find your enthusiasm. Remember who exciting all of this was when it was new? Has it become a little less shiny recently? Attending a conference reminds you of all the reasons why this work is great and shows off new developments, products and voices in our field, all of which would leave you excited and ready to apply what you’ve learned. Consider it a pep rally for your career.

The theme for this year was Touch for Health for Everyone. While I really enjoyed myself, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the people there are the same people who have been there for the last 20+ years. It’s wonderful that these people are still involved in the association and with the work, but we need more. Let’s see more ‘everyone’, shall we?

What do you think: what would convince you to attend a conference?

As for me, I’ll be at the IASK (International Association of Specialized Kinesiology) conference in Italy in April 2017 and the Touch for Health one in Kansas City next July. See you there!

We’re all in this together!


Creating Focus and Flow with GEMS

Written for the Touch for Health Association Conference Journal 2016

How confident are you that you are using the right technique at the right time with each person you work with? By the time you have gone through four levels of Touch for Health, you have acquired a huge new skill set filled with tools and information that can help those around you. Despite all of the tools available to them however, new students and practitioners often struggle with how best to apply their knowledge when actually working with someone. When do you use all 42 muscles, and when is 14 enough? When would you use something like a sound balance? Because they can’t answer these questions, students get into a routine, using only the techniques that appeal the most to them and forgetting the others. In North America, very few practitioners use only Touch for Health – it seems like most people who want to work professionally take TFH as a prerequisite to get into other courses and then leave TFH behind. I am hoping that GEMS (Goal, Element, Mode, Stack) offers a way to streamline the tools and techniques from the TFH world and integrate them with techniques from other Specialized Kinesiology systems so that they find their rightful place in the kinesiology tool kit again. Creating practitioners who are flexible and able to think outside the box means that they will have an easier time integrating new information, rolling with whatever a client throws at them and succeeding in general.

Touch for Health should be the way of the future. At the 2016 Conference, we will spend some time together discussing how to use this in your life everyday, integrate it with other techniques as they are learned, and create a business model that will allow you to help others and make money with full integrity.

It has been suggested to me recently that our field is a competitive one and that there is an unwillingness sometimes to instruct or help others. In the spirit of collaboration over competition, I have put together the GEMS website with information that can be useful to anyone wanting to work with these amazing tools and the idea that “we are all in this together”. When we examine closely the actual goals of each practitioner: who they want to work with, how and what values they keep central in their practice, we find that each one has a group that they will appeal to and enjoy working with and there is such variety in these groups that there is very little overlap at all. The idea of ‘Touch for Health for Everyone’ is real in that there are techniques in this program that will benefit absolutely anyone you run into, it’s just a matter of finding the correct one. The GEMS flowchart helps with this process by offering a simple and intuitive way to sort the information available to you and arrive at the priority for correction. It works as a bridging class, spanning the gap between the TFH full self-responsibility model and the more diagnostic model used by many practitioners in other modalities. It allows for integration between all modalities, which might be a good way to bring practitioners back together and establish common ground.

I understand that TFH was originally designed to be used by laypeople on family and friends, not as a career, but many people today are using it as a stepping-stone to move into the brilliant world of Specialized Kinesiology. The process of actually moving from ‘friends and family’ to a career can be daunting however. GEMS Business helps to move people into this brilliant field easily. At this Conference, we will discuss some ways to do this, starting by determining the core values you will build your practice on and who precisely you wish to work with. Once you know what is most important to you in your work-life, it is easier to begin marketing and branding – one of the most overlooked facets of our industry as a whole. This marketing piece is an extremely important and overlooked subject. Let’s face it, as an industry Specialized Kinesiologists are stunningly bad at marketing. There are individuals who shine, but as a group there is a lot of room for improvement. It doesn’t matter how amazing a practitioner you are, if no one knows what you do then you can’t help anyone!

For more ideas about how to push your Specialized Kinesiology business to the next level or to contribute information that might be helpful to others, visit or take a class to join the group of people around the world who are using GEMS to get amazing results.

Follow me @healthylexi


GEMS in French

This is just a quick note because I’m really excited about one of the new developments in the GEMS world. One of the Instructors who I had the pleasure of working with in January in the Netherlands is translating the GEMS Flow class into French. It’s early days still, but I am really enjoying the collaborative process of translating this material. Robin is forcing me to clarify my thoughts so that the essence can shine through in another language when a direct translation is not possible or desirable. It’s something I’ve never had to do before, and my sketchy internet access in the jungle might make it take longer than strictly necessary. Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful that someone was willing to take this on.

Are you interested in seeing GEMS material in your country/language?

We’re all in this together!



GEMS International!

This year, GEMS is going Dutch. The first International Instructor class for GEMS Flow was taught in Arnhem, Netherlands. 16 Touch for Health Instructors are now taking the flow chart and scan sheets back to their students. People attended the class from Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, UK and Ireland.

Here’s a note from a Touch for Health Instructor and practitioner:

“In January 2016 Alexis Costello introduces GEMS to Europe! In her wonderful
energetic and enthusiastic way she taught 16 TfH instructors from 6 different
countries the ins and outs of her GEMS method. We worked with the flow chart
and the scan charts. We balanced each other and thus experienced how simple
and accurate this new way of working with all the TfH material is!
In two days we became GEMS-instructors ourselves and we will definitely
spread this amongst our TfH students and start practicing it in our own

Thank you Alexis for sharing this gem with us!”

Lilian Beeks

Working with a group of instructors provided a great opportunity to clarify content and make the course better than ever. Thanks so much for welcoming me into your beautiful country!


Want to see a GEMS course in your area? Let us know!

We’re all in this together,


How to get into Specialized Kinesiology

I often have clients ask me how they can get into this line of work. After all, it is pretty amazing; you get to meet great people and work with energy while helping others and yourself. While there are many paths to a career in SK, the one that I have documented for you in the handy infograph below is one of the easiest and most direct roots.

Finding your way to Specialized Kinesiology bliss.
Finding your way to Specialized Kinesiology bliss.


You begin with Touch for Health, which is a prerequisite for many of the other classes you will find. It will teach you strong muscle testing and correction skills, get you familiar with energy meridians and help you become comfortable working on people. When you’re finished with level four, take GEMS. Yes, this is biased information, but I came up with this system for a reason! That gives you enough that you can start working on people, but I also recommend starting to take some higher level SK classes, a few of which I mention here. A more complete list can be found on one of the Association websites (ours for Canada is You can stick with one of these courses, or take entry levels of a few different ones to see what you like.

Still unsure with how to get there from here? Or do you have a different path you would like to advocate? Share it here!

We’re all in this together.


Selling your Natural Health Business – 3 Things I’ve Learned

Selling your business is hard. It’s hard to place a monetary value on something that you have been pouring your blood sweat and tears into for years. You have to relinquish control to someone new, and yet you want to find the absolute best person for the job since the future happiness of your clients and staff that you love is involved. Because of the nature of our industry, so much of the value of your business is wrapped up in your own skills as a professional that you might wonder how to go about selling it at all. Here are a few things that I have learned from this process that might help.

1)   Make sure that there really is a business outside of you. What I mean by this is that you need to have income making potential even if you are not personally seeing clients, whether this is from retail product, other practitioners, class sponsorship, etc.

2)   Look at the effectiveness of your branding. Is your business name well known? Does it have a good reputation? Brand recognition is one of the major reasons why someone would choose to buy your business rather than start from scratch. It takes time to get your business name “out there’, especially if you are working with a small or non-existent advertising budget. If you think that you might want to sell your business a year from now, taking steps over this next year to get your name out will serve you well. We go to health shows all over the country and I am shocked by how many people see my business card and logo and say; “I’ve heard of you”.

3)   Create some separation between yourself and your business. I had an interview with a potential buyer last week who asked me, “If you could go back in time and change anything about starting your business, what would you do?” My answer was that I would set up my accounting better (not my strong suit and still a mess, but much much better than it was when I started!). But after I thought about it for a moment, I realized that part of the problem (even with the accounting) was that the lines between what belongs to me personally and what belongs to the business are so blurry. Just cleaning out my stock room took forever as I realized how much of my personal paperwork and documents had migrated into the space over the years. Start creating an inventory of the equipment, furniture, books, products etc that are associated with your business and figure out who they really belong to – you or the business.


I know there are plenty of websites and books out there to help you with the actual selling of your business, but I have had trouble finding info that is specific to the kinds of challenges we face in this industry. Do you have an exit plan for your business? Or, like so many of us, will you see clients until you physically can’t anymore?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you – we’re all in this together!


The ‘G’ Stands for Goal

The ‘G’ in the GEMS protocol stands for goal. Goal setting is interesting because everybody; every marketing maven, self-help guru and new age manifestor will preach the importance of it, and yet, for some crazy reason, not everyone does it. Or, almost as bad, we do it in January and then put the list away never to been seen or heard from again.
In Touch for Health, we learn that goals need to be positive, personal and present-tense in order to be used well in a balance. A good goal has a little stress on it (otherwise it isn’t a goal, it’s a ‘To Do’ list), but seems reachable and realistic (otherwise it’s not a goal, it’s a wish). One of the gifts that we can give our clients is help finding clarity in goals, so that when they come in with vague statements like: “I just want to feel better”, we can help them to see what it is that is really creating stress in their lives. What will be different in your life when you feel better? How would you spend your time? What would you be able to do? By using questions we can figure out what is at the root of the issue, but it also gives us a gauge so that they can see when there has been an improvement. When they say they just want to feel better and they come in for a second appointment, you ask them if they feel better and, because they still don’t feel like they want to, they say no and are discouraged at their lack of progress. If however, you have clarified the goal to something like: “I have the energy to laugh and play with my kids in the evening,” you can ask how their energy has been after work in the past week. If they managed to play catch in the backyard once this week, that’s progress. It lets them see that change is happening and feel good about it.
Earlier in the year I did an experiment where every single day for a month I set an affirmation for the day. These ranged from things like: “I have been blessed with abundance in my life – I share with others who haven’t,” to, “My immune system beats the heck out of this virus. Before dinner.” For anyone interested in the full list of affirmations, click here.

Do you find it challenging to set goals or to help clients do this effectively?

We’re all in this together!


Being your ‘Authentic Self’ without driving everyone nuts

When people start talking about being their “authentic self”, a portion of my brain glazes over. Try as I might, I don’t usually hear what people have to say after that. Why? Because ’authenticity’ has become a buzzword; it is meant to have an impact on us but has become diluted with overuse. I have seen too many people in the natural health field use phrases like, “I just have to be my authentic self and speak my truth,” to justify saying things that are hurtful and rude, or to brag about themselves in an unbecoming way.

Being authentic in business simply means being exactly who you say you are. All the time. In every situation. This isn’t always easy to do. About seven years ago I went through a little crisis with this. I felt like I was cut into many different parts, so there was work me and home me, me-with-my-friends and me-with-my-family and me-with-my-church and me-when-no-one’s-looking and each of these different versions occupied their own little box and none of them touched.

It’s exhausting.

So I tried to figure out who I am at my core, and then I let go of the people and places and situations that weren’t in line with that and found others that were. Now I feel like myself (for better or worse), no matter where I am or who I’m with. It’s less work and less trouble and I truly believe that people react to it better.

This question of authenticity comes up with subjects like advertising and social media. It is tempting to think that you can separate your online personas – that you can keep one profile that is just friends and family and another one that is for business, but the truth of the matter is that anything that has been published online is available for public consumption, so don’t publish anything you wouldn’t want your clients/coworkers/boss to see. In an ideal world, we would make this easier by always walking our talk, and by being our best self all the time. When that falls short however – you loose your temper, post something distasteful, drink too much while your friends have cameras out, whatever – you can do damage control by owning up to a mistake and moving on with grace. Trying to disassociate from it will just make people feel cheated.

Some of the richest and most influential people in the world have gotten that way by just being who they are, warts and all, admitting their shortcomings and flaws and compensating for them when they can. Think Oprah. When authenticity is expressed this way it is endearing and makes people feel closer to you. And that’s something that can only help you with your career.

We’re all in this together!


How to Lose Friends and Alienate People with Social Media

It is shocking how bad people can be at social media. I recently wrote a bit about social media here and how to use it as a natural health practitioner, but this is different – this is more of a rant. I don’t claim to be a guru or a professional marketer, but there are a few things that drive me nuts with social media and since I want us to be friends (at least on Facebook), I want to share one of them with you.

Think about the name of the medium: social media. It means to be social, to share and be friendly. If you were at a dinner party and constantly kept shouting out, “I use _________ everyday to stay fit!” “_________ is the best product for weight loss!” “Ask me how you can make money from your computer with ________!”, how long would it be before you were left alone in a corner with no-one to talk to? Would you ever be invited back?

Because we can’t always see the people we are reaching with social media, it is easy to forget that they are actual people who want to be treated as such. No-one wants to feel like they are being shouted at or talked down to. They want to be heard. People use social media to check out a company or practitioner sometimes – to get a feel for who you are and what you stand for. If you want to be known as someone personable and empathetic then that needs to come across in your posts, tweets, blog, etc.

Yes it is OK to use social media to promote your business, but you want to do this in the same way that you would face to face; with an open dialog, responding to questions, asking your own and offering opinions and information. You can branch out from your own business and promote fun local events or businesses that would be of interest to your followers, or even just share something that makes you think or makes you laugh.

This is what friends do.

We’re all in this together.


Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave them below!


Navigating Social Media for your Natural Health Business


Social media and business guru Nikki Csek of Csek Creative and Kelowna Now spoke to Kelowna Women in Business in April to help us all become better communicators in the crazy world of social networking sites. I may be one of the world’s worst note-takers, so this is nowhere near everything that she talked about, but I have recorded a few gems for you here that might help you as you decide where to put your time and energy online.

According to Nikki, these are your ‘Must Haves’:

1)   The ability to access your website and make changes to it

2)   You must have identified and set up the social channels you wish to use properly

3)   You must make it easy to share – content is 7x more likely to be shared if it’s simple for your user

4)   Google Analytics


You’ve heard me discuss Content Marketing before, right? Unless you have a content strategy, nothing works. Her suggestion is to sit with a piece of paper and write ten article titles for your perfect customers. Once these are in place you know what you need to write and can schedule it for publishing.

Now that you know what you’re going to publish, let’s talk about how to get it ‘out there’ to your target market. Nikki had some analytics for the major social media sites that can help you decide where your potential clients are and meet them on their home turf.


1)   Facebook: 71% of Internet users are on FB and most of these are between 24-50 years old with equal gender representation. If you are posting regularly to FB and people are not engaging with you (i.e ‘liking’ and sharing your posts) you may need to reconsider what you are posting.

Find me by searching Happily Holistic – Be Your Best

2)   Twitter: 23% of Internet users are on Twitter, demographics between 18-29 years old and skewed slightly female. Over 30% of users check multiple times daily, so you can post more often without bugging people. (Nikki taught me that etiquette says you follow people back, so I’m working on that since manners are important.)

Follow me @healthylexi – I’ll follow you too!

3)   Instagram: 26% of Internet users are on Instagram and it is growing quickly. Demographics are between 18-29 and again skewed slightly female. I’m not on this one yet, so can’t add much to this!


In each of these you need to decide how you wish to be perceived, both by existing and perspective clients. You can search for and look at your competitors; see what they are doing well and identify opportunities. Take a look at how people are using technology and what channels they are using. For instance, are your perspective clients looking you up on their iphone? You had better be sure your website is formatted properly for that or they will get frustrated and wander off.

Of course, there is a lot more to all of this, but hopefully this will get you started.

Are you comfortable in the world of social media for your business, or do you find it difficult? Do you have specific questions we can help you with?

We’re all in this together!


Don’t be Someone’s ‘Worst Ever’ – 5 steps to ensure you aren’t

I had the worst massage of my life yesterday.  I feel like I should explain; I am notoriously bad for picking apart massage sessions, partly because I trade sessions with some very gifted practitioners that are hard to measure up to.  But this went beyond technique. There were a few things about the way that the office was set up and the way my session was handled that transformed it from ‘this person could use a few pointers’ to an actual unpleasant experience.  I am relating them here as a list of what not to do when setting up your space and sessions with clients in order to keep them happy and coming back.

1) Look at your treatment room with ‘new eyes’ and see it as a client sees it.cool_quotes_about_change_black-and-white-change-cool-quotes

We get used to clutter or to the eccentricities of a space and they stop bothering us, but a client is seeing the space for a first time and this is part of their first impression of you.  The room I was ushered into yesterday was small, crowded and cluttered. When I got undressed, there was no place to put my clothes other than on the floor and I had to stop and think of where I could stash them so that the practitioner wouldn’t be stepping on them as she worked.  Getting rid of some of the clutter and adding a chair would have made the space more hospitable. Try getting on your table and looking around so that you can see things as they see them. Like if you’re ever playing on the floor with your toddler and you look up and go, “how on earth do the underside of my cabinets get so filthy?”, it’s just something your don’t see from your normal perspective.

2) Treat the client as your guest.

In class, we call this ‘housekeeping’. If someone came to visit you at home, you would probably offer them a drink (and while a martini or a beer might not be appropriate for your clients, a glass of water certainly is), you might take their coat and mention the bathroom is down the hall.  Some people are shy to ask for what they need, but will be very grateful if you offer.

3) Make them feel safe.

There is a certain amount of vulnerability at play when someone sees a new practitioner, whether they are exposing their body or their emotions. At one point in my session, another women who worked in the office opened the door (without knocking or any kind of warning), asked my practitioner to please turn on the wax (which she stopped working on me to do), and left.  It happened that we were a little ways into the session, so I was covered with a sheet, but I couldn’t help but think that if it had been a little earlier, her opening the door would have exposed a mostly naked me to the entire waiting room, front desk and staff.  Some people might be into that, but this didn’t help me relax.

4) Check in.

Little questions like “how’s my pressure?”, or even just “how are you doing?” allow the client to give you some feedback and show that you are genuinely interested in how this is feeling for them.  A good session is an exchange of energy between people and this works best when both people feel like they are on the same wavelength.  If the client feels like you are just going through your routine and that you do exactly the same thing for everyone then you don’t establish a rapport and there is no reason for them to come back to you.

5) Set the mood.

My practitioner yesterday forgot to turn on the music for the first half of the session, so I could hear the conversation about the other staff member’s hair, boyfriend and mother issues clearly.  Again, not relaxing and I had to resist the urge to hand one of my cards to the girls at the front desk who obviously could use some balancing and stress release when I left. When I turned over from lying on my stomach to my back I was staring into the glare of a super-bright florescent light that felt far more clinical than calming.  Music, low lights, oils and linens that smell good, these things matter. Think about how you want your clients to feel and what you can do to make that a reality.

These five things might seem to be simple, but it’s amazing how often they are overlooked.  And there are always extenuating circumstances – for instance, a time when someone in the entrance is so loud you can’t help but overhear them, even with music and good sound proofing, or when a co-worker needs to impart an urgent message, but this should be the exception not the rule.  You don’t want to be someone’s ‘worst ever’.

When I was ready to go, she didn’t ask if I wanted to rebook.  It’s probably for the best.


The myth of Boundaries

You’ve got to have boundaries. This was the message that was shouted at me loud and clear when I began my business. Especially because my office is attached to my home. Especially because when you work in the health field it’s easy to over-empathize and end up working on your clients stuff in off hours. Especially because I have young children at home.

The list goes on.

And, when I was starting out, I believed this. I set up separate phone lines and clear office hours and sound-proof doors. But rather than making my life less stressful, like all of these precautions are supposed to do, they seemed to be more trouble than they were worth. I worried about my boundaries like they were tiny kittens that I should be feeding with an eyedropper and nursing along; it seemed impossible that they would survive on their own.

A couple years ago I read something that changed all of that. It said that when we are truly living and working within our passion, then the boundaries tend to become blurry and disappear since we simply are who we are in every aspect of my life. This was what I needed to hear.

The truth is that life does not fit neatly into columns of work and home. My children, who are also homeschooled, are often wandering into my office, answering the phone etc. I could write long and involved pro/con lists about that, but the point is this; trying to stop this kind of interact was exhausting. Letting life happen is much easier.

Does this mean allowing people to walk all over you? No. It simply means allowing for flexibility and understanding that when you are doing what you are truly meant to do there is a huge amount of carry-over from one aspect of your life to another. Most of us work holistically, meaning that we look at the body as a whole rather than as a list of parts. A holistic approach to your work means that it fits into and reflects your life as a whole, rather than being a job where you punch in/punch out.

What do you think: is it better to have a 9-5 mentality or to try to work more holistically? I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, be amazing.