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I have been licensed and working in the field for almost 2 years, and I'm running into a problem.  I don't know if I have the wrong mentality and this is just a reality I should adjust to or what.  I'm not getting any breaks.  Is it customary for LMTs to work an 8 hour work day with no break?  I usually get 15 minutes between appointments (a lot of the time, not even that much) but by the time you get one person off the table, turn over the room, get the next client, do a consult, that 15 minutes is long gone.  After 7 consecutive one hour massages, my body hurts.  I feel like my employer is more concerned about "productivity" than comfort and morale of staff.  It is something I have run into at other massage jobs too (with non-LMT bosses) Is this common practice?  Should it be tolerated?

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Yes - welcome to the world of massage employers who don't understand much about doing massage and keeping their employees happy and healthy. It is common because massage therapists let it happen and don't stand up for themselves and explain how hard it is on one's body and how your work would be much better which would result in more people returning if you were able to get breaks.

It is also probably a labor law if you are a true employee. If you are an independent contractor you should be setting your own hours.

You should not have to tolerate that.

Julie
www.massagepracticebuilder.com
It is all about your choices and letting them work you this way. I work for Massage Envy in Pensacola, FL and no one does more than 3 massages in a row and then has at least a 30 or 60 minute break of their choosing. Me, myself I only do 2 massages in a row and then I have a 30 or 60 minute break. Most LMT's here only do 5 massages in a day. Me, I only do 4, my choice. With Massage Envy it is about the owners and how they work their staff. Here in Pensacola, FL I believe we have the best owner of all the Massage Envy's in the USA. Go talk to your owner and let them know 8 massages in a day is too much without a break. You have to eat in order to keep working like that. As long as you make the choice to keep it up it will keep happening. Communication is the key. Owners are not mind readers.
Unfortunately neither the Arkansas or Federal labor laws require that you be given a break (even lunch) during your work assignment. They do require that you be paid an hourly wage of at least minimum wage. You will need to get a change in state law or find a compassionate employer.

Here in California we are guaranteed a 10 minute break every 4 hours and a half hour lunch if the shift is 6 hours or more.

I schedule for myself but on a busy day often go 7.5 hours straight without any breaks between clients. But that is by choice.

Maybe you should run for state legislature on a platform of employee compassion and change the laws. I find it unacceptable that such laws exist, as an employer and employee.
Hi Lauren,
many of us on here have been through the same use/abuse you have. If you can find an employer that offers the same flexibility as descibed by Darcy then make a move before you cause yourself serious injury.

Better still, look at starting your own practice :)


Stephen Jeffrey said:
Hi Lauren,
Better still, look at starting your own practice :)

I'm with Stephen on this. I think a lot of these type of massage places are good experience when you first get out of school. However, you should look to starting your own practice. You should also look to working at different places on different days so you really get a broad spectrum of clients. One of our teachers shared her experience and it was a couple of days in a spa, a day in a chiro office and then she had her own clients. When you break it up like that you reach a lot more variety of clients as well as you dictate your own schedule.

Don't accept this type of work behavior. Speak up but also start looking.
Lauren, this schedule sounds brutal. If you've held up for two years working at this pace, you must be superwoman!
I work with chiropractors and they know I'm good for no more than 5 one-hour massages on any given day, with 15-30 minutes between each if possible. I've tried doing more, but after 5, I found I just don't have much left to give. Seems to me, that consideration alone makes a good enough arguement for asking your employer to have more consideration for your talent ~ At the end of the day, when you're tired, the client in that last time slot is sure to notice...and may not return. Everyone loses!
Lauren, sorry you're having such a problem. I agree with those who have already encouraged you to start your own practice so you can set your own appointment times and breaks. But the other thing I urge you to do is take good care of your body mechanics.

I had a most gifted teacher while I was in massage school who offered a one-day body mechanics workshop. Taking that class was one of the smartest things I've ever done. By being aware of my body mechanics while I'm working, I can easily do long days with no problems. I own my own practice which has really blossomed in the past couple of months and I perform 5-9 hours of massage regularly 3-4, sometimes 5 days a week. Plus, I work one morning a week in a chiropractor's office where they book a 40 minute block for a 30 minute massage. Yesterday, as usual, I was booked solidly there - 6 massages between 8:30 - 12:00. I had lunch, then saw 5 more private clients for one hour each, including 3 new ones, 1 of which was an emergency referral from a doctor's office. I left work at 9:00 p.m. Tired? Yes. Exhausted, sore, aching, battered? Absolutely not!!!

By the way, I'm no spring chicken. I have 5 grandchildren!

Body mechanics and good self care! Therein lies the secret. But don't let employers take advantage of you, either. You'll be more empowered to help others when you empower yourself to help yourself.

Wishing you well!

KJ
Lots of good advice here. You need to decide what is important to you. The employer is using the state law or lack of to get the maximum work out of you. If you have an alternative then speak your mind and tell the boss what you want. But be ready to leave if it isn't provided.

From some of the posts here you can see that those of us that have our own places may have the most demanding schedules.

Body Mechanics, Ergonomics, as others have stated this is crucial to good health for the Therapists.



Kathy "KJ" Burley said:
Lauren, sorry you're having such a problem. I agree with those who have already encouraged you to start your own practice so you can set your own appointment times and breaks. But the other thing I urge you to do is take good care of your body mechanics.

I had a most gifted teacher while I was in massage school who offered a one-day body mechanics workshop. Taking that class was one of the smartest things I've ever done. By being aware of my body mechanics while I'm working, I can easily do long days with no problems. I own my own practice which has really blossomed in the past couple of months and I perform 5-9 hours of massage regularly 3-4, sometimes 5 days a week. Plus, I work one morning a week in a chiropractor's office where they book a 40 minute block for a 30 minute massage. Yesterday, as usual, I was booked solidly there - 6 massages between 8:30 - 12:00. I had lunch, then saw 5 more private clients for one hour each, including 3 new ones, 1 of which was an emergency referral from a doctor's office. I left work at 9:00 p.m. Tired? Yes. Exhausted, sore, aching, battered? Absolutely not!!!

By the way, I'm no spring chicken. I have 5 grandchildren!

Body mechanics and good self care! Therein lies the secret. But don't let employers take advantage of you, either. You'll be more empowered to help others when you empower yourself to help yourself.

Wishing you well!

KJ
I m wondering where you work??? I have been a massage therapist for 12 years and I guess I have been lucky because my employers have always had be work 3-4 massages take a lunch break and then do 1 or 2 more. Usually, I have been asked to do that last one. It has only been about 5 massages a day for me unless again, I was asked to do more. I would not tolerate it. Start looking for a better place or you will be burned out in another year. Good luck!!

Rosemary
Lauren, I've been scheduled like this in my past spa experience. I have noticed LMTs tend to easily be taken advantage of by business owners because most don't pay attention in their business development classes ("it's too boring", "it's not a hands on class"), so they are unaware of state employee laws. In Arizona, all employees are required a 15 minute actual break every 4 hours, not a "working break" but a true break. We need LMTs to take ownership of their jobs and get educated, that's the only way problems like yours will improve.


Lisa said:


Stephen Jeffrey said:
Hi Lauren,
Better still, look at starting your own practice :)

I'm with Stephen on this. I think a lot of these type of massage places are good experience when you first get out of school. However, you should look to starting your own practice. You should also look to working at different places on different days so you really get a broad spectrum of clients. One of our teachers shared her experience and it was a couple of days in a spa, a day in a chiro office and then she had her own clients. When you break it up like that you reach a lot more variety of clients as well as you dictate your own schedule.

Don't accept this type of work behavior. Speak up but also start looking.

Actually I worked at a Massage Envy part time (while working the current job) for a year and they did let me give the say as to how many I could do in a row and in a day...which I liked. But there was some down sides to the place so I left there to put all my eggs in one job at the spa. Things were going really well the past year, but there was recently a change of management at the spa and things are being done differently.

The truth is, I know it is my responsibility to voice my concerns because it not only affects my health, it affects the quality of my work. I am just afraid of losing my job.
When you put it like, "Would you please be willing to let me have a break at mid day so I can eat some lunch and be properly nurished so I can do more massages?" This is not saying you cannot do the job. It is saying please let me eat so I can do more work. I am sure the owner gets a lunch break.

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