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The secret permit you didn’t know existed that is ruining massage in New York City and what we can do about it

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The secret permit you didn’t know existed that is ruining massage in New York City and what we can do about it

If you are a licensed massage therapist practicing in New York City, you need to read this article now. 

9 years ago, in opening my business, I came up against a wall called the Adult Physical Culture Permit. If you are a licensed massage therapist and do not know what it is, you are not alone. When I started asking about it, many of the business owners and teachers I asked were unfamiliar with the permit or misunderstood how it worked. Many long-established licensed massage therapists did not know that their businesses were technically in violation of an out-of-date zoning law. 

What’s is it?

In the 1970s, regulations were put into place in New York City to get a grip on the brothels and unsafe prostitution houses running out of bogus business fronts. The regulations used a wide brush and stated all businesses where the services provided include touch or instruction between man and woman needed to prove that they weren’t selling sex. To do so, they needed to apply and be approved for an Adult Physical Culture Permit.

The Adult Physical Culture Permit is highly specialized, much like a liquor license. It requires that you have rented your space before applying for the permit, you then go through a permit application that can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to process (while you pay rent!), hire an architect to do a land survey, interview neighboring businesses and residents to see what your impact on the community would be, and go through a public hearing process. If that sounds like a LOT, you’re right it is!
Read more about how the permit came to be here

How this hurt’s NYC Massage bussinesses

Here’s how the math played out when I estimated the cost to opening a very small clinic of 3 rooms:

Let’s say rent at your potential location is $4,000 a month, but your landlord requires a 6-month commitment and deposit, so in your first month, your initial cost is $24k. At a minimum, the permit process takes another 6 months, so that’s another $24k just in rent. According to land attorney Howard Goldman, the lawyers, architects, and processing fees to get the permit approved can cost up to $50k. So to get into your space, before you factor in insurance and payroll, you need $98,000 in operating costs to practice massage legally in New York City right now.

Aside from the gross and possibly debilitating financial drain on small businesses, like our very own, the very fact that the permit requires massage therapists to prove that they aren’t performing sex work before they even open their space implies that massage could only be sex work if some government authority doesn’t oversee it. We’ve already spoken about the biases people can have toward massage, conflating it with sex work, and this shows that bias can literally be written into law.

Setting the financial bar so high ensures that large companies dominate massage in New York City rather than actual small businesses. Meaning, people with no training in massage are often running a massage business through a corporate structure, ensuring low pay and low quality.

What we can do about it

I am bringing this up now because there is a chance for us to do something about it.
Sometime this week, NYC is hosting public feedback sessions to potentially change the text of this law, leading to therapists no longer needing this permit to practice in New York City. Massage therapists, business owners, and future owners will be able to call in and testify how this permit hinders their business, profits, and plans. NOW IS THE TIME MASSAGE THERAPISTS NEED TO ACT.

Because of the service we provide, massage should rightfully be classified as medical care, and the zoning should reflect that.

If you attended the webinar held by the New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, you have already gotten some information on the players involved and who will be speaking, but anyone can attend the hearing virtually. 

35 years is way more time than this thing should’ve been on the books. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are crushed under the weight of this permit, leaving room only for the big spa chains and corporations. Let’s change that now!

Today, the date and time for the review haven’t been decided, but we will update HERE when it is. We are asking that you forward this to any massage therapist you know so that they can get involved.


Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204, New York, NY 10001Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Sports and Medical Massage Therapist Profile – Zachary

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage is happy to introduce you to another new member of our team! Meet Zachary – a dancer, performer, mover and shaker. Zachary’s expressive and empathetic personality assists him in getting to the root of the problem with his clients, to fix issues they weren’t even aware were causing them distress.

Zachary gave us a peek behind the curtain as to what makes his sports massage therapy special and effective.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage Sports Therapist Zachary
Zachary Koval Sports Massage Therapist

What is your background and what drew you to sports?

 Zachary – I was a soccer player growing up and I competed in the NYC triathlon a few years ago. I was also a personal trainer for several years, and have spent a good portion of my life in the weight room doing resistance training.

How long have you been training or working at it?

ZacharyBeing healthy and using my body to its fullest potential has been something that I’ve always enjoyed and been focused on. As I witnessed my father deal with chronic pain, illness, and physical disability through the years, I took it as inspiration to work (and play) to make sure my own body would last and allow me to enjoy every moment with it.

Can you share one experience as someone who uses their body, that has greatly impacted your massage?

ZacharyI first fell in love with bodywork through learning Thai massage. I was introduced to it as a recovery modality in the acro-yoga community I was a part of. In Thai massage the practitioner uses their whole bodies to stretch and support the receiver with acupressure and assisted yoga postures. It becomes almost a dance between the two.
I carry that energy and intention in my work, as I integrate my training and my own movement practices, even while just using my hands. There is a silent dialogue, conversation, and dance that is occurring, that provides a fluidity and deep connection throughout my work.

What is your best “Uh-oh!” story? A time you really F-d up doing something with your body that helped inform your medical massage technique.

Zachary –  I’ve often been of the personal mindset to just push through the pain. But in training for the triathlon, my body definitely got over taxed and I quickly learned the importance of allowing time for recovery and self-care

What are your favorite kinds of people to work on? 

 Zachary People who either already have a strong connected sense to their body or are open to developing that mind-body connection. Not everyone is able to articulate where, exactly, their pain but through a bit of light conversation I can phish the info out of them during their sports massage, but the ones who know exactly how I can help them are my favorites.

If you could try any sport/or amazing physical activity what would it be? 

Zahary I love gymnastics! Shapes and poses that seem to defy gravity, and yet through dedication and training somehow go from feeling impossible to becoming possible. And for a sport- I’ve always wanted to try Kitesurfing.

Tell us a little bit about some of the other hobbies you enjoy

ZacharyI’m a mover and dancer. Active in many ways- yoga and acro yoga, cycling, swimming, hiking, dancing, contact improv. I’m also a performer and love working in collaborative and physical theatre.

What sets your sports massage apart from anyone else?

Zachary I find that having a strong somatic understanding of my own body, combined with anatomical and physiological knowledge, has led to an strong intuitive sense of how to work with others’ bodies. By moving, stretching and sometimes injuring my body over the years, when a client and I narrow down their issue I can work fluidly through all the sports massage modalities I have trained in, from swedish to myofascial or neurofascial release, to trigger point orThai, to work out their issues with the perfect method.

Is there anything we do not know about you we should?

ZacharyI traveled across the country for a year after college dressed as Baloo the bear, performing in and directing children’s theater.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

ZacharyThe ability to pause time so that I could read and learn uninterrupted.

What was the last book you read?

ZacharyThe Overstory by Richard Powers. Life changing. Highly recommended.

Take a look at our other massage therapist profiles!

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Six easy ways to get the most out of your massage therapy

Want to get a great massage?  We put together a list of six super easy ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your massage therapy experience.

 

Massage can be great…it can also be miserable. Just browse through Google reviews or Yelp reviews and you will see experiences that run the gamut between amazing and horrific. In between the lines of those reviews there are frequently experiences that did not have to be bad, but were created by a series of misunderstandings or misinformation. Sure you might get a dud of a massage therapist now and again, or someone on a bad day but the majority of Massage Therapists are professionals who want to give you what you want. We put together this list of easy ways to get the most out of your massage experience to help paitents and clients navigate how to avoid some of the common problems that come up on review sites.

 

1. Arrive on time: Actually arrive 10-15 minutes early, especially if it is your first time. Frequently customers think they have purchased an hour of time. What they do not realize is that that hour of time is very specific to it’s time slot. If you booked a 5pm for one hour, your hour starts at 5 pm. Arriving at 5pm and then needing to use the restroom, fill out paper work and check in, will cut into that time. Paper work is a big time suck. Even at a gym or salon there might be some liability forms to fill out, so err on the 15 minute side of early if it is your first time at a location. Additionally you might consider asking have them send you the paper work in advance or if it can be done online. One of the big complaints we see online is that the appointment was cut short. Generally this will not happen so long as the customer has arrived with time to spare, this is literally getting the most ‘time’ out of your massage. (if it does then see suggestion number 6)

 

2.  Advocate for yourself: There are MANY different depths and styles of massage. Before most sessions your therapist will either take a medical history, ask your likes or dislikes, and what you want to focus on. Some processes are more thorough than others…but whereever you are, this is your time to speak up and make your needs known. You do NOT want someone else’s massage. You want the massage you want. If you like a head massage, let the therapist know. If you do not want your new blowout touched, let the therapist know. Asking a questions about what will be massaged and what will not be is another good way to go. “Full body” does not mean the same things to all people, so try instead to say things like “I would really like I would really like a massage that focuses on my back, legs, calves, arms and neck, I do not care so much about my hands and feet”. Clarity of words can go a long way to clearing up any misunderstandings and having an experience where your legs were mysteriously left out.

Come in with a plan. Knowing what you want ahead of time will save you time and money. If your goal is to relax, that is totally valid, but a ‘full body’ can be made very un-relaxing by your therapist chatting away. Stating what you came in for can be really helpful to both you and for your therapist in order to get what you want. Same things goes for sports massage and medical work. Let your therapist know both your long and short term goals so that they are not guessing at what you want. Some people are terrible guessers.

 

3.  If you are sick or have a possibility of a schedule change, let reception know ASAP. Most places have cancelation policy’s. Those policies are often more lenient the earlier reception knows there might be an issue. If you wake up with the sniffles or your boss throws a curve ball,  give the reception a shout as soon as you know…they might be able to do you a solid. When you wait till an hour or two before your massage because you waited to see if you could really come, you are not going to find much flexibility.

 

4.  Be forthcoming in your injury history and health history:Things that may not seem like a big deal to you, such as that trick shoulder that separates when you put your arm over head, might cause a serious problem if your therapist does not know. Sure you have had it all your life, but this is your massage therapists first time seeing it. Medications are equally important. There is no judgment, but some medications can leave you at risk for bruising, blood pressure complications, and injury. Most complications are easily avoided just by knowing the medication, so please be honest.

 

5.  Do not come in medicated, drunk or high: Massage therapists are supposed to legally send you home if you are altered in any way…and you will probably be charged a fee. Even if your therapist does take you after a few boozy lunch drinks, it may be because they are not exactly sure if you are or are not altered. The likely outcome is, they are not going to give you the massage you want, instead they are wondering if they should be sending you home and giving you the most conservative massage possible. If you have medications you’re taking for an injury and that is what your coming in to be seen for, then call ahead and ask about them. Any medicine that alters your sense of touch or judgment, is a no-go for massage because it may increase your ability to be injured.

 

6.  Complain…but start at the right place first. Businesses are not perfect. No one wants you to have a bad time. Seriously, a business is only as good as their customer service. If you had a bad experience or feel you were somehow wronged, reach out to a manager. Frequently I hear stories where a customer might have mentioned something to reception…and you should totally do that since they are sitting there, but know that not all reception knows that means you needed help. Receptions job is to take payments and greet, often they will be overtasked and not realize you complained at all, or that that complaint should be passed on. Politely asking for a managers email is totally ok, and it will get you the fastest resolution. For small businesses, they are often grateful for this approach as they WANT to find out about problems before they hit the fan. With larger businesses you may indeed have to go to social media to get someone’s attention….but this is rarely the case with self run businesses or businesses that are not chains.

Every massage is going to be a little different. It is important to keep in mind, we do this every day as massage therapists but it may be a special day for you…Hopefully this guide helps you navigate our world of massage therapy a little better.

To book an appointment, or ask us a question about our practice find us here on our Contact and booking page.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Sports Massage LMT Interview – Crystal

Crystal Massage TherapistFor each of our Massage Therapists, we do a little interview when we hire them so that everyone can get to know them better and see a little about why they got into the Sports/Medical Massage field.

This month we are focusing on our Sports/Medical massage therapist Crystal and her massage therapy skills.

What is your background in sports? Have you ever trained or participated in a sports program? 

Yep, I ran track in both middle school and high school so I am familiar with training programs and running.

Can you share an experience that you have had in the past that has changed or impacted they way you work with massage as a tool today?

I once worked with a professional body builder who wanted an entire 90 minute massage session on his injured shoulder, it ended up being the most informative fun session I have ever had.

How did you get into Sports and Medical Massage Therapy? 

I have been fascinated in the study of the body ever since I visited an Orthopedic Doctor for a knee injury I had when I was running track. I found the process very interesting.

What are your favorite kinds of people to massage?

Anyone who uses their body for a living, I have worked with many pro and semi pro athletes. I like how tuned into their bodies they are.

Okay, give us an odd ball fact about yourself, something we do not know about you but we should.

I have a horrible sense of direction.

And last but not least, if you could have any super power, what would it be?

Oh my super power would totally be extreme strength and agility!

And that sums up our ‘get to know you’ sports massage interview. If you want to learn more about Crystal or her massage therapy you can head over to our Massage Specialists profile page or book an appointment with her on our booking site.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Sports Massage Therapist Profile Interview

Check Out Our Sports Massage Therapist Sharon!

sport massage therapist Sharon

We do this profile for our therapists now and again so that you can get to know them and get a little more information on who they are and what they do. Many of our therapists not only work in sports massage but also are athletes themselves. So here we go!

What is your background in sports?

Sharon: I have always enjoyed movement and have tried different kind of sports, even field hockey at one point, but lately I am really into yoga. I specifically train in arial yoga, circus, and silks. 

How long have you been training at your sport?

Sharon: I took my first arial class in 2013, but really started to get serious about it in 2015. I am now teaching arial yoga.

Can your share one experience as someone who uses their body that has greatly impacted your sports massage?

Sharon: Training in aerial can sometimes contribute to some weird imbalances. Especially if you are training for a performance sequence. However, I am a big fan of movement variability. Because of this I try and make sure BOTH sides of the body are worked in a sports massage, not just the side that has the issue. 

How long have you been training at your sport of choice?

Sharon: 5-6 years

What is your best uh oh story?

Sharon: One of the most significant injuries I have had is pretty recent. I inured my right shoulder so badly that it took me out of any regular movement practice. It gave me a deep appreciation of shoulder injury.  

How did you get into sports massage?

Sharon: When deciding our final semester practical, I decided to train as an LMT at the Joffery Ballet School. It was after that experience that I realized I really wanted to work with athletes and dancers. 

Are there any athletes you admire?

Sharon: Misty Copeland is pretty cool and inspiring!

Other than sports massage is there anything else you really enjoy working on?

Sharon: I LOVE working with the prenatal population. 

Is there anything else about you we should know? (odd ball facts and such?)

Sharon: Oh, I can hula hoop, play the ukelele while singing at the same time.

Sharon has now been on our staff for 1 year! Congratulations Sharon, you have grown leaps and bounds and worked hard for it. If you want to book a session with Sharon for sports massage, medical massage or prenatal massage you can find us online on our booking page!

You can also find more about Sharon in her therapist profile here.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

 

 

 

 

Sports Massage Profile Gerry

Get to know our sports massage therapist Gerry!

We asked our sportsports massage therapist nyc gerrys massage therapist, Gerry, a few questions so you can get to know him a little better. Here is what he had to say!

What is your background in sports, since you are working in sports massage currently?

Gerry: I used to race and I was a bike messenger, back when that was a thing in New York.  I also spent some time snow boarding.

If you could try any sport what would it be?

Gerry: Motorcycle racing!

How did you get into sports massage as a thing?

Gerry: I have a curiosity about the way people move and want to help them.

Are there any athletes your particularly admire? 

Gerry: Peter Sagan, he is a professional road bicycle racer.

Is there anything that sets your massage apart from anyone else?

Gerry: I hope it is my sensitivity

Do you have any specialized training that you are really drawn to?

Gerry: While I love working with athletes, I also work with geriatric paitents and that work is really inspiring. 

Is there any special skills or hobbies you want us to know about, something people would be surprised to know?

Gerry: I am really good at backgammon and swing dancing.

Last but not least, if you could have a super power, what would it be?

Gerry: I would want to fly of course!

 

If you want more information on Gerry you can find it on our therapist profile page.

To book an appointment see our prices page.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sports Massage Therapy Profile -Laura F.

Get to Know One of Our Sports Massage Therapists, Laura!

We are asking our sports massage therapists for a little extra information so that you can get to know them and their experience in sports massage.

 

So here it goes!

First off Laura, What is your background in Sports?

Laura: I have been working in the field of sports massage for 30 years.  I am not just a massage therapist but I am also a personal trainer, and I train myself.  I have played a number of sports… including boxing, running, and lifting.  If you are coming in for these things, I have a pretty good understanding of what is going on. 

What is your best “uh oh” story in regard to injury?

Laura: When I moved from LA to NYC, I (bleeping) fell on some black ice and I tore my left medial meniscus.  That was awful and it was a long recovery. 

If you could try any sport now, without limitations, what sport would it be? 

Laura: Krav Maga!

How did you get into sports massage?

Laura: When I was at Swedish Institute in NYC, I was bored with the relaxation massage and energy work I was learning.   I had an an instructor who taught sports massage and she was incredible.  That’s when I knew that was what I wanted to do. 

What are your favorite kinds of ‘sport’ people to work on now?

Laura: I love to work with dancers, but I also just love people who are active and want to take care of their bodies. 

Are there any athletes that you particularly admire?

Laura: Manny Pacquiao and Michael Jordan.  They are my favorites!

What sets your sports massage apart from everyone else’s sports massage?

Laura: (laughs) Honestly, I do not compare myself.  I just studied hard and took advanced courses.   I truly care about helping people in pain, and teaching them how to learn about their bodies.  As a trainer, I can also suggest some ways they might prevent hurting themselves. 

And last but not least, are there any other things we should know about you?

Laura: I am also a certified life coach.

To book with Laura, you can book online at this location, or you can read more about her Massage therapy and Sports massage there.

 

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage, 1 W 34th St, #204, , New York, NY 10001, United States (US) - Phone: 212-600-4808 Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com URL: https://www.bodymechanicsnyc.com/