Some Informational Background About Me and the Male Massage Therapist Website
I’m Sean Slovik, and I’ve been a male massage therapist in Melbourne, FL
since 2003 and an occupational therapist since 2008. It’s been a tough road at times. Before becoming a male massage therapist, I spent 13 years as a Deck Officer in the US Merchant Marine sailing on oil tankers. Unfortunately around 2001, I got an earache on the ship which eventually turned into a major career impediment – Meniere’s disease. I spent nearly the next two years living on my couch trying to stay supine due to vertigo and imbalance. Not a fun way to spend my free time, and had plenty of it because I couldn’t work, at least back on a ship.
Luckily (or unluckily), after nearly trying everything of a conservative nature, my Doctor drilled into my noggin, and inserted a little extra plumbing into my inner ears. While not a perfect cure, it got my dizzy days down to a minimum so I could at least work on land without feeling like I wanted to throw up all the time. Regardless, I still did not have the balance function to return to my shipboard job.
Contrary to the belief of some, social safety nets do work sometimes. I applied to Vocational Rehabilitation, and they paid for me (at least 2/3 of it) to be retrained. I ended up going to the S.E. School of Neuromuscular Therapy in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a great school for learning neuromuscular therapy, and I recommend it for any potential male massage therapist out there, but like most other massage schools, that school did not address the business aspects of being a massage therapist very well, nor did they address the special aspect of being a male massage therapist.
Well, without those skills I floundered about for a good while. No matter how hard I tried, I was often met with rejection, apprehension and flat-out gender discrimination. Sometimes I’d get a little frustrated and resentful, but luckily I continued to press on. That pressing on was key!
It took me awhile to develop a strong private practice. And I made a few mistakes along the way. Some of those mistakes were from the fact I am a man trying to make it in a female-dominated industry, and I had a difficult time seeing and exploiting the strengths and weaknesses I had as a male therapist.
Luckily, I had a few really good mentors: A chiropractor , a female massage therapist, a business oriented father , and a very, very supportive wife.
You may not need that exact equation of mentors to succeed as a male massage therapist, but trust me, you will need at least one great, if not two, really good mentors to survive in this profession. So figure out your equation now.
With all those bumps along the way, I’ve met a few fellow male massage therapists who have also had a difficult time of attracting clients to their practices. Most didn’t have any mentors. And all, like me, never really realized the unique aspects of being a male massage therapist and what is required to compete with our female counterparts.
It was from this that I realized, we, as male massage therapists, need an outlet to share the tips and techniques unique to our male perspective.
Hence, www.male-massage-therapist.com was born.
Hope you will share your thoughts.
--Sean Slovik, Melbourne FL
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