5-Star Massages – How to Earn Each Star!

5-Star Massages – How to Earn Each Star!

There once was a time when I would get bodywork and expect 5-Star Massages. But such was not the case. I could not understand why the massages didn’t stick. I’d feel great for an hour and then my body would bounce right back. Only recently have I realized that the bodywork one gives is simply a culmination of what they have learned -not only in massage classes, but in life!  In my previous blog article I spoke about the importance that lies in quality of touch and ways to develop quality of touch. Today I want to share some professional advice from my 20 years in practice and talk about embracing opportunity.

All experience is an opportunity for possibility

Opportunity comes to us in various ways. Some life opportunities present themselves as self transformational and others as experiential and either will equate to new possibility.

Sometimes opportunity looks like leaning into life when its hard. Have you ever climbed out of a pile of dust after a major life ‘fail’ and found that a specific helping hand was waiting there for you? That someone and that experience is still inspiring who you are today right? This is why the best teachers remind us that there is no way to fail. That all experience is an opportunity for possibility.

Opportunity may be receiving an email like this -at just the right moment when you needed it the most.

Your life unfolds around opportunities and if this article lands in your hands then I hope that reading it becomes the opportunity you were looking for to help your practice thrive and revive!

The secret of a 5-star massage is not all technical

My advice for a practice that offers 5-Star Massages? It’s mostly about personal growth and less about the technical stuff.  So in addition to being a massage therapist, I’m a somatic coach and I use the basis of neuro science and Somatic NLP with my coaching clients. That said, I am less concerned about what is happening in their lives and more interested in how they are walking through their lives. How they do what they do makes or breaks them it seems.

What I share here will help you to find your center but don’t be afraid to wobble at times. Sometimes it is the wobble that navigates you back to your true north. Also, live life to its fullest, dip your hands into life up to your elbows! I take it back, dive in all the way!

Remember to feel

Avoidance is a sure way to get off center and session given by an off-center practitioner who is avoiding their own deep ecology is never as powerful as one given by a self actualized individual.

You don’t have to hold it together all the time just because you have a career as a space holder. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy, its how we experience being human. It is through leaning into the human experience that we develop self-compassion and become leaders in our field. A mistake is a mishap made when you did not know any better.  A poor choice is when you knew better but chose otherwise. I do not condone poor choices in our profession. However everyone makes mistakes in life or in their massage practice. It’s totally ok to stumble within reason.  Stumbling is what inspires you to find the resources to brush yourself off, and gives you the courage to carry on. If you have stumbled, worry not. I’m sure it will be an opportunity for growth. 

Lets start here with the first five steps to earn a well deserved five-star massage practice. I will share more steps of becoming an excellent practitioner in upcoming blogs. These first five are a great place to start.

The secret behind each well earned star…

⭐️ 1st Star : Embodiment

A 5-star massage practitioner understands that embodiment is everything. What does it mean to embody the presence of a bodyworker?  It is the opposite of dissociation. Your quality of touch thrives when you are taking care of your own deep ecology. Deep ecology can be defined as the stuff that fuels your growth or creates your obstacles. It is the why’s behind what you accomplish or not.

When you choose to be present for what is alive in you, you are embodied.  In this state you are not dissociated nor are you are expecting more of yourself then you have the capacity for. You are present and in this state of rapport with yourself you can hold a powerful presence and be in rapport with your client. When we are in rapport with our client, their nervous system feels safe and they are able to heal on a deeper level. In my fundamentals class I always teach rapport skills as the first step to a successful session.

If you have a part of you that wants to dissociate when you are having a hard day/week/life -its completely normal. If you want to work on embodiment, try somatic healing.  Mention this article and get $20 off a session with me. I offer phone, zoom and in office sessions I call The Remembrance. The session removes the obstacles that unwanted behavioral patterns create in our lives while at the same time honoring these patterns that are working so hard for you. I offer a 100% moneyback guarantee for this session if it does not leave you feeling resourced.

⭐️⭐️ 2nd Star: Master your own state

A 5-star practitioner understands how their own state affects the clientele they attract and the session they offer. How do they do this? Self awareness! How to get there? Know thyself. Take a course that teaches how to tune into what you are carrying and how to clear energy that is not serving you. I teach such courses but here one coming up soon taught by a dear friend and colleague of mine; master somatic coach, Nancy Shantaeu.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3rd Star: Give care to yourSELF

If you work in massage and healthcare, you are care giving daily and so your first priority is that you do all you can to feel healthy in your own body. Ways to stay healthy are to:
Get to sleep early.  Track time in the evening and turn off phone by 9:00pm and use the next hour to prepare for sleep (examples: yoga/meditate/read).  Be in bed by 10:00pm If those times don’t work for you make a schedule that supports your rest.  According to Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido -sleep is the only time the body restores it’s Qi (life force energy).
Meditate for 10-20 mins a day This will lower cortisol, the stress hormone and will help land your day in a flow state. Thanks to neuroplasticity, a flow state is possible and experienced when your brain chemistry opens up to new neural pathways rather than the default of worry and stress. These open pathways support your intuition and this in turn is felt by your client.
Exercise daily for 1 hour preferably first thing in am so you don’t end up skipping it. Speaking of skipping, include some light cardio and some strength training and follow it with stretching.
Take the right supplements: A functional medicine doctor can test you for exactly what your body needs.
Eat the right diet: Don’t over-do carbs.  They turn into sugar and drain you of energy. If you must have carbs eat them BEFORE exercise so your body turn them into fuel.
Take an adequate break between clients so that you don’t rush and eat a huge meal without leaving time to digest afterward. Working over a table when full is not good for your digestion or your back.
Incorporate breathwork.  When you get those afternoon heavy, sleepy eyes as your body is digesting lunch, try pranayama breathwork on a break. It works miracles and makes the last part of your day fly by.
GET MASSAGES: Pay, trade, whatever it takes to receive as many massages as you can. Remember the health benefits of massage? Exactly!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4th Star: Future Pacing

Future pace with your client before each session. This deepens your rapport with them and dials you in to want the want for themselves form working with you.  Again, neuro science plays a huge role in session results here. Get them to picture their desired state BEFORE you work on them.  Do this at intake. “In 90 mins when you get off this massage table and walk back out into the rest of your day, what do you want for yourself. Wave a realistic magic wand on your body, mind and spirit.  Let me know what you desire for yourself so that I can tune in with you.” When you study DFR we dive into various levels of intake. Soon I will be offering short, affordable courses on intake and more! Sign up for the DFR mailing list to stay tuned in so you don’t miss out!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5th Star:

BLEND bodywork with massage. A massage alone can be great for the nervous system but may not produce lasting results.  On the other hand, knowing effective bodywork sets you aside from the rest but it can also limit your client’s experience if you don’t incorporate delicious effleurage and other modalities into your work that calm the nervous system and evokes a flow state. Unfortunately, it is very common that one can only find either bodywork or massage but to find a practitioner who blends the two into an exquisite session is very difficult and rare.

DFR™ blends the effective bodywork with delicious massage and is a big reason why it is so well received. Unlike some of those “no pain/no gain” structural bodywork methods out there, DFR™ is deep but not painful. Lasting results are seen when we incorporate bodywork like pin and stretch, resistance and release (MET), traction and compression, fascial unwinding. However, without some oil and delicious massage techniques woven in, a DFR™ session would feel like it is right out of a text book.

Standalone bodywork can feel textbook-like or even like physical therapy and it only effects the nervous system minimally. Since most health insurance pays for the majority of physical therapy, what would keep your client loyal to you (and your rates) if they can go to their physical therapist and get something similar for a minimal co-payment of $35.00? So, IN ADDITION to the effective, lasting bodywork that DFR™ offers, it also incorporates effleurage, acupressure, craniosacral and so much more for those 5-star massages. Read about the 10 methods of DFR™ here.

NOTE: Some bodyworkers prefer to work with their clients fully clothed so oil may not be possible for them. If you are one of those practitioners you can weave still point moments into your session like in the image above with students holding all ten fingers on all ten toes in order to relax the nervous system. There is also the cranial vault hold that is so effective and lovely or the craniosacral hold with pulse balancing.

Embracing a Five Star Life

In conclusion, being able to offer those 5-star massage sessions that clients would only dream to receive may have something to do with opportunity and opportunity may have to do with what we are leaning in to and who we train with. Train with the magic makers.  Bodyworkers who are so embodied and grounded that they have a great sensitivity and talent. These are the ones who put their bodywork style into words and actually hand it over to you.  These instructors are so adept in life experience that they have an ability to read you and connect with you as you are. Compassionate instructors like this offer the knowledge you need to grow and give you just the right kind of feedback so you can improve.

pregnant person of color 5-star massageSystems of Inclusion

I am not talking about spending thousands of dollars to train with big names who we see so dominantly displayed in full page adds in bodywork magazines.  DFR™ is affordable.  It is she/they owned and developed by yours truly over the last 20 years. I am a white, non binary individual and I see the importance of teaching systems of inclusion culture in my courses. Besides learning and receiving incredible bodywork, DFR™ courses include learning BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, size and disability inclusion culture.  Investing in inclusive images for your website like this beautiful image here of a pregnant person of color is an example of this knowledge.


side-lying hip release 5-star massage
Windows of Opportunity

If you are a massage therapist or bodyworker and did not yet have the windows of opportunity to learn what it takes to hold a 5-star massage practice, then your offering may be limited. You may be questioning your own worth because you aren’t receiving enough of those lasting results that you need for the five star reviews to show themselves in your google business reviews. Fortunately, you can change your experience to one of filling your schedule, getting fabulous reviews and the LASTING results your client wants to see. I hope this article helps!

students massaging models 5-star massageCome Train With Me

Based on client and student reviews, DFR™ is up there with the best in terms of bodywork and in terms of continued education instruction. Thanks for tuning in! In doing so, may you discover all of the amazing takeaways once you have Dynamic Fascial Response™ in your tool chest.


individual in field of wildflowers with blue fabric flowing in wind  I’m here to support your journey

If you are having trouble with embodiment or finding your true north within your practice, a somatic session can support your self actualizing. Mention this article to receive $20.00 off. Book here: The Remembrance.

Don’t Miss out on opportunities coming your way. Sign up today!

Did you miss the sign up form that popped up while reading this article? If you are interested in Dynamic Fascial Response classes, special events and free massage content please sign up to be on the DFR™ mailing list and receive Chula’s blog here.

Feel free to reach out about classes anytime and I love connection and getting feedback on my blog so if it inspired thoughts please do share by emailing info@dynamicfascialresponse.com

Talk soon!


In Living and doing business in ‘ustomah (Nevada City, CA) we give the following acknowledgment to the indigenous peoples of this land in the foothills of California:




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