Owner and Massage Therapist of True Healing Massage is Terri Sowers.
As you may know we’re are a mother-daughter team running this business, and she is the face, the talent and the expertise of the massage studio in Downtown Lynchburg.
For the New Year and decade of 2020, here are 20 questions to get a little more insight into Terri’s life and career as a Licensed Massage Therapist.
1. If you could do only one aspect of your job, what would it be?
“I like to talk to people, to comfort them during massage. I like to feel the muscles relax under my hands. I feel like I’m doing a real service for people. And then to be able to talk to them, and tell them about what muscles and give them more information about massage, then that makes me feel good that I’m helping a person to grow in their own knowledge.
2. What if you had to choose between educating your patients, or just massaging them?
Right now it would be only massage, if I had to choose. Somewhere in my future I think lies the teaching part of it. But I don’t feel like I have enough knowledge yet to exclusively teach, either from experience or from the amount of information that is out there. I want people to think I have a huge wealth of knowledge, and think of me that way as an instructor. I think one day I will teach because massage is hard on my body, but for now, I choose the massage. Regardless, I’m very much in love with massage, it’s just so vast.”
3. What’s your favorite part of being a Licensed Massage Therapist?
“That’s a harder question. I enjoy talking about it, learning about it, I love this networking thing and sharing ideas, being able to converse in the advertising realm. Meeting with people, having a profession that I get to talk about and promote, and doing the massage and getting to talk to people.. I love learning, there’s so much to learn. The spiritual aspect, rehabilitation aspect, which is way different than just relaxing the muscles. Rehabilitation is going to encompass so much more. I really don’t think I could have found anything else that suits me in this moment in time.”
4. What’s your least favorite part of your job?
“Probably the note keeping part, the ‘soap notes’. It just takes time and your brain’s not ready to think right after a massage. But I have figured out how to make it work!”
Your brain or the soap notes??
“Ha, the soap notes! Copy and paste is a wonderful thing. I have a standard, and I can just edit in what I do differently. The software I have maps everything out by body part, from head to toe, so if I worked on the quads five more minutes than normal because they were tense then I just add that. My notes are much more efficient now.
5. What’s the hardest part of being an LMT, business owner, entrepreneur, etc.?
“I guess... probably just keeping it all organized. It’s an organized chaos - look at my desk, take a picture of my desk and that’s what my brain looks like on the inside. Planning, timing, organization - all very big things. It’s not a 1,2,3 step by step thing, maybe someone could make a book out of that… but I didn’t read it yet. There’s just so many facets of it.”
6. What is one thing you couldn’t live without, in your job?
“My office manager. I'm not kidding, not sh*tting you. There’s no way. I love being able to work together and watch you grow. You’re so intelligent and creative, and that provides me with so much more input that I could ever put out on my own. You're a reliable back-up, as an office manager, I can call you and say, ‘hey this person wants a gift certificate,’ or I just send you a text and that’s taken care of. If I have an idea, you help to enhance the idea. You help to formulate a better idea of whatever I’ve come up with. I can rely on you, if my brain isn’t working, I can ask what you can come up with. Financially, you know numbers more than I know numbers. It’s just a beautiful relationship. Without you, there’s just no way. We wouldn’t be in business. Wouldn’t have the confidence; you bolster my confidence. We’re a team and I’m not doing this by myself.”
(I’m not crying, You’re crying!)
7. What did you do before massage?
“I laid on the floor and let people walk all over me, in order to make a living in the world. And I was unsuccessful, like many people I am sure. You run the rat race, you do anything you can, especially when the kids are little. You gotta have one vacation pLEASE. How many did we get? One. That was a whole different world.”
8. How did you end up as a business owner in massage therapy?
“I really feel it’s by God’s grace. My life has been tumultuous up until about ten years ago, and I’ve had to make straight the chaos. I’ve had to somehow organize the chaos and understand it the best that I could in order to live and make ends meet. So from my Bible reading and my relationship with Jesus Christ, after almost 30 years now, I realized that I'm not… I didn’t make me all by myself. There’s no way that given the cards I was dealt, that I should be here. Someone has actually told me that, ‘The cards that you were dealt? How the hell did you make it, to this??’
My family life had a lot of mental illness, and problems growing up; there was no guidance for that. I didn’t just miraculously figure it out. And now, as a faithful Christian, I know that God creates us with a purpose... but you can’t do something well, unless you learned how to do it completely, and you don’t learn how to do something completely unless you’re the one that’s actually doing it, if that makes sense.”
You were able to learn through your personal experience.
Yes, so God’s purpose for me, is to “TOUCH” people’s lives (ha! SEE!) with my personality, with the stories that I have from my past, added with my compassionate nature, I believe that I’m here to help ease other people’s anxieties and hard times, just by having walked those steps myself. So, how did I get here? It’s been a long road, but circular. I think God has planted every single thing along the way, and allowed me to make the decisions that I did, and it’s been a healing process for me. All that I went through in my early life be it the sexual abuse, and the time that I was a foster kid, drugs and alcohol - it’s all brought me back to make me a whole person. Really it’s actually very humbling to think that God has planned out those details, for one person out of all those people in the world, that he would be that in-depth, and even though I had to deal with some very very hard things, he’s allowed the healing through the journey that he put out for me. He could have said ‘hey walk this road’ without concern for how it affects me. But he is concerned and has allowed me to heal as I walk through it. It’s beyond comprehension really.
9. Given your life’s journey, would you do it differently if you could, to end up in the same place?
No, I wouldn't have the skills; I wouldn’t have the life experience that I have that brings it to the table. If I had gone to massage school right out of high school and been a 23 year old massage therapist, I could have quoted you a bunch of muscles, but I had no life experience. My life experience has allowed me to connect with a much more diverse amount of people. That’s what brings it to the table. I was a veteran, I connect with and love veterans. I’ve dealt with a lot of seniors in my life, caring for them, and I love working with older people. I have a connection to people with trauma in their lives. My life experience gives me more to share with other people, more to talk about, more to understand.”
10. What are you grateful for?
“Harry. My husband has supported me for the most part, even when he didn’t like the idea he supported me anyway. He’s been a stabilizing constant. I needed that for so many years, for 40 years, and finally, I was able to have that. Somebody who was truly looking out for my best interests, someone who was excited about my life and my endeavors, my children. And the fact that he’s so knowledgeable, and yeah. I’m definitely grateful. How did I snag him?”
11. What are you most excited about right now?
“BNI (Business Network International), I’m really excited about helping our chapter come to fruition, helping expand the BNI group, getting to know these people better, using this group as it’s meant to be used as a networking tool, to grow my business and meet people."
[[FYI: BNI has chapters in most cities, to bring together all different careers, to help network and connect businesses together and grow their client bases.]]
12. If you had $1000 what would you use it for?
“Pay off a credit card. $10,000? Pay off credit cards. More? Pay off all my debt, or purchase a really cool electric massage table that does crazy stuff. A Million dollars? I’d buy my own place, and probably turn it into a business with employees. Like a therapeutic medical center or something like that."
13. What do you wish you had more time for?
“That’s a hard one too, sometimes you could just take the time...
I wish I had more ENERGY to take my course.
I wish I had more time for organizing, planning, that kind of thing.”
14. If you could invent a National Holiday what would it be for?
“That’s a hard one. I guess it would be something about knowing yourself, something about taking time to smell the roses, or realizing your limitations, how do you even explain that?
Yeah, mind and body. Not just physical self care.”
15. Describe in 1 word, '2019'.
Because that is when I started a business, and began to implement whatever needed to be done to start the business. It was a whole new chapter for me.”
16. What do you want other upcoming MT’s to know?
“That if you're going to have your own business, you need to have one or more mentors. Here again, I have nobody teaching me how to run my own business. All my life, I never had people I can rely on. It just makes the batter smoother, when you can say ‘hey, I don’t know how to do such and such’ and you have someone who can give you the answers. I mean you have to learn how to do some things for yourself, but you don’t have to learn how to do everything for yourself. Having a mentor is key.”
17. What do you want people to know about entrepreneurship and starting your own biz?
“Not as easy as you think, but it’s easier than you think it is.
The details are definitely abundant, there’s a lot of facets to it, but at the same time, it just kind of flowed for me. I don't know if it’s my personality that made it so easy? Harry says I’m ‘gregarious’. And Yeah I guess it’s easy to talk to people, makes it easy to make sales or gain customers. But the details will kick your butt.”
18. What do you want to achieve in 2020?
“Independence. I want to have enough clients to give back to my husband, to the money he’s been able to put into our ten years together, be financially independent.”
19. What do you struggle with the most?
“My own self-care. Because, well. I don’t know. I want to say self-care.
I went and got a massage the other day but one wasn’t enough to fix what’s going on with me. Self care is the biggest thing. I’m doing better but I struggle to maintain. I don’t get my own massages as much as I need to. I should get a massage a week, is what I should be doing. I work on so many people. It depends on your activity level. If you're relatively sedentary, once a month would be sufficient for you. But if you are highly active, exercising several times a week, or something like that, you should go weekly. If I’m massaging 15 people a week, I should get my own massage at least once every other week. But I’m lucky if I get one every 3-4 months. Owning my own business has certainly given me more time, as I don’t have the strict 40 hour work schedule. But I guess I’m doing so many other things, that I don’t have time to slow down and take the time to do the extra self-care I need to do.
20. What’s the one thing you want people to know about massage.
“YOU NEED IT. People just... I guess one of the main things is that stress is going to kill you. Chronic stress is the leading cause of fatal disease. You need to take care of your body and your mind and learn to relax. Stress is a terrible thing. Our society is just constant.”