Paula Nedzinskas graduated in September 2010

Irene’s – Why did you choose massage therapy as a career?  

Paula – I was released from my job as a store manager during the 2008 recession.  I had a 9-month-old and a 3-year-old, I was wound up tight from being outsourced to a new company and then 18 months later fired.  I took a few months to curl up into a ball and feel sorry for myself, and then I got to work figuring out what to do with my life.  I had several people tell me they thought I’d be a good massage therapist because I was gentle, caring and I listened.  I was also interested in healthy living and thought it could be a good match. I was able to take advantage of the No Worker Left Behind grant money to pay my tuition and books for Irene’s.  I was off and running to my new career, even though I was 45 years old and scared to make such a BIG change.

Irene’s – Where do you practice massage therapy?

Paula – I am a self-employed Massage Therapist.  I have a home office that I work in 2-3 days per week and I also work at the Detroit Athletic Club 3 shifts per week.  Working at a high-end spa gives me the opportunity to have colleagues and not have to market for clients in my home spa.  I only see people that I know at home or referrals of current clients, so it’s a bit limited there.  I started at a Chiropractor’s office and went out on my own for one year.  It was tough to get enough business at my home salon for me to be as financially successful as I wanted, so I branched out and was very choosey as to where I’d like to work, but the pay is great at both places!  I am thankful and grateful to be able to be at home with my kids most of the time!

Irene’s – What is the most rewarding part of your massage career?

Paula – I love problem-solving with people’s bodies.  Watching their gait and listening to what hurts helps me figure out my path for their massage. I have enough tools in my toolbox to help me to facilitate healing for the clients.  I love reiki, CranioSacral Therapy, Cupping, and using Essential Oils for the health of the client, and I get a lot of repeat clients.

Irene’s – Do you have a favorite memory from massage school?

Paula – I’m a pretty spiritual person and I wanted to get off on the right foot at school, so I took a weekend elective prior to my first hands-on class ~ On Becoming a Healer~  I got there a few minutes early and I knew somehow it would be important to sit with someone, rather than sit at an empty table and have someone choose to sit with me.  Somehow it meant me taking action.  So, on the first day of school, I sat with Stacie Wall-Jackson and we are still friends 12 years later!  My other favorite memory was on graduation day. I went back into the auditorium to get the program that I left at my seat.  My 5-year-old son was with me, and Irene herself was sitting on the stage.  I took the opportunity to sit next to her and thank her for the opportunity to study at her amazing school.  I had just finished chatting with her, and my son looked right at her and said, “I know how to give hand massages, my mom taught me.” I was a little mortified, but Irene just stuck out her hand and said, “show me.” So, he did, and then she said, “Can I show you a few things?”, he was eager to learn.  My photographer friend was there and took the photo of Irene’s 90-year-old hand and my son’s 5-year-old hand.  A photo I’ll always cherish.


Irene’s – What was the best class you took at Irene’s massage school?

Paula – ALL of Larissa’s classes were A+++ in my humble opinion, but my favorite was the Essential Torso Class.  I think of Larissa during almost every single massage I give.

Irene’s – What bodywork modalities or massage techniques do you find most effective?

Paula – I Love Cupping and CranioSacral Therapy.

Irene’s – What was your greatest success with a massage client?

Paula – My sister had super bad Sciatic Nerve pain all down her leg, to the ankle.  I worked on her for about 3 months every week and she saw the Chiropractor, too.  We’ve gotten it manageable.  She went from not being able to stand without pain to being able to continue walking and doing yoga, etc.

Irene’s – Where is the first place you worked after you graduated from massage school?

Paula – I started out with Mobile Massage for about 20 clients (mostly friends and family). After 5 years, I worked at a Chiropractic office.  Insurance loopholes were closed and there weren’t enough massages at the office. So I went solo with a salon in my house (perfect timing with my divorce). After one year of working solo in my home, I wanted a little more professional connections, so I got the gig at the Detroit Athletic Club to round things out.  It’s been just over 3 years there and at home and it’s pretty perfect.

Irene’s – What do you do for self-care to provide longevity for your massage career?

Paula – I get a massage about every 3 weeks.  Some are trades, but I also pay for some massages.  I also walk and go to the chiropractor myself.

Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success as a massage therapist?

 Paula – My positive attitude, always taking relevant CEU’s, and connecting with each and every client in some way, and being grateful for each client that I come in contact with.

Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best to promote your massage practice?

Paula – Word of mouth

Irene’s – What do you feel was the biggest mistake you made as a massage therapist and how did you address it?

Paula – I have one client that I saw 2 times a week for a few years.  After one year, I told her she could pay monthly, and then she wanted to pay at the end of the following month.  It was fine for a while but then the pay became delinquent.  I stopped going to her and it took almost a year to collect the outstanding balance.

Irene’s – What continuing education have you taken after graduating from massage school?

Paula – CST (4 classes), cupping, Lymph Drainage, Reiki Master, and so much more…

Irene’s – Do you have any advice for new massage therapists?

Paula – Be true to yourself, connect with every client, and know there is a client for every Massage Therapist and a Massage Therapist for every client.

Irene’s – What is the best way for massage clients to contact you?

Paula – by referral from another client or to be a member at the Detroit Athletic Club, or search me on Facebook at Soma Therapy Massage, Paula Nedzinskas OWNER, LMT