Rebecca Tamm Graduated from Irene’s June 2003 


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

RebeccaHonestly it was something I had never considered. I had never gotten or given a massage but I saw a brochure for Irene’s in the mail one day and decided to check it out. I was 24 at the time, think I was having a quarter-life crisis, and after taking a tour of the school I went to my job the next day, put in my 2 weeks notice, cashed out my 401k to pay for school, and took the next year off to focus on my education.


Irene’s – Where do you practice massage therapy? 

Rebecca – I own Michigan Massage and Wellness in Troy. I started my business in 2004 after realizing that I was working hard to make other people money and it wasn’t work I enjoyed (the spa-like atmosphere that I was sure I wanted to work in when I was in school). We have a small staff where we put the focus on client care and the happiness of our staff is as important as the happiness of our clients.


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

Rebecca – Making a difference in people’s lives! No one is unhappy to see us and I love when someone comes in on the verge of tears because they are frustrated that their pain is impacting their day-to-day lives and they leave being able to put their jacket on or turn their head without pain. And to see our relationships with clients grow and turn into friendships. I still see my very first client from 2003 and it’s been so rewarding spending the last 17 years helping people and to be able to pass on the knowledge and skills that I have learned to our new staff members and help them be successful and love what they do as much as I do. I love mentoring new massage therapists and helping them identify their strengths and see where their passion is and fostering an environment to help them grow.


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

Rebecca – My classmate/friend and I eventually had to be told we couldn’t work on each other anymore because we worked on each other All. The. Time. and we would always compare the knots in our back to pasta. “Eww, your back feels like stuffed shells” and “it’s like Fettucine back here”. That’s how we knew what kind of shape we were in. Really helped develop our palpation skills too.


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

Rebecca – Oh gosh, it’s been nearly 20 years so hard to recall all of the classes I took, but I really loved the carpal tunnel class and still use a lot of those techniques today.


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

Rebecca – I have shifted my own practice quite a bit over the last couple of years to more of a manual therapy approach. I would say 80% of my work now is Fascial Stretch Therapy and I often do a combination of modalities and work out a treatment plan for each individual client. My focus is more on pain management, scar tissue work, and concussion therapy while my staff does more of the traditional massage-both relaxation and pain management. We like to offer something for everyone.


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

Rebecca – When I was working on an auto accident client, she first started seeing us with difficulty walking even while using her walker. And after a series of sessions, she was able to walk without assistance and didn’t even need the wall for support. Those are the situations that get me out of bed in the morning-helping people get through their daily life with a little less pain.


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

Rebecca –  If I recall correctly I worked for a company that did outcalls to hotels in the area. While I was in school all I wanted to do was work for a fancy day spa doing fancy body treatments and I got a job shortly after graduating from Irene’s.  I quit there 4 different times and that is what led me to start my own practice 16 months after graduating.


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

Rebecca – Regular massage and bodywork sessions for myself. I am also a Yoga Tune Up® teacher and use therapy balls, straps, blocks, and everything else to keep my body moving. I also respect my schedule and don’t overbook myself. I take regular time off to have a good work/life balance and I make sure I get plenty of sleep and only work with the people that I truly want to work with so coming into work each day is a joy rather than a chore.


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

Rebecca – My stubbornness and determination are what have kept my business going for 17 years, and not only surviving a pandemic but thriving after it. And fostering relationships with people so they feel like more than just a name on the schedule. Clients come to us for a variety of reasons and we make them feel like the most important person in the world while they are on our tables and in our treatment rooms. And apparently, I’m really good at what I do!


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

Rebecca – We stay active on social media and I love to educate the general public about the importance of regular massage. Google is amazing, a good website is key and client retention is critical.


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

Rebecca – Not learning to set boundaries sooner in my career and not learning Profit First until a couple of years ago. I would let too many people cancel last minute without enforcing our policy and some people took advantage of it. And Profit First has been an absolute game-changer for my business and I recommend it to everyone that has a business or wants to have a business. Now we take credit cards to hold reservations and will charge if someone does not respect our time. And I have now built several months of business expenses thanks to Profit First so I feel better knowing if we have another 2020 on our hands my business will be better prepared.


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

Rebecca – A LOT. Several years ago I went down the rabbit hole and learned a lot of new modalities in a short amount of time, but they helped transition me to the work I’m doing now. I perform Fascial Stretch Therapy, scar tissue work, concussion recovery, Lokte Method, and I love teaching people movement and mobility using my Yoga Tune Up® training. As I say “I love fixing people but I love teaching people how to fix themselves”


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

Rebecca – Ask questions! Find a therapist that can mentor you. Go get bodywork done to see what interests you. Learn Profit First. Decide if you are capable and willing to take on the stress of running a business (the right way) or if you would be better suited for working in a team environment with other people and you can just show up, see clients and go home. Set boundaries and stick to them. Know when to refer out. And know your worth. Don’t run a Groupon just to get people in the door. Make a list of what you are looking for in an ideal client, the type of work you want to do, and stay focused on that.


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

Rebecca – You can check us out on Facebook and Instagram at Michigan Massage and Wellness, or at