I now have a page on
I paid natural therapies to make it easier to find my details, but I am using my website to make it easier to find me on natural therapies!
And here is the mandatory link to my facebook page (yawn).
Donna Lou's Waxing for Men and Women:
Some highlights and milestones along the way
Some very special moments
My first appointment booking by email from the website
Such a civilised way to do business don't you think? It proved the potential that web technology offers. A request with approximate times and a dual confirmation, and a satisfied client with a frozen shoulder or arm nerve pain (I can't remember which) which I dealt with in the one treatment. I haven't seen the client again, but the client's partner has just made a booking via email!
My first international email booking
...was from New Zealand. Someone visiting Rockingham who had found my details on the Rockingham Tourism Website.
My first client to drive down from Perth
Considering that there are many remedial masseurs in Perth, to have someone drive from Perth to see me before I had fully qualified was probably the highlight of my career to date.
The client concerned had had a car accident 30 years ago, hospitalised for 2 years after, mainly in traction, and in pain ever since. Stopping at Rockingham on her way back from holidays down south, the client tried my then Lower Back and Hips routine and found it afforded relief from pain not experienced in many, many years. A few months later when the pain recurred, the client drove to Rockingham for more relief. The success story does not end there. Last year, the client had slipped and fallen, was on crutches and had great difficulty getting in and out of the car and was off on holiday. After an hour the client was able to walk without crutches and get into the car. I was expecting the client to pass by on the return from holiday or for some treatment this winter. I called the client recently out of interest and the one hour treatment had been sufficient to keep the client out of trouble for over six months.
This has been the work that I have been most proud of, to be effective when specialists with many more years of training had not been!
My first booking by mobile phone
I hadn't even advertised the number in the paper! Simply added it to the website, so it came as a surprise!
Sounds really silly a few years later, but I was almost the last person on the planet to get a mobile phone. Now, like everyone else, I can't imagine living without it, but I did put up stout resistance!
My first Google bookings
Normally clients come to me after seeing me at the beach, seeing an ad in the paper, or by word of mouth. Then I had two clients who booked me after using Google to search for Massage Rockingham
My first documented repeat international client
I think I have had several repeat international clients as many people from the UK winter in Rockingham and Perth. However, on Christmas Eve I had a UK client, Mike Bell of West Byfleet in Surrey, who I had worked on last year, and again this year but for a different problem.
Experiences at the Rockingham Rugby Union Football Club
I have worked at the club for three years, after first approaching them to do some voluntary work as part of the practical component of my Diploma of Remedial Massage. There were a couple of particularly fond memories of the first year. One player came to me on a Tuesday complaining of such great pain in the back after the Saturday game that he hadn't been able to sleep lying down for three nights. I worked on him for the best part of an hour and didn't seem to have made any impression on the problem. The pain had eased off a little but not much. Next time I saw him was the following Saturday, game day, and he played!!! I couldn't believe it. He said he had gone home, slept like a log and had no problem since!
Another chap, due to play in the A grade grand final came to me almost in tears. On the training track he had just had a recurrence of an injury he had had years before. On that occasion he had had physio about twice a week for several weeks before the problem subsided. I worked on his psoas muscle for about 45 minutes and he suddenly said the pain had gone. Guess who was man of the match in the A grade grand final? Rockingham won A grade in 2005.
Of course it can't all be good. In that first year I didn't realise that a player had snapped an Achilles tendon because I wasn't familiar with the test you perform to check it. However, I'd like to think that over the past three years I have made an important contribution to the Rockingham Rugby Union Football Club. There aren't many clubs with a qualified sports and remedial masseur, but I hope that more clubs in more codes start to follow the lead, as it can significantly reduce injuries, keep players on the paddock and reduce time taken off work.
My darkest hour: Winter 2007
This was the difficult time I had to have. OK, the weather didn't help much. In the winter of 2006 I was able to work at the beach every Sunday right through winter. I was rained off a few times, but I always had a few clients first. This winter it seems to have rained every Sunday! My home clinic was not the success I was expecting. After the exposure to the public at the beach over summer offering Health Fund Rebates, I was expecting the world to beat a path to my door. It just didn't happen. I bought a house on Swinstone St on my son's behalf which I hoped to rent from him as a natural therapies clinic, a busy street with visibility, but it took council too long to process the application and so we rented it out instead. It resulted in financial penury one way and another. I thought I had done it tough the previous couple of years, as I couldn't get a cent from Centrelink for Austudy whilst studying full time, and thought that being fully qualified would make a huge difference. After spending my life savings on training, books and DVDs I had hoped to earn a living from remedial massage. However life wasn't meant to be easy. It means I have to try even harder to change people's perceptions of remedial massage and increase awareness of how it can help with a wide range of problems.
The lack of money this winter meant that I couldn't afford to join the health club, go dancing, study further towards naturopathy or buy more remedial massage DVDs. A repeat in 2008 will mean that I'll have to follow the sun in future and work on the beaches up north in winter from 2009 on, after my youngest son has finished year 12.
Every cloud has its silver lining. It demonstrated the necessity of marketing. Word of mouth advertising is very effective, but it is also very slow. I have now got new business cards and fridge magnets to help in this regard.
I guess the problem is that for me to be successful, I need about 2,000 clients. My philosophy is to treat people 2 or 3 times and resolve their issues, and then see them again a year or whenever later when the same or different problem crops up. 2000 clients is a lot of people to trust you to work on their bodies, and it takes time to get to that level.
Article published by the Association of Remedial Masseurs
I submitted an article for the quarterly newsletter of the professional organisation to which I belong, namely the Association of Remedial Masseurs. It was designed to encourage other remedial masseurs to give it a go at the beach. Here is the article:
Hi! My name is Arthur Galletly. I trade as The Massage Guy. My office, for six months of the year, is a gazebo overlooking the ocean at the foreshore in Rockingham, WA. I am writing this article to encourage you (if you live by the ocean) to give it a go!
I'm not sure, but I think I could well be operating the only remedial massage clinic offering health fund rebates at the beach anywhere in Australia. Pretty staggering considering the length of Australia's coastline and the fact that Australia takes its holidays in Bali mainly to top up on cheap massages! Please let me know if I have any competition, via my website themassageguywa.com, as I really would like to find out if I am indeed the first person to offer health fund rebates at the beach. I've heard that there are masseurs on the beach in Cairns but relaxing only. Working at the beach has so many positives - I study or watch remedial massage DVDs between clients, the view is wonderful, the fresh air is brilliant, I don't use ANY electricity, not even a mobile phone, so many positives that I am writing another article on why I am better off than Bill Gates -who lives in a city with an indifferent climate surrounded by security guards, a man who has caused the world to use way much more electricity due not only to the computers in every bedroom in the world, but also the peripheral devices powered by transformers which continue to burn electricity when the computer is switched off.
So how do I operate? I have a massage chair for the back, neck and shoulders and a table for craniosacral work, the lower back loosener, reflexology or spot work. The environment I operate in is such a healing environment that I get very positive results, sometimes just from intent as much as talent or technique. Got a headache madam? A quick AO release and a few other bits and pieces and ten minutes later the headache is gone and the client cannot fail to be impressed!
How did I get started? After years of pain and largely non productive visits to chiropractors and physios I tried remedial massage and quickly lost the pain and the years fell away so dramatically I quit my job as a TAFE lecturer in computing and started studying remedial massage at Barry Harwood, TAFE, Australian College of Myopractic and the Perth Academy of Natural Therapies. I applied to Rockingham City Council to do chair massage at the beach. Initially they had strong reservations but I lobbied the councillors individually and they changed their mind. As long as I had the public liability insurance I could commence my operation! I had already completed several subjects and massage techniques at that stage, but the council were happy to let me start as a bona fide student of Remedial Massage. And so, having only done half a dozen chair massages in my life, I set off for the beach in December 2004 with my massage chair and first gazebo. The first gazebo lasted a few days, the second a month before I changed brands! I had a few disasters, coming home empty handed or with $10 for a days work, but gradually the business grew. I only had one price then, $10, and sometimes I would spend more than half an hour relieving aches and pains. What a great learning experience? And I got quite a few tips as well. However, many people were presenting with lower back problems and so I started to bring the massage table as well. People could relate to the table more so than the unfamiliar chair so more people stopped by and the business improved some more.
I have worked the beach for the past three summers and look forward to many more. Due to the windy nature of Rockingham I am up to my seventh gazebo. I also plan to open in somewhere like Broome or Darwin in winter in the next year or two.
Apart from being a satisfying way of earning a living in a nice environment, you can also give your card or brochure to local clients and this helps build up the home clientele in winter. This is really important, particularly for fresh graduates of the Diploma. I have come across a litany of people that have completed the Diploma of Remedial Massage and then can't make a living from it and are forced to change jobs.
What I would say is that 60% of my income comes from the chair massage. Interestingly, chair massage is covered only briefly in the courses I attended and basically I made up my own routines, a ten minute relaxing massage and a fifteen minute remedial massage.
I may never again earn what I did previously. There again, I have a better office, my clients go away feeling better (Bill Gates' customers often experience frustration with his products!) and did I mention the stress which I no longer feel, and having time to smell the roses, and having clients from Rockingham, daytrippers from Perth, interstate and overseas travellers.
If I were much younger I would probably attempt to start a franchise with a Massage Guy or Massage Girl on every beach, all fully accredited offering remedial massage with health fund rebates so that all Australians feel confident in using the service wherever they happen to be on holiday.
Of course, think franchise and people think of a two week training period! My prerequisites for a trainee would be the Diploma of Remedial Massage. My training requirements would be to spend a few months with me learning some advanced techniques and viewing my DVD collection and working at the beach.
One thing I am very proud about is that, by my presence at the beach with my signs, I am promoting the message about remedial massage. The unfortunate thing is that noone knows what remedial massage is. I couldn't get a definition out of any of the lecturers at TAFE. Certainly the government does not, otherwise there would not be GST on remedial massage - there isn't on our closest competitors, chiropractors and physiotherapists. Perhaps it is up to ARM and AAMT to lobby to lose the GST, as all it does is drive the industry underground.
Letters to the editor
I have been known to have a few letters published in the local papers, the West Australian, the Australian, the Times in England and in South Africa. I will start adding them here as I update the website from time to time..
Sensationally went overseas in 2010, will do a write up and a link to photo gallery in Facebook soon. This a photo from one of the main tourist attractions in Thailand, the Flight of the Gibbon, with me managing to look like a complete dork 120 feet up a tree!