I have worked out of several high-end spas in the Cleveland, Ohio area and I also know other therapists who work or have worked at area spas, and it is my opinion that most women who are pregnant should NOT get massage at spas.
Spas are okay for general massage and especially when you are going to the spa with a group of friends and you want to get your nails, hair and other services along with a massage. However, if you are pregnant, you really should find a competent massage therapist who offers pregnancy massage away from the spa setting. If the person specializes in prenatal massage, does a lot of it, and is certified that is even better.
**Special Covid-19 Notice from the owner: “I will be honest here. I almost did not reopen our office after Covid-19 hit. I was only willing to reopen if I knew I could find a way to keep myself as well as my clients very safe during sessions.
All massage therapists and cosmetologists were given a bunch of mandates to follow in order to reopen. We have gone ABOVE AND BEYOND those mandates by also adding very powerful air purifiers that filter and sanitize the air several times within an hour, in addition to all the other extensive sanitation requirements. Both the client and staff wear a mask during your session and since I am now the only one doing most of the single sessions, I make sure that my lifestyle reflects a person who is trying really hard to stay safe during this Covid-19 pandemic.
The air purifier that we chose is a game changer. It is the same one I rely on at home. It is the same one I now take with me when I visit my daughter and her newborn baby (along with wearing masks the entire visit). I wear a mask every place I go to away from my home; I avoid large gatherings; I have severely limited any family gatherings and the two we did this year were held outdoors; I also do not go to bars or indoor restaurants. I saw fit to write this notice, because I know that if I was pregnant during this strange time in our history, I would want to know that where I am going is safe.” Donna
The Vast Majority of Spas Hire Newbies
Don’t get me wrong – I love the spa setting and in fact a lot of what I do in my own practice has its roots in the spa environment. But, when we were in massage school, several of our instructors told us that spas tend to be massage mills. The vast majority of them, especially in the Cleveland area, purposely utilize massage therapists who are just out of school and make then do a ton of massages for very little pay. The reason the spas want newbies is because they are so eager to learn and get paid for massage that they will settle for pay between $9-$15 per session just to have a job. Our area’s largest and most plush spa, pays its therapists $9 an hour plus tips and has then doing 10-12 massages in a day which is ridiculous.
How do I know? Because I interviewed with the area’s largest spa and they offered me a job there before I decided to work for Marengo Spa in the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Cleveland instead.
**In addition, local spas that have multiple treatment rooms are less likely to have air purifiers in each room. It is not a part of the state mandates so most have opted to not do anything extra. If you decide to go to a spa, please call ahead and ask them if they have one in the individual rooms so you will know.
Seasoned Therapists Move On to Greener Pastures
This is not to say that there are not seasoned therapists working in spas. There are a FEW. It is not the norm though. Why? Because seasoned therapists will quickly realize that they are worth much more and quickly move on to greener pastures. Either they will find a business that will pay them more or they will open up their own massage practice.
A Lack of Training
Aside from the fact that spas tend to hire a lot of newbies is the level of training. I had to interview a lot of therapists in the last 10 years for my own practice and I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about area spas. Many of my prospective therapists worked for some of the area spas and told me they were basically REQUIRED to do pregnancy massage. One lady complained that she felt totally awkward because she herself had never had kids. She could not relate at all to pregnant clients but she had to work on them anyway.
When I worked at one particular high-end spa, I would be told 15 minutes before a client arrived that they my client is pregnant and I was given one single pillow to make them comfortable. At that time, I was not trained in how to deliver a pregnancy massage other than someone saying to me to work on them in a side-lying position. There was one single pillow kept underneath the massage table in each treatment room for this purpose. I recall thinking that THIS IS NOT RIGHT. So many of the therapists I interviewed expressed to me that they were not comfortable at all doing pregnancy massage but they had no choice. I too – in that setting – had no choice.
I personally resolved to get certified in prenatal massage so that I could competently work on pregnant clients once I opened my own practice.
We Are Set Up To Pamper Prenatal Clients
Our prenatal clients experience all kinds of discomfort and pain and are often uncomfortable on the massage table. It is very important that massage offices and spas who cater to pregnant women have all kinds of bolsters, blankets, pillows, towels, etc. in case the client needs more support in order to feel comfortable during the session. Having one pillow just does not get it.
Reasons I Chose To Offer Prenatal Massage
Of course, now I am fully trained in and certified in prenatal massage because I always had a strong interest in it early on. I have also experienced three very different pregnancies and the last one was twins!
I know what it feels like to have stress in your life, have to work full-time and go thru a pregnancy. I know what it feels like to have one pregnancy go off without a hitch but then the 2nd one there is pain and discomfort galore. I know what it is like to carry multiple babies and be barely able to walk toward the end of the pregnancy and then swell up like a puffer fish in the last trimester. I can relate and I have a great compassion for my prenatal clients and a strong desire to pamper them and give them effective pain relief.
For me, I am not just DOING massage on them. I am helping them and ministering to them the gift of touch that can help them to have a more enjoyable pregnancy. And, because I am a hot stone massage specialist, I can deliver a level of pain relief and pampering unrivaled with a regular prenatal massage.
Pregnancy Requires a Different Setting
Am I saying to never go to a spa? No. I am saying that if you are pregnant and need massage you should seek out a different setting with a fully trained and competent therapist. Your situation is now SPECIALIZED and you need a different setting that can fully accommodate you and make you feel comfortable and give you a safe and deeply therapeutic massage session specially designed for pregnant clients.
Donna’s Background and Training
Aside from being licensed by the Medical Board of Ohio, Donna has worked on prenatal clients for 10 years. She has a background working in high-end spas; she headed up the massage services at a prominent country club in Beachwood for three years; she did out-calls for high-end hotels for several years; and she worked out of two chiropractic offices early in her career. She is now certified in prenatal massage and is one of the few massage therapists who combine that skill with hot stone therapy, to the delight of her clients.
To schedule your prenatal massage call or text Donna at 216-339-3401. We see texts first. We offer day, evening and some weekend appointments.