What are you jammin’ to in the car these days?
Lately I’ve been digging into the 70’s soft rock; Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Paul Simon, etc. It’s summer music through and through. I’m also in love with the band Alvvays. Can’t get enough.
What is your philosophical approach to bodywork as a massage therapist?
To me, massage serves as a way to provide meaningful, safe and healing touch to others. We live in a severely touch deprived society and people don’t realize the impact on the central nervous system and brain development/function when touch is absent. While much of the work I do is focused on goals and results with muscle tension and soft tissue issues, at the foundation, I got into this work to simply be someone on this earth that helps others feel connected.
What is your favorite thing about being a massage therapist? Business owner?
- I love creating a positive working environment for my team. I’ve been in toxic workplaces before and it brings me so much joy to know my employees feel respected, valuable, and fulfilled, and to know they have the flexibility to find work/life balance.
- I enjoy the flexibility that being my own boss affords me (really… you can’t beat it).
- I am a very metric driven person. I enjoy tracking progress in its many forms and making plans based on trends. It’s fun to problem solve the highs and lows of an industry - cyclical slow seasons, public misconceptions about our work, online visibility, etc.
- This career marries 100% of what motivates me in life and lacks about 90% of things that cause dis-ease in my life. I really don’t know what else would make me happier… which is so cool to be able to say.
Tell us about life with your husband and fur-babies. What can you be found doing on weekends? Are you travelers or homebodies?
Erik and I have a very full and lovely life. On weekends you will catch us doing landscaping and gardening projects in our yard, visiting or hosting friends for gatherings, exploring the food scene in Detroit, walking our Chihuahua and Golden Retriever, or just having quite evenings in our hammock.
Our animals are our children. Until recently, we had three cats and two dogs... A small zoo. We recently lost our kitty Leo to old age. We are so grateful for the time and friendship he blessed us with. The remaining children are all very content and we enjoy of cuddle time in the evenings and on weekends.
We love taking trips to Saugatuck, Canada, and finding other ways to spend time together outside of our normal routine. It’s a gift to be able to escape our wonderful but busy lives for 5-7 days and let our bodies, minds, and spirits calm. We believe it is critical to give ourselves time to refresh and be at peace.
What are your hopes and dreams for Dustin Palmer Bodywork & Massage in 5 years? 10 years?
I have a vision for this practice. I see us in a modest sized space that includes about 5 therapy rooms, a classroom space and a reception area. The team will be a slightly larger version of the dedicated, passionate, and skilled therapists that we have currently. I intend to keep this practice to a modest size so that quality and service are not compromised. I also believe smaller teams are easier to keep quality and service levels high. I would very much like to expand the services of the practice - private yoga sessions, acupuncture, self-care classes, continuing education classes for practitioners.
Have you ever experienced an emotional release while receiving a massage?
I have had an emotional release while receiving Reiki, but not massage.
Tell us about a favorite memory with a client.
I don’t know if I can filter it down to one memory… but I can say my absolute favorite experiences are with clients who have sought relief from pain in many different places but who ultimately find the kind of relief and progress they were looking for in a session with me. When clients indicate that their lives have changed dramatically since they started working with my team... that feels amazing.
What do you do for self-care?
Self care comes in many forms. I’m good at some and not so good at others. Currently I am undergoing a 6 month program with a functional medicine organization to cleanse and reset my body in many ways. On a daily or weekly bases I do certain stretches to keep my body, arms and hand limber and healthy. I try to engage in actives that calm my mind like walking, bike riding, laying in my hammock under the stars.
If you could move anywhere to study massage where would you go?
Someplace with great beer
You’re going to be stranded on a desert island. What are the three books or movies (choose one or the other) you bring?
- The Harry Potter books
- The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide
- The Four Agreements
What brought you here? Why are you a massage therapist? Why did you decide to become a business owner?
Having spent 8 years of my professional life after graduate school working in industries that yielded little happiness, I reached a point where I knew I needed to make a drastic change. Joy and happiness had become infrequent. I was overweight, unhealthy, and living in a perpetual state of stress. I developed depression, anxiety attacks, and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In short, I was on a quick decline... and I knew it. I decided in the Fall of 2012 to quit my corporate career and take some time to heal and course-correct my life. It was during this period that I realized the answer was there all along. Growing up, my father was a big believer in Massage Therapy. He used to send my mother and I to practitioners about once a month. Being exposed to massage as a teenager was a blessing and I remember discussing the profession with each of the therapists, hearing the many reasons they loved what they did. However, this was in the mid 1990's and the profession did not have the kind of social stature that I felt was expected of me. I quite intentionally ruled out bodywork as a career and pursued more "acceptable" options. Almost 20 years later, the field of Massage Therapy has evolved and proven itself among the health care community. Personally, I had evolved into a free thinker and self-motivated individual who was ready to revisit the work that captivated me at such an impressionable age.
Tell us about a moment when you realized you made the right decision to change career paths.
The very first day of massage school I had this intense moment of peace wash over me. I was going through a very turbulent time in my life and that day it was like The Universe just said “Be quiet, be calm, I’ve got you." It was an affirmation I have not experienced before.
What’s your favorite music to work with during massage?
Up until recently it was soothing guitar. A client recently requested 70’s soft rock and now my favorite band to work to is Hall and Oates.
How do you stay motivated/disciplined to get all the things done that massage therapy and owning a business demands of you?
I am a to-do lister in the biggest way. I re-write my list every day and enjoy prioritizing. I’ll admit at times things get away from me... that’s where being your own boss comes in handy. I’ve learned to be kind to myself when this happens. Sometimes we just need a break. Ultimately, though, it feels good to make things happen. I feel a sense of responsibly to my family, my team and my clients. Because of this, motivation happens pretty effortlessly.
Why is Dustin Palmer the best place in the area to book a massage?
I’ve heard time and time again from clients both in person and in reviews online, my team listens to the concerns of our clients. We aren’t just getting through the hour with them… we’re here to get results for them. My team is made up of people who felt a calling to do this kind of work. Some businesses hire people to fill spaces on their team. As a recruiter in a past life I realize the importance of hiring the right people. I always want to be the difference for someone…. between getting massage twice a year and using massage as a self-care staple. That’s what we strive to do.