By Massage Therapy Magazine
My name is Mario Di Girolamo and in 1997 I graduated from the Professional Institute of Massage Therapy in Winnipeg, Man. In the first eight years of my career I worked for myself in athletic gyms and chiropractic clinics. For the past four years I have been working in the spa industry at Ten Spa.
By Massage Therapy Magazine
Tell us about yourself
My name is Mario Di Girolamo and in 1997 I graduated from the Professional Institute of Massage Therapy in Winnipeg, Man. In the first eight years of my career I worked for myself in athletic gyms and chiropractic clinics. For the past four years I have been working in the spa industry at Ten Spa. Since joining Ten Spa my career has changed, as I am not only a massage therapist but the massage therapy manager as well. The rest of my free time is spent being a husband to my wife of 10 years, Antonella, and a father to my two girls, Isabella and Olivia. The last 12 years has been a complete blur but I’m having a blast.
Describe your environment
Ten Spa is located in Winnipeg, Man. I have been involved with Ten Spa from its very beginning in 2005. I still remember the bare skeleton of a space that evolved into Winnipeg’s only world-class spa. The spa encompasses the entire 10th floor of the Fort Garry Hotel. We are a full-service spa that caters to the guests’ every need. Upon arrival at the spa, clients receive a plush Turkish robe, Italian slippers and lockers to use during their visit. The therapy begins as soon as our clients enter the change room. Our change rooms are equipped with a German-engineered thermal suite, which includes a state-of-the-art steam room and experiential shower. Our clients can also unwind in our lounge where there are comfortable couches to relax on and complimentary healthy snacks and beverages to choose from. The other half of the spa encompasses our treatment area, where we perform a variety of therapeutic treatments.
What are a few pros and cons of your environment?
There are pros to working in a spa environment, but cons, not so much. The continued training our therapists receive is a definite pro. We have a number of treatments that are based on scientific, folk and old school European and Asian traditions. We find that the continued education our therapists receive is an invaluable asset to their massage techniques. Our massage has evolved into treatments that are very skillful and precise and are second to none. The last time I checked, the career expectancy in massage therapy was three years. As a therapist who has been doing this for 12 years, this saddens me – especially if you love what you do. I think that a massage therapist in a spa setting will have a lesser chance of burnout. In our spa we have a variety of treatments that can be performed throughout the day, which can make the work day a little easier. All of our treatments are designed to use proven high-quality equipment and products to aid the therapists in achieving the clients’ needs. The combination of this and the therapists’ skills makes the physical part of the job easier. The administrative burden is also taken off the therapists’ shoulders, as all booking and billing is taken care of by the spa. There are no worries but to show up and do a good job. Therapists will save time and money working in an establishment like Ten Spa. I guess the one con is that the massage therapists have to work for someone else and with co-workers, instead of being a sole practitioner. Given the pros that I have mentioned, I guess that’s not so bad.
What do you think would improve your experience?
It has been exciting to see all the progress the massage therapy industry has achieved in the past 12 years. There has been a definite increase in people using massage therapy as an alternative and complementary therapy to Western medicine. I think the spa industry has to work closely with associations and schools to inform the public of the validity and benefit of massage therapy in spas. More often than not, our therapists hear from a new client, “I go for my real massage with my massage therapist.” I thought we were real too. That comment usually turns into a positive for the spa and the therapist, as those clients usually eat their words. Our spa is part of an organization called the Leading Spas of Canada (LSC). The LSC is a huge step in the right direction for the spa industry, as it has created new spa standards to regulate all spas involved. There are many massage therapists in the spas industry and I hope we can move forward with all massage therapy schools, associations and practitioners in the right direction.