I’ve been keeping a secret. For the past year, my practice has been under siege by a seemingly uncontrollable conflict of interest. This has made me sad, angry, hopeless, optimistic, frustrated, and in the end, totally bewildered and relieved.
I moved in to my office three years ago. It has a great location less than five minutes from the main highway that runs through Denver with a decent-sized parking lot. The waiting area is adorably decorated by the massage therapist I rent from. It’s an excellent size, big enough to fit my ashiatsu frame and massage table, storage shelves, a small table and two chairs, a mini frig, and a water cooler with room to spare. It’s garden level, so two-thirds of the outside walls are underground, making it cozy and quiet.
Last summer, the long-empty office space down the hall was rented. I was worried that the build out construction would be noisy but the guys who were doing it were amazingly sensitive to the kind of environment my work requires, so there was not one problem. The business that moved in came from another office in our building on a different floor. They are an athletic performance improvement company, providing physical therapy, training and massage. They had shared their previous space with a massage business whose services included ashiatsu but that practice had moved out. I thought this would be an outstanding opportunity to partner and support each other’s businesses.
Then fall came. I walked in one day to blaring music coming from a room separate from their main office space that shares two walls with our suite. Unbeknownst to me (or the massage therapist I rent from), this company also offers indoor cycling classes when the weather gets colder. When I entered my treatment room, there was relentless thumping from the bass in the cycling soundtrack. This was not acceptable. In the words of one of my clients, “It has a good beat, but you can’t massage to it.”
I did everything I could think of to work this out. The lead instructor did lower the volume and leave the door to the hallway open to give the vibration somewhere to go, but it wasn’t enough. My husband, who is a bass player, consulted with them about some sound absorbing options. They did nothing. We reached out to the landlord to help us find a solution. They dragged their feet. I offered to pay for a wireless headphone system. They wouldn’t even try it.
So as fall approached this year, I decided the only way to restore the tranquil environment my clients had come to expect (and deserve) was to move. After looking online a bit, I realized a better way to find an appropriate space near my current location was to go old school and drive around to find complimentary businesses in nearby office buildings with space they weren’t using. I was surprised at how easily I found some just driving around and asking! These were my criteria:
- Near the main artery
- Easy directions
- Adequate parking
- Updated building
- Control of the heat and AC (that’s what caused me to move from my first office)
- Good cell phone reception (this is the one downside to having an underground space)
- No sketchy massage businesses nearby
- Quiet neighbors (of course)
Although I was hopeful and confident I would find a suitable replacement, something weighed on my mind. My space had been awesome when I moved in but that had changed. What was to keep that from happening again?
I had been looking for a couple of weeks when the lead cycling instructor came by. During yet another unproductive conversation, I told her I was going to move. She said she felt bad. I thought, “If you really felt bad, you’d do something!”
Soon after, our landlord informed us they would be doing a sound test and wanted to know when our offices would be empty. I wasn’t expecting much. To my delight, the test resulted in the disconnection of the subwoofer in their sound system. What a simple fix! I can still hear the music in my space when they have a class, but now it just drones on and becomes white noise. If clients didn’t know better, they would probably think it’s one of the mechanical systems. It’s easy to tune out and doesn’t interfere with relaxation.
I’ll likely never know what caused the change of heart. Maybe telling the cycling instructor I was moving really did make her feel bad and she became willing to compromise. Perhaps the landlord was persuasive. Whatever happened, I am immensely grateful! It appears I can continue growing the practice that I love from right where I am.
What struggles have you encountered with your massage space (or looking for it)? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!