Body Work Series: Meet Amanda Fite, LMT
For years now, I’ve relied on your “non-stereotypical” ways of dealing with injuries and ailments. I’m not one to pop pills or run to my doctor for any ache or pain, so relying on massage/acupuncture/cupping is usually where I first head to. I also used to work for one of the only massage schools in Rochester (Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in the Village Gate), so since early on, I’ve been ingrained with this career field. Now that I have a great team of practitioners around me, I realize we don’t have a lot of education on these types of careers! For the next few weeks, we will dive into the world of massage therapy and hypnosis, chiropractors,, nutritionists and personal trainers.. Hopefully this will shine light on these career paths and answer any questions someone might have.
I’ve known Amanda Fite for years now, and she’s been working in the health and wellness field for 17 years. She is truly a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the human body. Amanda GRACIOUSLY took me through an entire hypnosis appointment before we spoke about her career field, so I can try it firsthand. Honestly? It was really great! Totally not what you would think of when being hypnotized (no clucking chicken sounds or weird bells ringing around your head), and incredibly relaxing. It was a two hour appointment – the first hour was a pretty in-depth conversation about what I’d like to work on (aka I have no work-life balance), and the other half was her walking me through the hypnosis. It was great and I HIGHLY recommend it. If you’re looking to get into the hypnosis/massage career field - keep reading!
Hi! My name is Amanda Fite, LMT, CHt. I have been working in the health and wellness field for 17 years.
How did you decide to get into this field?
I got into the field of massage when my sister started in massage school. She was learning so much about the human body and how it works I found it absolutely fascinating. I got to go to cadaver lab with her and see some totally dissected muscles and vessels. I thought it was amazing! After a short stint at St John Fisher I decided I wanted to go to massage school.
As for hypnosis, I was introduced to hypnosis after being the support person as my best friend went through delivering her little girl. Everything that could have gone wrong did and after that experience I thought, “There has to be a better way to do this…” I did a bunch of research on the subject and it turns out that hypnosis is 80% effective in giving women a fully comfortable birth with 15% of women reporting that it helped them get to transitional labor with no pain. So I knew I had to go and get my certification in Hypnosis. It turns out that hypnosis can help people with pretty much anything as long as they believe that it is going to help them!
What was the schooling like? How long was the program/what was the financial investment for this program/What program/school did you go to?
I went to OSTM (Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage) for their 6 month full time program. The investment was $10,000 and the school helped me get some financial support during that time. Classes ran from 9am-5(ish)pm (we also had some Saturday sessions for Pathology) and then after we were cleared for clinic hours we did massage in the student clinic after class. I put myself through school and paid my bills by working at night as a bartender. I would highly suggest if you need to work while going to school doing the part time program… I was 19 and even as young as I was working 30+ hours a week and going to school full time was hard… I slept on the shiatsu mats during my lunch breaks and I am confident that if I was not getting some type of body work every day (perk of going to massage school) that I would not have made it!
I went to the Hypnotherapy Academy of America for my hypnosis certification. It is a full time, fully immersive course that accumulates 500 hours of schooling in just 10 weeks. The investment was about $12,000 for all 5 modules, plus all my expenses because The Academy is in New Mexico.
Would it be better in this field to join a practice or create your own?
I have worked in both settings and I would say it really depends on what you are looking to achieve. It was nice to work at a spa where all I had to do was show up and do massages and write my notes and leave. But I find that building relationships with my clients and being able to utilize all of my skill sets to help them reach their goals is far more fulfilling for my purpose in life. I will say that I never would have been able to build a practice without the never ending support from the group of people I practiced with after going out on my own at The Retreat House. Having a solid support system helped me gain confidence as a massage therapist and introduced me to new modalities and ideas about life.
Would I need to get acceptance from an insurance company to be able to reach more clients?
Massage Therapy and Hypnosis are currently not paid for by insurance. Massage Therapists can accept no fault insurance but there is a lot of paperwork that goes along with that!
What is a normal day for you?
Right now I am in a rapid growth phase of my business so I am putting many hours in to reach my goals. A typical day for me looks kinda like this:
4am- Get up, walk the dogs, make coffee, get to the gym by 5am until about 6:30/7ish
7am-9am Get home, do light housework, prepare for the day, get Cole (my stepson) on the bus/to school.
9am-11am/12pm Return emails and phone calls, networking, run errands, business stuff, program development, education, possible appointments for myself, and usually 10-15min in there somewhere of self hypnosis/meditating.
11am/12pm-between 7pm and 9pm Seeing clients, returning phone calls and emails/networking/business stuff between clients.
(Wednesdays I go in early and get done early-ish, between 4 and 5 usually. I do put time in on the weekends but I do not see clients. And every day is a little different because I can make my own schedule but this is the gist. I try to be in bed by 9pm every weekday because my sleep is super important to me!).
What is the expected amount of pay for someone in your field?
This varies from $18,000 to unlimited income. It really depends on who you work for, how many hours you are willing to put in, and if you have any other income sources (selling essential oils or products, etc)
What are the negative aspects of this career?
Many people want to get massage or hypnosis on evenings and weekends when it is convenient for their schedule so (especially at first) there might be big gaps in your schedule (like an 11am appointment then a 5pm and 6:30pm) and sometimes you have to sacrifice some time on the weekends. Also, many jobs expect that you be “on call” during your working hours. So you don’t have to be on site but you must be able to report to work within one hour of them calling you. Sometimes people do not shower before they come see you (which I do not care about, but some therapists do), there are rashes and warts and foot fungus, people that will fart in your face and sick people that come in sometimes. But if your expectation is that only healthy, clean people will come in and see you then maybe this field is not for you...
What are the positive aspects of this career?
SO MANY! Helping people feel their best and reach their fullest potential is probably the best part. There is nothing like the feeling of helping someone relieve the pain they have had for years! Doing massage also helps me feel super grateful for my healthy body. Having a flexible schedule is great. Connecting with people, having hours of quiet time a day, feeling someone relax upon entering your space, helping others change their lives for the better, and so much more!
Where do you see your career in 5 years? 10 years?
I am currently working towards building an all inclusive health facility. Say a one stop shop for health and wellness… The dream is to have a functional medicine practitioner, Nurse Practitioner, acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractor, a health coach, massage therapy, yoga, hypnosis, gym, etc. all under one roof. The goal is to have all these health professionals working together to help clients be the healthiest version of themselves!
If you could tell yourself anything from before you started this career, what would it be?
Just be true to me. All the answers are inside of me. This goes for everyone. Outside sources hold no answers for you. Take the time to be still with yourself every day and any answer you are looking for will come.
Do you have any hobbies that also coincide with your career?
I enjoy hiking, gardening, being active via lifting weights/CrossFit, doing self hypnosis/meditation, reading and hearing about the latest research in my fields and cooking. Getting back to nature helps me center and ground myself so that I am able to help my clients better. Being active helps keep me strong so that I have the stamina and strength to work with 4-6 clients a day. Fueling my body appropriately helps me to maintain my schedule.
Tell us about working with the Rochester community- what is it like?
My clients are some of the most wonderful people that roam the earth. I love each and every one of them! Also, my support people (accounting, marketing, business coaches, etc.) are constantly helping me to reach my goals for which I am forever grateful!
Have you ever had any moments in your career where you said “what the hell am I doing?!”
I am human, that happens all the time!
What type of advancements could you make in this field?
Bringing all those practitioners under one roof is a pretty new idea. There are very few facilities that try to combine all these modalities under one roof.
Why did you chose to keep your business in Rochester?
My whole family is in the surrounding Rochester area and my whole entire network is in this area. I will admit I did think about moving elsewhere when I was younger but it just never came to be.
What is it like to work in this field in Rochester?
There are a lot of massage therapists in Rochester because of the schools in the area (there used to be 3 or 4 within a 30-40 minute drive) so you really have to have great word of mouth referrals. But it really is a very wonderful place to have my business!
From Amanda Fite:
Working with people’s bodies and minds it is best to have a diverse selection of different modalities to choose from! The 1,000 hour certification you get to take your licensing exam for massage is enough to get started but continuing education is super important! I am constantly learning new information about the human body, modalities and techniques by doing research, going to classes, taking webinars, meeting with other practitioners, etc. Clients that come to my office trust me beyond just bodywork and ask me all kinds of questions about the way their body works and malfunctions. Having an answer for them is great, but also knowing when to refer out to an expert is critical.
In this field it is imperative that you do the self work to be a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy person. There are all kinds of transfers that can happen both ways if you do not do that self work. People will come to receive massage and hypnosis for all kinds of reasons and knowing yourself and setting boundaries is important for success in these fields.