Monday, March 23, 2015

Anointed Touch Massage—A Best-Kept Secret

Tiffany Maple, owner of Anointed Massage Therapy; photo courtesy of Tiffany Maple
Fort Thomas is full of best-kept secrets—Anointed Touch Massage is one of them. Located in a small and tastefully decorated room downstairs in the Hiland Building, owner and therapist Tiffany Maple provides massages tailored to the individual. Her secret to success? Prior to becoming a massage therapist she spent 10 years as an athletic trainer.

Maple grew up in the San Fernando Valley and Thousand Oaks, Calif. In 2000 she moved to Ohio to study sports medicine and athletic training at University of Cincinnati, which is where her mother worked. While a student, Maple lived in Clifton, Ohio and Fort Thomas—for a period she called the apartment above Dr. Bowman's office on North Fort Thomas Ave. home.

Maple graduated University of Cincinnati in 2004 and then attended graduate school at Wright State University, majoring in public health. While at Wright State University she served as the head athletic trainer for baseball and volleyball. The schedule was grueling—in addition to attending and teaching classes, she traveled with the teams.

After receiving her master's degree Maple accepted an athletic trainer job with Lakota West High School, in West Chester, Ohio. "I loved helping people," Maple says, and "I loved being around sports." Eventually, though, she found herself spending more time educating coaches and parents, and defending her actions when insisting a player not be immediately sent back out on the field. In addition, her schedule made it difficult for her to find time for family and friends. Her days started between 12:30pm and 1pm. On practice days she'd be home around 7pm. On game days, 10pm or later. Weekends often were spent traveling.

Maple knew she wanted a change in her life. That change came when, in one week, she gave several friends simple shoulder massages and they all suggested massage therapy.

So, in 2012, Maple went back to school. She attended Daymar College in Bellevue, Ky., which (thankfully, she says) offered classes in the morning. She rented her home which, at the time, was in Maineville, Ohio, and moved to Fort Thomas in a duplex on Bluegrass Ave.—her sister's family lived next door. For one year, from 7am to noon Maple attended classes. She'd then drive up to West Chester, Ohio and work at Lakota West, sometimes past midnight.

During this time Maple contemplated her next move. A chiropractor's office seemed more fitting than a spa given her past schooling and experience. But Maple knew she wanted more than a career change—she sought freedom. In 2013 Anointed Massage Therapy was born.

Maple contemplated a storefront, but she didn't want to hire a front-desk person. And, working by appointment only intrigued her. She happened upon a "for rent" sign in the Hiland Building. The owner, Don Cornett, showed her two spaces for rent. Maple says she was so surprised when he told her how much her room, Suite 101, would cost per month. "Don Cornett was very kind," she says. "I felt so blessed."

massage room in the Hiland Building; photo courtesy of Tiffany Maple
Maple finished out the 2013 school year at Lakota West, and continued on a PRN basis. She notified family and friends about her own business, spread the word on Facebook, joined the Fort Thomas Matters Family, and put up a sign in the front window of the Hiland Building. "I set prices for first-time clients for an hour massage at $40 an hour," Maple says. "I'm not sure if that was a really great idea or a really poor idea. It wasn't a sustainable price but it got people in the door."

Maple says massage therapy is unique in that first-time clients are entrusting their bodies to a stranger. Only after a positive first-time experience will they become regular clients. Maple soon had so many regular clients, however, that she stopped working as a PRN for Lakota West and committed to her business full-time.

Maple specializes in Swedish massage. She particularly likes prenatal massage. "It is my joy to work on a pregnant woman," Maple says. "What your body goes through and what you have to sacrifice—you put it through so many demands and challenges." Maple says many women feel guilty spending the time and money on a massage, which is, in part, why she's going to offer one evening massage a month starting April 2. "After the kids go to bed she can come in for a massage and be fully relaxed before she sleeps," Maple says.

Maple also offers therapeutic massage as a supplement to physical therapy, which is very much in line with her previous work. "Our body is designed to heal itself," she says. And through her years of experience Maple is able to create an individualized, detailed massage therapy program that focuses on the trigger points, breaks up the knots and helps heal the injury. Often this requires education on her part, telling a client, for example, that a deep-tissue massage would be more hurtful than helpful immediately following an injury.

Most massage therapists, Maple says, complete a one-year program that includes 10 to 12 weeks of hands-on practice. Maple, however, has 10 years experience in injury prevention, assessment and rehabilitation. All this, just one flight of stairs down on North Fort Thomas Ave.

So many of us change as we grow older, as we should. It's one of life's best-kept secrets, one we all discover with time: Change is growth. Maple still lives on Bluegrass Ave., now within walking distance to work and four houses down from her sister's house, and her four nieces and nephews. Maple has grown to love Fort Thomas and the businesses that make up our community. It's less competition, and more helping others—for example, Barbara Thomas hosted Maple at Fort Thomas Central on Small Business Saturday, so that Maple would have a storefront to give out hand massages and promote her practice.

Maple says she used to thrive on structure. But that changed. She thinks back to a summer day in 2013, shortly after she quit her job at Lakota West and opened Anointed Touch. She was sitting on a Fort Thomas bench with her sister, in the warm summer sunshine, at 3pm on a weekday. "I couldn't believe that this was my life," Maple says. "Being flexible opened me to change—all it is is time." 

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