We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Kinkade and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chris, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process for starting my business as a therapeutic massage therapist began when I was at a crossroads in my life. I had started my professional life doing outside sales in the medical community. I was successful at it but I did not love it. I followed that with a 3 year stint anchoring a music video network based out of Houston called “Hit Video USA.” While I had some degree of success doing both of these gigs I was unfulfilled and to be perfectly honest I was not very happy. Something felt “off.” Ever since I was a child I was aware that I had some sort of innate “gift” in terms of empathic touch. But I was a kid with no reference for it and just took it for granted that everyone experienced this. I was always the guy at parties that everyone lined up to have me massage their shoulders. I saw the effect that it had on people and as it came effortlessly to me I had fun doing it even though I had not formulated the concept of actually doing it to make a living. It’s not like in high school when you go to take your SAT test that your career guidance counselor says to you “Well Mr. Kinkade your scores say that you are best suited to meet total strangers that will pay you to touch them so that you can heal them.” That just doesn’t happen. Most everyone in the healing arts find their way into their careers through some twist of fate or someone opening a door for them that they never even knew was there. For me it was a little of both. I wound up back in Los Angeles in 1988 and an old friend that I had gone to college with had started an on-site massage company called “Hands On!” He went to business offices and performed Shiatsu based sessions on the employees. He asked me to come on board and help him grow his business. I had never taken a dime for any of the massages I had done at that point in my life as I thought taking money for something I considered a “gift” would somehow corrupt it. When I told my friend of this conundrum he said to me “You get paid to do jobs you hate why not open yourself up to getting paid to do something you love to do?” Boom! When he said that something clicked in my head. It was like a switch went on and suddenly I understood what it was I was meant to do in my life and I never looked back. From that humble start of going into people’s offices and doing 20 minute routines while they sat at their desks I created a fantastic private practice in therapeutic massage therapy that has been rewarding in ways I never dreamed possible. In the 32 years I have been in practice I have had the freedom to do what I really love to do. I have done tens of thousands of sessions on people from all walks of life. I have studied with Masters and have myself taught internationally and have evolved my skill set to the level of a Master. I have always been my own boss. which is a huge plus for me as it gives me the freedom to pursue my other passion of creating and playing music with my project “Elsewaves.” I have resisted “growing” my business in the classic sense of having employees and multiple locations, rather I chose a life of “voluntary simplicity”, keeping my overhead low and focusing on serving my client base with integrity so that there is congruence with them because ultimately this is a career about maintaining relationships with people grounded in the art of healing. Some of my clients have been with me for over 30 years. So here I am decades into this journey. I have a rich tapestry of memories to look back on and a life in the healing arts that exists in a way that is perhaps unconventional but undeniably successful and one that I still look forward to doing every day because I have kept the focus on doing the work creatively instead of doing to work just to be successful financially. To that point, many massage therapists with my level of experience raise their rates so high that only really wealthy people can afford their services. I never structured my practice that way. In fact I let clients pay me whatever they want or can afford. This is the only true egalitarian way to do healing work. To make a real difference you have to make yourself available to people from all walks of life that need what it is you offer. This is what makes a difference and is the real joy in doing this work. Helping others is truly not something that can be quantified in dollars and cents. I have been paid anywhere from $1000 for a massage to $0. The variables in between are vast and reflect the many different social dynamics of my client base. Doing things this way has been very freeing to me as I have no attachment to the outcome of each session in terms of what it is I am being paid but rather the sole focus is on doing the best that I can to make a positive difference with each client. To assist them in feeling healthier and happier and that is the reward and also the whole reason I started doing this to begin with. In doing so I have created a wonderful life that I never formally “planned,” I just kind of let destiny guide me and went along with the flow. Sometimes it’s just that easy!

What should our readers know about your business?
My business is about helping people that are stressed out in these crazy times and to assist them in finding better ways to navigate their journey by being healthier in their bodies, minds and spirits. I become an ally in their journey and create an atmosphere of sanctuary and serenity in which they can heal and recover their inner strength and overcome physical restraints to allow them to better enjoy their lives and the index of possibilities their lives have to offer when they are unencumbered by stress or injury. I think what sets me apart somewhat is that I genuinely love doing what I do. I really know I was born to do this. I go about what I do very creatively in terms of what I bring to the table. I have often met other massage therapists, some quite successful, who really don’t love what they do. They struggle to find joy in it and complain a lot. Often this is due to the mindset they have about focusing on remuneration. I don’t focus on that but rather on creating results with the skills I have learned to assist others. The rest takes care of itself. Also my attention to proper body mechanics in doing my work and my approach to my own overall health are very important factors in sustaining my career.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Southern California is so rich with remarkable places to visit. I live just down the road from the Hollywood Bowl and right next to Warner Bros Studios. There is such a rich history in this area and so many cultural landmarks so close by. A tour of Warner Bros Studios will show you where many of the great movies have been created since 1926. Right up the hill you can hike in Runyon Canyon which I have done for decades. The views of Hollywood and the surrounding areas are really something to see and on a clear day you can see all the way to Catalina Island. A trip up our coast is a sure way to show off some of our best features as a state. One of my “go to” places is Santa Barbara. There is something so compelling about this charming town by the ocean with it’s lovely beaches and great restaurants. It is always a wonderful place to decompress and chill out.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Paul Weber. Paul was the friend who got me started professionally doing massage. He went on to become the head of casting for MGM/Sony but I always tell him the best casting he ever did was casting me in the role of a massage therapist. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Christian Smith who was my teacher both at “The Massage School of Santa Monica” and his own school “The Radical Therapy Center” where I really learned about the power and potential of therapeutic body work in ways I had never imagined before. I also owe a huge shout out to my Mom, Louise Kinkade. She is just the greatest and I adore her. She has always been there through thick and thin and has taught me the wisdom of patience and has guided me through some turbulent times with a steady hand, love and unconditional positive regard. I love you Mom!

Website: www.lamassagepro.com
Instagram: lamassagepro
Linkedin: Chris Kinkade
Facebook: Chris Kinkade
Youtube: Chris Kinkade
Other: www.elsewaves.com

Image Credits
all photos are mine and I have the rights to them.

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