The RMT Podcast 002 – Fraser Valley Womens Expo, Curling And Sweating Hearts
In The RMT Podcast episode 2, Nic Nicola (Registered Massage Therapist and Clinic Manager of Reclaimed Massage Therapy) shares about curling, the amazing reception Reclaimed Massage Therapy received at the Fraser Valley Womens Expo, CrossFit Chilliwack, what differentiates Reclaimed Massage Therapy and their values, an RMT's focus, their intake process, his upcoming decompression and break in Mexico, the question he's always answering, addressing his brand as "The Mean Therapist", "Thor's Thumb", "You've Been Nic'd", DC Comics vs Marvel Comics, and his Kryptonite.
Nic Nicola: 00:10 Can we not? Curling. Tough sport man. Chess on ice. You still gotta make the shots? Yeah, I know. It's fun.
Sherman Hu: 00:20 Those hammies, I tell you.
Nic Nicola: 00:23 Those lunges, it gets intense. Even worse because it's like old ladies, like just completely dominating you. It's the most humbling sport I've played in all my life. I've never lost so many times in anything that I've ever done. I'm just one of those guys who naturally is great at everything, you know? When it comes to sport...
Sherman Hu: 00:44 You just take to it...
Nic Nicola: 00:44 Ergonomics, that's just my forte. It's like, oh, what are you guys playing all? Let me watch for three seconds. Got It. Curling?
Sherman Hu: 00:58 It's humbling?
Nic Nicola: 00:58 Humbling is an understatement, man. Mildly offended by some of these women who can curl and they can get into this crazy lunge and their legs are like on the ice for 40 meters straight down...
Sherman Hu: 01:07 ...Straight down. No veering. No falling off...
Nic Nicola: 01:12 None of it. It's like, how do you have core strength? Like you can barely walk to the rink and then you get on the ice and you're like Black Panther pose. Like I'm not even kidding, man. It's like, yeah, Trinity from Matrix. It's just that everything moves around. Crazy. Super gifted.
Sherman Hu: 01:28 Speaking about gifted... We have Nic here from Reclaimed Massage Therapy. This is going to be a funny episode, I can tell you right now...
Nic Nicola: 01:42 Michelle's the professional...
Sherman Hu: 01:43 Nic is Michelle's partner and also Clinic Manager here at Reclaimed Massage Therapy, at ReclaimedHealthGroup.com in the lovely, beautiful city of Chilliwack, on Vedder Road. All their details are on their website. We're just talking about how Nic is getting into curling haha.
Nic Nicola: 02:08 Tougher than everybody thinks. Fair play to everybody that goes out there and plays. The environment is absolutely sensational. The networking's always very, very good. The playing part is humbling. You don't excel the way you think you would, it's very hard because you have to learn how to lunge. Not a lot of people have that flexibility. Quad dominant and then sweeping. Very, very tough thing, man. It's, it's fast, it's rapid and you try not to break your face.
Sherman Hu: 02:43 Well, I, I fear that I would actually touch the rock.
Nic Nicola: 02:46 You know what, you learn to adapt really quickly not to touch the rock.
Sherman Hu: 02:51 Have you ever done it?
Nic Nicola: 02:53 Touch the rock? When sweeping? No, I'm a magician. I'm a magician when it comes to sweeping. I don't know what it is, but...
Sherman Hu: 02:59 I'm just thinking, in curling, I'm wondering, for people who curl, they sweep so much that when they go home and they're like, the last thing I want to do is sweep the house <wink>
Nic Nicola: 03:07 I can tell you after I sweep after a long game, my lower back is killing me. That position, that ergonomic position of sweeping is honestly one of the toughest things that you kind of have to go through. So a lot of people have issues with low back, Sciatica, impingements, bulging disc, herniation, so on and so forth...
Sherman Hu: 03:28 From the sport?
Nic Nicola: 03:30 In general, could be a car accident. It can be an injury back in the day. Weekend warriors - they don't really work out and they go play the sport and come back. So essentially what happens is that back starts seizing up and getting tight. Why? Because the erectors, lumbar ligaments, glutes, quads, hamstrings, everything attributed with the core isn't stable enough to carry them through. So when it comes to curling, when you're doing that for basically an hour and a half, two hours being that fixed, slightly, bent position, it really takes a charge on the lower back and it hurts. It hurts. So what you want to are stabilizing exercises. A lot of lunges and squats. Alot of stretching to the lower back. Yoga is fantastic.
Sherman Hu: 04:24 How's Pilates for that?
Nic Nicola: 04:24 Pilates is probably one of the most understated exercise movements and programs, in my opinion. We always hear about yoga, we always hear about going to the gym, doing active recovery. Weightlifting, cardio and so on. Pilates essentially is strengthening with the elasticity portion of working out. So I'm a huge believer of Pilates. As a matter of fact, I know there's a few companies out there recently that are starting to do Pilates with Yoga. Combination of both classes, which it sounds easy enough, but it is my mind blowing.
Sherman Hu: 05:01 PILA-GA.
Nic Nicola: 05:01 PILA-GA. Awesome.
Sherman Hu: 05:01 YOLATES.
Nic Nicola: 05:06 I like YOLATES alot. You've got to trademark that. YOLATES. If you guys hear you YOLATES, we're owning that.
Sherman Hu: 05:24 Yolates dot com. Dot ca. Dot org...
Nic Nicola: 05:26 Dot all of it.
Sherman Hu: 05:29 LOL. Dot All of it. So I see you trimmed.
Nic Nicola: 05:55 I mean I kind of, I've got to be honest. There's a little straggle scratching. I was told I was doing this at 10:36 in the evening last night, so thanks babe.
Sherman Hu: 06:09 You guys crushed it at the women's event...
Nic Nicola: 06:13 At the Fraser Valley Womens Expo.
Sherman Hu: 06:15 Tell me about that experience.
Nic Nicola: 06:18 Incredible, incredible. We've never felt the response we did from the community like we did that weekend. We were there from Friday, Saturday, Sunday last week. I think in three days we probably had close to three or 4,000 people walk through our little booth. So thank you to Fraser Valley Womens Expo for helping us out. We set up a couple of gift baskets - health care gift baskets, with gift certificates as well. The response was overwhelming. We had about 1,500 people who registered to to win this great prize. And we also gave up massages for a year...
Sherman Hu: 07:00 That's a great grand prize...
Nic Nicola: 07:00 It is, it is. I mean it's necessary and we're always trying to give back to the community. That is literally our focus, first and foremost. When Michelle and I masterminded this idea of doing something, we wanted to bring back a couple of things. One is customer service. I feel like you go anywhere nowadays, you don't even get a smile, say your, your lunch or your dinner from a restaurant, let alone like a coffee shop. And it's kind of a heartbreaking in the sense that, you know, you look at movies like back in the future, and it might be silly, but you know, they're going back to the 1950s and everybody's smiling. So there's something nostalgic about the customer service and feeling the warmth of the small town. We know that Chilliwack is growing...
Sherman Hu: 07:48 We don't want to lose that. We don't want to lose that small town hospitality.
Nic Nicola: 07:53 Very, very much so. We're trying to bring it back. The second one is also always be in the community. Always, always, always, always. Why? Because they give to us, they feed us every single day, the least we can do is give them our time back. So for us to do the Fraser Valley Womens Show, that's why we wanted to do it, just wanted to promote who we are, show them our faces, what we're about, what we stand for and what we really care for, more than anything else, at the end of the day, that's what we care for because they're our people. We're busy, we're booked. It's a beautiful clinic. It's not about people coming in. It's about service and care that is given and provided every single treatment. We tell the other therapists here on a regular basis, every single time you go to a treatment, know that, that hour with your patient is all that matters. Nothing else in the world matters, but that hour. I think they're starting to really understand, open up their minds to that concept of, you know, I know life happens. There's a lot of things on the go all the time...
Sherman Hu: 08:56 Distractions... Because of habit.
Nic Nicola: 08:57 Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. Everything that we do. Focus on you. Focus on your patient, give them 100% of you. That's the customer service. And ultimately what happens is your treatments always get stronger and better when you do that. Why? Because you're 100% in, you know what I mean? There's no love lost there.
Sherman Hu: 09:19 I've heard this phrase multiple times - what you focus on grows. Zoom in 100%.
Nic Nicola: 09:30 That's exactly it. No distractions. Literally in sports is called "being in the zone". I'm sure you've heard it, on a thousand talk shows, but it literally means, everything else, any external noises are completely gone. And you're so focused. It's very, very narrow. But I've been there you 100%...
Sherman Hu: 09:48 Are you in the zone 100% when you're curling? <wink>
Nic Nicola: 09:52 I gotta be honest, the last time I skipped, I was 100% in and the girls were trying to rile me up in my head, but I was, I was at, we lost by one. Usually Michelle takes the lead on the skip because she has a little more experience. But we didn't get crushed.
Sherman Hu: 10:09 There's awesome. Good.
Nic Nicola: 10:10 So we're going to take credit for that. We only lost by one, and it happened to be in the 6th end, which is amazing. Which was a pretty awesome, even though we didn't get the W. We've got free drinks out of it and that's important.
Sherman Hu: 10:25 That's a win.
Nic Nicola: 10:26 That's a win.
Sherman Hu: 10:26 What was the two, three different types of feedback that you received from the women that came to your booth? Those that never heard of you, maybe? Those that have heard of you and those that were clients? What kind of feedback did you get?
Nic Nicola: 10:43 The primary questions are - Where are you? We would tell them the Canadian Tire plaza across from Sleep Country - great location, great parking. That was one of the big questions - Are you guys local? Local factors, really, really big and great park parking - as you know parking is next to impossible in this town. The second one was - What kind of care do you guys provide? We tell them, you know, it's tailored to what you need first and foremost. If you need to come in and de-stress, you can do that. If you need more focused treatment, you can also come in as well. Lastly, I would say the biggest one is direct billing...
Sherman Hu: 11:22 ...is huge.
Nic Nicola: 11:23 It was absolutely massive, everybody's eyes lit up as soon as we said, "we do direct billing". Not a lot of people have a lot of disposable income. So for them to come in, get a full treatment, love it and not have to pay out of pocket? Not everybody has extra hundreds of dollars sitting around. There are a lot of people today on budgets and want to get ahead. You want to plan for your vacation spots, you want to go camping...
Sherman Hu: 11:50 Mexico?
Nic Nicola: 11:50 Mexico sounds like a great idea.
Sherman Hu: 11:52 Three weeks from now sounds like a great plan.
Nic Nicola: 11:55 Three weeks from now, I don't have a choice. We haven't had a day off in three years - it's fine. It's fine. I'm not upset at all by it...
Sherman Hu: 12:08 You'll decompress in Mexico.
Nic Nicola: 12:11 I will decompress in Mexico. I will wear my thong and...
Sherman Hu: 12:14 ...Superman cape?
Nic Nicola: 12:14 ...full-on Superman cape...
Sherman Hu: 12:28 ... and Borat's "banana hammock"?
Nic Nicola: 12:28 ...It's what they do, all of them. Can you imagine if that gets out in Europe?
Sherman Hu: 12:41 That is scary...
Nic Nicola: 12:41 Not something you want to see, man, I'm 5'9", 230 pounds. It's not what you want to see.
Sherman Hu: 12:48 So what I found interesting that you guys were given a lot of love from stage at the Womens Event. Were you guys actually on stage with the Crossfit Team? Okay. Y
Nic Nicola: 12:59 Yeah, we were literally working out.
Sherman Hu: 13:02 Okay. Okay.
Nic Nicola: 13:04 It was fatiguing. It was in the middle of the day. I got very sweaty. The ladies love that <wink> I sweat because of Crossfit. Crossfit Chilliwack - amazing place to go. I sweat in the shape of a heart.
Sherman Hu: 13:22 Awww, that's "lovely". That's so "heartfelt", bud.
Nic Nicola: 13:28 I wear my heart on my sleeve, you know. Oh God, so many puns. But I think it was kinda necessary. I sweat a heart ... for the ladies.
Sherman Hu: 13:40 You're just all "heart", bud. You know what's impressive? Not only are y'all RMTs but you're onstage rocking out to Crossfit.
Nic Nicola: 13:51 Absolutely.
Sherman Hu: 13:51 That is impressive because you're walking the walk.
Nic Nicola: 13:54 This is very true. We have to, we have to work out to maintain a level of intensity that we try to... In a performance that we need to give our patients back. So we're not only telling our patients - this is what you need to do to get better. We're living that as much as we can. Secondly, Crossfit is a huge part of the community. It's a huge part of our lives as well, and we were just trying to help our neighbors. That's that least we can do that. But again, going back to trying to help the community out, this is one way we could do it right, is to give a demo with Crossfit on stage, which was incredible. They did a really, really great job in promoting overall health, right? Mental, physical and spiritual - anyway, you can find it is the way to go. And if you can kind of combine all three, then you're looking at optimal, right?
Sherman Hu: 14:53 What's the process like for somebody new coming in?
Nic Nicola: 14:59 Very easy. It's very welcoming as you can tell by the clinic. Everything we do is pretty relaxed here. We keep professionalism up - a very high standard. But for us, when you walk in the door immediately you want to feel like you can take off your shoes, kick your feet up, grab a chocolate, grab a magazine, grab your coffee or tea and hang out. So initially if somebody were to call and come in...
Sherman Hu: 15:23 That's the intake process?
Nic Nicola: 15:26 Yeah, basically what we would do is find out what works for them as far as schedule goes. Our therapists are here from eight in the morning until eight in the evening, which is a lot better than most usually, as most other clinics close at five. We're also open on Sundays, we're trying to find someone to come in for Saturdays - that would be incredible. It's essentially getting to know them, what they need to work on, figure out what their needs and standards are and more importantly, trying to cater to exactly what they need. So we would ask tons of questions upfront.
Sherman Hu: 16:01 Is this is something that they're filling out?
Nic Nicola: 16:03 Either they fill out or it's going to be asked on a personal basis, they're coming in. Now, there is an initial intake that everybody is required by law to fill out - it's just record keeping, of course. It's also an important tool for us to get to know somebody's health history, which is very, very crucial. On top of that, we also have consent forms that you would have to read and acknowledge and sign off on. Consent's important, not only for the therapist, but more so for our patients because it dictates the environment in which they're getting their treatment. They have the power, the consent is for them, it's not for us. So that's really, really important. Lastly, we also have disclaimers and consent for direct billing, for insurance companies, so on so forth. So they usually find that in the initial email that we send out. Initially, when somebody signs up with their phone number, we get their name and their email, we send them a welcome email package, letting them know what we do, how we do it. And then in that has the Intake form and consent form. It comes back to us automatically. We're trying to go paper free, which is terrific. Anything to save the environment. You come in and get your treatment. That's amazing.
Sherman Hu: 17:23 Okay. I mean, obviously the first time around is a little longer because of the intake process?
Nic Nicola: 17:30 Initially if you were to come in, if you haven't filled out your paperwork, it really shouldn't be too long. There's an initial assessment that has to go with your first treatment. But depending on your conditions, it can take anywhere from two, three minutes...
Sherman Hu: 17:45 That's pretty quick.
Nic Nicola: 17:45 Yeah. Or it can take up to 10, 12 minutes depending on the severity of the condition that you're having worked on.
Sherman Hu: 17:55 Would a client give you all of their insurance details prior to the first session?
Nic Nicola: 18:01 Yeah, absolutely, it would go a long way. Even if you don't have it the first time around, we can issue a receipt from one of our RMTs. You can submit it directly to your insurance companies. So either way, I mean, the direct billing is just another step for convenience or our client will have to do a little more work. There'll be more on our end, but initially, if you don't have it, or forget it at home or anything should have happened, then by all means we'll just give you the receipt.
Sherman Hu: 18:25 Is there one question that you frequently get asked by your clients?
Nic Nicola: 18:39 For me personally?
Sherman Hu: 18:41 ...That you constantly feel like you're always answering the same question over and over again...
Nic Nicola: 18:46 "So my friend came to see you, said you're really mean therapist..."
Sherman Hu: 18:52 HAHA.
Nic Nicola: 18:52 So yes, it's true. I am a mean therapist. But what they mean by "mean therapist" is I'm very specific and how I go about working my massage therapy.
Sherman Hu: 19:07 OKay, tell me about this.
Nic Nicola: 19:07 It's very specific. I'm very sports oriented. If you have a shoulder problem, I'm looking to focus at anything that works with the shoulders. So you have a lot of the back muscles, got to look at your core and kind of looking at ribs, your lats, your deltoids, your neck, cervical spine work, all of it. Just because it's the shoulder doesn't mean it's directly working the shoulder, right? I have this weird knack of picking out weird ergonomic movements. And people when they walk in the door, I can see where it hitches in their hips and their knees close to or even how they stand or if they slouch or so forth. That I think over 15 years of practice has trained my eyes and my mind to look for these specific types...
Sherman Hu: 19:52 That must be crazy for you when you're walking around the mall. It's like, cause you're like, oh that uh huh...
Nic Nicola: 19:57 it is the most disturbing and annoying thing ever. Michelle and I will be walking and uh, we'll literally say, do we say anything - do we tell them? I get all the time. Oh what do you do? You know, some people notice it. Some people don't. But if they're coming here to see us, clearly they're asking for help and it's the least we can do is try to point out things that can be improved and work very diligently to get them to the standard that they believe they can get to. More importantly, the standard that we feel that they can get to because sometimes people put restrictions on themselves.
Sherman Hu: 20:43 You may not be cognizant of level 100.
Nic Nicola: 20:44 Exactly.
Sherman Hu: 20:44 And if you're only living at 70, you know, you don't know the gap.
Nic Nicola: 20:48 Yeah. Well, when you see a professional for whatever you do, they see the hundred percent. They can get you to that 100 percent if they work hard enough with you and you work hard enough for yourself. So that's very, very important. So I mean, uh, to come back to the question of people, yeah. I'm mean because of I'm specific. And I also feel like people are not made of glass. Not that I just go in and pound it, that's not like that at all.
Sherman Hu: 21:16 HAHA.
Nic Nicola: 21:18 Literally, my thumbs are called "Thor's Thumbs". I'm not even kidding, that's my nickname and it's being passed around. And as a matter of fact, in some people's cell phones, my name comes up as "You've Been Nic'd". I'm not even kidding. There's four people in Chilliwack who have my phone number and my name is "You've Been Nic'd". Which is amazing. You know, it's actually, it's a privilege for me to hear that. With that being said, the referral source has been nothing short of amazing now because of the work I do...
Sherman Hu: 21:50 Thor's a popular Marvel character.
Nic Nicola: 21:52 It is, it is. And he's almost as attractive as I am.
Sherman Hu: 21:55 And he also wears a red cape...with those flowing blonde locks
Nic Nicola: 22:03 He trimmed it off. He lost an eye and everything. That guy is incredible. You couldn't have picked a better Norse god, if you chose to.
Sherman Hu: 22:15 You should have Reclaimed t-shirts where there's the Thor's hammer on the front of it...
Nic Nicola: 22:17 That'll be kind of a cool, eh?
Sherman Hu: 22:18 Just for you, though, not for anyone else...
Nic Nicola: 22:21 I love Superman. He's my favorite superhero, but I hate DC.
Sherman Hu: 22:25 Okay!
Nic Nicola: 22:26 So that's, um, that's the funny thing. And Batman?
Sherman Hu: 22:30 So tell me about this "hate" of DC. Where's it come from?
Nic Nicola: 22:35 You know what it is? It's Batman. I really genuinely don't like Batman. I love Bruce Wayne. I think I'd be good friends with Bruce - as shallow as that sounds. Yes. And I'll take advantage of him. He's very loaded. And I just want to borrow that Batmobile. He's a soft superhero. Aquaman is cool, at least the new one. Wonder Woman?
Sherman Hu: 23:04 Hey, 'nuff said.
Nic Nicola: 23:06 She's all right. Superman - that guy just doesn't die. And when he does, he just comes back. Which is funny because I do like the villains more than the superheroes.
Sherman Hu: 23:24 Yeah. Villains - they make great characters. Talking about Kryptonite - well, Superman - Kryptonite...
Nic Nicola: 23:28 ...I got it.
Sherman Hu: 23:30 What would you say is - if you're willing to answer this - your Kryptonite when it comes to the whole craft?
Nic Nicola: 23:45 This? Like running this business?
Sherman Hu: 23:46 Whatever, whatever is your Kryptonite?
Nic Nicola: 23:53 Uhm. Huh. That's a good question.
Sherman Hu: 23:55 I just came up with that.
Nic Nicola: 23:57 That's brilliant. Toughest thing for me, my weakness. There's not enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do and I don't have enough energy or strength to do more for my patients. And that's how I feel. And if you were to look at my schedule - you'd say you're a mad man - because Michelle and I do overreach on a regular basis. We understand that. But it's important for us to get our people in...
Sherman Hu: 24:26 ...which I know in your field - because my sister in law is one - in your field you're not supposed to overreach because your lifespan in your careers will be much shorter.
Nic Nicola: 24:35 Yes.
Sherman Hu: 24:36 So I know that it's, it's to a detriment...
Nic Nicola: 24:41 In a very good year, any given massage therapist in British Columbia with a full practice, will complete anywhere from 1200 to 1500 massages a year. That's a good year. I think Michelle and I are right now we're averaging around 2200 to 2300...
Sherman Hu: 24:56 Dude!
Nic Nicola: 24:57 Yeah.
Sherman Hu: 24:57 You're doubling it. Not in a good way for - I mean it's good for business - but not for you physically. Physically it's tough.
Nic Nicola: 25:04 Physically it's tough. We're exhausted. I mean this (physique) didn't come by itself.
Sherman Hu: 25:11 Hence, Mexico - to relax. To decompress.
Nic Nicola: 25:15 It's very, very important. We try to take breaks - for ourselves, for our kids. For our mental acuity. When you overwork, it's very hard to break down and problem solve a lot of the issues that come on the table. That's something that I think rarely do therapists talk about. When you're burnt out mentally, it's hard to, you know, relate to, to deliver, to get the right responses and results for your patient. Yeah. So that's a big one. So Kryptonite? Taxes. So if there's anybody out there who's really good with bookkeeping and taxes and you're gonna charge me less than $2,500 a year, I'll take it, gotta save some money, man.
Sherman Hu: 26:09 On that note, with Nic and Michelle heading out to Mexico for a much, much deserved rest.
Nic Nicola: 26:14 Absolutely.
Sherman Hu: 26:14 Because these guys go hard and I don't even know you guys do it. I mean, I know your schedules are packed yet, but what it does to you mentally and physically, it's tough, but it's nice to have that break and come back and be fresh for your clients, patients. Look them up - ReclaimedHealthGroup.com - best massage therapists in Chilliwack. RMTs who work hard for their patients with everything - their hearts, he sweats hearts, all heartfelt, all in.
Nic Nicola: 26:45 These are all facts.
Sherman Hu: 26:46 Until next episode, guys - cheers!