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Rachel Beider: “Work out for your mind, not just your body”

Work out for your mind, not just your body. Your anxiety levels will plummet when you start to sweat every single day, and your body will be happy with the results. As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Beider. Rachel owns PRESS, a modern massage […]

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Work out for your mind, not just your body. Your anxiety levels will plummet when you start to sweat every single day, and your body will be happy with the results.


As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Beider.

Rachel owns PRESS, a modern massage company in NYC, with a modern approach to treating ailments. She also advises other wellness professionals on how to start and grow their private practices via her site, www.WellnessBusinessConsulting.com

Rachel is a published author, and has been featured in Forbes, Refinery29, “O” The Oprah Magazine, and The Wall St Journal.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I grew up with a lot of back pain and scoliosis, which has given me a deep understanding of chronic pain. During a long trip in 2006 through India and Southeast Asia, I learned Thai massage in Bangkok, and returned home to go to massage school at Swedish Institute in NYC. I started my massage therapy practice in 2008, and over the last 12 years grew from a solo practitioner to a 4 location business with 48 employees and over 2 million a year in sales.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Last year, one of the biggest news stories was the government shutdown and so many stressed out, furloughed government employees. I remember chopping up veggies in my kitchen for dinner while listening to NPR, and feeling so helpless and angry at what these people were going through — all the fear and uncertainty. I decided that my company would offer totally free massages for all furloughed government workers for a whole week, to help them take off some of the edge of their stress. Our using massage for social action was recognized by the city, and we won “Brooklyn’s Hero of the Month” award. I’ll never forget it.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started out, I wanted to take care of everyone and everything. I am, by nature, a very nurturing person. I tried to take care of my clients, employees, family, and friends, but I hadn’t yet learned to nurture my own business — to charge properly for my time, to hold stronger boundaries, to value myself. I was burning out until I learned how to turn that urge to “nurture” towards helping my own business first.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

A huge turning point in my business was when I was operating both of my studios and finally brought on an operational manager. This strategic hire made such a huge difference in helping me create strong systems and structure for the company, and allowed us to double in size very rapidly. One conversation with a business coach allowed me to see that I was very burnt out from trying to juggle and do everything myself, and that in order to thrive and grow I needed help.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I’ve made the focus of my massage company helping people feel better in their bodies — more grounded, accepted, supported, and truly respected. I believe that all humans should be treated with dignity. Through our practice, we’ve been able to partner with organizations like Friends In Deed, doing massage for people experiencing terminal illness, to volunteering with Sanctuary for Families, who provide services for victims of domestic gender violence and sex trafficking. Through my company, I practice what I preach: we hire as diverse of a team as our client base, and offer a truly supportive environment where everyone can feel supported as themselves.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Sleep more. Not sleeping is the cause of most emotional turmoil.
  2. Set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, to do something just for YOU.
  3. Work out for your mind, not just your body. Your anxiety levels will plummet when you start to sweat every single day, and your body will be happy with the results.
  4. Stretching yourself physically opens up space — when you stretch your body, you also open your mind. There’s a really strong mind body connection.
  5. Don’t go it alone. Hire a coach, or therapist, or accountability partner.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would work towards finding solutions to climate change in real time. Climate change will affect the entire globe catastrophically if we don’t make huge changes as a global community.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

I wish I had known 1) To hire a really good accountant and set up Quickbooks from the start (it would have spared a lot of heartache and stress later. 2) To ask for help sooner, via a mentor or coach. 3) To delegate more, sooner. To not hold onto things so tightly, and to let myself be helped by my amazing staff. 4) To trust myself and my process — that it’s ok to run experiments and try different things and make mistakes, it doesn’t have to be perfect (and likely won’t be) it just has to be done. 5) Work-life balance is a constant dance that needs to be revisited regularly.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I’ve found psychotherapy to be incredibly beneficial. Working through your issues with a trusted professional is a phenomenal way to become more self-aware, a better and kinder partner and friend, a better business owner, and a more well-rounded emotionally grounded human. Having a great relationship with yourself, and breaking through family cycles and old patterns of behavior is absolutely life-changing.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

My massage business is on Instagram at @PRESSMassage

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

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