Mantis Massage Aims to Heal Patients with Personalized Care
Specially-trained massage therapists enjoy a supportive workplace that fosters deep care for clients
Words and photos by Bryan C. Parker
A massage is an incredibly rewarding act of self-care — especially when it’s used not simply for relaxation but also to treat aspects of the body that need therapeutic healing. Mantis Massage, established by Kyra Matos in 2011, surpasses others with their expert knowledge and tailored services, such as prenatal massage. The company also makes a special effort to invest in and nurture its staff, which allows their therapists to pay forward that same care to clients.
Matos found her way to massage therapy after a job at a hospital, where she worked in patient transport in the radiology department and became interested in x-rays and MRI results. After taking an anatomy class available to her through the hospital, she fell in love with the physiological structure of humans.
“I love working with a body and feeling the little corrections happening in it,” Matos says. From deep tissue to trigger point to prenatal, the services offered by Mantis provide care designed to physically improve clients by addressing individualized concerns.
“We’re problem solving your body,” Matos says. “We’re looking for why it is you’re coming in — what’s causing you or your muscles to stress or to ache.” While she says a great spa massage has its place for relaxation, Mantis focuses on “corrective care.”
After more than a decade as a massage therapist, Matos has developed a remarkable ability to detect the sources of pain or tension based on what a person does for work or simple daily routines — whether they’re on their feet a lot or drive a car with a manual transmission, for example. However, if a client simply wants a traditional Swedish massage, Mantis’ staff is more than capable of providing that.
The company’s website maintains an updated list of staff bios complete with specialized approaches and techniques. Clients can book with specific therapists, or they can fill out a form, which the Mantis staff personally reads to best match clients with the right therapist for them.
“We’re not one-size fits all — every session is tailored to what your needs are,” says Matos.
Prenatal massage specialist Becca Pride, who has been in the industry for almost five years, describes her work with pregnant women as “sacred.” Her passion for massage therapy stemmed from a desire to work with pregnant and postpartum people.
With prenatal massage, Pride says, “There are certain pressure points we avoid, and certain positioning that’s safer for blood flow to baby and mom.” Her specialized training puts clients in safe hands, and she finds fulfillment in the relief she’s able to provide.
“Someone who is pregnant is very deserving of a massage — there’s just so much discomfort, and it’s nice to be able to aid just a little bit in that,” she says. Pride first received training for prenatal massage with classes paid for by Mantis, who gives a stipend for continuing education to all employees who work five days per week. That stipend also increases each year that the employee is with the company.
“The fact that Kyra was willing to pay for that was huge, because I was able to work with the clients I wanted to work with,” Pride says. With Mantis’ stipends, she’s also been able to receive specialized training to provide facial massages. The clinic’s investment in its employees results in knowledge that translates directly into better services for clients.
Those stipends are just one of the many ways Mantis invests in employees. The company also provides full-coverage health care and pays the entire premium for all full-time employees by partnering with Austin-based insurance company Sana, who specializes in serving small or less traditionally structured companies.
“Mantis does all these wonderful things,” Pride says. “Most massage industry folks are contractors, but we’re employees and with that comes a 401k matching program, for example.” However, Pride says the most supportive aspect of working at Mantis is something intangible.
“They really encourage us to have our own style of talking with clients, of massaging,” she says. “Kyra is so supportive of everyone just being themselves — that’s what keeps Mantis so successful.” That freedom to express individuality allows therapists to adeptly respond to clients’ unique situations. Mantis has cultivated a nurturing ethos for employees that ensures clients will find themselves in nurturing hands when they arrive.