by Erin Lehn Floresca
John Tubbs, LMT, owner of Albany Massage Professionals, was 16 years old when he broke his neck playing football. “I was paralyzed for around a month’s time. The doctors told me I wouldn’t walk again,” he recalls. But Tubbs wanted to prove them wrong, and thankfully, so did his mom. “She brought in massage therapists and energy workers, and in a really short time, I was fully recovered. That whole experience left a strong impression on me.”
After graduating from high school, Tubbs was awarded an ROTC scholarship and was on his way to becoming a fighter pilot with the Marine Corps. “At that time, you had to have 20/20 vision, and I had some vision issues, so I had to change course,” he says.
Discouraged at first, Tubbs later realized it was blessing in disguise. “In my heart, I knew it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go,” he says. Tubbs then pursued a college degree in criminal justice, but realized early on that particular career path wouldn’t feed his soul. “I knew I wanted to help people in some capacity, but that wasn’t going to be the way. I ended up going for a psych/sociology major/minor, and while I enjoyed the studies, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me either.”
Unsatisfied with his newest career path choice and determined to find the ideal vocation, Tubbs turned to his mom for advice. She immediately responded, “You’ve seen what massage can do for you. You love giving massages. Have you considered becoming a massage therapist?”
Tubbs contemplated her suggestion and realized his mom was right. “I’d always been a huge advocate for body work; plus, I was fascinated in the science behind it. I decided it couldn’t hurt to visit a massage school to find out more,” he says.
Tubbs made an appointment with the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, in Albany. “As soon as I walked in the building it was like all of my angels were singing to me,” he explains. “That day I dropped out of college and I’ve never looked back.”
In his first years of providing massage therapy services, Tubbs spent a lot of time in clinical settings. This helped him to recognize what he really craved—the opportunity to work in a more therapeutic environment. So Tubbs began laying the groundwork for his own practice, and in September 2004, Albany Massage Professionals officially opened its doors for business.
Now celebrating 13 years, Tubbs couldn’t be happier with his entrepreneurial venture. “I’ve been doing what I love and it’s been fun watching the business evolve over the years. I have a wonderful staff, including Michael Corcoran, who has been with me for eight years. We also have three new practitioners—Lenny Zeigler, Allie Reid and Steven Meddaugh—and they’re amazing, too.”
Tubbs shares that his biggest passion is helping his clients get to the root of their ailments. “We are so many layers—spiritual, emotional, physical—and we have to support all of these layers of ourselves. It’s not always as simple as rubbing a spot to make a pain go away. I invite my clients to reflect on their life. ‘What was going on when you developed this disease or pain?’ ‘What information didn’t you have then and what else do you need to know so you can resolve this issue emotionally?’ Most of us are conditioned to repress our emotions, but our bodies hold onto them. Down the road, they can manifest as pain and disease.”
According to Tubbs, creating a positive atmosphere for his clients has always been of the utmost importance. “I love encouraging my clients to focus on the positive. All too often, things are pointed out to us about what we did wrong. But I like to emphasize the gains—no matter how big or small,” he says. “Give yourself credit for the things you did do; don’t get stuck on what you didn’t accomplish.”
Tubbs says that he looks forward to driving to his practice each day. “It’s truly a treat. I’m a people person and I always wanted to be around others that fill me up. I have that here. I love the relationships I’ve built with my clients over the years,” he says. “And I look forward to the people I have yet to meet.”
Albany Massage Professionals is located at 1500 Central Ave., in Albany. For more information, call 518-464-4480 or visit AlbanyMassageProfessionals.com.
Erin Lehn Floresca is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.