AustinDEEP’s Jessica Price welcomes and works her magic on anyone who walks in her door.
By Samantha Greyson, Photo by Philip Edsel (courtesy of AustinDEEP)
Massage therapist and AustinDEEP founder Jessica Price remembers in high school she began giving massages to coworkers at retail jobs. Her grandmothers told her they gave her the gift of magic hands, and Price used this natural gift to build and expand her company.
She moved to Austin from South Texas in the late ’90s to with the intention of attending university. However, at the age of 19, Price found her life’s passion in massage therapy. When she worked as a receptionist at a holistic health clinic, the clinicians exposed her to the benefits and wonders of massage.
“I ended up in massage school very young,” Price says. “And I realized in massage school that I actually was really good. I could bind knots and feel what was going on in people’s bodies, and I could tell that other people didn’t quite have that gift. That’s when the lightbulb turned on for me. I was 20.”
She describes her young self as having a hippie, beachy, laid-back attitude—and she was ready to tackle the world of massage.
“I was good at it. I actually liked it. It was rewarding. You get to help people feel better,” she says. “It’s like all of the stars aligned for me.”
After massage school, Price worked in the physical therapy department of a fitness center, which helped her develop her skills, as well as her unique outlook on massage.
In order to further streamline the training process, Price created her own massage school and graduated her first cohort of six students in January. Afterward, the students were directly on-boarded at AustinDEEP. She starts her next cohort on May 1, where she will be training a class of 15 in a 20-week $5,000 program. For reference, other schools charge between $8,000 to $10,000.
“I invest in my people, and I’m grateful for them,” Price says. “I praise them all the time because I think it’s important to hear that.”
“They sort of took me under their wing, and that’s where I learned so much,” Price said. “I learned about preventative injury, about fascia, about body mechanics and stuff that normally you don’t get exposed to.”
When she opened her business, originally named Lake Austin Massage, Price realized that her approach to massage differed from other therapists.
“I was able to actually trademark my method, the deep method,” Price says. “I basically decided that we’re not going to do all these extra add-ons. We don’t do cupping, hot stones, aromatherapy. We just do one thing. It’s just one massage. It’s 60, 75 or 90 minutes—that’s all you get. But this massage is insane, and it makes you feel super good. It releases toxins; we get into the trigger points, but our approach is radically different from anyone else.”
Price’s deep tissue massage is no-frills and focuses on fascia, the thin tissue casing that surrounds your body’s muscles. At AustinDEEP, all therapists are trained in the deep method, so customers can expect consistency from each member of the team every time they book an appointment. “I like taking any worry out of the equation for my customers,” Price says. “I love that people can book massages and come in feeling one way and then leave feeling completely changed. Here we call it ‘massage-drunk’ because that’s how you look, and that’s how you feel. Because we’re really doing so much while you’re on the table zoning out; we’re warming you up and working our magic. We’re getting those tight spots that no one’s ever touched or that you’re hoping the therapist will touch. When you get off the table, you’re like, ‘Whoa, what?’”
Pre-pandemic, massage school required 500 in-person hours in order to receive a certificate. In order to make the certificate more accessible and affordable for single moms, students with second jobs and tight schedules, Price approached state politicians to pass a bill that would allow 250 of the 500 hours to be completed online.
“I testified on behalf of my bill to allow for the online school for the whole state of Texas,” Price says. “I had to fight. There were a couple guys from the massage school advisory board, and they were also massage school owners who did not want anyone to rock the boat. They want things to stay the way they are. Nonetheless, my bill got passed by unanimous votes in both the Senate and House, and it was a big win.”
In addition to her Lake Austin and Downtown locations, Price has plans to open a third AustinDEEP location in the coming year.
“It’s interesting, being a female entrepreneur,” she reflects. “The way we think and the way we operate, the way we multitask is very different than men. I think we’re pretty good at it.”