8 Massage Tips to Put Your Clients at Ease
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A massage is meant to be a relaxing experience—a time to meditate and alleviate tension, pressure and toxins building up in our bodies—not a stressful experience. Knowing how to handle or avoid some common uncomfortable situations can help you attract massage clients and keep them coming back.
The following eight massage therapy tips can help both massage therapists and their clients to understand some of the common things everyone may be thinking about before, during and after a massage, but are just too afraid to address.
1. Create a Peaceful and Sanitary Environment
Many clients fall into a peaceful slumber during a massage, but when they wake up, they notice a pool of drool on the pillow or massage therapy table. You should always be aware and looking for these types of situations. Subtly offering them a tissue will help to alleviate any awkwardness or embarrassment they may be experiencing.
Furthermore, after every massage, it’s important to make sure you properly clean your massage table and massage chair and change the sheets. This is important to ensure each of your clients can relax in a sanitized, peaceful and safe environment.
2. Talk about Conversation Do’s and Don’ts
Many clients wonder if they should or shouldn’t talk to a massage therapist during the massage. At the onset of a massage therapy treatment, it is beneficial to tell them to feel free to close their eyes and relax. This will help to put them at ease. Most of the time clients want to use this time to meditate and forget about all their cares in the world.
However, some types of massage therapy, such as deep tissue massage and sports massage, require more feedback because you are working on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable. Sometimes clients feel like they will be insulting your massage techniques if they have to speak up, but if you advise your client to let you know how the pressure is throughout, this will make them feel more comfortable.
Also, have them speak up if:
- The room is too hot or too cold;
- They would like different background music playing;
- They experience pain; or
- They have any questions related to the massage therapy.
3. Keep Your Breath Fresh
This may seem strange to think about, but if you are giving a massage after meal time, it is important to be very aware of your breath. If you just ate something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, your client will know it if you don’t take proper precautions. Even though you enjoyed your meal, bad breath can make getting a massage from you very uncomfortable.
Be sure to pop a few breath mints or brush your teeth before giving your next massage therapy treatment. Your client will appreciate it, and by mitigating a negative experience, the size of your tip won’t be impacted.
4. Understand Clients May Feel Self-Conscious
Because you see clients every day of all shapes and sizes, many massage therapists forget that some people are self-conscious about certain aspects of their bodies. The following are some common insecurities preventing people from getting a massage:
- Excessive hair growth
- Unique feet and toes
- Weight issues
To help in this matter, inform new or potential clients about massage techniques done through clothing such as Shiatsu or Thai massage. By doing this for first-time massage therapy clients, it will help to ease them into the world of massage. Also, if you have clients provide information on their health history, you will be made aware of any precautions or contraindications. In turn, this will help you to determine what services will best apply to new clients.
5. Battle of the Sexes
Statistically, many women and some men prefer female massage therapists; however, there are also many who have no preference or prefer seeing a male therapist. Although more people may prefer seeing a female, this should not be a deterrent for men wanting to enter the profession. Approximately 83 percent of all massage therapists are female. The fact that there are so few men in the field allows a male massage therapist to frequently build a successful practice.
6. Get a Pedicure
If you wear open-toed shoes such as sandals when you give a massage, keep in mind when your client is facing downward, they may see your toes. If your toes are not properly maintained, this may be distracting to your client. Keep those toes manicured, and it will just make the massage world a better place for everyone.
7. Boxers, Briefs or Panties?
Many people prefer to keep their underwear on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude. It’s up to them. Be delicately honest with them in regards to the situation because many times they may not know what the protocol is. If a client has problem areas in their lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, you might want to suggest to them that tight-fitting underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage therapy work; however, a thong for women or briefs for men would be an acceptable workaround.
For massage therapists, it’s all about keeping your massage clients comfortable, happy and relaxed during a massage therapy treatment. Aside from always being on time (or calling your client when you’re running late) and always being friendly and courteous, if you incorporate these simple guidelines into each of your massages, it will help to increase the size of your tips, increase the number of referrals your clients can bring to your business, and keep your clients coming back—guaranteed.
8. Provide Tips for Tipping
Many times clients simply don’t know if they should or shouldn’t tip a massage therapist for their services. It is up to you to delicately inform your clients, at the appropriate time, about your tipping policies. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s a portion of your salary and deserves some attention. Here are some guidelines:
- Spa or Hotel: 15 percent to 20 percent tip is standard if your client was pleased with the services. A discrete sign at the reception desk is acceptable.
- Self-employed: Be honest and upfront with your clients about your tipping policies the first time they come to see you for services.
- Work for someone else: Ask them how they handle informing their guests of customary tipping policies.
- Insurance coverage: If a client’s insurance covers massages, they may not know whether or not to tip and are reluctant to ask.
- Medical or clinical setting: There are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to tipping in this environment. Some massage therapists and massage therapy associations say that tipping isn’t appropriate in this type of setting. If you’re working in an environment where tipping isn’t the norm, you can always encourage your clients to show their appreciation by referring friends, family and co-workers if you have your own practice.
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