Running a massage business can be hard. Here at Swedish Institute, we’re here to help you with a few tips to help with your massage therapy business plan.
Massage therapy tips for the best hands-On client experience
You’ve dedicated your career to massage therapy to bring relief and relaxation – along with compassion to your clients. But did you ever wonder what goes through each client’s mind before, during, and after their massage? You might be surprised to find out the results. We’ve put together some helpful tips for the best ways to build your clientele so that they will keep coming back to your massage therapy business for more.
Maintain a clean and soothing environment
Let’s be honest. Getting a massage can be the ultimate escape. Most people go into it believing it will be a relaxing and pampering experience. But they do have certain expectations. Here are some important tips that will give your clients peace of mind for a comfortable and rewarding experience. And a comfortable, rewarding experience builds the foundation of your massage business:
- Properly clean your massage table or chair after each client’s session and apply fresh, clean sheets to ensure a sanitary environment.
- Keep tissues handy, since some clients may drift off to sleep and wake up with a bit of drool on their mouth, pillow, or massage table. This helps to keep your clients at ease and alleviates any embarrassment.
- Play soft music in the background to create a soothing experience.
Fresh breath is a must
The massage experience can keep you and your client in close proximity, so your breath can be one of the first things they notice before you even lay your hands on them. These may seem like obvious suggestions, but here are some ways to keep bad breath from getting in the way of letting clients experience your great massage:
- Avoid eating meals with onions or other ingredients that may leave your breath less than desirable.
- Brush your teeth after a meal before working on your next client.
- Keep breath mints or mouthwash handy.
Keep open communication
First-timers may not know the protocol when it comes to talking during a massage. Here are some ways to make your clients feel at ease and comfortable, and which you should be mindful of to add to your massage therapy business plan:
- Express your openness to hearing any of their concerns or fears at the beginning of the session.
- Let them know it’s perfectly fine to close their eyes during the massage. You want them to feel at home, so they will get the most from the experience.
- Ensure their comfort factor by telling them to relay any discomfort they may be feeling during the massage. Some therapies, such as deep tissue massage or sports massage, may require more feedback than other methods. And most importantly, instruct them to speak up if they are experiencing any pain.
- Ask them if the room temperature is comfortable and if the music that’s playing is to their liking.
Be sensitive to the client’s self-consciousness
As a massage therapist, you already know that clients come in all shapes and sizes. And it’s perfectly normal for some of them to be self-conscious about certain parts of their bodies. (Who isn’t, right?) Whether it’s acne, excessive hair growth, scarring, or weight issues, it’s important to make your clients feel comfortable in their own skin by being understanding and offering them options. Here are some ways to put their minds at ease:
- Suggest massage techniques such as Shiatsu or Thai massage, which are conducted clothed.
- Ask clients to provide a health history, so you will not only be aware of any precautions you need to take but can determine which massage therapy will be best suited for them.
Stay on your toes: Get a pedicure
Whether you are male or female, if you’re a massage therapist who often wears sandals, then it’s important to keep your toes pedicured. Since your clients are facing downward throughout part or all of the massage, your toes are front and center. Keeping them looking good contributes to a pleasanter experience and in turn, better for your massage business.
The debate about undergarments
Not all clients are comfortable being completely nude for their massage as some prefer leaving their underwear on. As a massage therapist, you know which types of undergarments are best to work around for different problem areas. But there’s a good chance your clients haven’t given much thought to the boxers, briefs, or panties debate. This is where your honesty and expertise come into play to make your clients feel comfortable and relaxed. For example, if a client has lower back, hip, or buttock pain, you may suggest they avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear. You may suggest for women to wear a thong and for men to wear briefs. Keeping the lines of communication open makes for a better all-around experience.
To tip or not to tip
This can be an uncomfortable conversation to strike up but it’s an important part of your massage therapy business plan, since the tips you receive may significantly supplement your salary. Here are some tipping guidelines:
- Spa or hotel— Display a discreet sign at the reception desk. The standard tipping policy in this setting is typically 15%-20% for clients who were pleased with your services.
- Work for others – Inquire about how they handle informing their guests about tipping policies.
- Self-employed— Discuss your tipping policies at your client’s first visit. Being upfront and honest is the best policy for a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Insurance coverage– In this situation, the client’s insurance is covering their massage costs, so they may not even think to ask about tipping.
- Medical or clinical setting– Some would agree this is not an appropriate setting for tipping. As an alternative to tipping, and if you have your own practice, you can ask your satisfied clients to refer you to family and friends.
There’s no doubt about it. Being a massage therapist can be a physically demanding career. It takes a lot of hard work, and one must be a resilient person to launch and have a successful massage therapy business. Compassion and empathy go hand in hand, but ultimately being a “people person” and acquiring the right skills will help you as you build your career. Contact us today to learn more about Swedish Institute’s Massage Therapy program.