Unlike any other line of work where you can treat clients with utmost professionalism, the fact that massage therapists have to deal with their patients through touch make it more personal. The good news is that you can still turn the massage session into a 100% professional treatment, as long as you take the necessary precautions. Read on as we dish out a few practical tips about the different aspects of being a massage therapist.
Practical Tips for Massage Therapists
The reason why people get massages is to alleviate the stress from their knotted muscles. It’s a form of self-pampering that they invest in, and massages have plenty of health benefits as well. Now, if you are the massage therapist, here are some practical tips about the different aspects of your line of work that you should always remember:
• Massage Area
If you’re working at a day spa or a beauty salon, the management would already have set rules about how you can keep the massage area clean and sanitized. If you are working solo, then you need to have very strict rules regarding sanitation as well. During a massage session, most clients fall into a deep slumber, only to wake up and discover that there’s drool on the pillow or the massage table. Be nonchalant about it and offer a tissue so that the client will not be embarrassed. Naturally, you need to change the sheets and pillow cases after massaging every client so that you can maintain a sanitized and relaxed environment inside the massage area.
There are some clients who prefer the utmost peace and quiet brought about by a relaxing massage so they prefer not to talk during the session. However, as a massage therapist, it’s up to you to keep the session dynamic by encouraging the client to speak up. Ask the client immediately about:
– The temperature of the room so that you can adjust it accordingly
– The background music playing
– The pain that they might be feeling if your strokes get too deep or hard
– If there’s any part of their body that they would like you to focus more on because of muscle pain
Encouraging your client to speak up will make the massage therapy more successful.
• Physical Appearance
More than 80% of massage therapists are female. Statistically, most women and some men clients prefer female massage therapists – while the rest do not have any specific preference. While working on a client, wear a uniform or comfortable clothes to show your professionalism. If you’re wearing open-toed sandals, the client is most likely to see your feet so make sure that your toes are properly pedicured. Clients are also bound to smell your breath especially if you are massaging the upper part of their bodies, so always keep your breath fresh by gargling mouthwash or brushing your teeth prior to seeing the client.
Some clients are embarrassed with their bodies, so they might prefer to keep their underwear on during the massage session. If they’re wearing tight-fitting underclothes, explain that the pressure can sometimes get in the way of massage therapy so it’s better to be in the buff – or at least wear a thong for women or briefs for men.
Finally, a significant portion of your income as a massage therapist comes from tips. If you’re self-employed, do not hesitate to inform clients about tipping policies. For those who are working in spas or hotels, 15% to 20% tipping is recommended. In a clinical or medical setting, there really are no set rules. If tipping is not the norm, then tell your clients that referrals would be very much appreciated.