Four Must-Do's to Be a Successful Massage Therapist

Four Mistakes Massage Therapists Make

Through out my eleven years of service to my clients, I have discovered four basic things that have made me successful in my practice. I have seen many therapists come and go and just recently put all the pieces together on why each of them were not successful. I have tried to put them into order of importance but still vacillate on the last three.

Number one on my listing is:

Having A Poor Work Ethic. In my class on building a business I tell my students it does not matter whether they are the nicest, prettiest, friendliest, etc person on the planet, if they don’t practice good basic service policies. This is a day and age where good basic service has fallen by the wayside but the principles are still important. The one I see most often missed is not showing up for the client on time. Totally disrespectful of your clients time. I see this all the time in my own office from my colleagues. I don’t care how good you are in your work, I’ll find someone equally as good somewhere else if you don’t respect my time as well.

You should get to work at least thirty minutes before your client to get your room set up, temperature properly adjusted, set up your table, get some nice music playing, and get yourself grounded for the day. When your client comes through the door, you should be standing there with a welcome smile, and a kind word. Have them sit down a minute and visit with you about how they have been, what going on in their lives, and other things they might want to share with you. Become more that just a body rubber to them; become a concerned person but not too close. Other things that are included in work ethic that I am not going to elaborate on at this time are: not keeping structured work hours, being reliable, using good communication skills, being honest and filled with integrity, has respect for the client, and believe in what you are doing. Come across as truly interested in their health not just being there to collect their money.

The second thing on my list, again I say the order is questionable, is

Not Comfortable Working On A Naked Body.
I can’t tell you how many clients I have gotten because another therapist will not work a certain area of the body. Why are you in this business if you cannot touch the body? Of course I’m talking about appropriate touch and any advances from the client is cause to end the session and collect your money but this is a touch profession. I have a lot of single, divorced, and widowed women coming to me and the warm hand on the body is important to their session.

In Texas, where I practice, the only place I’m not allowed to massage is the genitals. Therefore the butt and breasts are important areas of the body to be massaged. The muscles of the glut-es are 75% responsible for low back pain, they must be massaged and stretched for relief. Also included in this are the muscles of the thighs. You should be working the leg all the way up to the attachments. If you are only working a few inches above the knee you are not giving your client relief for knee problems and other leg issues. Lymph nodes at the top of the front of the leg must be moved to keep them open and draining. I know of at least two clients I have gotten just recently because of they lack of comfort working in this area of the body. Breast massage is very helpful for relieving neck problems. The breast needs to be moved to keep it healthy. The bra puts restrictions on the breast which will not allow toxins to be moved out into the nodes. It is not sexual and the client feels lighter and lifted after having a good breast massage. You need written permission once and verbal permission each time you see that client. We do it to the men so why not to the women. What about the side of the body? Get comfortable with the body and you’ll give your client the most complete massage they have ever had or get out of the business.

Third thing on my list is

Lack Of Education To Help Your Client Feel Better. OK, so you are comfortable working on the butt; do you know how to achieve results or which muscles within are causing the problem. In many cases, no. Take classes that you know will help you understand how to work on your clients. These are classes that state they are really good “hands-on” education. You can learn about aromatherapy, spa treatments, hot stones, reflexology, and other related subjects that I would consider to be add ons to your regular sessions. But are they really going to assist you in keeping a client coming back for more. I’m known as an aggressive therapist and that is what my clients like about me. They know when they come that I am not going to merely spread oil on their body. They come knowing I’m going to move some muscle and I can tell them what muscle I’m moving plus why I think that muscle is causing the problem. Look at it this way. Anyone at their home can rub lotion on their body but to truly be a good massage therapist we must separate ourselves from the ordinary. Tight muscles cause all kinds of problems both structurally and internally. Bones are pulled out of place by tight muscles. Internal organs can feel bad because tight muscles are pulling on the fascia attached. Nerves can inflict pain because of tight muscles; sciatic nerve/piriformis muscles. Learn to earn not to just keep your license currant.

The fourth thing I have seen as a problem in being successful is

Not Listening To Your Client. First of all, your in a service business and good service means being attentive to your client’s requests. In days gone past the motto in good business was, “The customer is always right.” As you and I well know they weren’t but we had to “play the game” if we wanted to have repeat customers. As professional body workers we should know what is and is not good for our clients and we can say whether we think it is good for them but what I’m talking about here is just not following your client’s wishes each time he or she comes in. Of course we must have scruples in dealing with off color requests but when a client ask for just the upper body being worked on that day, we need to listen. It happens all the time and I get a client back I have referred out because of it. This just recently happened to me again the other day. The therapist I sent this particular lady to was only able to deliver her “routine” each time this lady came in. The therapist was still in this little “box” the schools teach and just could not function without doing a whole body massage. The client did not want her feet worked; she had plainly stated, “Just the upper body today please.” It is like going in to have your tire aired up and the one that needed air was not filled. This is also a case of not being comfortable working on a body as the therapist would not do peck or breast work even though she had been shown how and the client found great benefit from it.
Another male client was in another facility recently after he had hurt his right hip. He asked the therapist there he he could work on it and he also got a complete body massage with only a minute or two where he had complained about. After this man told me this story, I spent about 45 minutes of fixing that area, and did! I too have experienced this when I have gone to a therapist. I did not want several things offered but ended up not having a choice. That therapist is no longer working. My clients come back to me because I listen and really care about their health and wellbeing; my hands prove it. It is from the heart.

This list could go on and on but to be these four are the biggest reasons for failure.

1) Poor work ethic. We could talk good business practices forever.
2) Not being comfortable working on a nude body. Why are you in this type of business?
3) Lack of education. Take classes that will help you build not just get by.
4) Not listening to your client. This includes showing you care not just collecting their money.