Whether your clients are new to massage or are regular customers, you never know what they know about massage therapy sessions! It can be easy to assume clients are aware of the basics and know what to expect – this often isn’t the case. Here are a few things to inform your clients prior to their sessions to ensure they receive the best possible massage and experience:
You’ll be covered
If a client is new to massage, they might not know what to expect when it comes to exposure. Informing the client with a quick explanation that they will be covered will lessen their anxiety prior to the session.
How to position
Again, new clients may have no idea what to do to get in place! It is helpful to explain the basics of positioning – such as putting their face in the cradle and bolster under the ankles (or knees if face up), and laying on top of the bottom sheet but under the top sheet.
Hot or cold?
Your clients should tell you if they are too cold or too hot at any point during the session. If they are uncomfortable, they won’t be able to fully relax, and will therefore not be getting the benefits intended from the massage. If they are not physically comfortable, it also makes it harder for the massage therapist to work against extra tension.
As with temperature, it is important for clients to speak up if something hurts. Often times, a certain level of discomfort is expected when working on tough spots and problem muscles; however, discomfort and pain are two very different things. As a general rule, a client should never go about a 6 or 7 on their scale of 1-10 for pain tolerance. The client should also always be able to breathe!
Massage therapists work through a progression of techniques to warm up an area and get blood flowing. This means that the deep muscle work doesn’t start right off the bat, and clients should be made aware of this so they are not confused or concerned about the quality of massage.
Men often have a physical response to massage – it’s common, and male clients should be given a head’s up that this can happen and that the massage therapist will ignore it and move on with the session.
Keep it up at home
A one-hour massage session isn’t going to be the cure for a problem that has taken much longer to develop. Give your clients stretches and at-home self-massage techniques they can do on their own to enhance each massage therapy session and promote better results.
Deeper isn’t always the answer
Many clients assume that the deeper the massage work, the better the results will be. This is not always the case. Work with these clients to help them relax, slowly and deliberately, and explain to them why deeper isn’t necessarily better.
Let your clients know they should not come in for a massage session if they are sick. Massage may intensify their illness and worsen their symptoms, and lying face down with a stuffy nose or cough isn’t the most pleasant experience. They will enjoy the massage much more, and have much better results, once they are well (and the massage therapist won’t risk getting sick as well).