Before it’s hands on, try hand holding with first time massage clients
By Jean Shea on Nov 08, 2011
You can imagine any experience that has to do with massage, spas and skin care, my friends are anxious to share with me and more often than not, get my advice or input. The other day a friend told me a story that reminded how stressful a first time massage can be. In this case, a friend of my friend – a woman in her 40s – went for her first massage, which was a gift from her children.
She had no idea what to do when the therapist left her in the treatment room and told her that she’d return in a five minutes. My friend’s friend did not know her time alone was to enable her to undress and prep herself on the table. Five minutes later when the therapist returned, this woman was still standing by the door.
Any of you have a similar experience with a client brand new to massage? I expect it happens more often than not. This story is a good reminder that we can’t take anything for granted, especially when the clients are new. I checked in with our team and a few others to see what new client ‘best practices’ they follow. Here’s what they said.
Introductions Set The Stage
When you are introducing yourself new clients, ask how they are feeling. Get them to open up and share if they have any concerns about the treatment and how it will proceed. This gives you an opportunity to talk about what you will be doing and the benefits of the type of massage you will perform. Encourage them to ask questions.
You also want to find out about their preferences. In addition to the obvious about medical conditions or any specific areas they would like to focus on, find out what music like they or what kinds of fragrances or oils they prefer. The more they are involved in the process, the more comfortable they will be.
Reaching First Time Customers
Issues of building trust with first time clients notwithstanding, the story my friend told me is a good reminder that many people have never had a massage and we need to continue to reach out to them. Volunteering at community events where you can do free chair massage, for example, is a good way to introduce people to massage. You might want to try teaching a class on massage for friends and family at a local community college or adult education class. Other professional organizations offer workshops. Find out if you can run one on massage.
Sometimes there are health fairs in a community. Try to get on a speaking panel or see if you can offer a panel with other health care providers, such as a chiropractor or nutritionist. As you educate others about massage, you also are raising visibility for your practice.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with first time clients and what you’ve learned a result. Also what have you done to reach more people in your community about massage?