I recently volunteered at an association meeting of family physicians. My state chapter of AMTA was hosting a booth with seated massage and research information on the efficacy of massage. That alone is a good reason to support the booth, but there are other compelling reasons to join in. One is the camaraderie with other therapists, something I am always seeking. In 20 years of teaching therapists, I never get tired of spending time with them. We are a fascinating group if you haven’t noticed. Working a chair massage event is also a great way to check my skill level and stamina. Finally, you never know when you will pick up new skills, tips and get try out someone else’s equipment. All in all it’s Time Well Spent (my business name by the way).
I have a confession to make about me and chair massage – we have been involved in a love/hate relationship for 25 years. I have sold and repurchased the same chair three times and actually have two. I think we can all agree that this is a great marketing tool and a low overhead way to get started. There are so many opportunities since this business model has so many location possibilities and is easily mobile.
I also know that you better be very good at your body mechanics if you want to succeed at this style for long. And your people and business skills better be on the high side. If you have these or are developing them, you shouldn’t have any problems. Except….. there is a lot of competition out there. One being corporate wellness companies that are like temp agencies and are attractive to big companies/established health fairs that used to hire individuals. Also in my market Chiropractors have hired inexpensive labor to provide “complementary” chair massage as part of their marketing programs.
So what’s a therapist to do? Differentiate yourself from the pack. Make your massage event memorable, effective and unique to you. Each massage has phases. Be creative about how you can make each phase work for you.
Set the Stage: make the space yours - think about all the senses. Control what you can and be creative. Make sure it represents your brand as close as possible.
Engage: introduction and connection with the client - This is where you put them at ease, educate them on the process and find out their wellness goals so you can prove your value. Be professional and personable.
Treat: whether you are providing relaxing/energizing sessions or actual bodywork - Address as many of their stated goals as you agreed to in the beginning. Make sure you stay true to the time that is allotted. Others are watching and can’t help but compare.
Add Value: go the extra mile – create one or more signature touches that will make you memorable. Mine is Aromasensory. I have a list of micro treatments that I integrate into any seated massage that will enhance the therapeutic value and the experience. Using the Biotone Aromatherapy line is a great way to do this.
Farewell: leaving a lasting impression – You want to set clear signals that the one on one time is over without them feeling rushed or that they can’t get further information. Depending on the setting I usually depend on a parting gift (usually an Aromasensory lagniappe or a self care tool/tip.)
I love sharing tips on how to make this ousider of the massage industry creative and fun. If it’s been a while I hope you will explore it as an option again and really embrace its advantages. Volunteer if nothing else. We have skills few possess and we need to be generous when we can be.
Be well, Do good work, and share your seated massage tips. We only get better by sharing.