Stress and tension seem to be at an all-time high in the world around us. All you have to do is listen to the conversations at your local coffee shop or log into any social media platform to tap into the abundant distress many are feeling. We know massage therapy can help those who are feeling overwhelmed by all the challenges life has to offer, but that only works if the massage therapist offers a safe space to receive the therapy.
Some of the obvious bases to cover when creating a comfortable therapy space for clients are:
- Temperature Control – Having blankets, a mini heater/fan and a table warmer can all go a long way to ensure you can create the perfect temperature for your client during their therapy.
- Light Control – Bright lights are not conducive to relaxation! Having adjustable lighting, appropriate blinds, and an eye pillow will prepare you for any situation!
- Time Control – Clients often feel additional anxiety when they are kept waiting or running late. It is important to start and end sessions on time to avoid unnecessary stress to the client. Ensure the client what time they need to leave your office if you want to work a little longer and have the time. This helps ensure you don’t inadvertently make them late for their next appointment if they have one!
In today’s world of social media and interconnectedness, some factors may require a little more thought, such as:
- Social Media Posts – As you may have noticed, much of Social Media is politically charged right now. Massage Therapists are people too, and we have our opinions about social issues. That said, therapists need to be conscious about not alienating or increasing clients' stress by discussing these issues directly or indirectly with them. If you have a personal social media account where you have accepted clients as “friends,” you need to be mindful that they will see your posts unless you have utilized appropriate security measures to block visibility. You don’t want to lose a client because you offended them with a social media post you made on your or one of your other “friend’s” walls.
- Chatting During the Session – Communication during a session should be focused on topics that relate to the session. Your massage office should be a bubble that gives your client space protected from all outside stresses. This time is for them to connect with themselves! Even if you and your client have the same view, discussing politics, family matters, or life in general during therapy won’t typically increase your client’s sense of peace and relaxation or enable them to connect with their body.
Creating a peaceful environment for your client is relatively easy to do, but it goes deeper than just the space you create in the treatment room. As a therapist, you must be able to set yourself aside to focus on your client’s needs. Whatever you are struggling with personally, politically, and socially has no place being brought into your client’s session. That isn’t to say that those struggles don’t affect who you are or how you work, but that is different from making you the room's focus instead of your client. Your “stuff” takes a backseat. By making this choice, you will be able to set aside your ideological, political, or social differences so you can provide another individual with a safe space to honor themselves.