A License by Any Other Name

A License by Any Other Name

By Mark Shannon

Where I live and work, you can become a licensed massage therapist by having an academic letter stating you have completed a program, write a check, take a picture, and voila you are an official LMT ready to fix the world!  But having the license doesn’t automatically make you a good therapist.  It’s pretty easy to obtain a driver’s license!  But don’t think just because you have a driver’s license that makes someone a really good driver! 

Two massage therapists:  Will their opposing actions leave them smelling as sweet?

Therapist # 1:   Begins externship by showing up late each day for her appointments. Personal hygiene is poor; and her clothes are not neat.  She trudges through externship seeing it more as “something I have to do” rather than something she has the privilege of experiencing. 

She never cares enough to improve during this practical part of her education.  When she is booked for a 1 hour massage she goes for 45 to 50 minutes.  She reeks of cigarette smoke; does the minimum to get through; does nothing to build a personal clientele.  She doesn’t create a back-up plan for emergencies if the baby sitter falls through for the day.

Therapist #2:   She is early each day.  She brushes her teeth and hair, and her clothes are always well kept.  She smiles each day at work and chooses to enjoy this new career she has embarked upon.  She asks the advice of the LMT’s that work in the clinic.  She seeks their advice on any new technique, modality, or stretch.  She is well organized with her massage time and keeps a tidy room.  She works well on her own with little supervision to do the little things that keep the business running smoothly.  She does not allow personal issues affect her work. 

She has a plan B for a baby sitter should the need arise.  Therapist #2 actively cultivates her clientele by handing out business cards to everyone she knows.  She encourages her clients to rebook with her for a follow-up treatment.  She goes so far as to follow up with a phone call in a few days following her recent massage.  She seeks honest evaluations from skills checks and client feedback to make sure she becomes the best LMT possible.  And one of the best things Therapist #2 does not get flustered when chaos abounds.  She looks for helpful creative ways to solve the problems.

If Therapist #1 and Therapist #2 were applying for a job in your spa, who would you be more likely to hire?  Do you just have a license, or are you trying to go beyond your license?  Food for thought…

24 thoughts on “A License by Any Other Name”

  1. I’m building a career. I am going to take every effort into building a career and a clientele. I will do what I can to promote my business and to keep the clients that I work to gain.

  2. I would take MT#2 I’m a real stickler about people being on time and people’s personal hygeine. Soap is too cheap to let a good bar go to waste!

  3. I would pick MT 2! If you dont show good health and hygen people wont want to come back to her. Everyone should work to be that person in anything they do.

  4. Thanks for the thought….I will keep all this in the forefront of my mind as a finish out my schooling and start forward on my career path!!

  5. I am trying to build my career. I would hire therapist number 2. Personality and professionalism are the most important thing to me.

  6. As an employer I would definitely want to hire MT#2, as a massage therapist in training I hope to become someone like MT#2. Thanks for the thoughts.

  7. Even though I am still fairly new in this program, the further in I get, the more sure I am that I am in the right field for me, finally! I would hire and want to be like MT#2, definitely!

  8. definitly would hire theripist#2. you want someone that takes thier career to heart and always looks to improve thier skills. the hygiene issue is very important. i would not want someone near me that cannot even run a comb through thier hair, all it shows is a lazy attitude towards life so what more would someone expect from someone who cannot even take care of themselves.

  9. I would hire therapist number 2. Its important to make your career number 1 on your priority lisay when your at the job. You never know when you might need a reference.

  10. Of course we would all ideally choose therapist #2. If using logic, there is no contest. But sometimes, we let friendships and such cloud that judgment. When our business is concerned, professionalism needs to reign supreme. Good information this week.

  11. I am striving to be therapist #2 because that is the kind of person that I would hire for my own business. Thanks for the reminders Mark!

  12. I think we all know a Therapist 1 type person as well as a type 2. Sad part is type 1’s think they are type 2’s and see no problem with their behavior. They blame others for their downfalls. Type 2’s take responsibility and never assign blame. If you ever see me acting in a type 1 way…take me out and beat me.

  13. That is a no brainer for hiring MT#2. I really feel that if this is not exactly what I’m suppose to be, that it is most definitely a good starting point. I can’t really remember ever putting forth as much effort for anything else that I’ve done as I have this. It makes me happy and feel good, too.

  14. I would hire MT#2 because I wouldn’t want MT#1 working on me or anyone else and then it back fire on me. I am going to be in therapist #2’s foot steps. I want a good reference not a bad one!

  15. I would definitely hire MT#2, MT#1 is just in the field to make some extra money is what it sounds like and anyone that is just in it for the money is never going to be good at what they do. MT#2 seems to really love what she is doing and wants to build her “tool box”. I really enjoy doing what I do I push myself everyday to learn as much as possible to be the best I can be. So I hope to be the type of MT as #2. Your first impression with a client is the one they will always remember and I want all the good feedback that I can get and doing something silly like not caring fully is just no excuse, especially for a Massage Therapist because we are hear to help others and you can’t do that being negative and sloppy. Thanks for the food for thought.

  16. For me to be my best I really need feedback from you all on what I’m doing – good and bad.I see this time in college as the time to make mistakes and the opportunity to practice,practice,practice. I cant get better if you dont tell me how I can do better. This is the time to tell each other in a supportive way what we need to do.

  17. I would definitely hire MT#2. Being on time really matters and so does personal hygiene, but I think the cigarette smoke is the biggest deal to me. It is very hard for me to relax and enjoy a massage when the person giving it smells strongly of smoke or even perfume. Both give me a headache and just ruin the experience.

  18. I really hope that this isn’t a difficult decision to make! This really points out how every profession can be. As always, the first impression is the key, especially if you would like you clients to return. We only get one first impression, so we have to aspire to do our best! This business we have chosen to devote ourselves to is all about selling ourselves, making the client feel comfortable, not just by the massage we give, but by making them feel good about who they have chosen to place their cares with.

  19. i would definately hire therapist #2. I would want someone that works for me take pride in themselves and their career. I hope to represent all those things when i come into the field. I am trying to learn to expand my views on naturalist’s as opposed to only western medicine.