By Lori Beyard & Tessa Brooks
Have you ever had a bad massage and never gone back to that spa? Have you ever had a mediocre massage and just felt it was not worth the money? Perhaps you didn’t enjoy the massage. Your massage therapist needs to know these things. The worst thing you can do for your therapist is to not be honest. Most therapists want to know what works and what needs to be improved on. This is not just for your benefit. Honestly, most massage therapists choose this career field to support themselves and/or their families; not being good at what we do might hinder that from happening.
The following are a few examples of what would constitute a bad massage:
1. Onion of Death During an interview, one client mentioned that she smelled the worst onion breath ever. Not wanting to embarrass the therapist, she braced for the entire massage having the stench curl her nose hairs. She never complained, but… she also didn’t tip and didn’t ever come back. She went on to tell her friends and neighbors not to book an appointment with that spa since they didn’t care enough to make sure their therapists knew what bad breath actually meant, and how to fix it with a simple breath mint or… Hello! SCOPE? They equated bad hygiene with bad service or a dirty spa.
2. Here kitty, kitty I have actually received what I would call one of the worst massages ever. (You know it had to be bad since I have had tons of massages!) The therapist had very inconsistent pressure during the entire massage. She gave mediocre pressure on my back when I specifically told her to go deep. When she reached my arms and legs, it was like she lost her steam or even the will to go on. Instead of pressure, she just petted me. I literally felt as if I was her pet cat and she was trying to pet me to see if I would purr. Really?? Luckily it was part of my job to critique her work so that hopefully her future clients would never have to experience that. You are welcome clients of that nameless therapist. I just saved you!!
3. I often hear complaints that clients went in for a massage needing their back worked on, but still wanted a full body massage… After telling their therapist about their problem area, the therapist spent minimal time in that area before moving on! For some reason the therapist spent 15 minutes just on their feet… Her feet felt great! Sadly, her back was still screaming “HELP ME”!! Again, the client COULD have and SHOULD have said, “I think I need more time on my back before you move on please, but they did not. Hint, hint people! Find your voice! It’s your session!
Massage therapists: Take charge of your massage! Give your clients “permissions” to speak up people!
1. Don’t let them hold their breath and squeeze out a “fine” when asked if the pressure is too deep. Don’t let them say “fine” when asked if the pressure is okay, if it’s too light.
2. If your client doesn’t like their glutes worked on because it makes them uncomfortable make sure that you ask if it’s ok to go there!
3. Make sure you don’t smell like smoke! Would you want to go to a restaurant and eat something you didn’t order, or something that just tasted awful and not complain? Okay, maybe you are a person that would.
4. Please don’t be the type of therapist that let’s your client suck it up and not say anything without giving them a chance to speak up or not letting them know up front that you would prefer it if they did.
Clients: We want to hear from you! Please, please, please do not tell other therapists’ that they were “wonderful”, “great”, “super”, or anything else they were not. I personally would rather be told I was awful than to have you blow smoke…well…you know where.
All right let’s vent! Tell us about that thing you wanted to tell that therapist that but never had the guts to do so.