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How to Be a Better Massage Therapist

massage therapist, be a massage therapist, be a better massage therapistFollow these steps to up your game and set your sights high

Being a massage therapist calls for an interesting combination of skills. You need to be good with your hands and good with people, perceptive about and responsive to the needs of to your clients, and professional as well as organized and conscientious. The longer you’ve trained, the more confident you’ll feel about each of these strengths. If you’re looking to thrive in the field of massage therapy, there are numerous areas to focus on, from improving your technique to some of the nuances of sound business management.

Here are three ways that massage therapists can improve as professionals:

  1. Work on communicating with clients more effectively

The more you can encourage your clients to speak up about what they need, the more satisfied they’ll be with their massage experience. To help you engage more effectively with your clients, try these approaches:

  • “Tell me more…” Although you’ll have clients fill out a form before the session begins, ask them to confirm what specifically brought them to the session that day. Find ways to engage them about their state of mind and body. The client may have suggestions, which can be helpful to know up front.
  • Don’t be a Chatty Cathy. Many clients will prefer to avoid ongoing conversation throughout their massage. It’s best to assume this, responding only when (and if) the client takes any initiative to speak.
  • Keep in touch. If you collect contact information, you may want to send out an email once every few months asking for suggestions about your performance and the clients’ overall experience with the practice. The most valuable feedback may come from a client who scheduled one appointment and then never returned.
  1. Market your business for growth

If you are running your own business, then you know that marketing is essential to success. Even if you work for a larger organization, it can benefit the entire business if you’re thinking about how to build your client list. Traditional advertising can play a role but consider other, creative—and often less expensive—additions to your marketing plan. Connect with a coordinator of a local health fair and offer to provide demonstrations that will get your name on their flyers and put you in touch with many potential new clients. Consider offering chair massages at a charity event in support of a cause you care about. A large fundraiser gives you the opportunity to help others do good, while also creating a higher profile for your business.

  1. Practice self-care

If you’re a massage therapist then you already know that regular exercise, stretching, and posture awareness will help prevent injury and keep you doing the work you love. Here are some suggestions for ways to expand your self-care even more:

  • Be kind to your body: Keeping your own body pain-free and in top condition is vital. Pay close attention to any weakness or injury, and seek treatment from other practitioners you know and trust.
  • The right stuff: Optimize your workspace and equipment to support your treatment techniques. Cramped spaces or poor quality equipment can hamper your performance—and your clients’ experience.
  • Break time! Given that massage therapy includes many repetitive motions, protect yourself against repetitive stress injury. Build time in your schedule for sufficient breaks in between client sessions.

If you follow some of these suggestions—and are mindful of and open to other ways to improve—you’ll find you’re in the best position to have a long and productive career as a massage therapist. It’s an important and interesting aspect of healthcare, and if you do it right, one that can benefit you as much as your clients!

This post is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We’re dedicated to supporting all our students in pursuing their career goals. Reach out to us for more information about our different career training programs.