By Rebecca Jee
Getting a massage is more than just the time spent on the massage table. Most clients want the whole experience to be enjoyable and to feel that all the senses are cared for. They want to leave the session feeling refreshed and relaxed.
As a massage therapist, you want to ensure your clients always feel comfortable and confident in you and your abilities; having an inviting and professional space goes a long way towards this. It can be the difference between your clients just getting a massage and having an outstanding experience that they will recommend to their friends.
Think about the sort of space you would like to set up and what elements you want to include. You might like to look online for inspiration, or think about details you enjoyed at spas or clinics where you have been a client. Also consider that this will be your working space, so as well as making it enjoyable for the client, you want it to be comfortable for you too.
A good first step is to look around the room as though you’re seeing it for the first time. Try to pay attention to anything that might make a client feel uncomfortable or ill at ease. What do you notice? Is it cluttered? Is it calming? How does it smell?
Here are some more tips for creating a professional and inviting massage space:
Try reducing visual clutter to create a sense of space. You can do this by tidying up as much as possible; put away bottles, towels and equipment that you aren’t using for that session.
Add to the visual calm and professional look by picking a neutral colour scheme for your towels and linens and making sure everything matches. Always use spotless, good quality towels and linen.
Ensure the room is always clean, and don’t neglect the floor! Remember your client will be looking at the floor at least for part of your session; if the space under the table is dirty it will be the first thing they see when they lie down. Also make sure any used towels or linens are out of the room.
Many therapists burn essential oils to create a peaceful atmosphere in the space. Try not to use overpowering scents, and be aware that some clients might be sensitive to certain smells.
- The temperature needs to be set for the comfort of the client rather than the therapist; the client’s body temperature will drop as they lie still on the massage table. A safe portable heater is an option to warm the room (don’t use anything with an exposed element for safety reasons).
- If the client really feels the cold, you could try adding another towel or a light blanket, using a covered hot water bottle near the client’s feet, or even fitting out your table with an inexpensive electric table warming pad (these can be bought from massage equipment retailers).
- The lighting needs to be dim while the client is being massaged, but if you are not able to adjust the lighting for whatever reason, provide an eye mask or folded hand towel to place over the client’s eyes when they are facing up, so that they aren’t bothered by bright light.
- Music can enhance relaxation. Use gentle music without lyrics or noticeable breaks so that there isn’t anything distracting bringing the client out of their relaxed state.
- Keep track of the time with a clock on the wall or shelf, but try to avoid clocks with loud ticks as this can be distracting to the client.
- Provide a safe spot for your client to place his or her clothes and other items. Remember that they are (quite literally) in your hands for the time you are working with them, and it will give them peace of mind to know that their belongings are safe while they are on the table.
Once your room is all set up, all you need to do is make sure you are ready for your client before he or she arrives. If you are stressed, rushed and unprepared, it will hardly put your client in the right frame of mind to relax! Make sure you have everything ready to go before the client arrives, including having the massage table set neatly with towels, having your massage oil on hand, warming the room and turning any music on. If the client is new, you will also need to have a questionnaire with pen and clipboard ready to collect their personal details. You may also like to provide a glass of water or herbal tea for the client to drink while they are filling out any paperwork.
Whether you are setting up your own practice or working within a day spa/clinic, paying attention to the details will keep your clients coming back for more!
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