What is Good Massage Etiquette?

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist and want to know what good massage etiquette entails? While massage helps soothe a client’s muscles and ease aches and tension, it is important that you use good massage etiquette at all times to maintain professional standards and a hospitable environment for your clients. Following are some important tips you can use to maintain good massage etiquette in a professional working environment, but first, we will look into what a massage therapist does.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

People visit a massage therapist for a variety of reasons. Most often, they will book an appointment for relaxation purposes or to alleviate pain and tenderness within certain areas of their body. Before massage services can be administered, your job is to use proper massage etiquette to build rapport with your client and thoroughly communicate with them to understand their specific concerns. You will talk with a client about what symptoms they may be experiencing as well as any past relevant medical history. After learning more about the client’s needs you will use this information to create a personalized treatment plan that will alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Communicate with Clients

Communication is vital throughout the therapeutic process. You will use your fingers, arms, and sometimes feet to target tense areas of the client’s body and apply a variety of techniques to alleviate their discomfort. However, while providing services you should check in with the client to make sure they are not feeling any discomfort or pain. Techniques can be adjusted according to the client’s comfort level at any point in the session.

Education and Assessment

Following a massage, you must then educate your client on appropriate after care steps to follow when they return home. This is vital, as the outcome of their session can depend on their ability to follow through with your instructions. You may then schedule additional sessions to document their progress and reassess their treatment plan. Documentation is an important way to assess whether the client’s situation is improving or if you should try different methods to address their condition.

What is Good Massage Etiquette?

Many first-time clients are nervous when they show up for their massage session. Even regular clients may experience a little anxiety when first arriving for a massage. Therefore, proper massage etiquette is a vital component of any session and makes the difference between a client returning for additional sessions or deciding to seek services elsewhere.

Communication is Key to Massage Etiquette

First and foremost, before you administer any massage services, you must sit down with the client and understand what their unique needs may be. Not all clients are the same, and some enjoy conversing during their session while others prefer peace and quiet. Additionally, effective communication is important, so you know what areas of the client’s body to concentrate on during the session. By addressing the client’s needs and learning what their preferences are, you will be in a position to deliver the best services possible and increase the chances of them returning for additional services in the future.

Be Punctual

It is important to understand that a client has taken time out of their busy schedule to book a massage session and that they have chosen their massage therapist carefully. Therefore, it’s good massage etiquette to be on time for the appointments with a client. Showing up late is unprofessional and demonstrates a lack of care for the client’s personal time. Not only is it unprofessional to be chronically late, but it also increases the chances of losing a client. By being punctual and showing up on time, a client is more likely to enjoy their experience and book additional sessions in the future.

Use Appropriate Medical Terminology

Before obtaining licensure, you will probably attend a massage therapy program to prepare for a career as a professional massage therapist. Therefore, it is important to utilize appropriate medical terminology when working with a client. Using slang words to identify body parts and muscle groups is poor massage etiquette and could have a negative effect on the client’s experience. Language matters, especially when it comes to a client’s perception of their massage therapist and may be a factor in whether they decide to return.

Avoid Smoke and Heavy Perfumes

Because you work directly with a client’s body, massage therapy is a very intimate process. Because of the intimate nature of this work, it’s important to avoid smoking prior to a session with a client. Not only is smoke bothersome for clients, but it also poses an unnecessary health risk, especially when working with clients who are immunocompromised or undergoing cancer treatment. In addition to smoke, you should avoid wearing heavy perfumes. Some heavy perfumes are known to cause headaches and nausea and can detract from the client’s overall experience. Good massage etiquette dictates that fragrances be kept very light or eliminated altogether.

Eliminate Distractions During the Appointment

The ambiance plays an important role in a client’s overall experience, which is why it is important to eliminate distractions throughout the session. Cell phones have become a distraction in the workplace, and massage therapy clinics are no exception. You should ensure that your cell phones are placed on silent and moved away from the workstation. In addition, it’s important for you to give the clients your full attention throughout the duration of the massage. Some clients may be too timid and not speak up if they experience discomfort during the session and you need to be completely attuned to their body language to ensure the client remains comfortable during the massage.

Practice Good Hygiene

Professions which require working in close proximity with clients require a higher level of personal hygiene, and massage therapy is no exception to this rule. Body odor and bad breath are not only unsanitary and unhygienic, but it detracts from a client’s overall experience. While you should stay away from heavily scented fragrances, you should also make sure your teeth are brushed and you use mouthwash to eliminate bad breath. You should also make sure to take a shower every day and apply non-fragrance deodorant prior to meeting with the client.

Maintain Robust Sanitation Standards

Because you may work with dozens of clients every day, good massage etiquette dictates that you maintain a hygienic workplace for everyone’s safety. This includes wearing appropriate protective gear like gloves and other items when working with clients who have open sores and thoroughly sanitizing all equipment with the appropriate sterilization methods. In addition to these measures, you should have a proper plan of action in place in case a client calls after their session to announce that they are ill. In this situation, you must know the proper protocol and plan of action to avoid spreading germs to others.

Avoid Working When Feeling Unwell

While it’s important to maintain adequate sanitation standards, it is just as important for you to avoid going to work if you feel ill. Because you often work with immunocompromised clients, any illness you may have could easily be spread to others. Because you enjoy the ability to schedule clients according to your availability, you can easily call them and explain the situation. Most clients would prefer to reschedule than to risk getting ill.

Maintain Professional Communication With All Clientele

Over the years, many massage therapists will build a personal relationship with their clients, getting to know them very well. Friendships may even form between clients and their massage therapists. However, regardless of how well you get to know your client, it is important to maintain professional communication and good massage etiquette with them at all times throughout the session. Ethics is a very important component of massage therapy, and it is imperative that your relationship with the client remains professional and that ethical lines are never crossed. By maintaining these ethical standards, you are in a better position to provide excellent services for your clients.

Why is Massage Etiquette Important?

Proper massage therapy etiquette is important for many reasons. From building trust to word-of-mouth marketing and everything in between. Adhering to proper massage etiquette can create a robust clientele and the trust of your clients during this intimate service.

Building Trust

First and foremost, massage therapy is a very intimate process, and the client is placing a lot of trust in you to take proper care of them throughout the session. Some people feel uncomfortable in these situations. While some clients may become more comfortable as they return for additional massages, other clients may always be somewhat anxious during every session. Therefore, it is important to build respect and gain the trust of new and returning customers.

Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Many massage therapists will gain repeat clients who enjoy their therapist’s professionalism and therapeutic techniques. These clients often refer their friends and family members to you, which is great for organic “word-of-mouth” advertising. This is a great way for you to gain new clients without having to spend money on media advertising.

Legal Protection

Another important reason why you should maintain good etiquette is because it is important for both you and the client to stay safe from a physical and legal perspective. There are many false narratives and misconstrued notions of what professional massage therapy entails. It is important that you don’t give the client any false notions about your intentions throughout the course of treatment and that both you and the client maintain a professional demeanor during the session. By adhering to the massage therapist ethical code of conduct and remaining professional, yet courteous, the client can enjoy the process and experience the benefits of massage therapy.

Final Thoughts

Professional massage therapists make a profound impact on the lives of their clients by offering effective and natural pain relief, as well as the chance to relax after a particularly stressful workweek. If you are interested in starting your journey on this fulfilling career path, be sure to find out more about enrolling in a professional massage therapy program today.

Massage Therapy Program

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 13 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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