For massage therapists, from experts to novices, it is sometimes easy to forget some very basic procedures and massage techniques for keeping yourself healthy, your business profitable, and your clients happy. By avoiding these common massage mistakes, and remembering to maintain posture, focus, and a high level of customer respect and service, your practice can thrive.
Massage Mistakes Made by Beginners and Professionals
Body Mechanics: While in school, beginning massage therapists tend to use improper body mechanics because they haven’t become acclimated to how they should use their bodies for leveraged strength and balance. By using the correct flow, you can relieve your arms of early fatigue by combining full body movements during a massage. Techniques, such as, learning proper body mechanics and posture, can help you avoid any undue stress to your body, while concurrently providing your client with the best massage possible.
During a massage session, massage therapists should be attuned to how their client is reacting to pressure. Massage mistakes include errors in pressure, or not checking in with the client about his or her comfort. If you are applying more pressure than is comfortable to the client, they will tighten their muscles, restrict their breathing, and will be uncomfortable. When your client’s body is tensed, you are only creating more stress – not relieving it. If your pressure is too light, the massage may be relaxing, but will likely not positively impact the muscles that the client wanted addressed. It is important to check in with the client about pressure to make sure your massage techniques are effective.
Self-Care: Common massage mistakes therapists make are that they do not take care of themselves as much as they should. Much like any extended physical activity, it is important for you to stretch before you begin a session. Keep in mind that while you’ll be primarily using your arms, your entire body will be getting a workout as you’ll be depending on your legs for counterweight, your back for strength, and your torso for core balance and posture. Of course, the primary complaint of massage therapists is that their arms, wrists and fingers hurt. Again, while this is normal, it can be avoided by stretching and using a proper flow and massage techniques. It is important to maintain proper stretching and strength exercise routines so that you avoid any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause early burnout and fatigue.
One very important thing for therapists to remember is to routinely receive massage. Mistakes often made by therapists include forgetting the “self-care” portion of their profession, which attributes to a high level of industry burnout. Another important factor for massage therapists to weigh is staying current with the client experience – how does it feel to be on the table? What massage techniques work, and which aren’t as effective? By receiving regular massages, you can maintain a focus on the customer perspective of the massage experience.
Customer Service: First impressions count in every industry, and this consideration applies to all massage therapists, even those with existing practices. At all times, you should strive to dress in appropriate attire, appear professional, and be well-groomed when performing massage. Techniques for checking your appearance would be to simply think, “Do I look like a professional?” While you should be comfortable in your clothes, you shouldn’t wear jeans, a tee-shirt with logos, old sweatpants, etc. during a massage. Mistakes in appearance can leave a negative impression, or potentially make a client uncomfortable. A good industry standard is to wear clean, loose yoga or exercise pants or loose fitting khakis. Scrubs, a solid polo shirt or cotton t-shirt with a high neck is generally considered appropriate for massage. Therapists who are smokers in their free time need to avoid cigarettes and cigarette smoke while at work. Many clients are sensitive, or even allergic, to specific dyes and odors, and may be incredibly uncomfortable with the scent of tobacco, perfume, or even some strong deodorants. Because of this, it is also very important to use a hypoallergenic cream or lotion which performs the same as other lotions, and does not negatively impact your massage techniques. 베트남 황제투어