Want to get a great massage? We put together a list of six super easy ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your massage therapy experience.
Massage can be great…it can also be miserable. Just browse through Google reviews or Yelp reviews and you will see experiences that run the gamut between amazing and horrific. In between the lines of those reviews there are frequently experiences that did not have to be bad, but were created by a series of misunderstandings or misinformation. Sure you might get a dud of a massage therapist now and again, or someone on a bad day but the majority of Massage Therapists are professionals who want to give you what you want. We put together this list of easy ways to get the most out of your massage experience to help paitents and clients navigate how to avoid some of the common problems that come up on review sites.
1. Arrive on time: Actually arrive 10-15 minutes early, especially if it is your first time. Frequently customers think they have purchased an hour of time. What they do not realize is that that hour of time is very specific to it’s time slot. If you booked a 5pm for one hour, your hour starts at 5 pm. Arriving at 5pm and then needing to use the restroom, fill out paper work and check in, will cut into that time. Paper work is a big time suck. Even at a gym or salon there might be some liability forms to fill out, so err on the 15 minute side of early if it is your first time at a location. Additionally you might consider asking have them send you the paper work in advance or if it can be done online. One of the big complaints we see online is that the appointment was cut short. Generally this will not happen so long as the customer has arrived with time to spare, this is literally getting the most ‘time’ out of your massage. (if it does then see suggestion number 6)
2. Advocate for yourself: There are MANY different depths and styles of massage. Before most sessions your therapist will either take a medical history, ask your likes or dislikes, and what you want to focus on. Some processes are more thorough than others…but whereever you are, this is your time to speak up and make your needs known. You do NOT want someone else’s massage. You want the massage you want. If you like a head massage, let the therapist know. If you do not want your new blowout touched, let the therapist know. Asking a questions about what will be massaged and what will not be is another good way to go. “Full body” does not mean the same things to all people, so try instead to say things like “I would really like I would really like a massage that focuses on my back, legs, calves, arms and neck, I do not care so much about my hands and feet”. Clarity of words can go a long way to clearing up any misunderstandings and having an experience where your legs were mysteriously left out.
Come in with a plan. Knowing what you want ahead of time will save you time and money. If your goal is to relax, that is totally valid, but a ‘full body’ can be made very un-relaxing by your therapist chatting away. Stating what you came in for can be really helpful to both you and for your therapist in order to get what you want. Same things goes for sports massage and medical work. Let your therapist know both your long and short term goals so that they are not guessing at what you want. Some people are terrible guessers.
3. If you are sick or have a possibility of a schedule change, let reception know ASAP. Most places have cancelation policy’s. Those policies are often more lenient the earlier reception knows there might be an issue. If you wake up with the sniffles or your boss throws a curve ball, give the reception a shout as soon as you know…they might be able to do you a solid. When you wait till an hour or two before your massage because you waited to see if you could really come, you are not going to find much flexibility.
4. Be forthcoming in your injury history and health history:Things that may not seem like a big deal to you, such as that trick shoulder that separates when you put your arm over head, might cause a serious problem if your therapist does not know. Sure you have had it all your life, but this is your massage therapists first time seeing it. Medications are equally important. There is no judgment, but some medications can leave you at risk for bruising, blood pressure complications, and injury. Most complications are easily avoided just by knowing the medication, so please be honest.
5. Do not come in medicated, drunk or high: Massage therapists are supposed to legally send you home if you are altered in any way…and you will probably be charged a fee. Even if your therapist does take you after a few boozy lunch drinks, it may be because they are not exactly sure if you are or are not altered. The likely outcome is, they are not going to give you the massage you want, instead they are wondering if they should be sending you home and giving you the most conservative massage possible. If you have medications you’re taking for an injury and that is what your coming in to be seen for, then call ahead and ask about them. Any medicine that alters your sense of touch or judgment, is a no-go for massage because it may increase your ability to be injured.
6. Complain…but start at the right place first. Businesses are not perfect. No one wants you to have a bad time. Seriously, a business is only as good as their customer service. If you had a bad experience or feel you were somehow wronged, reach out to a manager. Frequently I hear stories where a customer might have mentioned something to reception…and you should totally do that since they are sitting there, but know that not all reception knows that means you needed help. Receptions job is to take payments and greet, often they will be overtasked and not realize you complained at all, or that that complaint should be passed on. Politely asking for a managers email is totally ok, and it will get you the fastest resolution. For small businesses, they are often grateful for this approach as they WANT to find out about problems before they hit the fan. With larger businesses you may indeed have to go to social media to get someone’s attention….but this is rarely the case with self run businesses or businesses that are not chains.
Every massage is going to be a little different. It is important to keep in mind, we do this every day as massage therapists but it may be a special day for you…Hopefully this guide helps you navigate our world of massage therapy a little better.