Why do people get a massage? At first glance, the answer seems pretty simple. They want to relax and feel better. However when we look at the question a little closer, there are actually quite a few very different reasons why people go to a massage therapist.
And for us as providers it is important to understand all those reasons, because they may require different interactions with our clients.
This first reason comes to mind for most of us. People want to relax, feel good and pamper themselves, even if there is nothing wrong with them.
That’s how most spas make their money. They cater to people who love some luxury and indulgence in a beautiful and relaxing environment.
Recently I published a video in my “ Tips And Tricks” Thai Massage education series. In this episode I showed the use of a mechanical massage tool, a ‘massage hammer’.
When I posted the video on youtube, someone left a comment saying that the use of this tool felt like “cheating” to him, since the client paid for the use of his hands. He said that he would use this tool on a client, but he could not charge him for this time.
Here is what I do in my Thai Massage practice. I have a couple of quite large, heavy and stiff male clients who need intense work on the back, glutes and hamstrings.
When I initially introduced this tool, they both liked it. It puts out heat via an infrared lamp which works very well to loosen up tight muscles, and the vibrations are quite effective.
When you work with massage clients over long periods of time, you will notice certain patterns evolving. Some people come pretty close to being the ideal massage clients, but there are others where you keep glancing at the clock and just wait for the session to be over.
During my Thai Massage career most of my sessions were positive and often wonderfully uplifting experiences. However the skills of a massage therapist should include how to deal with situations that are not ideal.
I am offering some suggestions in this article about challenging sessions and what to do about them. They are a minority, but sooner or later every therapist will encounter most or all of them.
Here is a listing of the various types of clients that I have encountered in my Thai Massage practice over the years, and how to deal with them.