In Home Massage: A Rusty Therapist Makes it Look Easy
by Daniel Melmed
I have been a licensed massage therapist since 2002. Most of the work that I performed doing in home massage therapy occurred in the first couple of years after receiving my initial license. When I started Body Well in 2005 my goal was to perform as much of the managerial and operational aspects of the business, while leaving the actual therapy to our contracted mobile massage therapists.
Over the years I have gotten out to get my hands on clients more and more infrequently. Most often times if I did go out to a job it would be a chair massage gig at a company along with a team of additional chair massage therapists.
This passed Mother’s Day, we found ourselves shorthanded and I was essentially called back to duty for the day. To be honest it had been quite a while since I had gone through all the motions involved in performing a successful in home massage.
Frankly I had forgotten how much is involved in making things go smoothly! It’s ironic because I regularly interview massage therapist and require them to perform a demonstration for me. That is my chance to get pretty critical about anything and everything from whether or not their nails are trimmed short enough (I don’t actually inspect their hands I would only mention something if I felt a little scratch) to what their sheets look like and of course the massage itself.
Yet when it came time for me to perform a mobile massage, I found that there were a lot of miscellaneous items that I had forgotten about. A lot more goes into providing a service thoroughly and smoothly then one might imagine. Successful therapists make it look easy, and the more a therapist gets out to perform a mobile massage, just like practicing anything, the easier it becomes. But I was rusty!
First I made sure to trim my nails. I had just clipped them perhaps only four days prior but I felt they had already grown enough so that, to be sure, I needed to clip or file them down.
When I went to collect the sheets I planned to use, I realized that they have been sitting in a closet for quite a while and didn’t have a very fresh smell. So I had to do some extra laundry that I didn’t expect to do.
I went to prepare my uniform including the Body Well T-shirt and some black pants, and realized while cleaning they needed some ironing. I didn’t want to show up for the at home massage looking disheveled or wrinkled!
But ironing was not enough. There was too much lint on the T-shirt. Where is that lint brush?! Found it!
Next I took a good look to inspect my massage table and make sure that it was ready to go. I decided it could use a good cleaning. So I mixed up a little soap and water and sprayed it down, wiped it down, and of course also made sure to do the same with the bolster. (They get pretty greasy sometimes)!
Luckily my massage oil was still good and ready to go in my old holster. No worries there. I also made sure that I had a little hand sanitizer in case that came in handy, and found my little container of mouthwash. You can never be too sure about fresh breath!
I went and picked out my favorite massage CD and gathered together my little portable CD player. Yes, pretty old-fashioned in these days of MP3s and Bluetooth speakers but that’s what happens when you spend years sitting in front of a desk instead of going out and doing on site massages at people’s homes, hotels and offices.
So I got dressed and ready to go, grabbed my table, and of course at that point I discovered that the strap for carrying the portable massage table was missing! I rummage through my closets to see if I could find another luggage strap that might suffice, but to no avail. Oh well the two handle straps would have to do.
So I gathered my massage table, my backpack on wheels, and headed out to load up the car. It had been a while since I remembered why I bought the kind of car I did, because opening up the hatch and having a good area in the back to plop down the table was a nice convenience. I can’t imagine trying to shove it into a cramped back seat.
I arrived at the client’s location and they showed me to the room where they wished for the in home massage service to occur. I had to navigate a pretty narrow little winding staircase up to the second floor, not too bad for myself but it was pretty difficult to avoid scuffing the paint on the walls!
The client had chosen a pretty cramped little room but it did have just enough space to maneuver around the table. I noticed it was pretty warm and asked if they could turn up the air. Not ideal circumstances but when you’re a mobile massage therapist sometimes you have to make the best of imperfect situations without complaining.
I got my table all set up, put my CD in the player and hit play. Of course, while it worked perfectly at home, now the CD player was not functioning correctly. Go figure! Fortunately the client had already put their cable television on a pay channel playing some relaxing music so I went with that option instead.
Finally it was time to begin and the first of my two Mother’s Day massages commenced. I couldn’t remember my standard routine perfectly, but I managed and both of the ladies seemed very pleased. It’s nice to be able to remind yourself once in a while “oh yeah I’m pretty good at this!” It never really cooled down much in the room so it wasn’t the most comfortable environment but nothing I couldn’t handle.
I cleaned up and put everything away and headed downstairs to check out with the customer. He gave me a pretty good tip which I was more than happy to accept for my “trouble”, and I headed home. But I wasn’t done yet! More laundry and cleanup!
All in all I had a pretty enjoyable experience providing this in home massage. It was a good reminder of how much time and effort and attention to various details are required in order to perform a successful mobile massage service…things our hard-working massage therapists make look easy every day.
Now, back to desk duty!