Greetings friends! For this edition I thought we might have a little fun looking at the most common complaints people have about getting massages. And to help you avoid these “massage killers” in the future, I’ll also offer some tips on how prevent or correct them before it’s too late!
Most of the time I’m inclined to write about all of the great things about massage therapy. After all I love massage and it’s how I make my living! But having been in the business for about 9 years now and managing services to thousands of clients, I’ve gotten a pretty good idea about what clients like, and what they don’t like. I try to make good use of this information by sharing it with the therapists who approach me seeking to work with Body Well. I have every therapist work on me personally before hiring them so I can see first hand what they do, how they operate, and make sure they they don’t commit the most commonly complained about “sins” of massage.
So what are the most common complaints that we try to avoid? Let’s make it interesting and count down from number 3:
#3 most common complaint: Unhappy with therapists equipment/supplies
How can you enjoy a massage when your chin is smashed up against a metal bar or the only thing that separates your rib cage and a piece a plywood is a cushion with the density of a cotton ball? How can you relax when a therapist uses lotion that is infused with an essential oil that causes you to break out in hives? Unfortunately these kinds of things can happen all too often, and they can sabotage what could otherwise be a great massage! Many therapists never lie down on their own table and don’t know how comfortable it really is (or isn’t). Some don’t know how to properly adjust a face cradle so that it is comfortable for 30 minutes or more. Others just assume that everyone will enjoy their favorite scented oils.
Over the years I’ve paid a lot of attention to these issues because as someone who enjoys receiving massages, these are things that have bothered me too! This is why last year I decided that I needed to not only have therapists come in and demonstrate their skills on me, but they also need to bring in their own equipment and supplies that they intend to use, so that I can also evaluate this important part of the service, and help avoid this top 3 sin! You can help yourself too by informing your therapist immediately if anything is uncomfortable. Most therapists want nothing more than for you to be happy with their work, so give them the opportunity to make any adjustments that would help you enjoy your session, and don’t hesitate to make any special request beforehand so the therapist can be even better prepared to accommodate your needs.
#2 most common complaint: Pressure was too soft/too hard
Massage is highly subjective. One person will love a therapist and another will think they are horrible. I have worked with hundreds of therapists and not one has pleased absolutely everyone. It’s impossible to do. Assuming the therapist at least has some good natural ability, or “good hands”, then the next step is making sure that the therapist knows and is capable of performing the kind of massage someone is looking for. At Body Well we try to keep it simple by breaking most massages into two categories; Swedish or Deep Tissue, and there are various degrees of pressure that would fall within these two.
Many clients find nothing more frustrating than a therapist who just doesn’t seem to be really getting into the muscles and loosening things up. Not all therapists are comfortable, for one reason or another, with performing deep pressure massages, and some just aren’t really meant for that kind of work. We try to identify these therapists and avoid sending them on deep tissue assignments. Yet some of these therapists don’t give themselves enough credit, because they have often ended up being requested again and again for deep tissue! On the other hand, sometimes therapists really enjoy doing deep work – but sometimes too much; occassionally a client will request something relaxing, but upon encountering a gnarly knot the therapist just can’t help him or herself from trying to dig it out! So on both sides of the spectrum we have the potential for a less than ideal scenario.
The main things to help avoid the problems and get the right kind of massage are to:
1. explain exactly what kind of massage you’re looking for so the proper therapist can be assigned and informed and
2. Communicate openly with your therapist so that the right level of pressure is utilized during your massage.
#1 most common complaint: Too much talking!
This is far and away the top complaint I’ve heard about massage therapists. It seems like every other person I meet, upon learning what I do, tells me a story about the therapist who would not shut up! In some therapists defense, I know that some people can be chatty and many therapists are simply trying to be friendly by responding with conversation. In truth, sometimes people are a little lonely and really enjoy the companionship. This is where a therapist needs to use some common sense and intuition to understand the client’s needs.
This is an issue that I discuss with every therapist who comes to interview with me. I try to explain that we are in a service industry, and we are only doing a disservice to people who call us to relax by being annoying chatterbugs! You can help stop the maddness! If you find that your therapist is talking too much, it’s perfectly OK for you to politely tell him or her something like “you know i’ve been so stressed out lately – I don’t want to seem rude but I think I just want to zone out for a while – you know?” That should do the trick. If not, complain to a manager if the therapist is working for someone.
It’s worth pointing out (and admittedly a little self serving too) that the advantage of hiring a therapist that works for a service (like Body Well) or an establishment, as opposed to one who is 100% independent, is that when you do have a problem or complaint to make, which is not easily resolved directly with the therapist, you have someone to turn to for help with that. If it’s a reputable service your complaint will be addressed and, if appropriate, rectified. You won’t have this option if the therapist works for him or herself. This “insurance” is one of the reasons you’re likely to pay a little more for a managed service.
That’s all for today! Feel free to any of your own massage pet peeves!