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7 Jul 2022

26 THINGS OUR CLIENTS HATE (But are too polite to tell us).

“OW!” I yelped, as his elbow pressed into a sore point on my back.
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“Shhhh!” said my massage therapist, continuing to press just as hard.
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Then, with his elbow still lodged excruciatingly into my back, he said, “I’m hungry, have we got any crisps?”.
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This was me the other day, getting a massage from my other half. I often ask him for a massage, as he’s great at the massage part of it, but my goodness, he could never do it for a living – he’s terrible at customer care!

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The awful thing about being a massage teacher, is that I just can’t have a massage without noticing every aspect of the therapist’s technique, presentation or a million other aspects of their massage.
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So, as I was having that massage from Simon, I lay there remembering all the times I‘ve had a less-than-perfect massage.
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As a therapist we often have no idea what may be irritating to individual clients. But there are some things which are pretty much universally annoying, and a lot of therapists are completely unaware that they’re doing them.
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Here are a few of them.

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 Here are 26 things therapists do that could annoy their client (and put them off coming back)

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1. They don’t carry out an in-depth consultation, (or even ANY consultation.) A checklist of contraindications isn’t enough. I want to tell you why I’m here and have you properly listen and ask the right questions so you have an idea of what I’ll need in the treatment.
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2. They don’t make it clear how the client should lie on the table, or what clothes to leave on/take off. It’s so important to give clear, simple instructions or the client will be confused and unsure what to do when the therapist leaves the room.
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3. The room is cold, the therapist’s hands are cold or there are not enough towels/blankets to keep them warm. The therapist should have an extra heater in the room. The oil should be warmed before use. It’s nice to have a table warmer (electric blanket) on the bed. If the client’s hands, feet or arms feel cold then the therapist should check if they want the heat turning up, or extra blankets putting on the bed. Some people are too polite to mention they are cold and will lie there suffering.
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4. The floor under the face-hole is dirty and the client has to lie looking at it for an hour. It’s so important to keep every area in the treatment room clean – including under the therapy couch. It’s really thoughtful if the therapist puts something pretty there for the client to look at! Not everyone closes their eyes during a massage.
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5.They don’t have any padding around the Face hole. Have you lain on the couch yourself? Is it comfortable? If not, do something about it!
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6. The therapist carries out the whole massage from one side of the table
. It feels unbalanced and odd. The therapist should move around, coming at the table from different angles. It’s not possible to use proper body mechanics or get at the tissues properly from just one side.
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7. The therapist is very heavily right (or left) handed. One hand feels much stronger than the other when they work on us. Don’t favour one hand. Make sure you use both hands equally to get them both working strongly together
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8. The therapist’s nails are too long. First of all, – Ow! Secondly, no matter how much you tell me you can massage really well with long nails, let me tell you this – you can’t. Your body mechanics are going to be all wrong. You won’t be able to apply pressure without either hurting yourself or the client. Just cut the nails.
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9. The therapist has the radio on, or something that’s REALLY not relaxing to listen to. Please ask us our preferences before the massage. I don’t want to have to listen to the news (or dance music!) while having a massage. Maybe some people do – but you need to check first. Also check if the client even wants music on at all. Some just want silence.
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10. The therapist is tense. This makes us feel tense too. RELAX!
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11. The therapist is afraid of causing pain, so they hold back instead of leaning in. if you are massaging correctly, you won’t be causing pain. Lean into the client. Work carefully but confidently.
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12. The therapist keeps bumping into the massage table as they work. Don’t rush. Slow down and move carefully
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13. We can hear their breathing. Breathe quietly, through your nose. And don’t get your face too close to the client.
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14. They change position repeatedly while applying pressure. If you are applying pressure, find the optimum position as quickly as possible, and then stay still.
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15. They apply too much pressure and we feel “attacked”
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16. Their pressure is too light, so the tissues don’t feel “met” or warmed up.
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17. The massage is “pokey” There’s too much jabbing from fingers and thumbs and not enough broad, stroking movements.
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18. They go too deep, too quickly. Take your time! The body responds to quick, deep movements by contracting the muscles, thus making the massage painful – and doing the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. If your aim is to relax the body (and it usually is, within a massage), then use slow strokes when you are applying pressure.
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19. They massage the feet and then go straight to massage the face without cleaning your hands. Either do the massage in a different order or wipe your hands before working the face.
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.20. They leave bits of the body uncovered, even though they are working elsewhere – especially the feet ( obviously this is ok if it’s very hot- but then it needs to be negotiated and agreed with the client)
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21. They obviously do the same massage for everyone. If certain issues have come up in the consultation – make sure you take that into account during the massage. If you don’t know how, get further training. Or else make it clear when they book that it’s just a relaxing massage and you are not there to work remedially.
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22. They talk all the way through the massage – or worse, talk only about themselves! Clients don’t want to be counselling you, they want to be either relaxing in their own little world, or talking about their lives with you. If you think your client wants to talk, by all means allow them to – but let them lead the conversation.
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23. They finish before time. Annoying!
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24.They go a lot over time (without checking first that you are ok to stay a bit longer.)
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25. They don’t offer a drink afterwards. Most clients feel thirsty after a massage. Just a glass of water is fine, although a herbal tea is nicer!
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26. They don’t give aftercare advice. If you don’t let your client know what to expect after the massage, and they have some uncomfortable effects afterwards (may be they feel achy, or extra emotional) – they won’t understand that this is a sign of the body processing the massage work and instead will blame the massage

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I’m sure there’s a million more of these – can you add any of your pet hates?

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Of course, you don’t do any of these things in your massage, but do you feel ready to take your massage to the next level?

If you want a deep-dive into the art of massage and to know how to give an exceptional treatment from beginning to end. (One that will bring a stream of clients and referrals and create a thriving business for you) Check out The Massage Mastery Programme.

This is the 6 step system that will set your massage far, far above the rest, and help you become the “go-to” therapist you deserve to be.

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