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Best Business Tips For Massage Therapists! Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series

by Samantha Jenkins October 13, 2021

Best Business Tips For Massage Therapists! Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series

We hope you have all been enjoying our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we asked the UK massage industry's top thought leaders to share the mistakes they made in their massage therapy business and what lessons these mistakes taught them! Read on to hear their thoughtful tips.

    Earle Abrahamson profile for Ask The Muscle WhispererFor Earle the best advice that he was given came from a colleague who had 30 years of experience in the soft tissue field. This colleague had established networks and Earle felt like they had a kind of blueprint for how to develop a successful business. The experience of observing and modelling his own work on their practice taught Earle so much and so his best business tip is to really work at building your networks.

    Take time to think about who has worked in the same field, observe, model your practice on those that have gone before you and have achieved things you aspire to. What Earle learned very early on is that he had to try many things. Certain things he achieved but there were others thing that he failed at. It was at a CPD event while chatting with fellow therapists that Earle really appreciated that in order to truly learn you need to be able to be honest with yourself, to reflect and ask different types of questions. If you are too afraid to pick people's brains and be honest about your shortcomings you could miss out on solid advidce. By thinking about who could inspire him and who he could help as he continued along his journey as a massage therapist Earle no longer felt nervous about reaching out and asking for guidance.

    For Earle being open and honest means people can see you are authentic in your aims and then its easier to build up a relationship with them and find out the ingredients you need to succeed. The best business advice is to work out where your strengths are and then also where the deficits are in your knowledge and then work out a strategy to address those. Earle had to handpick those he wanted to work with, and think about who would help him grow where he needed to develop and how he could help them in return. By attending events by asking the right questions by asking different types of questions, by listening and being honest with yourself and others he was able to grow his business in ways he couldn't have achieved without this shift in mindset. Earle concludes will challenging massage therapists to be willing to learn, be willing to ask, and be willing to challenge yourself!


    Watch Earle answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    You can find more details on Earle's latest book 'Muscle Testing – A Concise Manual' by clicking the images below or find out more details on the next Hands On Training courses by clicking here.



      • Making Sense of Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lotus Publishers 2016


        • Concise Manual of Muscle Testing - Handspring Publishers. Due out October 2019 
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
      Nikki Wolf joins Ask The Muscle Whisperer from Massage WarehouseFor Nikki the best business advice she was ever given came from a family friend. At the beginning of her massage career Nikki was on her way to see a client. It was around 8pm and her father's friend was talking to her about the new business. Nikki was so excited and was talking about how she was about to head out to see a client. The family friend asked "is it not a bit late?" Nikki agreed that yes it probably was a bit late but she didn't want to turn the client down and was happy to have their business. The friend turned to Nikki and advised her to not make herself too available, that she wanted to create a sense of scarcity with her clients, because you should want them to think you're busy.

      At the time Nikki took this on board but really thought I just want clients! But slowly she started to realise he was absolutely right. As massage therapists we need to make sure we have time off for ourselves and if we don't want to work weekends, we shouldn't have to, if we don't want to work evenings, we shouldn't have to. Nikki acknowledges that is it handy to have some options for clients that absolutely can't come and see you during regular work hours but generally, what we want to avoid as massage therapists is saying yes to everyone and booking them in at all sorts of times that don't really suit because it's just not going to create a good business with the stamina to last.

      Having sloppy boundaries just gives clients the idea that you will accommodate them, no matter what. When really what you want is client who really want to come and see you and who value your skills and expertise. Nikki advises that you don't need to lie to them but, for example, when you open your diary you wouldn't say when do you want to come. Instead, you say I've got Tuesday and Thursday at three o'clock free, which suits you? So you're giving them options, but it's a choice within a timeframe you are comfortable with and you are creating the idea that you're busy. And if you're busy, obviously you're successful. And if you're successful, you're really good at what you do! This also gives a sense of urgency that they'll miss out if they don't book. So don't make yourself too available. give the impression that you're busy and create a sense of urgency so they feel like they have to book in a time that suits you!

      Watch Nikki answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To find out more about Orchid Massage Academy, click here or find more details on Nikki's mentorship program, here. Alternatively you can follow on Facebook here

      Orchid Massage Academy

      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
      Jayne Burke joins Ask The Muscle Whisperer from Massage Warehouse For Jayne the best piece of business advice she has been given didn't feel right at the time. Jane is a big believer in timing and that things happen when it is the right time. So what was this advice? It was to get clients to pay on a monthly standing order. Now this is often controversal as many massage therapists like to be super flexible with their payment options and at at the time Jayne wanted to empower her clients to decide when they came back to see her.

      But what happened in reality was that although her clients wanted to come back next week for another massage treatment they kept putting it off and it would end up being a few months before they came into her clinic again. In terms of treatment goals this meant Jayne was back to square one again which helped her to realise this wasn't an efficient way of working for anybody!

      Jayne realised her clients actually needed some guidance around when they should get another treatment. She started to tell them that they needed to see her regularly to begin with to deal with their initial pain or complaints and then she could get them onto a maintenance programme of less frequent treatments. For a lot of Jayne's clients this is monthly for others it's weekly, everyone is different but the idea is that clients are pain free between sessions. But the important thing is the payment. If the payments are set up to come into you regularly, the client will book the appointment, and they will attend, they're not going to waste that money. Jayne uses Xero to get her clients on a payment plan so it is straightforward for everyone and reduces her admin considerably!

      Watch Jayne answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      Click here to find out more about Jayne Burke Holistic Therapies or you can follow on FacebookTwitteror Instagram.

      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
      Emma Gilmore profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      For Emma the best bit of business advice she received was to communicate with her authentic voice. Emma truly belives that if you communicate with your authentic voice you attract the type of client that resonates with what you're saying, and therefore sticks. So its extremely valuable to spend time thinking about how you want to communicate, thinking about how to find your authentic voice, thinking about what are your skills and how can you communicate this clearly.

      Think includes not only thinking about the words you're actually going to use but also what images represent what you truly feel, and truly think. Clear communication is essential to describe accurately what it is we offer, as a therapist and comes down to things like cancellation policies, cost of treatments, duration of treatments, how to find you all of these details are so important and need to be clearly communicated. Over the years Emma has found that many therapists are really reluctant to tell the world what it is that they do, especially on social media. But Emma has found that if those people are encouraged to find their authentic voice they feel less shy about using social media and attract the people that want to find them. So think about what is your specialism? What is your niche? What is different about you, what is it that you bring to the table and how can you communicate this to clients?

      As we change all the time and we develop and our skills progress as massage therapists you need to update the way you communicate, you need to update your website and inform clients through your social media. Every time you learn. You're updating your skills, updating your knowledge and you need to communicate this with the world and with your potential clients. Emma has found clients are really excited for us when we go to study because of course we bring a whole abundance of skills back to enhance their treatment. So don't be afraid to share with your clients what it is that you're studying, and how this has changed the way you work, and how this can help them through your treatments!  

      Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      You can see the latest courses on offer at School of Bodywork by clicking the image below! You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.

      School of Bodywork logo

      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
      Sunita Passi
      For Sunita there are two pieces of advice that have really shaped her career as an Ayurvedic practitioner. The first is to follow our gifts and passions. The advice Sunita was given was to really follow her heart and her passion and in the business of massage, and complimentary therapy, once you step into that world, and you start to run a professional practice, Sunita has found it can be easy to get swayed. You might see that there's a particular type of therapy that's very popular, and you feel that you need to also go and train in that technique to offer it to your clients but maybe it doesn't completely float your boat, or you don't completely resonate with the science behind it.

      Stopping to think maybe there is another therapy that you're completely connected to that you deliver amazingly and will get the best results from. Taking stock like this and following your heart can stop you from diverting, and it helps you build something really, really solid that you can become recognised and known for. This advice really helped Sunita shape her therapy business as it helped her really focus on the services and the way that she markets her skills. Being more streamlined makes things a lot more easier and a lot more pleasurable than trying to be all things to all people.

      Sunita's second piece of advice is to embrace change. after 16 years in the industry Sunita has seen tonnes of changes and also her responsibilities have shifted a lot in that time. It's important to acknowledge that not only our environment can change we can also change as people and what we need from our business might not stay the same. Maintaining an air of flexibility can really help you weather challenging times, in the industry and in your own life.

      Watch Sunita answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To check out all Tri-Dosha has to offer, including Sunita's newsletter, give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

      Tri-Dosha logo

      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi

    Samantha Jenkins
    Samantha Jenkins


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    Massage Table Size Guide

    Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

    A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

    The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

    1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
    2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

    Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.


    The Width of the Massage Table:

    Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

    Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

    Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

    Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

    If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

    Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

    measuring the width of a massage table

    Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

    The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

    You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.


    The Height Of the Massage Table

    Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

    A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

    1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
    2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
    3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
    4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

    The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

    You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

    There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

    1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

    If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

    2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

    The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.


    Massage Table Shape:

    The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

    1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

    This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

    2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

    Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.


    3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

    A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.

    This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.


    4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
    Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
    5. Oval Shaped

     The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

    oval massage table


    Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!