It can be easy to think that it's only the massage treatment you deliver that decides whether a client will become a regular but truly building customer loyalty for your massage therapy business begins in the consultation and hinges on the tone you set for your clients before they reach the massage table!
To be a really successful massage therapist the key is solving your client's issues with their tissues! Providing a bespoke treatment that really gets to the heart of their needs is a sure fire way to have clients coming back time and time again and your consultation really is the foundation of delivering these amazing tailored massages.
Without asking the right questions you can't get to the bottom of your clients needs and even more importantly their expectations for the treatment.
Asking the right questions will also allow you to cover yourself legally by preempting any risks and contraindications. So what three steps can you follow to make sure your client consultations are hitting the mark every single time?
For a first time client your consultation really should aim to outline the process and put them at ease. As a therapist we are so used to the routine of going for a massage but for clients there is nothing particularly normal about entering a room, taking most of your clothes off and lying on a massage table! Explaining the process and what your client needs to do will help put clients at ease and help explain or set some guidelines, for example in some parts of the world massage therapists work on their clients whilst they are naked and in others therapists prefer clients to keep various levels of clothing on. Clients who are completely new to massage might have no idea what is expected of them and will really appreciate you taking the lead and letting them know what to do! Outlining the process and ensuring clients that you will use draping and other techniques to keep them covered up will also help new clients feel less vulnerable on your massage table.
As you warm up towards asking your consultation questions, taking time to explain why you will be asking details about their health and lifestyle will also help set the tone of your treatments and will get your client excited about the benefits of your skills! You want to establish yourself as a method of maintaining health and wellbeing rather than as a one off treat, not that there is anything wrong with a good pamper session, but it's regular clients who help pay our bills and who really feel the benefits of massage therapy! Don't be shy about sharing a quick case study as an example to show what you can do when you know what is troubling your clients!
As we touched on above asking the right questions in your massage therapy consultations is vital. Especially when meeting with a client for the first time it is really important to get an idea of who they are and what has brought them to your massage table!
Make sure you ask them about;
Keep a note of any interesting details they share with you. Perhaps they mention an event they have coming up like an anniversary or birthday. Add a memo to your soap notes so you can ask them how it went when you follow up and show an extra level of care and attention! A follow up email with personable attention to details is a sure fire way to make a client always choose you over other therapists.
In order to stand the best chance of delivering value to your client you need to understand what they are expecting. Sadly massage therapy is still seen by a lot of the public as a luxurious treat rather than a means to keep fit and healthy with regular treatments. Ask your client what are their goals for the treatment? Whether they are expecting miracles or not, it's a good idea to set their expectations, a gentle "sadly if its been a problem for months I can’t fix it in one hour! But I do think I can get you feeling a bit less tight across the shoulders etc" usually gets a little chuckle but also establishes your aims for the session.
Discussing how they might feel after one, two or three sessions at the start will also make the idea of rebooking less awkward and quicker when they are relaxed at the end and looking to head out the door. Sharing some quick aftercare tips during your consultation and letting them know you will share more when you follow up after the session when you have a clearer idea what is going on is a great way to show you are listening and treating their issues specifically but also gives you a great excuse to get in touch afterwards and follow up about rebooking if you don't get a firm commitment in the room.
Finally be upfront with new clients and book in some extra time in your schedule to give a decent amount of time to the consultation. They will be impressed by your thorough and professional approach and see that your massage treatments will go the extra mile!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.