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Is it worth selling products in your massage therapy practice?

by Samantha Jenkins October 09, 2020

Above view of spa wellness products on wooden texture background

Have you ever been tempted to sell products in your massage therapy clinic? Even before Covid-19 the average length of a career in massage therapy was only 8 years! This is because the physical and mental toll of running your own massage therapy business often leads therapists to burnout and move on to a different career. 

To try and reduce the strain on their bodies and create some extra income, many massage therapists get tempted to sell products but is it really worth the time and effort or are their better ways to grow your massage therapy business? 

 

What types of products do people sell? 

 

One of the most common products that we see massage therapists selling is beauty or bath products from established wholesale companies in exchange for a commission. However many of these companies operate as multi level marketing schemes or MLM's (basically a more legit version of a pyramid scheme).

Often with these products they come with branding that looks very wholesale. Think plain white plastic bottles, stock image looking logos and uninspiring labels. As a client would you be tempted? These products straddle the line between not being a recognisable high street brand but they clearly aren't a homemade mom and pop made product either! Ultimately they the charm and appeal of neither and could even be cheapening your brand by being on the shelves! 

This leads us on to the next type of product we see commonly sold by massage therapists; homemade beauty products like soap, bath bombs and microwaveable wheat bags. 

 

Facebook post about making homemade microwaveable wheat bags to sell

 

However whilst these products can definitely be more tempting to clients who will feel like they are getting a more unique product, the sheer amount of time it takes to create these products and make sure you aren't breaking any rules is immense! If you have done your research to be compliant with the law and you love spending lazy Sundays brewing up a batch of soap or sewing a million patches then maybe combining your hobby with your massage therapy business could work out!

A good time to test out whether your products could fly off the shelves is around Christmas. Save your resources by getting a small batch together for the start of December. Not only could you help clients looking for thoughtful stocking fillers, in the worst case scenario you can gift any products that are left over! 

 

Facebook post from Valerie Henderson about selling massage spikey balls

 

Perhaps the most successful products come under the category of aftercare and these can be a great add on to offer your massage clients. Just always ensure you aren't spending a lot of time sourcing products as realistically your margin of profit will be minimal, a couple of quid at most, to have any appeal to clients. The way to look at this exercise is not as a massive money maker but as an additional service to your clients, making it easier for them to do their homework and take your sessions together seriously. Order offline and keep a minimal supply in stock so that you can offer them to clients during their after treatment consultations. 

 

Facebook post from Raechel Haller Lmt about using Amazon Affiliates and creating kits for clients

 

Raechel brings up another great way you can offer an extra service to your clients, make a little money and save space in your treatment room by not stocking tonnes of product on the off chance someone will buy it! After setting up Amazon Affiliates, Raechel's strategy above is an easy way to go the extra mile for clients and make those after treatment catch ups extra profitable! 

 

So what alternatives ways can you grow your massage therapy business? 

If sourcing products, dealing with third parties and all the promotion and marketing that comes with selling products took, let's say 5 hours a month. Would those 5 hours spent elsewhere give you a better return on investment for your time?

Investing your time and resources wisely is crucial to the success of your massage therapy business If you are looking to rev up your income there are other (and I dare say) more effective ways to grow your massage therapy business than selling products. 

 

Social media and online marketing 

Social media and promoting yourself online might seem really daunting at first. But as little as 10 minutes on social media a day could really help boost your profile in your local community. Posting interesting facts about anatomy, massage therapy and how you can help with certain ailments is a great way to show off your skills and look like a pro to both your current and prospective clients. You can also share reviews, organise giveaways and promote your latest offers as a way to grab attention and get referrals. 

Organising offers both year round and around major holidays like Mother's day is another fantastic way to fill up your books. Social media is the perfect way to share these offers to a large audience, both your own and locally. Creating a beautiful post, sharing on your profiles and engaging with local groups on Facebook is a great way to get your services in front of hundreds if not thousands of possible clients. For example say you are a sports massage therapist, following local running groups and engaging with posts will build up trust, you can then ask to promote a latest offer and introduce yourself as a therapist! Working these offers around big sporting events like the London Marathon or your local equivalents could drum up lots of interest. With a bit of creativity the possibilities are endless!

Selecting a niche 

 

It might seem completely counter-intuitive but by reducing your target audience and selecting a niche you can actually grow your massage therapy business much faster, by allowing you to position yourself as an expert and charge more for specialist treatments. 

Take time to ponder, which clients do you enjoy working with the most? Which issues do you get the most satisfaction from solving? Are there any conditions you have experience with or feel most passionate about helping clients with? Choosing a specialism means you won't stand out to everyone but to clients who are looking for a solution to their problem your treatments could be the answer they have been searching for! 

 

Some niches you could consider are; 

  • Pregnancy and new mum's massage 
  • Headaches and migraines 
  • RSI and corporate massage 
  • TMJ issues 
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis 
  • Mental Health like PTSD, chronic stress, anxiety and depression 
  • Oncology Massage 

 

Read a full list of possible niches here.

 

 

Focusing on delivering tailor made treatments that give real solutions to each client's individual needs will set you apart from a more beauty industry or well being approach to massage. This is in turn will have a couple of knock on effects; 

 

  • Your client will see you as the professional that you are! Working with a niche offers tonnes of opportunity to show off your knowledge of anatomy and physiology and clients will see you demonstrating your skills within the scope of massage but will view your work within a wider medical framework making it far easier to convince clients that massage is part of an ongoing treatment programme and not just a luxurious treat! This means that you can work smarter and not harder, getting out of the well being rat race and charge more for your services as they offer more value to your clients! 
  • Also when you solve or assist your clients condition with your awesome massage treatments you will have a loyal client who appreciates the time and care you have put into your service. The referrals you will get from these clients will be priceless! Whereas focusing on online reviews can sap your business, channeling your energy into getting these types of clients will grow your business as they will understand the way you work and can champion your services in the right way to friends and family. This might see you move away from your niche for certain clients who come to you through referral, which not only helps keep things fresh, but allows you to focus on one area for your marketing and networking, saving you time and resources! 

 

Choosing a niche for your massage therapy business can mean you are working passionately towards solving a problem for your clients but also protecting yourself from burnout and making the most of your hard earned skills and caring energy! 

 

Networking with medical professionals 

 

It is vital that when you are growing your massage therapy business that you get outside and get networking in real life! 

Other professionals in the medical community are an invaluable resource and especially if you have decided to specialise in a niche then getting yourself known to relevant medical professionals in your local area is crucial! 

Visit your local GP's surgery, dentists, community health groups, chiropractors, physiotherapists and provide them with the information they need to share your services with potential clients. A small leaflet introducing yourself and your rates can weed out any potentially problematic clients and makes it a hell of a lot easier for the medical professional to quickly pass on details during short appointments. 

You can also ask to leave a flyer on a noticeboard or to come in and deliver a short speech in the clinic about the benefits of massage for your intended niche. Finding online support or community groups you can promote this to is a win win for everybody as it gives the practice some good publicity and provides a needed service in the community. You could even offer short taster sessions or a discount on their first booking to anyone who attends or any patients from the clinic to as further incentives. 

Make sure you add a space on your client intake forms so your new massage therapy patients can tell you if they were referred to you by a specific doctor or other healthcare provider. If you do get a referral, send that doctor or nurse a quick email or even a thank-you note in the post to say thanks for their recommendation. You don’t need to go overboard, but showing genuine appreciation for the referral with strengthen your contact and even help grow your network. There a many creative ways to interact with medical professionals in your local area, you can see more ideas from fellow massage therapists here! 

Are you considering selling products in your massage therapy clinic? Let us know if this blog has changed your mind in our Facebook thread! 




Samantha Jenkins
Samantha Jenkins

Author



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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!

 

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