As therapists and ex therapists ourselves, during lockdown it was extremely difficult to see our industry be plummeted into so much uncertainty. Both personally and as members of the wider massage therapy community, it was heart breaking to see so many of us struggling after years of hard work and dedication to our craft.
So our small team got together to brain storm. We wanted to spread some positivity and good news amongst what, at times, felt like a never ending storm of negativity! We also wanted to give our industry a boost, so we didn't lose the momentum that we have gained in recent years that could see massage therapy elevated to the level it deserves. Finally, but most importantly, we wanted to help our fellow therapists get a bit of a boost during such uncertain times so that they could see the possibilities to come back stronger after Covid-19.
After reading stories of frontline NHS workers battling against Covid-19 and the sacrifices they were making, shielding from family members and dealing with the realities of working in PPE, we felt they deserved our appreciation and could really use some of the benefits of a massage right now!
We are a small team and this was definitely an ambitious project! We worked away in our spare time to get over 1359 massage therapists from Edinburgh to Exeter signed up to our interactive map.
It was a huge learning curve for us and after the campaign finished at the end of September, we wanted to hear from you, the therapists who took part and donated their time, efforts and expertise to see how successful the campaign was out in the real world!
100% of surveyed participants donated more than 5 treatments.
100% of participants surveyed felt the campaign helped them grow their complementary therapy business, get better exposure in their local community and increase their standing with their existing client base
Participants who were surveyed were split 50/50 on how they promoted the campaign. Some used word of mouth whilst others used their social media channels to spread the word.
It was so heartwarming to see the stories therapists shared after delivering their treatments! In such an overwhelming time, spreading some positivity and demonstrating our caring and compassionate nature can only have brought a smile to the faces that saw these posts.
Seeing how therapists' clients reacted to posts like the above was so uplifting! One massage therapist commented in our survey "The pure appreciation and gratitude from the NHS staff when it is us who are appreciative of them. One gave me flowers! " really drove home what being part of the campaign meant to therapists.
Networking to become part of the wider medical community in their local area is something we have been promoting to massage therapists for a while. We wrote a blog post about the power of reaching out to local medical professionals which you can read here.
And that brings us along nicely to our next aim;
Dani provided the perfect summary to our aims here in our survey! Dani shared that taking part in the campaign "meant a great deal, it was also good to let medical professionals experience what we can offer.."
Unfortunately massage therapy might not be at the front of many doctors minds in a day to day setting. But getting in front of doctors and nurses and providing a detailed, personalised consultation and treatment is the best way to show our skills and expertise!
Reviews like the above from nurses like Laura are priceless. Think of the credibility your massage therapy business would receive in the eyes of the general public with a glowing testimonial like this from a medical professional! Add in the feel good factor of some well needed positivity right now and its a fantastic piece of promotion for your business.
Like all massage therapy businesses when the lockdown hit we really didn't know what to say! We love supporting therapists and sharing interesting articles, tips and the odd massage therapy meme on our social media but overnight everything changed and suddenly we weren't so sure what to share.
That's why we wanted to create something positive, so that a conversation around the benefits of massage therapy could happen naturally whilst sharing good news! We were so pleased to see in the survey that the posts we created inspired other therapists to do the same and spread a smile with their clients.
We were really blown away by the initiative therapists took to promote themselves in their local area. Some contacted local radio stations and Oxford School of Massage even received not one but two invitations to speak on BBC Radio Oxford! After these appearance's, Sarah's massage school saw a huge spike in people wanting to train to join us and spread the benefits of massage therapy!
Jenny Hampton also did a fantastic job promoting the benefits of massage therapy on BBC Radio Shropshire!
Karen Hastings was named a lockdown leader by Meet The Leader, a fantastic accolade to be able to share on social media and catch clients' attention during lockdown!
Other massage therapists cleverly asked local business to sponsor further treatments, winning new contacts and helping to spread the word to a wider local network. Other therapists like Paula Grover reached out directly to their local hospital trusts to arrange an open day to deliver chair massages to nurses and doctors, which in turn led to a spot on the hospital radio and a regular invitation to deliver paid treatments!
All in all we wanted to give massage therapists the chance to do something eye catching in their local area, so they could grab the attention of existing and some new potential clients. So we were thrilled when we read from one of the survey's participants that the thing they enjoyed most about taking part was "getting to meet new clients and ones who have decided to keep booking in! "
Lockdown was a lonely time for many and as small business owners it was so easy to feel isolated. We really wanted to create something to bring together our incredible little community so we could come together to celebrate our skills and love of massage therapy, even on our darkest days.
Overall we just wanted to support each other through these difficult times, to have someone to speak to about our frustrations, confusions and to share ideas for how we can come back better in the future! After seeing the positive impact the campaign was having we wanted to extend this to provide a safe space for massage therapists to come together, ask questions and provide each other with support - which gave birth to our Facebook group!
As we mentioned above we are a small team with big ambitions! We took on this project and worked on it in our spare time building the software and map for the campaign and getting it in front of all of you and it was a huge learning curve for us!
Starting out we didn't have a lot of PR experience and we were let down by a couple of PR companies we were dealing with to help us. We clocked up hundreds of hours reaching out to every channel, newspaper and programme possible and issuing press releases but with everything going on at the moment it was extremely tough to get in front of the media on a national level who sadly had a lot of updates and doom and gloom to report! The campaign did receive a lot of local media attention across the country as local stations are easier to get on to.
However we can't deny how pleased we are to see how many therapists got a good boost from the campaign. Whether they were featured on local radio, made themselves known to local hospital trusts or received praise and a new appreciation from new and existing clients, it was heartwarming to see therapists receive some positivity after such a difficult few months.
So to wrap up the whole team at Massage Warehouse want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who took part in the #MassageTherapistsTogether campaign! So many therapists we have spoken to and members of our Ask The Muscle Whisperer panel all share our belief that now is a crucial time to elevate our industry, the power of positive touch has never been so clear and we thank you for joining us in our campaign to spread that message! The work continues though and I will leave you with the message that Sarah from Oxford School of Massage kindly shared;
Click on the image to read Sarah's full message to fellow massage therapists!
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 key tips for massage therapists to help their massage therapy businesses navigate the changes in our industry brought about by Covid-19 and come back stronger in 2021!
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.