As massage therapists and as small business owners, you will always find yourself seeking ways to stand out from the competition and win new clients.
However, with all the different hats we have to wear when owning our own massage therapy business, we can easily overlook the little details that can really push us ahead.
As we have seen in our previous blog posts many of us feel the market is becoming saturated. Clients have lots of therapists to choose from and on top of this many massage therapists are competing with services offered on discount websites as well. Standing out is more crucial than ever and there are small, inexpensive changes you can make quickly that can give your massage treatments a winning edge.
Take time to walk through the entire client experience, imagine you are entering for the first time. If you are a mobile massage therapist set up your usual equipment in a convenient area and go through the same process.
Entering your treatment space, have a checklist and ask yourself these questions;
Ask another therapist for a massage swap or if you have an employee, ask them to give you a full treatment on your massage bed. During the treatment think about the following;
These simple checklist can completely change the way you engage with your treatment room. Afterwards, make a note of what you noticed about the space? It is amazing how far some fresh flowers, a lick of paint and a few decorative touches will go! Could you alter the lighting, for example using lamps or dimmer switches to make it more relaxing when clients are in the room? For mobile therapists how much were you able to disconnect from the surroundings? Did you feel like you were in a relaxing environment?
An easy way to change the ambience of the room is to have a soothing playlist already playing in the background, to set the tone and avoid any distracting faffing once the client is on the massage table! You can always ask during the initial consultation whether the music is to their taste or whether they would like something else.
An aromatherapy diffuser is another great way to alter the feel of a massage treatment room. Use relaxing scents like lavender or bergamot or invigorating essential oils like peppermint and rosemary will keep your massage clinic smelling fresh and create a calming environment. For mobile massage therapists, quickly transform a client's space by taking just a few seconds to put on an aromatherapy diffuser whilst setting up your massage table.
When it came to your massage couch was there anything you found uncomfortable? A common complaint from clients can be discomfort caused by the face cradle.
Discomfort around the face can be caused by the sinuses becoming stuffed as the body releases tension and toxins.
Many cheap massage tables come with face cushions that are both hard and also un-ergonomic so they don't allow the cheek bones, forehead and sinus area to rest comfortably. You can easily improve the comfort of your massage table with a few additional accessories.
Luckily, the massage table face cushion is one of the easiest and lowest cost parts to upgrade as nearly all face cushions are attached with velcro so they can be swapped over without any hassle. All our professional massage tables come with the highest standard ergonomic face cushion and we also sell the same face cushion separately for customers who did not originally order one of our massage tables.
Different bolsters or cushions can be used to prop clients into a more comfortable position by relieving any pressure points caused by lying on the clavicle, ribs, sternum and pelvis. Not only do bolsters add support to your clients but they free up space for your movements to be more free-flowing and provide a better massage treatment.
Full-scale cushioning systems and body bolsters have sections that can be removed for female clients who find it uncomfortable lying on their chest and are also invaluable for clients who are elderly or for those who are expecting. Relatively inexpensive, they are worth the investment to open up new possibilities for your client list.
Another common problem can come from the width of your massage table. Some clients may struggle to keep their arms by their sides so an arm support with a larger surface area is an inexpensive addition to release tension in the shoulders and stop clients from experiencing this discomfort.
Finally, make your treatments stand out by playing with temperature. A towel heater or a table warmer are both great ways to keep everything nice and toasty. Or alternatively, if you only have a little space to work with, or you are a mobile massage therapist, fluffy fleece pads can give an extra layer of luxury as well as some warmth and protection to your massage table. For really tight muscles use a reusable shoulder and neck warmer, enabling you to save time and add an extra element of comfort whilst you work on massaging other areas of the body.
Taking a personalised approach and going the extra mile to ensure your clients comfort is the best way to maintain their loyalty and show off your specialist knowledge! We hope this checklist and these inexpensive tips can help you transform your clients' massage experience and keep clients coming back to you for years to come.
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.