As many of you have been doing the best thing you can do first is to call all your existing massage appointments to check in on them and ask them to postpone.
Let them know you are planning to keep in touch to make sure they are ok and offer any advice to soothe any aches or pains they are experiencing. Ask them if you can schedule in their next massage for two month's time, you can mention this would really help you as a small business or if you are feeling particularly positive you can tell clients that you want to book them in to ensure them a space before the regulations are lifted and you have multiple clients looking for appointments straight away!
Stay optimistic but do mention that they can of course keep in contact and make any changes as needed down the line.
Many massage therapists, artists and other self employed workers have been asking their clients to purchase gift certificates as a way of securing some income during the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak.
As times are tough for everybody gift certificates are a great way for clients to support you whilst keeping value for themselves. In the example above Kim asked clients, if they were in a position to do so, to pay half of their regular treatments upfront which she would keep on record and then they would pay the other half once things return to normal. She outlined that this was to help her through this difficult time and pay for life's necessities right now. Great job Kim!
Alternatively you could ask clients to buy gift certificates for themselves or friends and family to redeem once you are up and running again. As a small token of thanks you could even offer an inexpensive extra or a small discount as incentive such as;
A fantastic way you can continue to demonstrate your value to clients is to provide them with a personalised exercise plan. Many therapists have been sharing their experiences with consultations over zoom and skype in our Facebook group but another great, and time saving option, is to take advantage of a free three month trial we have negotiated with the amazing software from Rehab My Patient.
This platform allows massage therapists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors to create professional looking tailor made exercise plans for their clients using an impressive bank of high resolution ready to go photos and video, as well as giving therapists the ability to host secure video consultations to help guide clients through exercises, check in on their progress and provide feedback.
With the restrictions in place due to coronavirus this software can be a HUGE game changer for therapists! Being able to create professional looking exercise plans, with the bonus of high quality video content, will allow you to demonstrate to your clients the level of your knowledge, the depth of your care for them and the ongoing work we are always doing.
You can see more details on how you can get set up on this platform here in our blog post, where we provide a step by step guide and explain how you can promote this service to your massage therapy clients!
Whichever platform you choose staying in touch with your clients should be priority number 1! They will be needing treatments after this stressful period and checking in and demonstrating your knowledge is the best way to keep their loyalty.
Another great way massage therapists can use this time to develop their businesses is to start planning your future offers. Why not challenge yourself to really get ahead and see what you could create around the following;
Crafting some really thoughtful packages or offers and paring them with some eye catching designs created in Canva is a positive and productive way you can be preparing for the future and hey just think of all the time you will have saved that can be spent on networking when the coronavirus quarantine is lifted!
As well as some kick ass attention grabbing posts for your newly crafted offers, massage therapists can also use this time to find their voice and create a whole range of social media posts.
Now might also be the perfect time to tackle scheduling your posts using software such as MeetEdgar or Hootsuite. Adding your posts into a library and setting up a schedule can free you up later on as your social media can be automated.
Video content is king and now is a fantastic time to be getting ahead and creating some killer content for your website and social media channels.
During this time you could create;
Video introducing yourself, your services and your motivations for being a therapist - clients choose you as their therapist because they like your energy and trust in your knowledge. Film a short introduction video that you can put on your website and social media as a welcome to help any referrals get a feel for you and your massage therapy business before their first appointment.
Videos offering exercises for common ailments - make a list of the common complaints you see from your clients and research the best exercises for them. A short clip demonstrating the exercise and your anatomy knowledge that backs it up is sure to impress! Click on the image to see this great example from rehabfix!
Video introducing your space and what clients can expect - welcome your clients to your clinic! Letting them know what they can expect, walking them through their appointment and your treatment room, will demonstrate your professionalism and answer many questions for any nervous first timers!
Click on the image to see this great example from Four Season Therapies!
Don't forget now is also a fantastic time to ask clients for referrals. With people self isolating they potentially have time on their hands and are likely more than happy to help out small businesses in these difficult times. Writing a short social media post asking if clients can spare a couple of minutes to send a short clip telling people how you aided them could really pay off with great reviews to act as testimonials on your website and as social media content for your massage therapy business too!
Thank you to @thecsp #physiotherapists for helping me self manage my shoulder rotator cuff injury at home #workingfromhome #CoronavirusLockdownUK (apologies for the occasional noises from my children 😂) pic.twitter.com/Kx34dM6RX9— MindyCSP (@CspMindy) March 25, 2020
Now more than ever might be a great time to tackle that CPD you have been putting off. From business basics, to marketing strategies to swotting up on anatomy, there are plenty of online courses available for free that can help you develop skills that can help you take your massage therapy business to the next level once this current crisis has passed.
Lots of education providers are generously offering courses for free, including Ivy league colleges and the Open University. Many will also provide a certificate of participation so you can leave this period with tangible proof of your new skills and the commitment you made to your development during these difficult times.
We all know soap notes are crucial to your massage therapy business but we don't often get much time to really sit with them and analyse what is going on for our clients. Often we might only get the short slot at the start or the end of a massage treatment to suggest ways we can help our clients outside of our interactions with them.
Take this time to check that all your clients notes are up to date. Are there any additional snippets of information you recall now that maybe you didn't get chance to note down at the time? Looking back is there some additional research you could do into your client's conditions so that you can demonstrate your value to them now?
Do you have a stack of admin you have been putting off? Invoices you could organise to get ahead for next year's tax return or accounts you could review to get a better idea of your financial situation. Whilst this might not be the most inspiring task on the list it will definitely free you up to hit the ground running once restrictions are lifted, besides just think how pleased you will be come January when your taxes aren't a total nightmare!
It's not often we get time to sit and truly reflect on our practices. Asking yourself these 6 questions can really help you to see your massage therapy business through your clients eyes.
Put the kettle on and read through your consultation forms. Does everything make sense, even to someone who is completely new to massage therapy? Are there any areas you could make clearer or is there additional information you could ask to really personalise their experience such as favourite scents or style of music? In light of recent developments you may need to add in additional clauses related to potential Covid-19 symptoms and look into online options for your forms so clients can let you know well ahead of time of any potential contraindications. For suggestions on which online consultation forms work best for different therapists check out this Facebook group post.
If you still have access to your massage therapy treatment room try and imagine entering the room for the first time. Try and spot the details that you might miss in daily life such as decor or temperature. Are there any drafts or do you notice any marks or chips in your paint that you have never seen before? As long as they are not completely self isolating, ask a family member to act as a guinea pig, walk them through your treatment process as if they were a client and ask them for their honest feedback, warts and all! You never know what you might discover!
Have you been struggling during treatments but just soldiering on? As therapists we can often neglect taking care of ourselves, overworking to try and build our massage therapy businesses. But now is the perfect time to address those aches and pains. Check out our exercises for massage therapists and find what works for you so that you can incorporate them into a healthier routine once the COVID-19 situation eases. And speaking of routines, check out why when your massage therapy business opens up again you should leave 40 minute breaks between your clients.
There is no doubt keeping fit and healthy is going to be challenging especially if you are in self isolation. Luckily there are lots of great workouts out there that don't require lots of equipment or even space and we have shared a list of them for you (and for sharing with your clients) below;
Exhausted the online courses? Filed all your paperwork and taken care of those achy shoulders? Now might be the time to tackle that spring clean you have been putting off. If you are lucky enough to live in the same space as your treatment room then take time to try and experience it through your clients eyes. Ask yourself these questions and see if there is anything you could change once things pick up to revolutionise the way your clients experience their massage. If your room could use a little sprucing it's ok to dream, use apps like the Dulux Paint Colour Visualizer to virtually repaint your space and Pinterest to gather a bit of interior design inspiration for the future.
There has never been a better time to indulge in a little life hack marathon. Whilst you might not have all the supplies to hand you will be surprised with what you might be able to achieve with what you already have in the house. Whether you get creative and whip up some new inexpensive artwork for your treatment room or get handy with a hammer and build that unit you've been lusting after, let your imagination run riot and use this time to transform your treatment room!
Click on the image to see how you can turn this chalkboard into a pull out desk!
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 about the shape of the industry today, both good and the bad, focusing on what challenges newly qualified therapists face and what benefits can be taken advantage of today.
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.