This is my advice on how to give a relaxation gentle deep tissue massage or a “Zen Massage”.
In order to appease your clients 99% of the time, you need to meet and listen to their needs, and state your intentions at the very beginning of the massage. Make sure the room and the table are warm. Put essential oils on your fan or in a diffuser. Put on music that is low and soothing, not fast paced and distracting. Volume level is important. Anything that distracts your client during the treatment, is taking away from YOUR work. Rub a drop of grapefruit or lavender oil between your hands and put it on the face cradle. Clients LOVE that. In this post I will go over some of the steps that I go through to ensure that my clients enjoy the entire treatment and become part of my RETURN clientele.
It only takes a second to go over an intake form, take note of your clients needs, and then begin your session with your client sitting in the massage room while you go over what you will be working on. What do they do for a living? How long has this been going on? This begins the repoire with your client and helps you understand where to focus during your massage. It may seem like common practice, but you would not believe how many massages I have gotten and the therapist doesn’t ask me ANYTHING. I tell EVERY client the same thing. “Please communicate with me about the pressure during the treatment, if you don’t say anything then you could be really sore tomorrow and you will never come see me again. If you need anything .. A blanket, a tissue, music volume turned down, scotch and soda, let me know.”
After I leave the room and my client has undressed and is on the table, I begin the first part of the treatment. I dim the lights very low, and ask my clients how they have been doing. This is usually the only time I talk during the massage and it is only to ease the client into relaxation for the first few minutes. Then I start at the sacrum, feeling by compression and pushing if it is locked up or mobile. I work my way up the spine, along the spinous processes and feel for ribs that may be out of alignment, subluxations or tight muscles. I feel the rhomboids and C7, upper traps, and then work my way to the gluts, the hamstrings and so on. It takes me maybe 2 minutes, and I have a template for my entire massage session.
I always start with effleurage, a warm heavy flat palm, to warm the tissue. (Never start working right away on a tense or injured area without warming it up first. This will irritate your client emotionally and they will be very sore the next day. ) Then if I am starting on the upper traps or rhomboids I will place a hot towel on the clients back and use deep flat compressions to warm the area, I usually do this twice and then begin working with my fingerPAD (not tip) to do light stripping on the muscle until it is warm. Using your fingertips to massage hurts the client. It’s so boney! I rock my clients muscles, stretch them, use myofascial release techniques once the tissue is warm and relaxation, always taking care to notice my pressure and if the client is comfortable. I do not talk during the session unless my client wants to. (some people need to talk to relax). Most clients will not communicate that the pressure is too much, so it is VERY important to take notice while you are working. A client would rather never come back again, than have to keep asking a therapist to lighten up. I have had numerous people tell me that. I am also that way. I’ll ask a couple of times, but if you don’t get it, then forget it. I’m trying to relax and paying good money to do so.
After the treatment is over, I ask the client if they feel like we “got to everyone”, and leave the room to get them some water or hot tea. I tell them to take not of things they loved or hated during the treatment so we can do more or less of that thing next time. I ask them to reschedule, or to make a commitment to come on a weekly or bi-monthly basis so I don’t have to “start over after waiting for three months to come back. Most people never hesitate to reschedule. I use and online booking service, styleseat.com. It’s free and clients can book their own appointments at whatever time of day is convenient for them. Whenever someone books, it sends a text message to my phone. My site is Styleseat.com/keriewaller.
I have been a massage therapist for 13 years and love having a career in Massage Therapy. I have a 90% – 99% return rate. I hope you enjoyed my first blog post on this subject and please comment or ask me questions if you’d like! My next post will be a series on deep tissue and myofascial release from head to toe!
Slow and steady wins the race <3