Have you ever wondered why certain individuals choose the massage therapy profession? What is in the job that attracts them? Massage therapists are often caretakers, happy when they are helping others. It’s a financially rewarding career and it’s also satisfying to know that the work you do helps people feel better.
One of the most important components in developing a successful career in massage therapy (or any career) is a positive mindset. A positive mindset and positive habits can pave the way for financial success and career satisfaction for the massage therapist.
Massage therapy is a high-contact job with personal interaction between you and your clients. While the skills and techniques to manipulate muscles and soft tissues are all learned during massage school, we need to remember to focus on soft skills, as well: how to present ourselves professionally, how to speak professionally, and how to give an overall positive impression to the people who seek our services.
Every massage therapist should focus on cultivating the following:
- Being an excellent communicator
- Being client-centered
- Being intent on personal development and improving your skills
- Going the extra mile to provide excellent service
Let’s examine exactly what that means. Excellent communication, when it comes to the client, means that they feel that you listen to them and their concerns for the bodywork session, both before during the intake interview, and during the massage. Tune in to their body language. Check in with them from time to time about the level of pressure or their general comfort with what you are doing. One of the most frequent complaints about massage therapists (from consumers) is that they talk too much! Take your cue from the client. If they are chatty, it’s fine to speak. If they are not talking, other than giving you one-word answers when you ask a question, that’s a clue that they would prefer a silent massage.
Being client-centered means exactly that. If a client requested a relaxation massage, but you find a few knots and start digging in because it’s what you want to do, or throwing in energy work that they did not request, and may in fact object to, isn’t being client-centered. The client wants to feel that your attention is on them and their needs and goals for the session.
Being intent on personal development, and improving your skills, should be a perpetual goal. The day we think we know it all is the day we should do everyone a favor and retire! Although most states require massage therapists to receive continuing education, we encourage you to view that as more than an obligation. Use a positive mindset to seek continuing education courses that inspire you and that will benefit your practice. Emerging trends have empowered massage therapists as agents of change within the industry. During the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to think out of the box to save our careers. Learning things that will enhance your techniques, build your customer service skills, and assist you in finding new ways to make your business more efficient and more profitable, even in times of trouble, is a necessity. It’s been a challenge to keep a positive mindset, but massage therapists are resilient people!
Finally, going the extra mile to give people excellent service is something that makes a positive impression on clients. We need to give the last client of the day the same attention and great massage as the first client of the day. It can be something as simple as offering people a warm wet towel to put over their face after they have been prone on the table. It helps clear the sinuses and feels great, and the cost is zero.
Massage therapy is one of the most personal occupations in both the health and wellness and the personal service sectors. We offer relief from stress and pain, assist in injury rehabilitation, and help restore comfort and ease to the body through the awesome power of touch. Keep the positive mindset that our job is one that allows us to make a living while helping people, and that’s one of the best jobs in the world.