An inviting and professional-looking space is essential to a successful massage business, writes David Ward, Massage Coach with the Australian Institute of Fitness NSW.
Your treatment space should be a reflection of the professional service you provide, while also making your clients feel welcome and comfortable.
Consider the following factors when setting up your massage room.
There’s nothing worse for both the massage therapist and the client than a room that’s too small for purpose. Not only will it be too cramped, it can also lead to tripping hazards.
Keep in mind that:
You should be able to fit all of this comfortably in a room sized 12-15 square metres.
Carpeted floors are preferable for massage, as it reduces the risk of slipping – especially considering the potential for massage oils to inadvertently get dripped onto the floor. However, you may find the carpet will start to smell after a period of time due to the oils soaking into the carpet. A simple solution is to have the carpets cleaned every now and then.
If you prefer to avoid the issue of dealing with soiled carpets, you could find a space with hard floors such as tiles or wood panelling. If you are concerned about slipping, you could put down a rug to cover the majority of the floor space. Rugs can also be used to cover up loose electrical cables on the floor, which people could trip on.
The ability to dim the lighting in your treatment room can add to the ambience and allow your client to feel more relaxed. While natural light helps reduce your environmental footprint, you will need to have window coverings to ensure privacy when treating clients. If you aren’t able to provide natural light, a lamp with a warm, rather than bright, bulb would be preferable. When delivering massages in a room with subdued lighting, move with care and caution and encourage your clients to do likewise.
Besides your hands, your massage therapist table is perhaps the most important tool at your disposal. In order to provide an excellent service, your table needs to be comfortable, in good condition and, most importantly, safe to use. There are several elements to consider when choosing the right table, including:
Importantly, the table needs to be comfortable for clients of all shapes and sizes. Your own comfort is also paramount, as delivering numerous massages is physically demanding work. You therefore need to consider the dimensions of the table in relation to your own physical stature, because the width of the table you choose should be appropriate for your height. For example, if you’re of shorter stature, it may be harder to reach across a particularly wide table.
Whether clients come to you for a relaxation massage or a therapeutic one, they do not want to be distracted by unwelcome sights or sounds.
With regards the appearance of the room in which you deliver massages, it is best to decorate simply but elegantly.
Your client is likely to spend much of their time with their eyes closed or looking at the floor through the hole in the massage table. However, they will be exposed to the decor when they arrive and when they are lying on their back to receive massage to the front of their body. A ‘loud’-looking room is a bad aesthetic to establish when your client is seeking relief.
It’s important to have a mirror on a wall near the door so the client can check their appearance before they leave. Larger mirrors can also help make the room seem bigger.
Even small distractions, such as background noise, may be annoying to clients so it’s always best to work in an environment where these interferences can be eliminated if required. To rid the room of noise distractions, such as outside traffic, appliances or even office chatter, you can put some relaxing music on (see following point).
If you can, find a completely soundproof space so if your client doesn’t want music, you don’t have to put it on. It’s also preferable to keep your equipment handy, but discreet, so you don’t have to interrupt the massage by telling your client that you need to go and fetch something you need.
Music is an effective form of therapy in its own right and can be very relaxing for many people. It can also be a nice way to personalise a session – the more you get to know a repeat client, the more you will learn what music they like. Not everyone will want music though, so it’s a good idea to ask the client whether they would prefer music or silence.
The music you select should enhance the client’s massage experience. This means finding songs that are soft, gentle and predictable with no surprises or sudden change of tempo.
A comfortable room temperature is integral to your client’s ability to relax. Generally, clients wish to be warm during a massage as it relaxes them further. Remember, your client is likely to feel colder than you, because they will be wearing minimal clothing and not moving, whereas you will be dressed in your uniform and performing the physically demanding activity of massage.
To ensure your client is warm enough, without overheating yourself, you can:
Your clients need to remove items of clothing, shoes and jewellery, so you should provide a space for them to store their things. They may also come with a handbag or backpack, so it’s not only nice, but also safer, to offer them somewhere to put it that’s not on the floor. Create a changing area that is comfortable and functional. Use storage cubes, a chair or even a cabinet in the changing space where they can place their belongings.
Unnecessary clutter, unhygienic surfaces, or an oily floor have the potential to become a workplace hazard or infection control issue. Keep your massage space clean and tidy at all times and wipe all surfaces, including your massage table, with high grade disinfectant between every client.
This will not only increase client safety,and thereby reduce your likelihood of encountering insurance-related liability issues, it will also reflect well on the professionalism of your massage clinic and business.
Ready to take the first step towards becoming a qualified massage therapist? The Australian Institute of Fitness offers practical and comprehensive massage therapy courses.