The Fitness Zone
by David Ward, NSW Australian Institute of Fitness Massage Coach
An inviting and professional-looking massage space is essential to a successful business. Your treatment space should be a reflection of your product while making your clients feel welcome and comfortable. There are a few factors that must be considered when setting up your massage room.
There’s nothing worse than trying to massage a client in a small room. Not only will it be too cramped, but it can also lead to certain tripping hazards. In reality, you should keep in mind that your table will be roughly 65-70cm wide and 1.8-2m long. Then consider you will need at least a meters distance around each side of the table when treating. You will also need space for storage, a sink to wash your hands and in some cases you may want a desk for your computer so you can take notes during your consultations. You should be able to fit all of this comfortably in a room the size of 12-15 square meters.
Carpeted floors are preferable for massage as it reduces the risk of slipping however you may find the carpet may start to smell after a period of time due to the oils you are using. A simple fix would be to have the carpets cleaned every now and then, or to avoid the issue all together you could find a space with hard floors such as tiles or wood panelling. If you are still worried about slipping you could always put down a rug to cover the majority of the floor space. Carpet and rugs can also be used as an effective strategy for covering up loose electrical cables on the floor, which people could trip on.
Being able to dim the lighting in your treatment room can add to the ambience and allow your client to relax more. Natural light is also a big plus as it helps reduce your environmental footprint. Just make sure you can provide some form of privacy when treating clients. If you aren’t able to provide natural light, a lamp with a warm light would be preferable, however be cautious about your client moving around in a dimly lit room.
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:
Whether the table is adjustable to your desired specifications
Importantly, the table needs to be comfortable for clients no matter what their size or shape. Remember, the width of the table will also depend on your own height. For example, if you’re of shorter stature, it may be harder to reach across the table if it’s particularly wide.
A distraction-free space
Clients will come for either a relaxation massage or a therapeutic one, the last thing they want is to be distracted. Even small distractions such as background noise may be annoying to clients so it’s always best to work in an environment where these distractions can be eliminated if required. To rid the room of noise distractions such as outside traffic, appliances or even office chatter, pop some relaxing music on.
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 a good idea to keep your equipment handy but discreet so you never have to interrupt the massage to access what you need. Finally, decorate simply but elegantly. A loud room is a bad aesthetic to establish when your client is seeking relief.
An integral part to ensure your client is relaxed is making sure the temperature of the room is comfortable. Generally speaking, clients wish to be warm during a massage as this relaxes them further. Remember, your client is laying there with minimal clothing so it’s always going to be a tad colder for them than it is for you.
Opt for a room temperature of between 21 and 23 degrees celsius. It’s also a good idea to have some blankets ready to drape over your client when you’re not working on specific body parts, have a grain pack on hand to ensure they are warm and even pop a table warmer beneath the sheets that you can turn on if necessary.
Turn on the appropriate tunes
In its own right, music is a very effective form of therapy and can relax many people. Music can also be a nice way to personalise a session – the more you get to know a repeat client, the more you will understand their favourite choice of music. If necessary, it may be a nice idea to ask the client what they would prefer, between silence or music.
When it comes to the music itself, it’s important to choose the right type that will enhance their experience. This means finding songs that are soft, gentle and predictable with no surprises or sudden change of tempos.
Space for your clients’ things
Remember, you’re asking your clients to remove clothing, shoes and jewellery so it’s only appropriate to have somewhere to store all of their things. They may also come with a handbag or backpack so it’s nice to have somewhere to put it that’s not 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 put their belongings.
Mirrors are important to have on a wall near the door so the client can check their appearance before they leave. Larger mirrors can be useful to make the room seem bigger as well. It’s a good idea to have at least one seat for the client during your consultation and they can also leave their clothing items and belongings there during the treatment. Most importantly of all, keep your massage space clean. This not only relates to the presentation of your clinic and business but also to the client's safety. If there is unnecessary clutter this can turn into a workplace hazard or infection control issue.
Sign up to one of our comprehensive massage therapy courses
Ready to take the next step in your career as a qualified massage therapist? The Australian Institute of Fitness offers several massage therapy courses to provide our students with a practical and comprehensive education. You can choose to study one of the following massage courses: