Massage Therapy Tips: The Do’s & Dont’s

Apr 02, 2015 | by AIF

In a market that is growing at a rapid rate, a high degree of professionalism and good client focus counts. When it comes to massage therapy, there are no exceptions. Whether you’re just opening a new massage business or whether you’ve been open for years, there are always a few things to remember in order to stay professional. Here are 10 tips on what to do and what not to do in your professional practice.

1.  Be punctual and professional

Do not be late! Being on time to client appointments is crucial to running any business, as well as establishing rapport with your client. Good time management is a skill that needs to be practiced. Not only is it professional, but you will provide a long-lasting first impression that you care about your clients and their needs.

2.  Presentation

Be very aware of your personal care, hygiene and grooming, as it is of huge importance.  Give thought to the type of clothing you’re wearing, the length of your fingernails and stay away from using strong perfumes or after shaves – this can overwhelm the client and take away from any essential oils you are using therapeutically. Being neat and tidy will give the impression that you care about your business and it’s reputation. By making sure these small things are looked after, you can really increase your levels of professionalism.

3.  Communication

Introducing yourself and addressing your client by name is the first step toward building trust and a therapeutic relationship. Paying close attention to your body language is also necessary. Be open in posture and demonstrate an energy that matches your intention to therapeutically work on your client. Intent is everything. As well as great face-to-face communication, be sure to communicate effectively in other ways. Use your telephone in a professional manner by answering it and stating your name and business with a friendly greeting. Return any missed calls promptly and have an answering machine that helps the caller to know who you are and how you can be contacted or when you will contact the caller back (and be sure to follow up on that promise). Be professional in your other forms of communication such as emails. Using a business letterhead within emails is a great idea, so be sure that all of your details are included and use professional written language in your emails (avoid slang terms).

4.  Be client focused

Before your client arrives spend some time centring your energy and letting go of your own agenda. This assists in giving a balanced session and helps stop any negative energy transference to the client. Your session is about your clients’ needs and not your own. A client will definitely notice any tension on your side and may not come out feeling as relaxed as they should be. By preparing for a session by letting go of your own qualms, you’ll be able to provide better services to your clients.

5.  Prepare your room

Match and prepare your room to reflect your business and the type of therapist you are. This helps with congruence and promotes good energy flow. You don’t need to overpower the room with millions of candles and incense. Instead, choose decor and other items that suit you, your style and your business. It can be simple changes such as lighting, candles, music choice or scents. A relaxing atmosphere without stressful factors will make for better sessions with clients.

6.  Contact and flow

Keeping your hands on your client throughout the massage is a golden rule. When moving between limbs and positions, remain plugged into the session. It’s not reassuring to the client if it’s their first massage to not know where you are in the room or in relation to their physical space. Not knowing what you’re doing if you suddenly seem to disappear will only keep the client on edge and not allow them to relax and “let go”.

7.  No chitter chatter

You are client driven. Unless your client generates conversation, leave them to relax. It may seem rude at first to not say much to your client (if anything at all during the session), but in reality this is ideal. Not talking means that you can allow your client to relax and unwind without having to feel like they need to make small talk with you. If your client wants to talk, however, feel free to respond back.

8.  Draping

Don’t be complacent around draping. It is part of your client feeling safe and showing good boundaries. Some people will have questions regarding draping and being nude during the session. Feel free to answer any of their questions and ensure you drape your clients in a way that they don’t feel overexposed, feel safe and comfortable. If a client seems to be uncomfortable, offer some advice and details of the session before starting to ensure they understand what will happen when needing to turn over or massage other body parts.

9.  Don’t rush

Allow time for your client to become focused enough to be able to drive safely, especially after a relaxation massage. Some clients may even fall asleep during a session and having a daytime nap can make anyone feel a little bit off when they first wake. Even relaxing deeply can have the same effect. Give your client time to come back to reality and feel refreshed with their session before they leave. If they feel rushed out the door they may not return or feel valued as a client. Ensure your bookings don’t overlap or are booked too closely to allow time for your client to become adjusted and leave the session.

10.  Finish the session with care and professionalism

Allow your client to debrief, give your recommendations and complete your notes. Ask the client if they have any questions or concerns and if they were looking to book another session for the future. If this debriefing is left unfinished, you may carry your previous session into the next and this will affect your focus. This is also a good time for your client to refresh themselves before leaving the session. 



At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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