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What Should Massage Therapists Learn About New Clients?

By Brian Acton

The most successful massage therapists practice good client management. That’s because maintaining great relationships can make clients happy and drive future success. When meeting a new client, it’s important to learn as much as you can to deliver a great first impression. Before a client ever gets on your massage table, you should make sure you understand their preferences, needs, and concerns so you can deliver the best massage possible. Here are eight things you should be learning about your new massage clients.
  1. Basic Contact and Health Information
New clients can fill out a brief intake form upon their first visit. This form should collect basic client data such as contact information and emergency contacts. It can request basic medical history, current medications, and other information that would be helpful in the case of emergency. The form can also include questions that help guide the massage. The questions on the client intake form should be grouped in a logical way, and shouldn’t require long responses. More detailed questions can follow in a verbal conversation.
  1. Prior Massage Experience
Once you’ve collected the intake form, you can take the time to introduce yourself and get to know your client. This is an ideal time to ask about your client’s prior massage experience. Massage newbies may need more in-depth explanation and guidance, while experienced clients may want to spend more time discussing their personal preferences and what they have liked or disliked about prior massages.
  1. Preferred Pressure
Always ask your clients to choose from a selection of pre-defined pressure levels. Of course, pressure is subjective, and different clients will have varying expectations. At the very least, you’ll get a starting point to work from, with the understanding that you may need to adjust throughout the massage.
  1. Goals for the Massage
Every massage needs a goal. Some massages provide general stress relief and relaxation, while others may focus on a particularly tight muscle group. Make sure to establish a goal ahead of time to better address your client’s needs.
  1. Areas of Focus
Most people have at least one area of the body that will especially benefit from massage therapy. Make sure to ask about areas that need extra attention.
  1. Areas to Avoid
Your clients may prefer you avoid certain areas, either because of injury, ticklishness, or because they simply aren’t comfortable with you touching that area. You should go through all the areas you will be massaging, and make sure to ask if there’s certain areas you should steer clear of.
  1. Special Preferences
If your client is a massage veteran, they might have preferred techniques, products, music, or other requests. Even newbies can make educated decisions with some help. Make sure to offer options such as aromatherapy to your clients and be prepared to provide some guidance. Other preferences may include whether the client likes to start face up or face down, whether they prefer conversation or silence, and whether they prefer massage, oil, cream, or lotion.
  1. Their Questions and Concerns
Once you’ve asked all your questions, you should give your new client the opportunity to ask their own. They may have concerns ranging from basic to advanced. Giving your client a moment to ask their own questions can help them feel more at ease.
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