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Archive for the ‘Massage Tips’ Category

Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Massage Tables Are Like Elegant Desserts

 

By Angie Patrick

 

It’s true, massage tables really are like elegant desserts. The best ones have the perfect balance of sumptuous and delicious layers. Go enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner. Chances are the dessert tray will be filled with items sporting layer after layer of sheer decadence. More layers really equals more luxury and more indulgence.

However, this is where the similarities with your massage table end. I have seen some therapists who will place a sheet over a table and call it complete. This can leave a client shivering and feeling more than a little exposed. I have also witnessed other therapists create the equivalent to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in an effort to make the table more comfortable. This often results in the client fussing with the table covers and struggling to keep them in place while trying to roll over, or even worse, the coverings sliding to the floor completely when the client gets off the table due to ill fitting or inappropriate coverings not created for use on a massage table.

How do you know when enough is enough? How can you be sure you have not crossed the line between cocooning comfort and overcompensation for an uncomfortable table? Often, these lines can be blurred. Let’s look at some of the regularly used table coverings in order of their layering on the table, and then you can utilize the information provided to pick and choose which would be appropriate for your specific applications.

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Massage Table Warmers

 

Table warmers come in many different forms. Some are washable while others are not. Some are suited for treatments where they might come in contact with water and others are not made to withstand moisture. Before you choose, decide whether or not you plan to practice treatments that require the warmer to be water-proof. For instance, if your plan is to offer herbal wraps, you will most likely opt for the water-proof option for safety’s sake. If your plan doesn’t include treatments utilizing moisture and free-flowing water, then a regular fabric table warmer will work fine. In all cases, check to be sure the warmer has an auto-off feature. This alleviates the age old worry in the middle of the night as you sit straight up in bed, “Did I unplug the table warmer?”

 

Some models can be programmed to work continuously for up to 99 minutes, and then power down. This is a great feature, and one I personally prefer. It takes the guesswork out of whether or not the warmer will remain on for the full treatment. Given the average massage is 60 to 90 minutes, it should cover most treatments. The trick is remembering to reset it between clients so it does not power down in the middle of your massage. These typically are washable on the gentle cycle, although it is preferable to hang them to dry to better prevent the warming filaments from breaking.

 

Ideas for Added Padding

 

Massage fleece pad  likely is the most popular and widely utilized plush covering. This covering provides additional cushion and a degree of comfort that a sheet on bare vinyl will not provide. Look for fleece with elastic corner holds or a fitted cover to secure it to the table. You have a couple of choices in the type of fleece you utilize. Some people only want wool fleece pads. Although these are very warm and cozy, they cannot be machine washed and some clients might have allergies to wool, which won’t necessarily be disclosed in the intake form. I prefer the synthetic fleece because it offers greater flexibility in washing. It can be machine washed and dried in the dryer on fluff or air dry without heat. I would suggest a therapist have a few sets of fleece so they can be changed out between clients on a busy day. Now they are more affordable than ever before, ranging from $25 to $110 depending on the material you choose.

 

Another popular option for added comfort is memory foam covered in vinyl. This is a fantastic way to soften a hard table or elongate the life of one that is beginning to show wear on the padding. It usually is 2 to 3 inches thick and is made of visco-elastic material which reacts to body heat, conforming to the contours of the body. These, when covered with vinyl, are easily cleaned and offer a very comfortable foundation for your client. While not inexpensive, they can truly provide a luxurious feel to your table and extend the usefulness of a table in the beginning stages of wear, allowing an additional pocket of time before you must invest in a new table.

 

Choosing the Right Massage Sheets

 

Once your warmer and choice of pad are in place, affix your fitted sheet to the table. The next layer is your top sheet. Please be sure the sheet sets you buy are appropriate for a professional setting. I have seen the occasional therapist use cartoon-character sheets fitting a twin bed on their professional massage table. The intent is to be cute and quirky, but the reality is you come off looking ill-prepared, childish and difficult to be taken seriously. Purchasing sheets appropriate for your practice is fundamental in being considered a professional. Be sure your sheets are in good repair, not stained and do not reek of old oil. This is more than a wee bit off putting, and can ruin the whole massage experience, no matter how expertly executed.

 

Your choice in sheet material is one that could require some additional thought. Although we all want an attractive and inviting table, being pretty may not be enough. Look for fabrics that are durable and can withstand repeated usage and laundering. Here are a few examples of the most commonly chosen sheet types, and reasons why they may or may not be a fit for your needs.

 

Massage Poly Cotton sheets: These are a blend of cotton content and polyester. These sheets are thinner and great in warmer climates. They resist wrinkling, although they are not wrinkle-free. There is little shrinkage, and they usually hold up well during laundering.

 

Massage Muslin sheets: Very thin fabric, does not offer much coverage for client modesty. These sheets might work well when used in wraps. Not a favorite among most therapists for everyday use on their massage table.

 

Massage Cotton Sheets: Natural fiber, flat-spun fiber finish, and soft to the skin. For client modesty, look for sheets with 300-350 thread count. These are a bit thicker and offer greater coverage. Buy sheets a bit larger than your table to allow for inevitable shrinkage. These will launder well although they will wrinkle substantially if left in the dryer unattended after drying.

 

Massage Flannel Sheets: A tried and true staple in any therapist arsenal. This is a natural cotton fiber that has been spun to allow fibers to be “unruly” and then brushed to allow fibers to loosen and become lofty. These sheets offer superb coverage and long wear. The more they are washed, the softer they become. Flannel is not gauged in thread count, but it is rated by weight per square meter. For durable flannel that will wear well, look for flannel with weight of 150 g per square meter or greater. These weights will launder well but will wrinkle if left in a basket after washing. Again, be sure to buy sheets large enough to accommodate shrinkage.

 

Massage Bamboo Sheets: A new fiber in the massage-sheet arena. This fiber is incredibly soft to the touch. It feels almost silky and can provide a very luxurious feel to your table. It is also a nice “trendy” component to say you are using greener products. Even though there are several positive reasons to choose bamboo, it also has a few setbacks. It can be price-prohibitive in many cases, and it often can have substantial shrinkage and wrinkling if laundered in any way other than described on the packaging. It also is still somewhat fragile in its longevity, allowing the stitching holes to stretch and become somewhat unsightly. If you have the budget, time and opportunity to truly care for these sheets, they might be a good fit. If you are looking for a workhorse, you might decide to opt for another material.

 

In all sheets, you will want to be sure the pocket is deep enough to accommodate the table warmer, and fleece or memory foam pad, as well as the table. In the top sheet, you likely will wish to find something measuring 59 to 65 inches wide and 80 to 90 inches long. Not only will this allow nicely for any shrinkage, it will continue to provide adequate coverage for the client following laundering. This is why most household sheets for twin beds do not always offer a perfect fit.

 

The Proper Massage Blanket

 

There are many schools of thought in regards to blanket materials. Again, it is driven by your needs and usage. I will provide you with the most common offerings, although there are many more on the market than I can list here.

 

Massage Cotton Thermal blanket: Likely the most widely used blanket in massage. It is loosely woven, thicker yarn cotton that will remain breathable while retaining warmth. It is prone to shrinkage and does have a tendency to become snagged. These are affordable and come in an array of designer colors.

 

Massage Fleece blanket: Softness is the hallmark of this fabric. It harkens to days when we were children and all things we snuggled with were fluffy and soft. It evokes an instant relaxation response and is widely used in the industry. It will launder well, although it is prone to shed in the first few washes. Most will not have appreciable shrinkage. These will also wrinkle, but not much.

 

Massage Bamboo blanket: This fabric makes a lovely blanket; offering softness and luxury to any table. This is not a very durable fiber so handling and laundering of the blanket must be done with care. It is prone to pilling, so it should be handled with greater care. It will also shrink if dried in a heat setting. Tumbling on low heat or no heat is preferred to extend the life of the blanket.

 

Massage Down Comforter/Duvet: Incredibly lush and totally cocooning. It’s downside is the expense and the upkeep of the duvet covers between clients. For a similar feel without the expense, look for down alternative comforters. These can also alleviate the allergy reaction to down.

 

Making Your Table a Sanctuary

 

Many therapists have different ideas about the way they would like their table to look and feel to the client before they climb on. Some would opt for a clean, luxurious spa feel with a crisp, white duvet covering a plush, down comforter. Others may prefer a world-traveler look, complete with colorful saris from India or Pakistan accompanied by a decorative pillow of silk or satin. Still others may opt for a more ethereal feel, with thin gossamer fabrics covering their table, lending it a cloudlike quality.

 

I have seen tables with flower petals scattered on them, or simply dressed with a bundle of freshly cut rosemary sprigs tied with a piece of raffia placed in the center of the table. I have seen the table scattered with chakra stones, as well as beautiful bowls of water with a Beta Fish swimming in it on the floor beneath the headrest for a lovely view while face down. Any one of these ideas can evoke a serene feeling of calm and relaxation. The truth is, there are no real wrong ideas when it comes to the decorative part of the table. Just, as in all things, present a professional appearance.

 

I hope these bits of information will be able to assist you in the decision of what to use on your table. The possibilities are truly limitless, and we have only scratched the surface here. There are more beautiful massage linens coming into the market every day and there are many great suppliers bringing these to the forefront. Enjoy the search, but always remember to present yourself, your practice and the supplies you use professionally.  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

 

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.

So You Want to Buy a Massage Chair

Friday, February 21st, 2014

So You Want to Buy a Massage Chair

By Angie Patrick

Did you know a great way to market yourself as a massage therapist and become known in your community to those interested in massage is to work charity events or volunteer performing chair massage? Did you know this is an incredibly effective way to give people an opportunity to appreciate your talent as a therapist as well as afford you a pocket of time to develop a rapport in order to better your opportunity of retaining them as a client for further services? Did you know that there are professional massage chairs on the market ranging from under $200 to over $600? How do you know what you need? How can you be sure the chair you buy will best suit your needs? Let’s take a look at the different uses for a massage chair, and use that information to determine how much chair you need to fulfill your specific needs.

There are many reasons a therapist will buy a massage chair. Some make the purchase for occasional charity events and promotional opportunities. Others purchase a chair to utilize as an adjunct to their regular table. Some opt to buy to add additional services to their spa or salon waiting room, and then there are those who utilize their chair for their full time practice and use it several times a day 5 to 6 days a week. Each of these needs differ in that they require different performance from the chair that has been chosen.

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In this article, I would like to explore some of the options available on massage chairs and provide information that will enable you to make the appropriate choice for your own individualized purposes. I think a great place to begin is at the beginning: You have made a decision to purchase a chair. Now begins the research: which chairs offer the greatest adjustability; which offer a sternum pad; how do I adjust the seat; which is the lightest; which comes with a case with wheels; do I need wheels? How can I find a package deal, what IS a package deal?

OK, OK… Stop stressing already! Let’s take it one step at a time… First establish your need.

Let’s just say your intended use is for marketing yourself, your talents and your practice. Your goal is to obtain new clients for your regular practice. With this chair, you plan to attend charity events, fun runs, craft shows, etc. The primary use will not be for everyday use, and it is not your single source of income. Your potential clients will likely spend no more than 10-20 minutes total in the chair. All this being said, it stands to reason you may not wish to spend next month’s rent or mortgage payment on this chair. Luckily, there are some very economical options on the market that can fit this niche nicely, while still not requiring a credit line increase on the old charge card.

Economic Chair

You will likely find a chair that fits your needs in the $150-$250 price point. Usually, chairs in this area are not filled with a ton of bells and whistles, nor do they offer a wide array of customization and adjustment; however, for the purposes listed above, these chairs fit the bill! Light (usually made of light-weight aluminum), economical, and generally workable in functionality – these chairs will make it easy for you to start networking. Look for chairs in this price range to offer adjustable heights on the seat, adjustable slide sternum plates, and a dual adjustable headrest. These should also come with a carry case.

Mid- to High-End Chair

Now, let’s look at the chair you need for more regular and rigorous work, as a primary source of income. Some therapists make a very nice living offering mobile chair massage. Many gain entire office buildings as their “turf” and can spend an entire day simply working in a single location. Clients do not often have the time they would like to visit a therapist, and they are oh-so-happy to have one come by the office for a half hour to an hour. Some forward thinking companies even hire the therapist for a block of time or per client in order to provide this wonderful benefit for their employees. If you take this theory and apply it to five days a week, you can easily see how the income can grow. Even if you do not cater to office buildings, there are other venues that have proven successful as well. If you live near a conference center, perhaps you could contract to provide chair massage for the trade shows that come into town. Additionally, many hospitals will allow therapists in at the request of a doctor, OT or PT. Perhaps you just open a kiosk at the mall, and work on passers by. You are only limited by your own ingenuity, and no matter how you slice it, you need a chair that can stand up to the daily repeated use you will be giving it.

These chairs, built with long-term, repeated usage in mind range in price from $250 and up. The mean average for a stoutly made chair is around $350 and can go as high as over $600. These chairs have far greater flexibility in the adjustments, providing greater comfort for the client and also allowing you greater access. Typically these chairs are made of rolled steel, carbonized fiber, and aircraft grade aluminum. The padding is better in that it is softer and more pliable, while providing elasticity and bounce back. The weight allowances are a bit greater in this price range, and can allow you greater flexibility in clientele. These chairs may also weigh a bit more than the more economy chair largely due to their being built to withstand far greater and repeated usage. In most cases, the mid- and high-end chairs have a virtually endless color choice, while economy chairs are typically limited to only five or six.

Forming Your Decision

Some details to consider before making your decision:

First, consider the foam systems and the density they offer. Economy chairs often have a foam system consisting of two ply. One at the base is very dense while a softer and plusher layer is affixed atop. While this provides comfort for its intended use, it can begin to break down if it is in a constant daily use scenario. Conversely, the higher end chairs have taken into consideration the need for the padding to withstand constant use, and are typically three-ply deep. Using this same principal of layering, the layer closest to the base if the most dense, while the middle layer is a bit more flexible. The top layer is often quite plush and provides a luxurious feel to the client.

Second, consider the frame. How much weight will it withstand? Can you easily go from working on children to working on larger clients? Consider who your target market may be, and make your choices with this in mind.

Third, think about adjustability. If you are using this chair for everyday use, you will likely opt for a chair with considerable adjustment capability. Some chairs are adjustable down to the knee pads, and I find chairs offering greater options are a stronger choice for the full-time seated massage therapist. You have a greater capability of customizing the massage experience directly to your client’s weight, height and build. If your use is for occasional usage only, then the economy chair would still be a good fit.

Fourth, contemplate ease of use. Some higher end chairs are like trying to fold origami. Too many levers and complicated sequences can make a chair cumbersome, (albeit comfortable for the client.) The hope is you find something perfect for both of you! The economy chairs are not quite so complicated, and can offer great ease when you are on the road. Less adjustment means less knobs and levers. Determine your level of patience, and explore manufacturer’s Web sites to get a better picture of the adjustments chairs can offer.

Fifth, does my chair come with a package? Most do. Most chairs on the market are paired with a carry case for the protection of the chair and for ease in mobility.

One thing I would like to share, (and I cannot stress this enough) always be sure to buy from a reputable dealer of professional grade massage products. Do not skimp on this. In the short term, it seems you will be able to save a few bucks and buy a chair secondhand. However, let there be an issue with breakage, or malfunction and you are wholly stuck with a broken and dilapidated used chair. This can set you back to square one, and you are out your initial investment in substandard equipment. When you choose a reputable dealer, you have the advantage of the resellers warranty as well as the manufacturer’s warranty. Both are invaluable to you if your chair ever has an issue.

Chair massage can be a tremendous value to those looking for an add-on therapy, a means to market, or a way to earn a little extra money on the weekends. It can also be a lucrative full-time career. Just be sure to do your homework, visit the Web, check out and compare features, and then make your informed decision. Everyone has a different need, and I hope some of these tips can help you better define your own and give you a head start in finding the perfect chair for your individual needs.  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

 

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

 

Get Started with this Biofreeze Stress-Melter Pain-Relieving Massage!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

BIOFREEZE® Stress Melter Pain Relieving Massage

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This full body therapeutic massage uses BIOFREEZE Gel, a pain relieving topical cooling gel during the massage treatment. This massage focuses on specific areas of tight and painful muscles and joints using various massage strokes to relieve tension and pain. More concentrated work on muscle spasm and chronic tension where most of us hold our stress will be given at the end of this treatment. A tube of BIOFREEZE Gel is included for home care use to continue the pain relieving experience at home. This massage will leave the client stimulated, invigorated and will help melt their stress away.

 

Treatment Time: 60 minutes

 

Benefits of Treatment:

1. Relieve stress

2. Reduce muscle spasm

3. Reduce discomfort and pain

4. Increase circulation

5. Improve range of motion

6. Over all invigorating feeling

 

Contraindications:

1. Sunburn

2. Skin rashes or conditions

3. Open sores

4. Severe high blood pressure

5. Fever or infections

 

Products, Supplies and Equipment:

1. Massage Table

2. Two Sheets and Drape

3. Face Cradle Cover

4. Bolster

5. Massage Oil

6. BIOFREEZE Gel

7. PROSSAGE Heat

 

Prepare Treatment Room and Table:

1. Massage Table:

a. Drape two sheets, one on top of the other, folding top sheet down partially with a diagonal fold.

2. Treatment Room:

a. Have several hand towels ready (if needed) for additional draping.

b. Have bolsters and pillows available (if needed) for additional client comfort prepared with clean linens.

c. Have massage oil, BIOFREEZE topical analgesic, PROSSAGE Heat, etc., as needed per specified massage protocols, prepared on counter.

d. Create a comforting and de-stressing environment with soft music, lowered lighting and any specified amenities such as fresh flowers, or product samples on table.

 

Client Communication:

• Pick up client

• Have client complete in-take form

• Conduct pre-massage interview

• Explain sequence and benefits of products

• Provide and explain draping

• Step out as client gets on table

• Knock and step in

• Bolster client for comfort

• Begin work using the following protocol

 

Treatment Protocol:

1. Client is positioned supine (face up).

2. Start by placing hands on the client’s upper trapezius and effleurage the neck.

3. Massage face starting at the chin and working toward the forehead and then move to the head performing friction massage movements.

4. Move to the client’s neck and apply oil to the neck. Apply bilateral effleurage beginning at the sternal notch and use the hands simultaneously. Continue from the sternum over the shoulder and along the traps to the occipital ridge. Repeat at least three times.

5. Turnclients head to one side and apply effleurage to the side of the neck starting at the mastoid, con

tinue the movement across the shoulder and around the deltoid muscle and back to the base of the neck.  Repeat at least three times.

6. Apply petrissage, friction and vibration strokes to the neck and shoulders.

7. Apply passive joint movement by rolling the head forward, passive stretch by supporting the head side-

to-side and pushing the opposite shoulder. Apply passive rotation to the neck.

8. Next, apply slight traction to the cervical spine by hooking the fingers under the occiput and pulling.

9. Finish by applying alternating pressure toward the foot of the table and rock gently and stretch shoulders.

10.You may apply BIOFREEZE Gel to any tender anterior points as needed at this point of the massage.

11. Massage each arm and hand with effleurage, petrissage and stripping strokes for 3 to 5 minutes for each arm.

12. Massage each leg using effleurage, petrissage, broadening friction and stripping strokes 3 to 5 minutes

per leg.

13. Massage each foot for 2 to 3 minutes. Begin at the sole, kneading the foot and then applying friction, covering the front of the foot and stretching each foot.

14. Re-drape client and apply feather strokes over the drape before turning the client.

 

(25 minutes total massage time for the supine massage)

 

1. Client is then moved to prone (face down) position.

2. The soles of the feet are massaged and pressure points used; legs and calves, gluteals are massaged using petrissage, effleurage, broadening, friction and stripping strokes; ten minutes for this part of the massage.

3. Start with a light touch at the base of the neck and the other hand at the base of the spine.

4. Apply massage oil to the clients back using effleurage strokes starting at the head and go to the sacrum.

5. Then apply a thin layer of BIOFREEZE Gel to the back; massage BIOFREEZE Gel into the back and continue massaging the back using effleurage, petrissage, and compression strokes with the BIOFREEZE oil mixture.

6. Petrissage the trapezius and then the entire side of the back that is opposite the therapist, repeating this at least three times. Then move to the other side of table and repeat.

7. Use deep gliding stripping movements using braced thumbs on the back, can also use the elbow and forearm to do deep gliding when working on the back.

8. Move to the shoulders and perform direct pressure and friction to the trapezius and rhomboid area.

9. Perform trigger point work on the rotator cuff area as needed at this time.

10. Then work the cervical muscles face down using effleurage, petrissage strokes.

11. Then focus on the sub-occipital ridge doing circular friction back and forward on the ridge and above and below it.

12. Move to the head and massage starting at the base of the neck and apply friction to the sc

alp.

13. Follow up with additional massage to areas of tension and pain at this time.

14. Can apply tapotement, percussion or vibration at this time.

15. Apply stretches to the back and end with feather strokes.

 

(20-minute massage on back)

 

1. Re-drape client and apply compression over the drape from the feet to the clients shoulders.

2. Explain that the BIOFREEZE cooling effect will stay with client for a few hours and step out of room.

3. Give tube of BIOFREEZE Gel with home care after treatment.

 

Closure: Thank your client and step out.

 

Special notes:

A higher price should be charged when a tube of BIOFREEZE product is included with this treatment along with home use instructions. The BIOFREEZE Massage Pain Relieving Massage Melter is intended to be a revitalizing treatment. For a less intense treatment, BIOFREEZE Gel with massage oil during the massage can be omitted and applied just during the trigger point work and around joints at the end of this treatment. This massage may be varied due to client needs.  BIOFREEZE topical analgesic should only be used with massage oil, not creams or lotions to create a BIOFREEZE mixture for the BIOFREEZE massage. This treatment is also a great time to use the BIOFREEZE spray on the client’s feet at the end of the treatment.

 

Technique Definitions:

• Broadening Strokes: The application of palm strokes from the centerline of an extremity laterally outward.

• Compression: A rhythmic pumping action movement on muscle straight in and out intended to spread muscle fiber.

• Compressive Effleurage: The application of gliding strokes with enough pressure to create a displacement of tissue for the purpose of moving fluid.

• Cross Fiber Friction: The application of compressive movements on muscles with the angle 90 degrees to the fibers of the muscle.

• Direct Pressure: The application of compression of tissue with static pressure.

• Effleurage: The application of gliding strokes that follow the contour of the body.

• Flats of Hands: Applying gliding strokes with the backs of your fingers while using loose fists.

• Friction: The application of compression of tissue while adding movement.

• Petrissage: The application of lifting, squeezing and kneading strokes to tissues of the body.

• Stripping Strokes: The application of specific gliding strokes over a muscle usually from distal to proximal.

• Tapotement or Percussion: The application of alternating, rhythmical striking movements to the body.

 

 

Disclaimer:

These treatments are intended to be used by Health Care and Massage Professionals only. They are intended to be used as a guide and should not replace the advice of a medical doctor or health care provider. Please check with the client’s healthcare provider when in doubt before using any of these treatments and/or BIOFREEZE & PROSSAGE Heat products.

Treatment written and designed by Lynda Solien-Wolfe LMT, NCTMB -Solwolfe Resource Group, Inc. and Michael McGillicuddy LMT, NCTMB -USA Pro-Sports.

Incorporating Biofreeze Into Massage

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Incorporating Biofreeze Into Massage

 
Have you considered creating a treatment using Biofreeze and then offering the tube, roll-on or spray to the client to continue self-care at home?

This is an effective way to boost your bottom line, provide a means for pain management between visits for your client, and offer a benefit other therapists may not offer.

You can easily build the cost of a retail unit of Biofreeze into the price of the treatment and then provide the client with the item once the treatment is complete. Your client will be appreciative of the gift! They may even share their experience and their new product with others, providing you new clients.

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At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Gaining and Retaining Massage Clients: Eliciting Emotional Responses

By Angie Patrick

Humans are emotional creatures. This is neither good nor bad. It simply is.

We are wired to respond to situations, stimulation, sensory input and vocalizations in an emotional and sometimes even subliminal manner. Loud noises startle us and make us wary of danger, the smell of bacon makes us hungry, the sight of beauty can make us weep, and watching a puppy’s antics can make us laugh. Whether we want it to be or not, our entire response to the world is highly weighted on emotion. Once you understand this basic fact and embrace this as truth, it makes interaction and involvement with others more easily managed.

Business and marketing professionals bank on emotional responses from their clients in order to gain a stronger bond with their prospect. Banks and law firms often employ the use of blues and greens in their advertising to instill a sense of professionalism and strength. Fast food places focus on red and yellow hues to remind you of catsup and mustard, all with the idea of making you hungry. The same can be said of spas, as purple and violet hues, along with other soft or earthly colors, are used in the hopes of putting you in a peaceful state of mind and one that promotes being grounded, centered and relaxed. While not overt, the use of color can trigger emotional responses in us that can help sway our thinking to the mindset of the marketer, making their message more easily received and understood.

Just as sight is a sensory input that can trigger emotional responses, so is scent. Have you driven by a steakhouse or other food establishment and smelled the delicious aromas coming out of the stacks atop the building? I would bet smelling these scents immediately makes you think of the food you smell and entices you to treat yourself to their wares. Have you ever stood in the shampoo aisle of the store and opened the top of the bottle to smell the product before you purchase? Have you ever returned one quickly to the shelf because it was unappealing, while lingering over a bottle that you found pleasing? If shopping with another, did you offer the pleasing smelling bottle to your companion to also smell to gain their insight and opinion? It is likely you do the same sharing mechanism with food you enjoy as well, offering your companion a taste of something you have that has brought your senses pleasure and provides a happy emotion. We share what we love, and that which brings us joy. Be it knowingly or subliminal, what we experience as soothing, pleasing, or enhancing our positive emotions is something we will share with those who are important to us.

So, understanding the basic need for humans to be impacted emotionally in a positive way in order for us to be satisfied and share our findings with others, it makes sense for us to examine our practice and surroundings to see what we offer and work to make the experience one that will be remembered and recommended to others. I encourage you to take a few minutes and consider the following as a means to understand how what you do, how you present and how your interactions can evoke emotional responses, and help gain and retain clients.

Whether you have a brick and mortar location, a rented space or are a mobile therapist, you bring to the table a palette of color and an array of scent opportunity that can set the mood for your services. Depending on the impression you wish to leave with your client with your hands on skills, you can also add visual and olfactory stimulus to add emphasis and help make your clients experience a deeper, richer one. While we are each individuals and each have our own style, it makes sense to help reinforce the positive emotions felt by your client by utilizing a few additions to your marketing and regular treatment.

Consider your business cards. Do they send the message you would like your clients to know about you without reading any of the text? In other words, are your business cards an accurate depiction of the feelings your services provide? I once received a business card from a therapist that was black, with red writing and red tribal art. My first thought was this was a card for a tattoo artist or musician. These colors evoked that mental image for me and the use of tribal art was reminiscent of a tattoo and the all black card and red font reminded me of rock and roll. The therapist was actually a mobile therapist, focusing on relaxation and chair massage. And while the card was indeed attractive, nothing about it spoke to the business or the care the therapist would provide. In the mind of the client, or prospective client, this impression can be a lasting one and when the need arises for a massage they may not correlate your name and business to the need, as it may not be in sync with their visual and emotional expectations. I am not saying to copy everyone else, I advocate your individualism. However, if you are working to build a clientele of people who will be interested in what you do and call you when they have a need, then being synchronous with your visuals and your services makes sense.

So how about your treatment room? What message are you sending with your décor? Consider the colors you use and the way your room smells. Let’s take the example from the above card and extrapolate that to the treatment room. With the marketing tool I was given by this therapist, I would envision a dark treatment room, dark linens and a bit of a vampire feel. Not really the feeling I would want when going to a therapist for stress management and relaxation. While the services of this therapist may be absolutely nothing of the sort, mentally I already see this image and will likely not choose to call upon them for my needs. In my mind, and certainly in the minds of other consumers, softer colors and soothing scents are what they often think of when they think of stress relief. Make sure your surroundings, whether they are static or brought along for the ride, are consistent with your treatment.

Bring soothing colors into your space by thinking about how they make you feel when you see them. While you may adore the latest shade of passion-neon-pink, jarring or unusual colors may create a negative mental check mark in the checklist of your clients mind. Keep in mind, soft palettes of color help sooth the mind and firm colors such as blues, greens and whites often create a more clinical feeling. Soft, earthy tones such as browns, beige, plum, slate, sage and taupe are wonderful neutrals that can work in any space, as they lend themselves easily to any services.

Creating a space and environment that enhances your treatment can include the sense of smell. Have you taken a good sniff of your linens? Do they smell fresh and clean or do they have a faint smell of old oil? Try hard to be objective, as the client’s sense of smell regarding your linens will likely be more acute than your own, as they are not in contact with your linens as much as you are. We can grow accustomed to a scent and even become immune to the objection as a direct result of familiarity. If your linens have become a bit less than enchanting, wash them with enzyme rich detergent designed for oil removal. If this is still not enough, invest in new linens. Your client will be enrobed in your linens, and anything less than a comforting and cocooning experience will leave a negative impression. You work too hard to have your client be put off by this highly correctable issue.

Consider the massage lubricants you use and whether aromatherapy may be of benefit. Essential oils are a powerful tool in bringing about the desired emotion within your client. Floral and soft, woodsy and earthy, clean and crisp, or citrus inspired, each can help you set a tone and feel for the treatment while helping to quiet the mind and stresses of your client. Think of your desired outcome and then set the tone by using sensory stimuli to help evoke this desired response. Just as a realtor stages a home, even going so far as to bake cookies during the open house to make people think of “home” and “family,” you can use the tools in your arsenal to help direct the client toward a mindset that will enable your treatment to have greater impact and a lasting positive emotion.

In total, the most important way you can encourage a client to return is to be an educated and capable therapist. Also take into consideration how what you do, offer and provide makes them feel. Consider how what they see and experience inside and outside your treatment impacts them emotionally and work to make those feelings be those of enjoyment, ease and success. When we feel good about something, we share the information with others, and return for more of what makes us happy. This can mean repeat clients and referrals which can bring you great rewards, both financially and emotionally. After all, who would refuse happy, returning clients who send their friends and family to you, too? In this scenario, everyone is happy!  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

 

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

 

Your Massage and Spa Business on a Budget

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Your Massage and Spa Business on a Budget
Smart shopping will allow you to grow your business while sticking to your budget!

Shop Massage Supplies Sale Items
When stocking up on supplies, start with the sale items. You may be surprised with how much of your supply needs you can find at a discount!

Buy in Bulk for Massage Lubricants
If you find yourself purchasing the same products every week, you can save big time by buying larger sizes or stocking up with larger quantites! Did you know many of our lubricants are available in 5 gallon pails?

Explore Massage Supply and Equipment Packages
Whether you’re looking for new equipment to expand your business or you just need to refresh your table linens, there are several opportunities to save with bundled packages!

buisness-on-a-budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.  MassageWarehouse carries many brands including Earthlite, Bon Vital, Oakworks, Soothing touch, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

Soothing Muscle Bath

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Soothing Muscle Bath
Ease your client’s aches and pains with this calming soaking treatment.

 

The Treatment:
1. Blend 1/2 cup of Lotus Touch Botanical Mud Powder with 1/4 cup Kur Fine Grade Dead Sea Salt and 6 drops of Soothing Touch Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
2. Pour mixture into a muslin bag, tie to close, and place the bag in the soaking tub.
3. Allow your client to soak for 20 minutes.

 

Enhancing the Experience:
1. If your client has sore muscles, offer a Swedish Massage after the bath using Lotus Touch Therapeutic Muscle Ease Lotion.

 

muscle-bath

Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream Massage

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream Massage
This indulgent body treatment is a great offering for the holiday season!

 

The Treatment:
1. Apply 2 oz of Keyano Cranberry Scrub to your client with a fast, circular motion
2. Remove any residue from your client with a warm, damp towel
3. Use 1 1/2 oz of warmed Keyano Cranberry Butter Cream to perform a massage on your client

 

Enhancing the Experience:
1. Offer retail sizes of the Keyano Cranberry Scrub and Butter Cream for your client to purchase for at-home use

 

cranberry-massage

Choosing and Caring for Linens

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Ten for Today
By Rebecca Jones

Choosing and Caring for Linens
Michigan massage therapist Patrice Wisner thought she’d figured out her linen laundry dilemma when her husband started washing smaller loads and using more detergent. The result was cleaner sheets, fewer impossible-to-get-out oil stains, and no more lingering smell of oil. Then, some of her clients started sneezing when they got on her table. “Too much detergent?” she wonders. “Currently, we use detergent and bleach, but we’re on a septic system and I can’t say that it’s all that great for my septic system to use so much bleach to get these sheets clean. But if I don’t, they start to smell when they come out of the dryer, and at some point later on they start to smell like French fries! There’s just got to be an answer.” Table linens are one of the most important accessories massage therapists will purchase, since those linens are so visible to clients. And caring properly for the linens is one of the most important steps in maintaining a hygienic practice. The experts all agree: don’t short sheet your massage practice by choosing anything less than the best-quality linens you can afford and keep them in tip-top shape. Here are some pointers for selecting the right linens for your practice, and how to care for them so they always send a positive message to clients.

1. Pure or Blended
Some people avoid 100 percent cotton massage sheets, preferring the wrinkle-resistance and greater durability that comes from cotton/polyester blends. But there’s much to be said for the comfort and soft feel of 100 percent cotton. They also tend to release oil more readily than blends. Likewise, those who appreciate earth-friendly sheets may even look into hemp sheets—more expensive initially, but extremely long lasting—or certified-organic cotton sheets. Remember that you get what you pay for in most instances and quality sheets will not pill as easily as cheaper ones. There’s no one best answer. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

2. Flannel’s Appeal
“It’s the most comfortable sheet there is,” says Steve Gern, owner of Sew & Sew, a maker of massage sheets in Glide, Oregon. And while the quality of other kinds of sheets is measured in thread count—the higher the better, as a rule—that’s not true with flannel sheets. Flannel is measured in weight. Sew & Sew, for instance, carries 3.8-ounce and 5-ounce flannel sheets, with the heavier-weight flannel costing a bit more. The heavier the weight, the more plush the feel and the more washings it can endure. And while flannel is mostly associated with chilly climates, it’s actually a good product for warm weather, too, since it wicks away perspiration more readily than other materials.

3. Your Linen Closet
John Sise, owner of Innerpeace, a Walpole, New Hampshire, massage linen company, suggests keeping a minimum of two days worth of linens. So, if you’re going to do five massages a day, you need to have at least 10 sets of standard-width (46-inch) sheets on hand. “We recognize that some people may need a wider top sheet, so we recommend that the therapist has a few wide top flat sheets to accommodate the people who may have extra modesty issues or are larger than the average client,” Sise says. It’s also a good idea to keep plenty of hand towels nearby. “They’re really good for wiping a client off, so you don’t have to use a sheet or a drape to wipe them off,” says Diana Dapkins, president of Pure Pro Massage Products, of Greenfield, Massachusetts. “And if you spill a product, they’re just a nice tool to have around.”

4. Solids Versus Prints
Again, this is a matter of personal preference. There are lots of beautiful prints on the market, including batiks and themed designs, but Gern says he sold so few printed sheets he stopped carrying them. Solids—especially whites—look clean and hygienic, but prints carry one big advantage over solids: they can help camouflage stains.

5. Sanitation Rules
Of course, don’t reuse any towel or sheet that has come in contact with a client before laundering it. Sheets should be changed after every client. Same for face-rest covers. Find a hamper for dirty linens that is well away from the clean ones. Make sure to sterilize all table surfaces between clients. Select quality, ecofriendly cleaning products that are considerate of clients’ allergies and void of artificial scents. And, of course, thoroughly wash your hands between clients.

6. Laundry Tips
Experts disagree about the ideal temperature at which to launder your linens. Norma Keyes, director of product standards for Cotton Inc., a trade group to promote cotton products, advises using the hottest water possible to remove stains and odor. Gern and Sise say hot water only sets in stains. They recommend warm water. Dapkins insists warm to lukewarm is fine, and that even washing in cold water is acceptable. But here’s something they all agree on: get them washed as soon as possible—within 24 hours of use. “If you must wait to wash them, store them in black plastic bags,” Dapkins says. “Tie the bags shut to keep out air and light, as these are the two things that turn oil rancid.” For badly stained linens, allow them to soak in a degreaser, then launder them twice to completely remove oily residue. For stubborn stains, add bleach to the second wash so the bleach can penetrate after some of the oily buildup is gone, Dapkins suggests.

7. Special Supplies
Unlike bed linens, which are only for sleeping, massage table linens get regularly doused with oil. Simply tossing them into the wash with other linens won’t be adequate. Some sort of degreaser must be used, experts say. One possibility is dish soap, which won’t harm linens, or the spray product called Zout. Dapkins created Pure Pro Linen Degreaser, a citrus-based product, specifically with the demands of massage therapists in mind. “I got tired of hearing massage therapists talk about stained linens,” she says. “It’s a citrus-based solvent, which is very different from other products on the market that are petroleum-based. Anyone will tell you that vegetable oil is tough. It doesn’t mix with water and it doesn’t come out very easily. The citrus solvents are just phenomenal at eating vegetable oil.” She says degreasers do not remove stains. That’s what bleach is for. But before the bleach can work, massage linens may require an initial washing with a degreaser.

8. Dryer Safety
If a sheet comes out of the washer still smelling of oil, do not put it in the dryer. Drying it will only worsen the problem, because it will bake in the oil residue, making removal even harder. What’s more, there’s a safety issue involved. “We’ve had a number of people with dryer fires, because they put the stuff in the dryer and it combusted. There was simply too much residue on the linens,” Dapkins says.

9. Folding Technique
Yes, there really is a secret to folding a fitted sheet, and if you master it, your linen cabinets will be forever neater. Start by pulling the sheet out of the dryer immediately, not letting it sit around unfolded for hours. You’ll need to spread the sheet out on a table or bed. Fold it in half horizontally, then tuck the top gathered end into the pocket formed by the bottom gathered end. Fold everything horizontally in half again. Then fold the bulky gathered ends horizontally into the middle of the ten for todaysheet. Fold the smooth end over the top of the bulky end, then fold lengthwise into thirds yet again. If you’re having trouble picturing this, a number of online reference sites have step-by-step picture guides. Just type “fold a fitted sheet” into your Web browser, and you’ll find lots of online help.

10. Letting Go
Finally, if you see any sign of holes, broken elastic, fraying, or anything that looks unserviceable, it’s time to find a different use for that sheet than putting it under a massage client. And if you’ve tried every trick you know and you still can’t get a stain out, surrender to the inevitable and ditch the sheet. “If you get a year’s worth of service out of a sheet, and you do 25 clients a week, remember that’s just pennies per use. You’ve gotten your money out of that sheet,” Dapkins says.

Rebecca Jones is a Denver-based freelancer who has a new appreciation for the intricacies of massage linens. Contact her at killarneyrose@comcast.net.

 

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals original article:
http://www.abmp.com/massagemarketplace/downloads/TenForToday_JF09.pdf
Additional resources:
http://www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com/i/196551

Dressing your Massage Table

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Dressing your Massage Table
There’s nothing quite like a well dressed table when it comes to providing comfort and warmth for your clients. We’ve highlighted some commonly used table coverings so you can pick and choose which layers are appropriate for your specific applications.

1. Massage Table Warmer
A table warmer will provide even warmth across your entire massage table. Try the NRG Digital Massage Table Warmer with elastic bands to prevent the warmer from slipping off the table and a digital control for quick and easy temperature changes.

2. Additional Massage Table Fleece Padding
A fleece pad is the most popular type of plush covering as it provides additional cushion and comfort. Try the affordable NRG Fleece Massage Table Pad and Face Rest Cover. This machine washable table pad features 1″ thick fleece which will keep your clients warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

3. Massage Sheets
Once you have your table warmer and additional padding in place, layer your fitted sheet on top, followed by a flat sheet which will be your top sheet. Try the NRG Deluxe Massage Sheet Set which includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and a face cradle cover. This sheet set is designed for comfort, fit and extended use.

4. Massage Blanket
A blanket will provide that final layer of warmth for your client, particularly during colder months. Try the Matelesse Coverlet to add a touch of elegance to your treatment room. Available in 3 classic colors, this blanket is wrinkle resistant and easy to care for.

dressing-table