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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.

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

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

BIOFREEZE® Stress Melter Pain Relieving Massage

incorporate-biofreeze

Menu Copy:

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.

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!

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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, Biofreeze, Stronglite, Biotone and many more

Massage Business Basics: Massage Products That Sell Themselves

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Business Basics: Products That Sell Themselves

By Angie Patrick

Massage Warehouse – Massage Spa equipment and supplies provider

 

A wait-and-see approach to strengthening your business will not work in this economic climate. There are many thoughtful ways you can better serve your clients, and in the process, improve your bottom line.

Americans have had their share of economic woes. When I turn on the evening news, I hear stories about the economy showing signs of recovery and consumer spending is slowly beginning to rebound. With all of this uncertainty, how can you strengthen your financial stake, and do it in a method consistent with your beliefs as a health care provider? Should we all just “wait and see” what happens, or should we perhaps bring the power home and do something within our own spheres of influence to improve health, reduce the mental stress of our clients and strengthen our own financial circumstance ethically and thoughtfully.

I am not talking about a huge swing in your behavior or your practice that will require you to revamp your whole philosophy. I am talking about things you can do and implement now without much effort, which may well be the key to your reaching and retaining more clients and strengthening your own bottom line.

I want to share three ways to expand your outreach, and help you care for clients in new and thoughtful ways they may not expect. When you are able to supply for a need proactively rather than waiting for someone to have the epiphany they even have a need, you are doing a great job of caring for your client in the physical, as well as the mental, sense.

Caring for a Need

What do I mean by caring for a need before the clients have the epiphany they even have a need? Let’s start with pain management and client self care between visits. Clients come to you for a wide array of reasons. One reason which leads the pack in many cases is pain. Your clients come to you in the hopes you can learn what may be causing them pain and then treat it. In this, and every case, they look to you to be a health care provider. We know that proper assessment and treatment are key to success in alleviating pain, however, many experience ongoing pain every day. How do we serve these clients in between visits and maintain our connection with the client for return visits to help manage their issues?

This method, in my mind, represents the better of two worlds. In doing this, you are caring for the needs of your client both in session and out, and doing it utilizing product for retail. Here is the easiest method I know to build revenue. Find an analgesic you love and believe in; one that you would use on yourself and your family should the need arise. Have this product available for sale in your practice. When you use this product on your client, no doubt they will want to know more about it and have some for use at home. This is a natural progression that requires no specific salesmanship. Your client can feel the product working and they then wish to have some to take home. You provide the product because it is a product you believe in and use, and they trust you in making the health care decisions. The client is cared for, and being proactive and having goods available for purchase has helped your bottom line. It is a natural win-win.

Benefiting Your Practice

Here is another way this type of retailing, or selling what you use in treatment, can benefit your practice. Let’s say that your client shares their product with a friend battling pain. Inevitably, the client shares they get this product from their massage therapist and offer your name to the friend. This is a fantastic way of receiving client referrals, as they just shared their trust in you for pain management, and that you offer this product to help with ongoing issues. This represents two great reasons someone may wish to call and book an appointment. Make sure your clients have a few of your business cards for just such an occurrence.

The second way you can strengthen your income and provide valuable service to your clients is to think ahead for them. It sounds crazy, but one thing people all share is the feeling that we never have enough time. With the holidays just weeks away, it feels like there is never enough time to get everything done we need to do and have any time left to smell the roses. I am sure you have heard this from your clients and when they come to you for the gift of relaxation, you are already imprinted into their minds as a place to go for stress relief. Why not take a bit more burden off their shoulders and offer creative solutions for the upcoming holiday gift giving? In doing this, you can expand your care for the client past the physical and begin to help them mentally and emotionally by providing solutions to save them precious time.

How do you do this? It is not as difficult as you may think. Consider gift certificates for your services. I am not talking about a sign at checkout that says you offer gift certificates. I am going a few steps beyond this. Gift certificates are an amazing way you can provide a great gift idea for your client to give, as well as perhaps bring potential new clients to your practice. These are an especially attractive gift idea when you have taken the time to create a small gift basket of items you have chosen to help provide relaxation and pain relief at home. Consider what an impactful and thoughtful gift this will be when you offer someone an hour of massage therapy and it is in a basket with a bath mitt, sugar scrub and a candle. This is a gift I would LOVE to get, and one everyone would love to give. It is this type of unique gift you can create and provide as an option for your clients to give friends and family. It is a truly thoughtful gift, one they will not find in big box stores, and you have supplied the means. You have effectively taken a shopping burden off your client, fulfilled their desire to offer the perfect gift and potentially expanded your practice. Again, this is a natural win-win.

Seasonal Ideas

Finally, consider building your holiday traffic by offering seasonal treatments utilizing products that speak to the client. How delicious does a Chocolate Peppermint scrub followed by a massage sound? It sounds divine and speaks to the holidays without being too commercial. Consider a cranberry inspired treatment utilizing products that carry the scent of cranberry. This is not only a fantastic Thanksgiving promotion idea, but also a wonderful regional idea for our friends in New England where cranberries rule. Treatment products come in a wide array of scent profiles that will enable you to use professional grade products while offering seasonal or regionally inspired treatments. Think about a pumpkin body scrub followed by rich emollient body butter. Does this just scream Thanksgiving or Halloween, while not compromising the professional treatment from a professional therapist? I believe this is a sound and practical way to entice clients to come back during the “busy season” and find time to re-book to see what wonderful indulgences you have planned next.

And let’s not forget the secondary upside to offering seasonal treatments: THE RETAILING! It is highly likely someone who has just been treated to a relaxing chocolate treatment will want to buy product to use at home or to give to a friend. Have product on hand, visible for the client to see and offered for sale outside the treatment room. This type of retailing also requires no salesmanship acumen, as it is suggestive selling without being overt. This will allow your clients the space to choose to buy goods without your feeling you have to “sell.” The key to doing this successfully is to use only professional goods in your practice. Buy from places that most consumers know nothing about because they cater to professional healthcare providers. Be sure to use goods they likely will not find on the shelves of big box retailers.

When you think about the scenarios I have provided, you can see how the idea of helping others is still the forefront. When you offer solutions in various forms to your clients, they will appreciate your caring attention to detail and understanding of their needs. In their own desire to help others, they may refer you to their own friend and family. This will only bring your clients closer to you, and in doing so, help strengthen your practice. Another more personal side effect is the additional income these ideas can bring you and your family. These ideas are simple and available for everyone to try. I encourage you to pick one or more and give it a try in your own practice to see how easy retailing can really be. I would love to hear about your success stories, so please be sure to share them. Happy Retailing!  View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Massage Business Building Blocks

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

Massage Equipment Amortization 101

At some point in our lives, we have all had an expectation that was proven to be unrealistic in the normal course of life. This might be expectations we have from family, from friends, from our car, maybe our relationships, even down to the products we buy. I think it is only human; we all want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. It is the society we live in and it is an incredibly common happening.

While I am no expert in on human behavior or interpersonal skills, I am an expert on products. And I have had the good fortune to be in this business for over a decade and have pretty vast experience with various manufacturers, products and suppliers. I have seen things happen to therapists and spas in the course of business that could be easily avoided with a little information. Below is some insider information intended to help make buying massage products and equipment a bit easier, whether it be from a supplier or direct from a manufacturer.

Tips on Buying Goods

Buying goods should be a task in which you have full confidence. I believe buying Professional Grade Products can help you make certain your products can withstand the rigors of professional repeated usage. Manufacturers and suppliers want nothing more than to please a client. (It is our prime directive!) But sometimes meeting those expectations are not so easy.

A product warranty is a miraculous thing. Most Professional Grade Products offer a limited or lifetime warranty to protect the buyer against manufacturer defects or shortcomings. These are especially handy when something breaks down within the warranty timeframe, and you can get a replacement or repair in a timely fashion. Often, the warranty is offered as a safety net for the buyer, given the buyer follows and complies with all usage directions and procedures.

And while manufacturers should have no problem whatsoever in caring for items in the marketplace still under warranty, there is always a segment of customers who have overinflated expectations about product performance. The purpose in sharing the following scenarios with you is not to say there are any issues with particular products, rather to point out some common unrealistic expectations of product performance.

Scenario One

Customer: “I am very disappointed with my massage sheets (XYZ product), I am seeing them begin to pill and fade, and I want my money back.”

Me: “Oh I am so sorry to hear you are dissatisfied, let me pull your order up in my system so we can get your issue handled.”

After a few moments of searching for the XYZ product in the order history, the manufacturer notices they purchased the item in January 2009.

Me: “I am looking in the account, and I see this was purchased in January 2009.”

Customer: “That’s right! I cannot believe how these things are showing wear, I am very disappointed with the quality. What can you do for me here?”

Me: “Well, how many times a week are these used?”

Customer: “4-5 times a week, we launder them often.”

Me: “And just to confirm your usage of these items since 2009 is that correct?”

Customer: “Correct”

After some quick calculations, I came to the following conclusions:

107 weeks in usage
535 washings
535 clients
Original cost: $14.99
Cost Per Client Use: .03 cents per client

I shared this with the customer, and suddenly they saw things in a whole new light. Even cars depreciate after two and a half years. And they are not laundered every day! Suddenly, someone who was very disappointed with the product in the beginning was impressed with the same item, once they considered how much use it had provided. They purchased more massage sheets happily. They began to see the product replacement after due course of usage as a cost of doing business rather than a failure of manufacturing or supply.

Expecting items to last forever with daily and repeated usage is unrealistic. Just as people age, so do products. One way to see if you have actually received substantial benefit from your investment is to amortize the cost of your product across the number of clients seen since you purchased it.

Another thing to consider is timing. Consider this, you have bought an inflatable Christmas decoration from the Big Box Store down the street and have used it for the past two seasons. Now, in season three, it no longer inflates. But the likelihood of getting a replacement is really remote since it is three years since your purchase, and it might not occur to many to even try. It is accepted that things wear out, or can deteriorate with poor storage and lack of usage.

Scenario Two

A customer is opening up a new location, and has ordered various massage equipment from various manufacturers. The items arrived, but are not inspected before they are signed – stating they are in good condition. They are put into a room to store until the location opens, which may well be two or three months later. These items may need to be moved within a facility a couple of times before the facility is ready to open.

Nearer the opening date, the items are finally opened and it is found the item may be damaged due to shipping, the wrong color, or even non-functional. Obviously, this is a problem. However, because it was not inspected upon receipt, months have now gone by, and the opportunities to file any claims with the shipping company have long passed. Additionally, if the product is just simply the wrong color, or not what you expected, you will likely now have to pay the shipping back to the manufacturer and possibly pay a restocking fee. This is the best argument I can provide for taking the time to inspect your equipment upon arrival and ensure it is in working order. Once you have stored it for months, moved it from room to room, it is very hard to prove an item was improperly working from the start. Many manufacturers are now cracking down on this type of return.

A business owner/manager/director should be responsible to make sure the items arrive in-tact. If something looks amiss, the packaging is damaged, do not sign the paperwork that says everything is fine without notating on the delivery slip that there are problems with the packaging. Notating it can help the manufacturer file a claim and get your issue resolved far faster with this information, but you have to let the manufacturer know upon delivery. If too much time passes, it will be harder to get your issue resolved. Also, if you are buying equipment that must be assembled, a smart rule of thumb is to do it in the first 30 days following purchase. The reason for this is to be proactive and report any issues with your equipment in a timely fashion to the manufacturer or supplier you have utilized, and gain resolution proactively rather than a delayed report months down the line.

Making sure your business runs efficiently is in large part dependent on the products you utilize. Taking a moment to consider the information in this article can help you make sure your next expansion goes well with your equipment and product needs. They may also help you determine if there is a basis for complaining about performance or whether it may just be time to replace your goods. As with most suppliers and manufacturers, the whole reason we exist is to serve our customers.

I hope the scenarios I shared can provide you a behind-the-scenes glance of what may be entailed in a return and how you can help yourself (and the manufacturer) by notating and documenting issues, while considering the age and longevity of usage. No doubt your massage supplier will work hard to provide you the best service possible, and that is made far easier by utilizing these tips along the way!

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