NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

What ‘NOT’ to Say to a Therapist (Part 3 of 3)

This is the final part of the series. If you’ve missed part one or two, you can click here and here.

What NOT to say to a massage therapist

17.         I don’t drink water. Before I was a massage therapist, I was in the same camp. I didn’t drink water AT ALL. My body let you know I didn’t either – my skin was compared to elephant hide, and I had severe acne. During a massage class, my classmates were brought up to look at my back, to see what dehydration looked like. (That really happened.) Now that I drink much more water than I have in ages, my skin is much better, and although my acne hasn’t completely cleared up, I cannot be mistaken for what high schoolers would call a ‘pizza face’.

18.         I’ve been told I give ‘pretty good’ massages. I’m glad other people think you have good hands. It’s a very good talent to have, but a few classes under your belt would not hurt! This way, you’ll know how to help someone, as opposed to making a situation worse.  Hey, people may just say that you give excellent massages then!

19.         I just came in from work; Sorry I didn’t take a shower. Unless there is thick green smoke wafting from you, body odor can be dealt with. Now with that being said, don’t jump into a porta-potty on the way to your session.

20.         I didn’t shave. I would SO rather massage a hairy body, than a stubbly one. But that’s just my preference. When you shave, you remove a layer of skin cells. You have no idea what media the therapist is using for your massage. As a result, you may end up with clogged pores or blackheads. What would you rather have – a hairy body, or backne (back acne)?

21.         Do I ‘have’ to tip? This is a *very* sensitive subject among Massage Therapists. Some therapists get fairly upset by not getting a tip. Talking to a therapist that I look up to, he put it this way –

If you’re paying full rate for a massage — tip or don’t tip, it doesn’t matter to me. I set the price at a livable wage for myself.

If you’re getting a discount because you’re on a fixed income — don’t tip. Treat your family well — except maybe at the holidays (nice, but not necessary).

If you’re redeeming a gift certificate that someone else bought — well, the buyer should have included the tip.

If you’re redeeming a gift certificate that I donated to a non-profit — definitely tip — there is still overhead associated with that massage and the opportunity cost of working for ‘free’ vs working for a paying client.

As far as I’m concerned, tip if you feel that you’ve gotten a good massage. If you can’t afford to tip, don’t feel bad about it, please. I’d much rather you feel better, and tell others about your experience. You won’t get a lesser experience because you don’t give a tip. But this is my personal opinion, based on my own experiences.

Well, what do you think? Do you have any questions or comments that weren’t covered in these past posts? I would really LOVE to know!

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Does Size Really Matter?

This is a response to a news article from KDVR in Aurora, Colorado about a client that was turned away from getting a massage, because of her size.

Laura Smith, after training for months to complete a 1/2 marathon, scheduled a massage post-race, to recover. She was turned away because, at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, she was told that she was too large for the table.

I have a problem with this. At her size, ‘being too large’ for the table should not have been an issue. If the client would have been male, it definitely wouldn’t have been. On a quality table, the weight wouldn’t even matter. Most tables, especially portable ones, the static weight (just the client, alone)  that the table can hold is approximately 500, pounds. When I bought my table, the VERY first thing I did was to lay on my table, turn over, and roll around. I did this because if I feel comfortable on my table, at MY size, anyone on my table would feel safe doing the same thing. When I worked on my clients in Massachusetts (pic below, 2003) I was 5’9″ and 325 pounds, so even me working on my clients didn’t even worry me at all, and I was heavy handed, then. I also bought it so that if I needed to do some deep tissue work, it would do the job.

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Volunteer Team at the LowellWalk for Cancer Care, Lowell, MA 2003.

I make it a point to ensure that whoever is on my table feels the MOST comfortable, because this massage isn’t about me, it’s about them, and what they need to accomplish in the session. I check my table for creaks and cracks, because that is the last thing that you need to hear on my table, and worry if this table is going to hold. A nervous client doesn’t make for a great massage, and bracing every five seconds thinking that the table may not hold you will definitely not make for a great session. I would definitely NOT put you on a table that would break under your weight, and then, insult upon injury, charge you for breaking the table.

If you have any questions about anything prior to your massage session, you go ahead and ask them. If the therapist tells you anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t you DARE be afraid to ask for another therapist. I really hope that Laura goes to get that massage. Body image is already such a sensitive issue, and this shouldn’t have been a worry, for the client, much less, the therapist.  Anyone that trains and runs marathons I have the deepest respect for; That is no joke.

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Completing The Color Run & the Long Walk Home. April, 2011

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