Helping you lead a healthier, happier, more relaxed life... one massage at a time.
I’ve received a lot of massage over the years. From students, new practitioners, well-seasoned therapists and instructors. I received my very first massage in a cabana in Dominican Republic (more on that at another time; but let’s just say… PEER PRESSURE!). I’ve received massage in spas, clinics, schools, trade shows and home offices. I’ve been worked on by practitioners who knew I was an MT and by those who thought I was just another client.
Of them, there are only a handful that I remember as truly spectacular. Yeah, I’m a picky client with high expectations. When I’m paying for a service, I am super picky and highly critical. Check out my list of massage complaints I’ve wracked up in my years as a massage consumer. (The complaints are mostly in my head, I haven’t always expressed them to the therapist or establishment. More on that later.)
- There was no intake form; no questions about my health or injuries I may have.
- The therapist didn’t give me instruction on what to wear/not wear or how to place myself on the table.
- There was no pillow for under my head.
- The room was too warm.
- The room was too cold.
- The music was too loud.
- The music was too soft.
- There was no music.
- The massage table was hard.
- The face cradle didn’t adjust.
- There were no tissues in the massage room.
- It was noisy, I could hear other clients coming and going.
- The therapist didn’t address my neck/shoulder/knee or whatever I specially requested. Or they did address it, but didn’t spend enough time there.
- Or they spent too much time there, but skipped the secondary issue I pointed out.
- Or they spent too much time there, overworked the area, and I was bruised and sore.
- The therapist used too much pressure – this is my biggest complaint and I WILL speak up about this one – EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
- The therapist didn’t use enough pressure.
- I asked for more or less pressure and the therapist acknowledged my request but didn’t actually change the pressure.
- The therapist told me to breathe through the pain she was causing.
- The therapist initiated conversation.
- She lifted the sheet way up when I turned over, making me feel exposed and cold.
- I made a request to adjust the heat/music/pressure and the therapist seemed annoyed.
- The therapist smelled like cigarettes.
- The therapist used a ton of oil and left me greasy, or got lots of oil in my hair after I requested that not happen.
- Cheap, low-quality massage oil or lotion.
- Got scratched repeatedly by long fingernails.
- The therapist sniffled through the whole massage and I’m pretty sure her nose dripped on my back.
- The office was dirty and/or cluttered.
- The therapist gave me extra time on the table (30 minutes; which you would think would be great, but I had a lunch appt and was late getting there) without asking if I had somewhere to be.
- The therapist sold nutritional or health products or gave advice out of their scope of practice.
- The therapist allowed the hot towel cabbie door to slam shut every time.
- The therapist dropped hot towels on my back like they were bricks – startled me.
- With no warning, the therapist left the room in the middle of the treatment, then came back. Never said why.
- There were no hooks or stool for my clothes, had to just pile my clothes on the floor.
- The therapist told me the names of all of our colleagues who she had treated.
- The therapist spoke negatively about other clients.
- I saw her take cream from a bowl that was clearly used with the client before me and obviously cross-contaminated. Ditto that for tubes that haven’t been wiped off.
- The therapist didn’t leave a towel for me to wipe off with.
With all this said, let’s take a moment to appreciate that I’ve also given some lousy massages in my career (mostly at the beginning, I hope). I’ve probably even committed a bunch of the offenses I complain about.
Moreover, I also realize that many, many of my complaints could have been resolved quickly if I had spoken up. Sometimes I do. Other times I feel like it’s futile. That’s on me. Kinda. It’s also up to the therapist to create an environment where I feel comfortable speaking up. That hasn’t always happened.
But my long career as a really picky client with high expectations is part of what makes me a better massage therapist now. More importantly, it’s what makes me very receptive to your feedback. I know how annoying it is to put your money and time into a massage and not feel satisfied with the experience. I know how it feels to leave a massage office feeling like the therapist missed that ‘one spot’ between my shoulder blades that I really wanted worked on.
If you’re cold, or warm, or hate the music, I’ll make it better. When you tell me, I won’t be annoyed or put out. I will not think you are high-maintenance. If you make a short conversation and I get too chatty, I will not be offended if you cue me to hush up by saying, “Okay, I’m gonna be quiet now so I can enjoy this massage.”
When you make a request, I will be utterly pleased that you are speaking up, so I can make the experience perfect for you. For reals.
Love you guys! See you on the table soon!