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Massage Today
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02

Let My People Go...To See You as Often as They Like

By Cary Bayer

"How often should I see you?" It's a question that just about every licensed massage therapist is typically asked by new clients or prospective clients with regard to the ideal frequency for treatments.

It's a terrific question for any massage therapist to be asked for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it generally means that the person doing the asking will soon be receiving the benefit of your healing hands, and they be revitalizing their achy body and tired mind.

Unfortunately, I have seen far too many therapists answer this important question in ways that sound something along the lines of:

  1. "Whenever you think best."
  2. "Once a month is usually a good frequency."

I'll comment on each of these answers and then offer an alternative that provides a win/win/win scenario. Why three wins? Because getting massaged more often benefits the client in obvious health-giving and emotional ways, it benefits the therapists in obvious financial ways, and it benefits all those around the client in a variety of subtle ways.

massage table - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Whenever You Think Best

One of the things that, in my position as a business coach for massage therapists, I tell my clients who are licensed massage therapists is that if the person who's asking you the questions about frequency of treatments happens to be new to massage and you're the professional, why in the world would you ever possibly think about passing the decision off to them? After all, they are asking you in the first place.

Suppose you asked a dentist whom you were considering seeing for treatment how often they recommend that you should see them. Would you expect a highly-trained health care professional like a DDS to say something along the lines of "Well, whenever you think best?' Or better yet, "Just ask your teeth; they'll know." I'm well aware that you probably have four wisdom teeth in your mouth — but, take it from me, they're much better at chewing food than at chewing over health maintenance schedules.

Once A Month Is Usually A Good Frequency

After doing an informal poll, I discovered that people who get massaged regularly rank the experience as among the top ten pleasures in their lives. So, why would you ask them to wait so long to have this feeling of well-being? Bob Hope, the great entertainer who lived more than a hundred years, used to get a massage once a day. While your prospective client most likely doesn't have the comic star's many millions, a frequency of once a week is a pretty nice one for you to recommend. If they can't afford to pay for a massage each week, let that be their decision, not yours. If they say their are too busy to come in to see you once a week, let that also be their decision, not yours. Don't make financial decisions for your clients and prospects, and don't make scheduling decisions for them either.

An Alternative Response

I like to tell my massage therapist clients the following, which I think is a perfect response to the question that their clients ask, "How often should I see you?" The simple response is as follows, "When I ask my clients how they feel right after a massage ends, they almost always reply by saying, 'great or terrific.' So I ask you, 'How often would you like to feel terrific?'"

What I like most about this answer is that it isn't a lecture. Your client is lectured to by bosses, parents and spouses, on a sometimes daily basis, so the last thing they need is to be lectured to by you, their prospective massage therapist, as well. (Lecturer is also a terrible role for you to play with your client, in this context or in any, because lecturers drone on and on with words and you have the ability to bring your client to a wordless state of silence for an hour. Don't confuse them with such a dichotomy. Far too many people in their life at home and at work bombard them with spoken words, to say nothing of the hundreds of others who bombard them with words in emails.)

What I also love about the answer is that it lets them decide — but only after you've provided an enlightened context within which they can think about it; namely, the state of feeling terrific. There are very few people in their personal or professional lives with whom they come into contact who give them the opportunity to feel terrific — and who do so consistently. That's a rare gift and blessing that you enjoy. Don't short-change them by turning into someone who bores them with words.

Never forget that your massage table is like an oasis for your clients, a calm place in the storm of their lives. You're the lighthouse in a dark and stress-filled world. Never underestimate your importance to their bodies and psyches. You make a difference in their lives and, as a result, in the lives of everyone they touch. If they take a long time between treatments, they carry extra stress and tension around with them for a longer period of time than is necessary, and may wind up taking it out on the people in their lives. Too often, it's those who they love the most who receive their worst. On the other hand, if the frequency with which they see you is, say weekly, you give them the chance to share more of a stress-free, harmonious vibration with their friends, family and co-workers. It also means that you're giving them the chance to share more love with those who they love the most. And that's a huge blessing for you, for them and for their loved ones.

As Moses said to Pharoah repeatedly, "Let my people go." I'm no leader of the Hebrew people, but I'd like to adapt this edict from this great Biblical prophet by saying to you repeatedly, "Let your clients go to see you — as frequently as possible."


Click here for more information about Cary Bayer.

 

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