• 5 Things You Should Never Ask Your Massage Therapist

    don't say these things

    Massage therapists get asked a lot of questions by their clients and some of them are disrespectful. I’m sure that they aren’t asked in a spirit of disrespect, but they are disrespectful nonetheless. Today I’m going to let you in on the top 5 that I get asked far too often. I’ll also tell you why they’re disrespectful.

    I Can’t Believe You Just Said That

    1. Can my spouse, parent, friend, etc. sit in on the session and watch so they can massage me at home?
    Why it’s disrespectful: Basically when you say this you’re saying, “I like the results I get with you and trust you [Thank You] but I don’t want to pay you [I understand not wanting to part with money, really] and I think my untrained family member or friend could do just as good a job as you [Ummmm….].” There are nuances to what we do that can’t be explained in a single session. I’m so good at what I do because I went to school for 18 months to study the human body and how it responds to massage and bodywork therapies and followed that up with over 300 hours of continuing education.

    2. Did you have to go to school for this?
    Why it’s disrespectful: Short of being a savant, it takes a lot of training to do massage therapy competently. Believe me. I know. Not only did I study my butt off to get my certification and licensure, I live in a state where until last year, you didn’t need any sort of education to call yourself a massage therapist. Prior to licensure, I received massage from several people who were untrained and it’s not an experience I want to repeat. Here’s an easy way to remember: Most states now license massage therapists, and licenses all come with educational and testing requirements.

    3. Can I use this coupon with my package?
    Why it’s disrespectful: I understand wanting to save money; believe me. I use coupons and shop sales whenever I can. But here’s the deal, package prices are already discounted. I can’t think of any other business that let’s you stack discounts. Every coupon from every big box store states very clearly, “May not be combined with any other discount or offer.” With the exception of a few national chains, most massage businesses are small local businesses who run a tight ship. They simply can’t afford to offer multiple discounts for the same service.

    4.  Why do you charge so much? I know another business or therapist who charges half what you do.
    Why it’s disrespectful: This gets heard as “I don’t think you or your profession are worth spending very much money on.” Massage is a very physical profession and most therapists cannot do 8 hour of massage in a day, write up accurate session notes, and still have time to eat, go to the bathroom, and complete all the various administrative tasks associated with running a business while maintaining the calm demeanor and critical thinking skills that you expect from us as professionals. My chiropractor charges $45 for an adjustment that takes less than 10 minutes and he schedules 2 patients in every 10 minute time slot. When you think about it that way, you’re getting a great deal when you only pay $60-70 for an entire hour with your massage therapist. As to those therapists that are charging only half of what I do, all I can say is you get what you pay for. If they were even half as good as their rate (unless they are altruistically dedicated to serving those who are finically disadvantaged – and there are some), you’d be booking your appointments with them wouldn’t you?

    5. Can I get an appointment at [pick anytime outside our regular business hours]?
    Why it’s disrespectful: The folks who ask this usually cite “customer service” as the reason we should work past our regular hours. But this has nothing to do with customer service; the clients I see during regular business hours get exceptional customer service. Asking a business owner to stay late, come in early, or come in on their day off, unless they’ve explicitly volunteered to do so, is not just disrespectful, it’s downright rude. If you wouldn’t ask a physical therapist, retail store owner, or financial planner to do it, don’t ask us.

    If you respect your massage therapist and would never dream of asking any of these questions, show them how much you appreciate them by booking an appointment with them today. Then, spread the love by sharing this post with post with all your peeps.

13 Responses so far.

  1. I think we all have the tendencies to ask these sort of questions all the time and it can be hard to get out of that habit. I have never once asked to schedule an appointment outside their business hours. That is something you just have to understand. The massage therapists have lives of their own and probably would enjoy time away from work.

  2. Michele says:

    That is a great post! I can never believe when clients think I might not have had to go to school to learn what I’m doing!

  3. Anne says:

    I don’t think these are disrespectful at all. I think it is your job to provide customer service to your clients and that includes answering what you seem to think are stupid questions. If they have a coupon why shouldn’t they use it? Asking what you can use it on is an important answer to know.

    Opening question of, did you go to school to do this, could be a way of getting to know you and your credentials. It is not rude or disrespectful.

    Questions about your pricing may just be a way to ask you what you do that is so much different than the guy down the street… why should I stay with you? Valid question. Maybe you should provide them with the reasons they want to spend the extra money for you!

    This is a ridiculous post. Just do your job and answer the questions and you might keep your business. 🙂

    • Tovah says:

      I am highly offended by your closing comment.

      ” ust do your Just do your job and answer the job and answer the questions and you questions and you might keep your might keep your business.”

      How rude! So just because someone works with the public, they should just be grateful they have a job, and that means they should be disrespected? I have been a registered message therapist for over 6 years. I work with serious injuries. I am a health care provider. I am NOT a retail sales associate (not that they deserve to be disrespected either). Massage therapists get treated in ways other health providers don’t. Would you ask these same things of your doctor, or dentist, or physical therapist? Probably not, because it would be disrespectful and rude. Just because we provide Massage services does not make us less deserving of respect and decency.

      You are very rude for commenting what you did. Didn’t your mother ever teach you to treat others how you would like to be treated? Smh

  4. 1) We put our hands on unclothed people. While it may sound disrespectful worded in that manner, if a client desires to have a third party in the room, in many places, the law would be on the side of the client who desires to have that.

    2) Many members of the public generally do not KNOW what is required to be a massage therapist. Just give them the correct answer and keep your crappy, superior attitude out of it.

    3) If they have a valid coupon for your business, then you are breaking the law not to honor it UNLESS you have it STATED ON THE COUPON that it cannot be used on a package, combined etc. You need to be sure that appears on any Groupons or other deals you do–or honor it. It is YOUR fault if you don’t put that on there, and the client would win that argument in court. A former employer of mine once put an ad out for a substantial discount on massage. She did NOT put that it was for new clients only, and when existing clients started bringing them in, she was having a fit–and then a client who was an attorney straightened her out. She was really mad about having to honor them. If you are doing coupons, then you should put all limitation on it.

    4) Give a polite answer: “I have ___ more years of experience, many more hours of education, she works from home while I have office overhead, I place a higher value on what I do” or whatever.

    5) You cannot blame people for asking. All you have to do is say “I don’t work after hours, but Massage Envy takes people until 9 pm.”

    If a client–or POTENTIAL client–asks one of these questions,you don’t need to take it personally, act judgmental, or sound like their parent when you give them an answer. Expecting people who may not know a single thing about massage from asking you questions is ridiculous. And answering them in a huffy, superior-sounding manner is ridiculous as well, and a good way to make sure they don’t return. Just suck it up and answer politely.

    • Sheryl says:

      Way to go Laura, when you work with the public you just do everything in a professional manner. And Laura that is exactly how you have handled every one of the situations.
      Working with the public is a trick profession, working in a profession in which you get intimate with a client but also have to keep it VERY VERY professional in a delicate profession. Some of the attitudes of those who made the derogative comments about answering the questions, really need to ask themselves if they are in the best profession for them.
      No offence meant but your in a people business and the human person is not perfect and makes mistakes. You have to be prepared as the professional to handle these situations with professionalism. THAT IS WHAT SETS YOU APART AND MAKES YOU THE PROFESSIONAL. IF YOU DO YOUR JOB YOU PROBABLY WONT BE ASKED MOST OF THE OFF THE WALL QUESTIONS.
      Now show them who you are, don’t just feel you must tell them what you are.

  5. Vagueorophet says:

    The only valid one (maybe) is the first one. Other than that, I’m sorry you work in a business, I guess? I’m sorry you take time out of your day to make money in exchange for your services?

    I apologize if I seem crude, but all of these are valid questions. I want to know why you cost so much as compared to others in your market? If I am asking, that means your name is not that high up on the quality list. Given information trade nowadays, if I don’t know about you and this superb service that isn’t reflected anywhere but your attitude, then I will ask questions.

    Don’t print coupons if you don’t want to deal with them? That’s assuming you’re a freelancer (due to your attitude). If you aren’t a FL and are working for a company then get over it. Customer service IS your job then.

    I will ask any of these questions if so prompted, you can choose not to answer. However, 18 months of education and 300 hours in practice (which, since you felt so inclined to compare, is nothing close to the education AND hours to chiropractors and up) does not warrant your attitude.

    To reframe, I would assume you hear these questions a lot? Maybe the reason is you. It is why I justify the first question. You MAY give good service, maybe, but your attitude is poor. That may just be one reason though.

  6. Jen says:

    The point of blogs are to get people to read them and give feedback. I would say this blog has been successful! I love that people only feel the need to comment with negativity. If only people would put that much effort into something positive, the world would be a better place.

    You are in an industry where you can make a positive change to someones life, even if just for an hour. Keep dong your thing!

  7. Abigail says:

    All I have to say is that everyone experiences services rendered differently. But so do those providing the service. If these questions are offensive then that needs to be your own choice, I also believe that when customers walk into a facility or even call, they need to expect that the company does things certain ways. I have no problem with this blog! I think that if you don’t like what questions are asked or how people disrespect massage therapists, then I believe you have every right to feel whatever you feel. You also reserve the right to refuse service. I think you are doing fine and if people don’t like how you run your business then they can just simply not come back. 🙂

  8. Steve says:

    It never bothers me when people ask if I went to school to become a therapist, they just want to know about what I do.

  9. akane says:

    How can someone have a bad attitude for wishing to be respected? As long as a great service and experience is being provided, there is no reason to work with people who are also not on board and just want a quick cheap fix. You will burn out quickly.

    The problem is probably lack of education on the part of clients. It is very important to educate them about your services and process and the value you offer BEFORE these questions become a problem. If the client is asking these questions, THEY are leading the conversation any you do not have the opportunity to tell them what you can actually do.

    For example, a contractor who remodels kitchens and does high end work should not even get to the point in which a potential client is actually asking if they can use cheap building materials and pay $3000 instead of $25,000.

    If it gets to that point, something went wrong with marketing, perception, education, etc. This can be done well with a website and filters out the low-quality potential clients mentioned in this post. (These are the types that will suck you and your business dry down the road, there are PLENTY of good clients out there who will value what you do) But you HAVE to be proactive about it, by the time someone is asking questions like this, it is too late.

    Hope this helps.

  10. akane says:

    if it is too late, then yes, you have to be polite, smile, answer the question (pull the coupons, update the website, etc) and learn from the experience.