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  • 5 Lies I will Unapologetically Tell Every Massage Client

    sign in grass saying "preferred lies"

    I’m not usually one to advocate telling lies, which is an entirely different thing than never telling them, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. For me, that means telling the occasional white lie to keep my clients from being uncomfortable and anxious about things they seem to be prone to worrying about. Besides, relaxation is the quickest path to massage results and anxiety is the enemy of relaxation.

    So, for your benefit, I’ll tell these lies:

    No, You Weren’t Snoring

    Honestly, sleeping is one of the highest compliments* you give your massage therapist. If you’re snoring, I know you’re really sleeping. Why would I ruin that by telling you that you were snoring.

    *The others include writing Google reviews and the referral of friends and family. Just saying.

    No, I Didn’t Smell Anything

    I’m not saying I liked what I smelled, especially if I was working on your hips when it happened. But, unless it’s overpowering, I’m not going to admit I smelled it.

    You’ve probably seen the book for toddlers called Everyone Poops. Well, someone really ought to write a book for massage clients called Everyone Farts that details how often people fart during a massage and why. The embarrassment most people have over passing gas during a massage is misplaced. I envision the book explaining how natural it is, but maybe also cautioning the reader to refrain from eating nothing but beans the day before getting a massage. What?!? Just keeping it real.

    I Barely Noticed Your Stomach Rumbling

    To be fair, most of the time I don’t even notice stomach noises. Sometimes, however, they can be hard to ignore. But… unless it’s been too long since your last meal, it’s a sign that your body is relaxing. If I admit how often I hear it, or how loud it really is, your relaxation will be compromised. And it’s through the relaxation response that you get the most benefit from the massage. I’m not gonna take that away from you.

    I Didn’t Hear/Barely Noticed Your Mobile Phone Ringing (unless it’s really loud)

    As with stomach noises, it’s hard not to hear mobiles buzzing and ringing. Most of the time, however, I’m so focused on what I’m doing that it doesn’t distract me much. Honestly, if you mention it, it’s probably bothering you much more than it is me.

    If, however, you’ve got the volume set to “I wanna hear it in my purse in Meijer on a busy Saturday with a kid screaming next to me” I can’t deny hearing it or being a bit distracted by it. That said, it’s still likely bothering you a whole lot more. As soon as it goes silent, I stop thinking about it. You, on the other hand, are probably wondering who it is and what they want. That doesn’t help you get good massage results. But, if I can assure you that even if I can hear it, that it really doesn’t bother me, that takes one worry out of your head and let’s you get back to relaxing.

    Your Muscles Are Not That Tight

    Even if your muscles are the tightest I’ve ever felt, and that’s unlikely, I won’t tell you that. Having the tightest muscles is not a contest you want to win, anyway. Besides, there’s only one person in the world with the tightest neck/traps/pecs/etc. and it’s almost certainly not you.

    What good would possibly come from me telling you how tight your muscles really are, huh? I’ll tell you what. Nothing. Chances are, you’d tense up even more. However, if I convince you that they’re not that bad, you’ll relax. How do I know? Because in 17+ years of doing massage, I’ve felt the effects of convincing people that they aren’t as bad off as they think they are. The vast majority of the time, they relax under my hands before I’ve actually started the massage. The rest of the time, they stay the same. Never once have they tensed up further.

    So I see my “little white lies” as a win-win. I win because you don’t tense up, which makes my job harder, and you win because you get better results from the massage.