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One of my pet peeves, as someone who receives massage regularly, is getting what I call “the wrong massage.” That’s when you’re there on the table, being worked on, but you don’t get the work you need. You know what I mean, like when you want full body, but instead get work on just your back and legs. Or, your shoulders really hurt, but you end up with a lot of time spent on your feet, head, and hands. It can be really unsatisfying. It’s a key responsibility of therapists to tune in to communication from their clients so that the right places get the attention that they need.

So what happens to cause a massage therapist to ‘get it wrong?’  A lot of therapists during massage intake ask clients if there are areas where they want focus and then they create a massage plan that treats just those areas. That can be a mistake, especially if the client’s general stress level is contributing to their discomfort or if they are not aware of tension in other areas that is contributing to the pain in the primary area.

It’s necessary for massage therapists to connect with the client’s true goals by asking their clients plainly and straightforwardly if they would like to work exclusively on their problem areas, or if they would prefer a full body relaxing massage with a little extra focus in their area of concern. The results can be surprising. Just because a client speaks at length about a particular condition doesn’t mean that’s the only place where they want work.  Taking the time to ask, to really listen, and to act on the answer ensures a more effective massage for the client and a more satisfied client for the therapist.

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