Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summertime Massage Treats and Threats

"I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer,
even in the depths of winter."

- Albert Camus     

A Treat. A Threat.

It's August! It is mid-summer once again! Time flies indeed! And aside from the obvious high temperature and humidity, mid-summer summons in a whole new list of seasonal treats or threats to Massage Therapy!  For those who work in areas where the summer vacationers are, it is such a treat to their practice - a seasonal boom, you may call it! Lucky for them, the temperate climate is on their side! But for us who live and practice outside of those zones, where weather can be at their extremes, where the tourists came from, then it means slower clientele. So how are we, as massage therapists adapting our practice over these hot summer months? Below I put together five of the treatments I offer as summer add-ons and specialized services. They will not cause a sudden boom in the flow of your clientele, but they will surely help! Try offering any of them or your own variation of each, they can help set you apart from your competition and be an added attraction to compensate for the slower hot months!

1. Offer Mint Wipes! Cold towels or disposable wet ones can make a difference specially to clients coming in from hot weather exposure. They can help cool the skin down and relieve feelings of stickiness from humidity! You can also add a hint of mint to the towels using aromatherapy essences! They are quite refreshing and also great for clients coming in straight from a gym workout!

2. Use Energizing Summer Aromatherapy Spritz! Okay, I just made that name up. It's a free add-on that I give to my summer clients before they start the treatment! They are just as refreshing as mint and cold wipes! Just dissolve the recommended drops of Aromatherapy essence of your client's choice in a tablespoon of alcohol (since oil does not dissolve in water), then add 200-250 ml of distilled water (bottled water will do), pour in an atomizer and shake! (You can get one at the leading pharmacy for 99 cents). Viola! A cooling spray for the skin, or an after-massage wipes (with a dry towel). They are great as foot deodorizer and coolant too!

3. Offer Cold Stone Therapy Treatment (a.k.a. Iced stones). As you well know, not only does cold (or ice) therapy lowers the body temperature, slows down the sympathetic responses and relieves pain, but they are also great during the summer months as a way to just plainly unwind and cool down - you don't have to have the aforementioned condition to enjoy it! You can also use cold shells or cubes of ice instead depending on the clients' needs and the body area you work on! Be sure to seek training on the treatment before you offer them, cold and ice treatment can cause harm if applied the wrong way or the wrong duration! Also, this treatment requires additional training or certification depending on the jurisdiction where you work, so be sure to check your local massage board!

4. Use Cooling Emollients or Refreshing Gels! This treatment is just that - oils, lotions or creams with cooling additives - either natural or artificial! Mints or menthol are the most popular ones! I am not going to mention the names of the brands I use, there are, however, a number out there in the market and finding them is as easy as click away on your PC. Just remember that if you are going to use one on your client, be sure to ask for allergies during the intake (as you always should), since applying them on a greater skin area and on a longer duration as massage lubricants may trigger an allergic response.

5. Offer a Cooling Shower or Soak with all the Amenities (Cooling soap, menthol shampoos, herbs, petals, essences, glycerin, milk, etc.) If you have you own practice, and you maintain your own clinic, then doing such is as easy as 1-2-3. But if you offer home calls, and cannot, then the towels and the spritz can work just as fine!

These are a mere few of the summertime treats that I offer to overcome the threats of seasonal ups and downs! Simple upgrades and add-ons that can make a big difference both to your client's experience and their flow! Are they the right ones for you or your clients? Perhaps. But, you can always come up with your own, or modify the ones here or the ones out there! Maybe they will work, maybe not! Some clients will love them, some won't! Not all cool treatments work on hot months, but that is okay - you cannot do everything for everyone to please anyone! Something else might be perfect for them - a referral perhaps! In the end, it is differentiating yourself from the competition during slow months that is truly important.

Live and stay well! Happy Massaging!

-Leo Feraer-Oporto     

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