Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Keep a Professional Therapeutic Relationship Going

"Because "good enough" never is..."

- Debbi Fields     

Skills  to Embrace

Yes, it is true that massage clients come to us to get a massage. But I think we are selling more than just that, more than just massage! Our clients are choosing us for a therapeutic relationship and they come to us to feel some positive difference on how they feel (or think) after the treatment. There is a good chance that they will come back to us if such change is something that we can provide. Nowadays, that therapeutic change is something that is not that easy to provide, let alone keep!

Back in the days when I was just starting out in Massage Therapy, I didn’t anticipate the field to be so multi-faceted. I thought that if you have a table, a lotion and some sheets then you are good to go! But today, while Massage Therapy evolves back to healthcare (which it has always been historically) and with the ever popularity of all the Franchise Spas, many massage therapist are finding it more challenging to grapple with this many changes to the profession. And with the increasing client awareness of massage therapy and its many benefits, it has become more difficult to meet their expectations and improve (or set apart from others) our techniques and the quality of the sessions we provide! Not to mention that we have to compete with those franchise spas at the same time!

While many aspects of basic Massage Therapy remains the same, while many tools of the trade remains applicable, the ever-changing expectations and needs of the market (our clients) is something that has become quite different. So how do we cope in this ever-changing market and ever-changing expectations?

Well, it takes dedication to be a successful Massage Therapists and lots and lots of practice to put all the necessary skills into place! I’d like to share to you some of the ways - skills that I have experience first-hand to be indispensable to all massage therapist out there! I honestly believe that every Massage Therapist should embrace these qualities/skills in one version or the other, in some degree or more!

In no particular order, Here are some ways to keep your professional therapeutic relationship with your clients going:

· Be Caring and Respectful. Have your heart as the "tool" of the trade as much as your brain and your hands. Empathy gives you a glimpse of what your client is looking for. It is treating someone the way they want to be treated (treat as in therapy). Include some compassionate care in each and every session you give!

· Be "Driven" yet Open-minded. Believe that Good-enough never is; And there is always a lot room at the top! Strive to get there but accept and adapt innovations, change, new opinions and new ideas with positive attitude!

· Have Critical thinking skills. Know when to proceed with a therapy, know when to halt, know when to refer and when to customize. Possess intimate knowledge of both the Ethics and Business side of Massage Therapy. Know where to draw the line between "professional" and "personal".

· Practice Teamwork (Cooperation). Even if you are a one-man spa, you will still work alongside or with many allied health professions! This one applies to those who work at spas and wellness clinics. Take into consideration the welfare of both your company, your coworkers and the profession as seriously as you consider yours!

· Learn Good Customer skills. It is people, communication and marketing skills rolled into one. Those little acts of kindness like offering your patient an extra bolster, a cup of tea or asking about the pressure, never go unnoticed!

· Have a sincere Desire to learn. Continue to look for ways to learn and be open to new ideas. Because you need to - for massage therapy evolves and waits for no one! (Plus your State might require you to have a set number of CEUs).

· Be Flexible.  Know how to manage time (both yours and your clients). Get along with various client personalities and do your best to cope with change and disruptive people or events.

And to ALL my fellow Massage Therapists whom I learn from: 

Thank you for continually making improvements to our profession (and improvements in me - for I myself am also a client!)

Thank you all for the amazing difference that you have been making to the lives that you touch each day! (Including me!) And of course the amazing positive change that it has brought to our field!

- Leo Feraer-Oporto 


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