To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Practice Building: Make More Money: How to Use Retail to Help Clients and Your Bottom Line,” by Irene Diamond, R.T., in the February 2013 issue. Article summary: Instead of trying to squeeze in more clients, one of the easiest ways to generate additional income and provide more service to your clients is to incorporate a retail aspect into your massage business.

Advocating for client self-care is another step we can take to help keep our clients healthy—and the practice of massage therapy is so widely accepted, that the selling of retail products in massage practices is also more common than when I first started in 1990.

Here are six ways adding retail to your massage practice will assist your clients with maintaining their health.

1. Trust. Clients who receive regular massage from the same practitioner build a trust in that therapist—so who better should advise clients what will serve them to help relieve daily stress, chronic pain and tension? The modern world is filled with advertising and convincing marketing; we can pick the products we believe in, giving our client the best solutions for self-care.

2. Education. As professional massage therapists, we can show our clients how to use self-care tools in the proper way, based on the session that day. Your client will benefit from the hands-on demo and remember better how to perform the technique when at home.

Often, reading instructions or watching videos leaves clients insecure about whether they are doing a technique or using a tool correctly. Selling tools for self-care offers the client the best possible outcome for using them correctly when clients are back at home. Incorporate the tool into a session. Then, the benefits felt from the session combined with a short tutorial will achieve a positive self-care outcome.

3. Experiential benefits. If you incorporate aromatherapy or topical analgesics in your sessions, clients feel the effects of each particular product, giving them an experiential education and leading them to understand which product is used for any particular concern they may have. After a few sessions, they will most often want to purchase the analgesic or essential oil that is most beneficial to them. Offering the products you use in your practice as a retail purchase for your clients ensures they get exactly what they experienced.

4. Convenience. In our busy world, time is often an issue. If you offer a retail line, this saves the client time and energy on trying to find products elsewhere.

5. Complementary therapy. We entered this business to help people in the most natural way possible, through soft-tissue manipulation and human energy. The products we choose are an extension of what we do. Nothing will ever replace the human touch, but by choosing wisely, learning about the products and experiencing them before we offer them on our retail shelf, we give our clients something to take home.

6. Self-care. Encourage clients to take better care of themselves in between their professional sessions. When they take care of themselves, the better we can do our jobs. Life is full of twists and turns, stress and adrenal over-stimulation. Massage doesn’t have to be hard work, nor do our clients have to be in pain to get a massage.

Stephanie Whittier, L.M.T., C.S.T., practices in New York, is the developer of the patent-pending t spheres® ( and is CEO of Tranquility Spheres Inc. Her self-styled Integrative Bodywork focuses on cellular regeneration and continuum movement for pain relief. She serves on the board of FM World Charities, with a percentage of her products giving back to that organization.