From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Profit with Products,” by Cherie Sohnen-Moe, in the May 2009 issue. Article summary: Product sales are a great diversification method—and profits from them can defray a massage therapist’s overhead expenses.

by Laura Kopec

Many massage therapists are hesitant to retail for fear of “pushing” products and violating the vulnerability and trust of a client. However, if the selection and quality of products you choose supports your commitment to your client and demonstrates your expertise, you can avoid the salesperson identity while building and maintaining trust. Consider using and selling only 100-percent natural products.

The skin ingests 68 percent of what is applied onto the body. Many chemical ingredients can interfere in hormone levels, alter mood and increase symptoms. The FDA states a manufacturer can “use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from the FDA” (FDA 1,995). The consequences are grave.

In a study by Columbia University, a significant number of women with breast cancer had significant traces of petroleum in their breast tissue. Petroleum ingredients include mineral oil found in many massage products.

Consider the following when choosing quality natural products:

1. The word “natural” on the label does not mean 100-percent natural. Manufacturers can use the word if a percentage of the ingredients are natural.
2. Only a complete list of ingredients tells you whether the product is 100-percent natural.
3. To avoid rancidity, look for a natural preservative, such as vitamin E oil, grapefruit extract or tea tree oil, in the ingredient list.
4. Look for such warnings as “not recommended for high blood pressure” or “not for use during pregnancy.” Many blends and essential oils are harmful to certain clients and are not specified on the label.

Using quality natural products enhances the massage experience, and selling the product used in session extends your expertise beyond a hands-on treatment. It also encourages personal investment on the part of the client, which can result in a stronger client-therapist relationship and increase client frequency and retention.

Laura Kopec is a practicing nutritionist in Dallas, Texas, and owner of Kopec Naturals (, manufacturing 100-percent natural skin-care remedies, including specialty massage oils. She writes for the Rosacea Research and Development Institute along with her own natural living blog called “Ask Laura.” She may be contacted at