spa servicesMassage therapy performed on-site—at a corporation, for a bachelorette or wedding party, at a health fair, in a residential home for seniors or other venue—is one way successful massage therapists promote their services while making massage sessions as convenient as possible.

But why stop there?

An increasing number of massage professionals are adding spa therapies to their on-site offerings to increase revenue and client benefits.

Roderick Wright, owner of Roderick’s Therapeutic Massage Service in Detroit, Michigan, has performed massage on-site for seven years, and also offers on-site paraffin treatments, hand-and-foot-scrub treatments and a hot-stone add-on.

Wright markets his business as appropriate for bridal showers, family reunions, spa parties and corporate events, and offers clients the spa-like amenity of gift baskets that contain soaps and skin-care products.

Wright is among the massage professionals who know diversifying with spa-treatment add-ons is one way of creating on-site success.

The spa therapies easily offered on-site mirror those any massage therapist in her brick-and-mortar office can provide, with or without a wet room. They include aromatherapy, hand-and-foot-pampering treatments, steam, hot-towel face massage, hot-and-cold stone session add-ons, and even body wraps in the form of creams and balms.

spa servicesGet On-Board with the Trend

The mobile spa trend got rolling more than a decade ago, as the health benefits of spa therapies came to the foreground of public consciousness.

Massage therapists can take their cue from companies that have been providing on-site spa services for years to determine what sorts of services and multi-treatment packages they might want to offer. These services can include various exfoliations and facials as well as marketing specific packages, like birthday packages or aromatherapy packages.

Spa therapies, such as body wraps, that in the past required a wet room—a room with a sink, shower and running water—can today be offered using revolutionary spa products.

“While wraps traditionally required a wet room—which can be a costly investment—new wrap-treatment products make it possible to offer traditionally wet-room treatments in a dry environment,” explained Jean Shea, BIOTONE founder and CEO, in her article, “Spa Treatment of the Month: Body Wraps” (MASSAGE Magazine, February 2011). “These products are formulated to stay moist and not dry out, retaining their creamy texture,” she added. “They generally remove easily with a warm, damp cloth in one or two passes at a considerable savings in water usage compared to wet-room treatments.”

When wraps and scrubs are offered at spa services, a portable hydrocollator can be used to heat moist towels for removing product from the face, hands and feet.

Successful on-site spa companies bring more than a table and bottles of product: mobileSPA’s therapists pack spa decor with them, transforming a room in the client’s home into a temporary spa.

Such decorative items include candles, water fountains, smoke fountains and music, and this business also provides spa-party guests with a gift basket containing coffees, cookies and chocolates. A portable steam canopy can be set up above a massage table for a spa-like experience.

The latest aromatherapy trend that can be incorporated into on-site spa offerings is a customized aromatherapy bar.

To customize treatments and retail products with your aromatherapy bar, essential oils are selected and added to base formulas, such as face creams, body lotions, massage oils, masks and other similar spa and esthetic products that do not already contain a fragrance or essential oils.

The selection of essential oils is based on a client consultation and is chosen for physical health and skin conditions, emotional issues and stress, environmental concerns and other holistically related conditions. This selection may also include a fragrance preference.

By setting up a portable display case or product case with essential oils and carriers, a massage therapist also trained in aromatherapy can blend this service into his on-site offerings.

Another option for massage therapists is to partner with other beauty professionals to offer a full spa package performed by a variety of people. Some businesses, for example, partner massage therapists with estheticians and nail technicians, who arrive together at home spa parties, weddings and corporate events.

spa servicesCorporate Sessions

Corporations, small businesses and workplaces in general offer a fertile ground for a massage therapist to plant her business. Current media reports detail how employee stress is detrimental to employers and tout the benefits of workplace wellness programs.

The way employees feel, or their well-being, can account for more than a quarter of the differences observed in individuals’ performance at work, according to a recent press release from Springer, which published new research on this topic.

“Workplace well-being is therefore receiving increasing attention, as it may have economic implications for the organization if workers are underperforming,” the release noted.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, on average, employers that adopt wellness programs enjoy a 25-percent reduction in sick leave, health plan costs, workers compensation and disability costs—and nationwide, companies can expect to save $3 to $6 for every $1 spent on a wellness program.

Massage therapists can include such information in marketing materials when reaching out to corporations with their massage-and-spa offerings. It is key for therapists to be able to explain how on-site massage and spa therapies will benefit a business’ bottom line.

Some of the services target businesses and will include 15-minute back massages intended for employee breaks, foot massage and will also market its services to a variety of company events and objectives, including going-away, merger and holiday parties, welcoming a new CEO, team building, ringing in the fiscal year and rewarding employees for their performances.

Spa Services and Therapies for Seniors

The U.S. population is aging rapidly. Baby boomers have long accepted the benefits of massage and spa therapies, and could represent a substantial clientele to massage therapists who market to them.

For instance, some spa services will offer a Senior Spa Care category and will travel to retirement homes, private homes and hospitals to meet older clients’ needs.

Research supports the benefits of massage and spa therapies for older clients: Hand massage has been shown to enhance nursing home residents’ comfort and satisfaction with care, for example, while essential oils have been found to decrease stress and agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.

Go Ahead

Wherever you take your healthy touch, you need to make sure high-quality products accompany you.

The first step to a successful practice, as a new therapist ventures in to the world of business ownership, is ensuring clients receive a therapeutic experience that leaves them feeling satisfied, said Shea.

“New businesses are expensive to start, and business owners may be tempted to cut corners, not realizing that in the long run, they’re affecting the level of satisfaction experienced by clients, and likely costing themselves money in the form of lost clients,” she said.

One pitfall novice therapists sometimes fall into is using vegetable oils, olive oil or cheap lotion as a massage lubricant, Shea added. “This may seem, on the surface, less expensive than purchasing professional massage products—but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.”

Professional massage products are specifically designed to maximize the benefits a client receives from massage. Many professional products have such ingredients as essential oils, vitamins and nutrients that have both esthetic and therapeutic properties.

For example, a therapist who does deep-tissue work may find it beneficial to use a product containing arnica to help stimulate circulation and ease bruises.

Depending on the type of massage techniques offered, you may need a product that provides more glide compared to stick, or vice versa.

“Neuromuscular therapy requires more friction to affect the fascia, whereas Swedish massage requires more glide to facilitate techniques like petrissage and effleurage,” said Shea. “By choosing products that make clients feel comforted and nurtured while simultaneously facilitating the intended goals of the massage session, therapists are investing in both themselves and their clients.”

Whatever type of on-site massage a therapist specializes in, he can customize spa add-ons to any type of client, including athletes, seniors, pregnant women or executives.

It might take some creativity and marketing effort, but the addition of spa add-ons to an onsite massage business could provide myriad benefits, including health benefits for the client, a rest for the therapist’s hands, the opportunity to increase retail sales and more referrals to one’s practice.


Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief. Her articles for MASSAGE Magazine include “Body Image: Massage Creates Healthy Self-Connection,” “Massage Therapist Appointed to NCCIH Advisory Council” and “Can Massage Help with our $411 Billion Sleep Problem?”