As a massage therapist or bodyworker, you are the centerpiece of your practice. It is your hands, your knowledge, your skills, your personality that gives the work you do its heart and keeps clients coming back for more. In a way, these central facets of your massage therapy or bodywork practice could be described as the cake and all the details that go into your practice might be called the icing—but both of these layers are equally important for creating and sustaining the most successful practice possible.

As for these details–the icing on the cake of you and your skill set–they consist of all items in and around your practice space, especially those products that are used on the client during his or her massage therapy or bodywork appointment. No matter how solid your skills are as a massage therapist or bodyworker, no matter how healing your hands may be, it is crucial to pin down these details so that every client gets the most from his or her sessions with you.

In fact, creating an all-around high-quality experience, from the moment a client walks in the door until the moment he or she leaves—and even beyond—is the foundation upon which massage therapists and bodyworkers can build thriving practices. In the end, it is all about creating value, and it is the value of the experience you provide for clients that will cause your practice to keep growing.

First, make sure your skill set and knowledge base as a massage therapist or bodyworker are on point, so that you can provide the hands-on techniques each of your clients may need. Next, always keep an eye on your presence—the energy you bring into the session room and the way in which you deal with clients, from booking appointments, to making reminder phone calls, to checking in about issues and needs and so on.

Once you are satisfied that the “cake” of your practice is in place, you can begin to put more thought toward the “icing.” One of the most important details to consider when you are working to add value to your practice is the kind of massage cream you choose to use. Do not take your massage cream lightly, because this is the one product that is actually closer to each client than your hands.

Massage creams are not only rubbed in to the skin of each client, but they may even be absorbed into the skin. Plus, the massage cream accompanies your client out the door, along with the feeling or aroma it may bring to his or her skin. Lingering along with the blissful feeling a massage or bodywork session can bring, the massage cream can be a subtle, yet powerful, reminder of you and your work.

Make sure you take the time to choose the right massage cream for you and your clients. Better yet, try to gather a small selection of different massage creams, so you have options for your clients and the different needs or desires they may present with at your practice.

–Brandi Schlossberg