To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Body & Spa: Create an Outdoor Massage Room for a Natural Setting,” , in the June 2011 issue. Article summary: You don’t need to be employed at a four-star resort in Hawaii to offer your clients massage in an outdoor setting. In fact, many of the benefits associated with outdoor massage can be derived from a well-crafted massage room in your own backyard.

by Michael J. Russ

The last three years have taken their toll on service-related businesses. Now that things are looking up, it’s a good time to look into diversifying your income stream and increasing your profit per client.

One of the easiest moves you can make is to introduce chemical-free, skin-related products, such as aromatherapy oils, soaps, lotions and safe sunscreen, to existing clientele. This makes sense for four reasons:

  1. Being in the business of massage therapy, your clients see you as someone who understands how products interact with skin.
  2. Because of increased information about harmful chemicals in soaps, sunscreens and lotions, your clients are most likely open to alternatives.
  3. With most of the products, you are introducing them to a healthier version of what they are already using.
  4. Your clients are already interested. They just don’t have the time or money to waste trying to find quality alternatives. This is where you come in.

You can find and review alternatives, then buy and confidently introduce the ones that have worked for you. Your personal experience is the key to succeeding with this business move. Always offer clients products you have tried yourself so that you can speak honestly about their benefits.

To find the right products, first start with your own interests. For example, if you enjoy being outside, find an effective, all-natural sunscreen. If you use handmade aromatherapy soaps, search for a line that resonates with you.

Don’t worry about competition from your local health food store. When your clients go into these stores, the vast number of products can be confusing. You have the opportunity to build trust and confidence with your clients.

Increase your exclusivity by finding all-natural products manufactured or distributed by smaller U.S.- based businesses. These smaller businesses are looking for outlets for their products, have smaller minimum orders and provide personal service. Offering quality natural products could lead to referrals that become quality massage clients.

Michael J. Russ is president of Oceana Naturals LLC (