To complement the Expert Advice article, “What’s the Best Way to Offer Home-Care Products to Clients to Support Their Health?” in the June 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.

massage therapist with client

When someone is on my massage table, I always try to remember my table manners.

Fortunately for you and your clients, this time it is acceptable to put your elbows on the table!

When I was 12, my mother enrolled me in an etiquette class at school. To say the least, I was not excited to go. However, as I became more involved in the class, I really enjoyed it and started using some of the training in my daily life. I found that I was able to more easily traverse different social landscapes with friends and adults.

That class instilled in me some very simple guidelines that helped me become a more successful and confident young adult. I still use many of those skills in my life and business today.

At the heart of it all, etiquette is really about learning acceptable and expected ways to behave in social situations. I believe that manners and etiquette can play a huge part in being successful at selling yourself, your service and products.

For a massage therapist, something as simple as great manners can make all the difference between keeping a client and losing a client. Here I’ll share why.


Massage Table Manners

Table manners could actually cover many areas in our profession. For this article I want to touch on five basic manners. Each of these manners is a key component of trust and comfort of the client.

  1. Respect
  2. Care for clients’ well-being and comfort
  3. Courtesy in conversation
  4. Positive dress, demeanor and language
  5. True service


be polite and kind

1. Be Polite and Kind

The definition of respect is “To feel or show admiration and deference toward somebody or something, to pay due attention to, and to show consideration or thoughtfulness in relation to somebody or something.”

Thoughtfulness is a mannerism; an action. Every one of us wants to be remembered and to be made to feel special. Every day, you are offered the opportunity to show thoughtfulness to each of your clients. There is much joy that can be found in the simple gift of giving your undivided attention to someone.


polite and helpful massage client

2. Be Polite and Helpful

Most massage therapists are naturally conscious of caring about clients’ comfort, including having their water waiting for them when they arrive if you know that is their preference. There are many more details to address that will let the client you know you are thinking of him.

Ask your client if she is warm enough and adjust the temperature of the environment for each individual client. Have extra draping materials or ways to heat up or cool down your client. Make sure his favorite music is playing and at a good volume for him.

Dim the lights for someone with a headache or offer him a cloth to cover his eyes with. Avoid aromatherapy for those who are sensitive, and be consistent in what you provide with aroma to those who do like it.


dress professionally

3. Be Polite and Professional

Dress for success is a phrase we have all heard. But dressing can imply several different aspects about a person.

Every person has a right to preference. However, there exist socially acceptable ways to dress, act and speak. If your preference eliminates 80 percent of your clients, you may want to reevaluate some aspects of yourself and try on a more professional look and voice. Find what suits you while at the same time helping you to be a more successful version of yourself.

Speaking from a client’s viewpoint, we all feel more at ease to be massaged by someone who took the time to look and act professional.


massage therapist and client

4. Be Polite and Courteous

Socially acceptable conversation skills are similar to a tennis match. Your client “serves” you a question, you answer politely, and “serve” back. Refining the skill of having flowing and easy conversation is a key factor that creates trust with your clients.

I gently like to remind therapists that over-talking about yourself depletes trust with your client. Your client is undressed, stuck on your table, and at your mercy for an hour. You have a responsibility to make that hour a great experience both in massage and conversation.

Think about this. You received a fabulous massage from a therapist but she kept talking about herself the entire time. Do you hesitate to go back? Yes, you do. You want to receive a massage from this person but are not sure you want to endure the conversation to get that massage.

You are in control of the conversation. Above all, avoid being negative and strive to be positive in what you say. It makes a difference.

This is a great time to point out that if you want to sell products to clients, as a courtesy, do so after the massage and not while they are on the table. They will be more open to what you have to offer.


5. Be Polite and Humble

An attentive massage therapist anticipates the needs of her client and happily provides him comfort before he requests it. Service means to smile often, make eye contact, and shake the clients’ hand when you meet him. Be warm and inviting in your personality. These skills are just as important as your massage skills.

I always think about my favorite server at this restaurant I like to go to. I request to sit in her section because she remembers me and what I like. She shows up to take my order with my iced tea and asks if I want my usual. I like being treated special, and because she does she will always get my business and a great tip. Be polite and humble.


massage therapy client

Be a Better Version

In today’s world, I think etiquette is looked at as part of an old-fashioned way of life. Perhaps it is, or just maybe it is the key to being successful. Manners and etiquette both teach and allow us to be a better version of ourselves.

They help you strive for a more pleasant atmosphere to live and work in, and it will amaze you how people will just naturally become drawn to you.

Just think, when your grandma said, “mind your manners,” she might have actually been teaching you to be good in business.


Amy Bradley RadfordAbout the Author

Amy Bradley Radford, L.M.T., B.C.T.M.B., has been a massage therapist and educator for more than 20 years. She is the owner and developer of Pain Patterns and Solutions Seminars CE courses. She has also authored several books, including Finding Success for the Massage Therapist Who Wants to Succeed. She wrote the Expert Advice article, “What’s the Best Way to Offer Home-Care Products to Clients to Support Their Health?” for the June 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.