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11 Things That Will Annoy Your Massage Therapist

Written by: Giada Labrecque, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Giada Labrecque

A comprehensive guide on how to be a better massage client. Ah, the world of massage therapy – a tranquil oasis where stressed bodies find solace. But don't be fooled by the serene ambiance. Beneath those soothing hands lies a secret underworld of annoyances that can make even the most serene massage therapists roll their eyes and stifle a sigh.

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From tardiness to haggling to outrageous requests, here are 11 pet peeves that test the patience of these Zen masters of muscle manipulation.

1. Tardiness

Picture this: a massage therapist, with calming music playing softly in the background, ready to provide a blissful experience, their hands poised to work their magic. But wait, what's that? The sound of hurried footsteps and rushed apologies fills the air as a late client bursts through the door, disrupting the tranquil atmosphere and testing the therapist's patience. The frustration that arises when clients turn up late to their massage appointments is enough to make even the most composed therapist tighten their jaw in annoyance. First off, time is precious in the world of massage therapy. Each appointment is carefully scheduled to ensure that clients receive the attention and care they deserve. When a client arrives fashionably late, it throws the whole schedule off balance, causing a ripple effect of delayed appointments that can be maddening for the therapist. The carefully planned rhythm of the day suddenly becomes a chaotic symphony of time management woes. But it's not just about the logistical nightmare. Late arrivals disrupt the serene ambiance that the therapist meticulously creates to help clients unwind and relax. Imagine trying to reach a state of tranquillity while feeling rushed and flustered from a mad dash to the appointment. It's like trying to find zen in the middle of a busy intersection; the calming effect is lost amidst the chaos.

Furthermore, let's not forget that massage therapy involves a delicate dance between the therapist's skill and the client's receptiveness. Massage therapists carefully pace their techniques and rhythm to provide the optimal experience, but a late start means sacrificing valuable minutes that could have been spent kneading away tension and promoting healing. It's like getting a free ticket to a concert and missing the opening act – you miss out on an essential part of the experience. So, please, dear clients, do your therapists a favour and strive to be punctual. Respect the time and effort they put into creating a soothing sanctuary for you. Remember, in the world of massage therapy, time is not only money—it's the key to unlocking the full potential of relaxation and rejuvenation.

2. Rescheduling & cancellations

You wouldn’t know it, but there exists a complicated tango of frustration and allowance/understanding with rescheduling and last-minute cancellations in the realm of massage therapy. What's more, a pattern of rescheduling or cancelling at the last minute can quickly become a thorn in the side of any massage therapist. A massage therapist has to be meticulous in their planning, carefully arranging appointments like pieces in an intricate puzzle. When a client suddenly pulls out, there leaves an awkward gap. Most seasoned therapists will have ways to make the most of this time, whether it means having an extended lunch, returning phone calls and emails, running errands or just reading a book. Sometimes it is a welcome break, but most of the time it's like having the wind knocked out of their sails, disrupting the well-choreographed flow of their work. Speaking from experience, there can also be a frustration with the last-minuteness of it all because usually there is another client who could have and would have booked in, had you cancelled/rescheduled with ample notice. And let's not forget the financial implications. Massage therapists rely on a steady stream of clients to keep their business afloat. When clients frequently reschedule or cancel last minute, it puts a dent in their income and throws off their financial balance. This is especially true for self-employed MTs, who are basically part of the gig-economy. So, to all the massage clients out there, please be mindful of the impact of your scheduling decisions. Remember that your therapist makes dedicated time and space for you and your appointment, reserving a spot that only you will fill on that date and time. So your absence leaves a you-shaped hole in their day and their pocketbook.

3. Not reading correspondences

Oh, the delightful frustration of sending carefully crafted email correspondences, only to be met with clients who seem to have developed a unique talent for skimming and skipping crucial details. It's like sending a beautifully wrapped gift, only to have the recipient unwrap it haphazardly, leaving part of the gift in the crumpled wrapping, weakening the overall experience and understanding of the gift received. Sending emails to clients is a very intentional effort of communication, a way to provide essential information, set expectations, and ensure a smooth and enjoyable massage experience. Yet, it seems that some clients have perfected the art of selective reading, cherry-picking the bits that catch their fancy while conveniently bypassing the important parts. But alas, some clients blissfully glide through the notes, missing the cues and causing frustrations for the therapist. It's like being handed a map to a hidden treasure, only to toss it aside and hope to stumble upon riches by chance. The details matter in the world of massage therapy. From appointment times and location instructions to pre-appointment preparations and health considerations, there is a symphony of information that is vital to ensure a seamless and tailor-made experience. It's not just about inconvenience; it's about lost opportunities to make the massage session extraordinary. When clients fail to read important emails, therapists lose the chance to customise and personalise the treatment, to address specific concerns or preferences, and to ensure both parties are on the same harmonious wavelength.

So, dear clients, please cosy up with a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot, indulge in a little reading escapade, absorbing those words of wisdom that can unlock the doors to a truly exceptional massage.

4. Poor communication

While on the note of communication, there are a few more annoying things worth mentioning. First the art of mind reading, a skill that, unfortunately, we massage therapists have not yet mastered. Most of us anyway. We may have magical hands, but deciphering the intricate thoughts and preferences of our clients remains an elusive talent. So, when clients walk through the door with their desires locked away behind vague answers and, “I leave it to you’s”, it leaves us to play a puzzling guessing game, it's like attempting to perform a symphony without sheet music – a bewildering affront of uncertainty. Communication is key, dear clients, and we would love nothing more than to know your specifics. It is in both our best interest, allowing us to give you the most enjoyable and personalised massage experience possible. We want to know if you prefer gentle or deep pressure, whether you desire the soothing sounds of ocean waves or the calming melodies of Enya. We want to know that you hate having your feet touched, or that you love scalp work. It’s when you keep those desires to yourself, you leave us fumbling in the dimly lit room of uncertainty, like trying to paint a masterpiece blindfolded—random strokes, missed opportunities, and a hint of frustration lingering in the air. But it doesn't stop there, for there exists another dance in this little tango of annoyance. When something isn't quite right during the massage, be it the temperature in the room or the volume of the background music, we yearn for you to speak up. We're good, even great at non-verbal cues, but we're not mind readers, and as much as we'd love to channel our psychic abilities, they haven't quite kicked in yet.

So we rely on your valuable feedback. If the room is too chilly and you secretly shiver beneath the sheets, or if the music is too loud and you cringe with each note, please voice your concerns. We're here to create an oasis of bliss for you, proactively addressing any discomfort or dissatisfaction that may arise. And let's not forget the art of listening, which, we must admit, goes both ways. When we ask questions to ensure your well-being and safety, it's vital to listen carefully before offering an answer. Otherwise it's like being a contestant on a game show, buzzing in before the question is fully asked, and as much as we love your enthusiasm, it can leave us twiddling our thumbs in perplexity because you prematurely answered a question we weren’t asking. Ultimately, dear clients, effective communication is the rhythm that makes the massage experience harmonious and satisfying. Share your preferences in real time, speak up if something isn't right, and listen attentively to ensure a seamless partnership between therapist and client. Last thing I’ll say on this, is please, for the love of all that is good, try to communicate feedback directly to the therapist instead of taking it out on their Google reviews. Leaving negative feedback solely in Google reviews can have unintended consequences. It may impact the reputation of the therapist or establishment without providing the opportunity for improvement or resolution. It can also hinder the trust and rapport necessary for a constructive therapeutic relationship. Instead, I would kindly encourage clients to approach any concerns or issues directly with the massage therapist. By communicating in person or in real time, you allow them the opportunity to understand your perspective, address any concerns, and adapt the treatment to better meet your needs.

5. Wearing a full face of makeup/fake tan

While we admire your dedication to looking fabulous, dear clients, let's have a chat about how it can put a tiny wrinkle in the smooth fabric of our massage therapy experience – quite literally. You see, our linens are the unsung heroes of the massage room. They silently cradle clients, providing a clean and comfortable surface for relaxation. But when a client arrives with a full face of makeup or a fresh fake tan, our linens hold their breath in anticipation of the battle they're about to face.

Stains, smudges, and discolouration; it's like a cosmetic crossfire aimed directly at our pristine linens. As skilled massage therapists glide their hands over your body, they do so with a touch of caution. Beneath the surface, they worry about how your makeup may transfer onto the linens, leaving it looking like a modern art piece gone wrong. And let's not forget the fake tan debacle—when the lotion meets the linens, it's a slippery slope towards irreversible stains that haunt our dreams. You see, dear clients, our linens deserve to remain in their pure and unblemished state. They deserve to provide a clean and inviting sanctuary for each client who entrusts themselves to our care. When makeup or fake tan finds its way onto the linens, it not only compromises their pristine appearance but also creates extra work for us as massage therapists. Instead of focusing solely on your relaxation and well-being, we find ourselves preoccupied with managing the aftermath of stained linens, detracting from the seamless experience we aim to provide. Now, we understand that accidents happen, and sometimes a little smudge or stain is unavoidable. We're not expecting you to arrive au naturel or avoid enhancing your beauty altogether. However, we kindly request your assistance in minimising the potential impact on our linens. Perhaps consider opting for minimal makeup or allowing some time for your fake tan to fully settle before your appointment. By doing so, we can together ensure that you receive the full benefit of our expertise and that our linens remain as pristine as possible, ready to embrace the next client in their crisp and clean embrace. Let's work together to make each massage session a delightful and worry-free experience, both for you and for us. With your cooperation, we can ensure that our massage room remains a serene sanctuary, free from the blemishes that makeup and fake tan may unintentionally bring. By taking a small step to minimise the potential impact on our linens, you contribute to maintaining the pristine and inviting atmosphere that sets the stage for an exceptional massage experience. Which offers a great segue into our next topic, the delightful subject of personal hygiene.

6. Neglecting personal hygiene

We understand that life can get busy, dear clients, and that sometimes personal care can slip down the priority list. However, let's discuss why it can be a bit challenging for massage therapists when clients neglect their personal hygiene, including the upkeep of their feet. As massage therapists, we strive to create a serene and relaxing environment for each client. We carefully prepare the massage room, ensuring cleanliness and a calming ambiance. But when a client arrives with neglected personal hygiene, it can disrupt the tranquil atmosphere. Take dirty feet, for example. We appreciate that our feet often bear the brunt of our daily activities, but a little TLC goes a long way. When clients arrive with soiled, fungal or malodorous feet, it can be a bit challenging for us to fully immerse ourselves in the massage experience. We want to focus on alleviating your stress and tension, not be distracted by unpleasant odours or the feeling of ingrained dirt during foot massage techniques. Additionally, personal hygiene plays a significant role in the overall comfort and enjoyment of the massage session. Personal hygiene is not only about the avoidance of odours, but it also includes general cleanliness. Clean skin allows for better absorption of oils and lotions, enhancing the gliding and soothing sensation of the therapist's touch. When clients arrive without showering or with excessive sweat, it can create a barrier that inhibits the full benefits of the massage.

We understand that sometimes life gets hectic, and cleanliness might slip our minds. But by taking a few moments to freshen up before your massage, you contribute to an environment that promotes relaxation, comfort, and a more enjoyable experience for both you and your massage therapist.

7. Toilet breaks

Another thing we understand is the call of nature, a simple and natural bodily function that requires our attention from time to time. While we know that urgency can strike unexpectedly, dear clients, let's discuss why it can be a bit frustrating for massage therapists when clients forget to use the restroom before their treatment.

As massage therapists, we strive to create a comfortable and uninterrupted experience for you. However, when the need to use the restroom arises during a massage session, it interrupts the flow and relaxation for both you and the therapist. It's like trying to enjoy a peaceful picnic while constantly being reminded of a pending task that needs attention. Or like trying to paint a serene landscape while a marching band parades through your mind. Not only does interrupting the massage for a bathroom break disrupt the rhythm of the session, but it also hinders your ability to fully relax and benefit from the treatment. Instead of surrendering yourself to a rejuvenating experience, you may find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of needing to relieve yourself, which can detract from the overall enjoyment. So, dear clients, we kindly urge you to take a moment to listen to the calls of nature before your massage session. Visit the restroom, empty your bladder, and attend to any other bodily needs. By doing so, you allow yourself to fully relax and embrace the entirety of the massage experience. You can blissfully let go of any worries about interruptions or discomfort and fully engage in the moment, creating a smoother and more seamless experience for both you and your massage therapist.

8. Talking during the treatment

The art of conversation, a delightful dance of words and shared experiences. While we appreciate your desire to connect, dear clients, let's explore why it can be a tad irksome for massage therapists when the chatter flows a little too freely during a treatment. Imagine, if you will, being in a tranquil and peaceful massage room, surrounded by soft music and gentle aromas, seeking solace and relaxation. The therapist's skilled hands work their magic, and just as you begin to sink into the bliss you’ve been so looking forward to, a torrent of words ensues, of politics, personal inquiries, or stories that veer into the uncomfortable territory.

As massage therapists, we strive to create an environment that promotes relaxation and tranquillity. We endeavour to transport you to a state of blissful solitude, where the outside world's burdens temporarily fade away. So when conversation dominates the treatment, particularly personalised anecdotes or topics unrelated to the massage itself, it can become not only distracting but also hinders your ability to fully relax and experience the therapeutic benefits of the session. Additionally, it's important to remember that as massage therapists, we are not trained psychotherapists. While we approach our work with empathy and compassion, it is not within our scope of practice to provide the same level of support as a mental health professional. Sharing trauma stories or discussing deeply personal matters may inadvertently open emotional wounds without a proper support system in place. It's like delving into treacherous waters without a life jacket—both for the client and the therapist. So, dear clients, we kindly request that during your massage treatment, we savour the beauty of silence and allow the therapist's touch to speak volumes. Embrace the sanctuary of stillness, and let your mind and body truly unwind. Give yourself permission to fully immerse in the therapeutic experience without the burden of conversation. While we appreciate the desire for connection, we recommend saving personal or intense conversations for appropriate settings, such as therapy sessions or social gatherings. This ensures that you receive the care and support you may need from professionals or friends who are better equipped to navigate such discussions. By honouring the peaceful nature of the massage room and refraining from excessive chatting, you not only create a more conducive environment for relaxation but also allow the massage therapist to focus on their expertise. It enables them to channel their energy and skill into providing you with a truly rejuvenating and transformative experience.

9. Holding tension & helping

Dear clients, let's discuss why it can sometimes be frustrating for massage therapists when individuals display holding tension or attempt to help during a massage session.

As massage therapists, we are trained to identify and release tension held within the body. We have honed our skills to detect the subtle signs of holding patterns and meticulously work to alleviate any muscular restrictions. However, when clients unknowingly hold tension or actively engage in assisting the massage therapist, it can be challenging to effectively address the root causes of discomfort. Imagine trying to untangle a knot in a rope, only to have someone tightly clutching onto one end. It becomes a dance of conflicting forces, hindering the therapist's ability to manipulate and soften the muscles. Similarly, when clients hold tension and resist the therapeutic touch, it can impede the natural flow of the massage, limiting the potential for deep relaxation and release. Furthermore, while the intention to assist may stem from a place of kindness and cooperation, it's essential to trust in the expertise of the massage therapist. They have extensive knowledge of anatomy and various techniques to target problem areas effectively. When clients try to perform their own adjustments during the session, it can disrupt the therapist's rhythm and prevent them from providing the precise and deliberate movements needed to address the underlying tension. Similarly, when clients unknowingly or eagerly try to assist the massage therapist, it can create confusion and disrupt the seamless flow of the session. Moreover, holding tension and attempting to help during a massage can limit the therapeutic benefits you receive. As massage therapists, our goal is to help alleviate muscular tension, promote relaxation, and restore balance to your body. By holding tension or interfering with the techniques used, the effectiveness of the massage may be compromised, resulting in less optimal outcomes for your overall well-being. So, dear clients, we kindly encourage you to surrender control and trust in the expertise of the massage therapist. Release the holding tension and allow their skilled hands to work their magic. It's important to remember that massage therapy is a collaborative process. Your role as the client is to communicate your preferences, areas of concern, and any sensations you may experience during the session. This empowers the massage therapist to tailor the treatment to your specific needs. From there you can embrace the therapeutic journey with an open mind and receptive body. By doing so, you give the massage therapist the space and freedom to address your areas of concern and guide you towards profound relaxation and relief.

10. Unreasonable expectations

The realm of expectations is a delicate tightrope that we navigate as massage therapists. While we strive to provide the best possible experience, dear clients, let's discuss why it can be frustrating for us when faced with unreasonable expectations. As massage therapists, we understand the desire for relief, relaxation, and rejuvenation. We dedicate time and effort to perfecting our skills, staying up to date with techniques, and creating a soothing environment to enhance your well-being. However, when unrealistic expectations are placed upon us, it can create an unbalanced dynamic that hinders both parties' satisfaction. When clients have unreasonable expectations that surpass the limits of what a massage can realistically achieve, it can lead to disappointment and hinder the true potential for relaxation and healing. Each individual's body and response to massage therapy are unique. While we strive to alleviate tension, reduce pain, and promote relaxation, it's important to recognise that immediate transformations may not always be possible. Massage therapy is a process that often requires multiple sessions to address specific concerns comprehensively. Unreasonable expectations can also manifest in seeking specific outcomes that may not align with the purpose of massage therapy, such as expecting a massage to completely resolve chronic pain or provide a miraculous cure for certain ailments. While massage therapy can be incredibly beneficial and supportive in improving overall well-being, it is not a magical solution that can instantly fix deep-rooted issues or replace medical treatment.

Moreover, when clients hold unreasonable expectations, it can create unnecessary pressure and stress for both the client and the massage therapist. The therapist may feel inadequate or unable to meet these unrealistic demands, while the client may become frustrated or dissatisfied with the experience. This can lead to a strained therapeutic relationship and hinder the trust and rapport necessary for effective treatment. Massage therapy is a collaborative journey between the client and the therapist. By fostering realistic expectations, open communication, and a willingness to trust the process, we can create a harmonious and fulfilling experience.

11. Improper payment

In terms of payment and pricing, there is a delicate balance that exists in professional relationships. While we understand the desire for affordability, dear clients, let's explore why it can be frustrating for massage therapists when faced with improper payment, last-minute discount requests, or attempts to haggle the price. As massage therapists, we invest time, effort, and resources into our craft. We undergo extensive training, continue our education, and create a serene and welcoming space for your therapeutic experience. We carefully consider our pricing to reflect the value of our services and the quality of care we provide. When clients bring improper payment, it disrupts the smooth flow of the transaction and adds an unnecessary hurdle to the process. It can create confusion, delay the session, and lead to inconvenience for both parties involved. Similarly, when clients ask for last-minute discounts or try to negotiate the price, it can be disheartening for massage therapists. It undermines the value of our expertise and the investment we have made in our practice. It's akin to walking into a fine dining establishment and requesting a discount simply because it suits your personal preference. Hand in hand with pricing are the boundaries and fairness that come with it.

Massage therapists establish their prices based on various factors, including their skill level, experience, overhead costs, and market norms. By attempting to haggle or seek last-minute discounts, it can breed a sense of undervaluing their work and expertise, leading to dissatisfaction and frustration. So, dear clients, we kindly request that payment be conducted appropriately and respectfully, with the agreed-upon amount prepared ahead of time. We understand the importance of affordability, and if pricing is a concern, we encourage you to communicate openly with your therapist or seek out alternative options that fit your budget. By honouring the established prices and respecting the professionalism of the massage therapist, we can uphold a balanced and harmonious relationship. This ensures that both parties can focus on delivering and receiving the highest quality of care and attention during the massage session. It allows the therapist to dedicate their full energy and expertise to providing you with an exceptional experience. Furthermore, it's important to remember that massage therapists operate as small businesses or independent practitioners who rely on fair compensation to sustain their practice. Just like any other service-based profession, they have expenses to cover, such as rent, supplies, continuing education, insurance, and their own livelihood. Moreover, such requests can disrupt the therapeutic relationship and erode the trust and mutual respect that is vital for a positive experience. We understand that everyone wants to make the most of their budget, but it's important to approach payment and pricing with fairness and respect. Instead of focusing solely on haggling or seeking discounts, consider the value that you are receiving through the therapist's expertise, care, and commitment to your well-being. Investing in a high-quality massage experience can greatly contribute to your overall health and relaxation. Remember, the price of a massage reflects not only the physical time spent on the table but also the years of training, expertise, and the creation of a peaceful environment for your comfort. It is a fair compensation for the therapist's skill, knowledge, and the effort they put into tailoring the session to address your specific needs.

If you have concerns about pricing or are seeking more affordable options, open communication is key. Speak with the therapist in advance, as they may have alternative pricing options, package deals, or recommendations that can suit your budget without devaluing their services. Respecting their expertise and professionalism will enable a productive conversation that can result in a solution that satisfies both parties.

In the end, let us come together with an appreciation for the value and benefits that a massage therapist brings to your well-being. By honouring their pricing and conducting transactions with respect, we can foster an environment of trust, gratitude, and deeper connection during your massage experiences.

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, dear readers, understanding and respecting the needs and boundaries of your massage therapist is key to fostering a harmonious and beneficial experience and ongoing relationship.

By avoiding these common annoyances, such as excessive talking, holding tension, unreasonable expectations, improper payment, last-minute discount requests, haggling prices, and leaving negative feedback in Google reviews, we can create an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect, and enhanced relaxation.

Remember, the massage therapist's primary goal is to provide you with an exceptional therapeutic journey, tailored to your unique needs.

So, let us approach each session with mindfulness, gratitude, and a deep appreciation for the art of massage therapy. With that, we can cultivate an environment that nourishes your mind, body, and soul, leaving you with a renewed sense of well-being and tranquillity.

Do that, and your massage therapist will always be happy to have you back!

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Giada Labrecque Brainz Magazine

Giada Labrecque, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Giada Labrecque is an enthusiast and advocate for all things holistic and natural. As a massage therapist, she helps people every day with their aches and pains, offering real time help, remedial advice and practical self-care strategies. As a bus accident survivor, Giada has a great understanding of pain and rehabilitation. She has a great interest in natural pain relief, as well as natural immunity and stress relief solutions. Giada is the owner and operator of two massage based businesses in Galway Ireland, named She Kneads and Office Kneads. She is also the author of "Self-Care Solutions @ Work" and a public speaker.



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