15 Things Not to Say to a Massage Therapist


So please refrain from unnecessary comments, please.

So please refrain from unnecessary comments, please.

I could only imagine what all the licensed therapist must be thinking right now, remembering things clients/ potential clients have said to us. Some of them make us laugh, disgusts us, and downright perplex us. Here are some of my faves. NOTE: This is not meant to offend or come off as “angry”or sound “unprofessional”… Therapists are humans too, and we often dont voice the untold side of being a therapist. 

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(1) How long have you been a masseuse? (Or how long have you owned your parlor?) I can usually tell when a person innocently asks me out of curiosity, or if they are trying to make assumptions about my career. Massage therapists as a whole have worked extremely hard to shake off the negative connotations that come along with the phrase “masseuse.” And a “happy ending” is definitely NOT a legitimate request during a massage, or at any time for that matter, and it is NOT funny. We often hear, “What all do you massage? Do you massage ALL appendages, etc.” Therapists do not take lightly to those sort of jokes. A massage therapist has passed a national certification boards test and is qualified to evaluate a patient (or client in spa/gym settings) for musculoskeletal dysfunction and treat them accordingly within their scope of practice. We have had extensive training in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, pathology, and both business & moral ethics. A Massage Therapist is usually required to carry their own MALPRACTICE INSURANCE. The term “masseuse” is generally icky, degrading, offensive and has sexual references.

On a more serious note, I would highly recommend reading up on human trafficking, and how victims are often forced to worked in “parlors.” Here is a good article outlining  Fake Massage Businesses.  “Women found in brothels disguised as massage businesses typically live on-site where they are confined and coerced into providing commercial sex to 6 to 10 men a day, 7 days a week. These locations operate as commercial-front brothels that claim to offer legal services such as massage, but they actually primarily provide commercial sex.” I will delve more deeply into this issue in another post.

(2) You’re too tiny to do deep tissue massages! Or “you can go as deep as you want.” Do not underestimate my strength! It’s just concentrated since I am only 5 feet tall 🙂 Just because a client says “deeper, deeper” doesn’t mean that damage isn’t being done. Some therapist aren’t fully trained on deep tissue modalities and do not properly warm up the muscle tissue before working on it. I would highly recommend you ask for credentials, references, or recommendations when looking for a deep tissue therapist. I think we can determine what is the best treatment and course of action for your muscle tissue. Just because you are “macho” doesn’t mean deep is what you need. Allow me to use my expertise to develop your treatment plan.

(3) Do you do prostate exams/ massages? Oh. My. God. REALLY? Do I look like a medical doctor to you?! I hope that was the last and only time I will ever be asked that. I can massage your glutes if need be, but no fingers or other objects will be inserted. Maybe you should go get the check out by a real medical doctor. Also, my eyes are located on my face.

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(4) Can you be more erotic? See #1. Also, you think I would do anything for free? Do not kid yourself- I am not privileged to be on your presence. Also, you could never afford me even if I wasn’t a licensed professional with student loans and over 750 hours to prove it. Why don’t you go take your wife out for dinner or take a girl out on a date? My god, get it for free from a love interest. Real men do not need to buy! Also, real men have respect. So get lost.

(5) So what do YOU wear during a massage? Why would this even matter? You are face down half the time, and the other half of the time you have a herbal eye mask over your eyes. Perhaps you should check your local Craigslists posts, creep. I once had a friend tell me that a therapist she knew had a client bring her a Hooters outfit to wear during his massage since he was a regular client and it was his birthday. He left it on the chair and when she came in, he asked her if she would wear it for him since his wife didn’t allow him to got o Hooters anymore. She said, “Sure, let me try this on!” and immediately told the office manager about his special request and asked him to promptly leave. Granted, there are worse outfits that Hooters, but still! Have a little bit of dignity people.

(6) So, who massages YOU? When can I give you one?! (they will often offer to “trade” with you after asking this.) My go-to answer is usually something a long the lines of “Well, a licensed therapist with at least 500 hours of training, passed the state exam, and who knows exactly how to perform a therapeutic massage and understands the importance of self-care.” Or I just laugh and say, “Take a deep breath and relax.”

(7) Can you rub my shoulders for just 2 minutes? Do you do free trials? Do I *look* like I am in uniform and on the clock? You don’t work for free either, jerk. Do you ask a medical doctor or tattoo artist or a chef for samples too? No thanks. I am not catering to your needs outside of my office or work environment. I have a life, too. If you want a “trial” then you are paying the same price as everyone else. I don’t have time to waste when I have other clients who will gladly pay me full price and what I’m worth. I do not need your validation, thank you! Now if you are a regular client of mine and has expressed loyalty to my business, then I will gladly upgrade your service if it’s a special celebration or birthday. But let me get this straight:Just because you are picky (like everyone else tends to be, myself included) this does not mean that you are ENTITLED to free, cheap, or discounted service.

(8) “I want the prettiest therapist available.” Since when do looks have anything to do with education? I agree that all therapists should look professionals and well put together, but in no way does being thin, big boned, tall, short, etc have and effect on how we passed our state exam or perform our jobs.

(9) Oh, no! I forgot to shave my legs. I don’t care. In fact, no therapist really cares whether you shaved or not. Men do not have to shave, so why should women? Of course I use less oil on a client who is shaved, but unless your fur is so thick that I cannot see your skin underneath, it’s really not a big deal at all. In fact, I even had one client tell me that she ONLY shaved for me and not even her husband! I got a good laugh out of that. How flattering!

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(10) “Sorry I’m late. I still get my hour, right?”
Uh, no. No you don’t. There are other clients I need to accommodate right after you, and I am not pushing back a whole day’s work and sacrificing any chance of a social life just because you left your house late. Traffic? It’s always terrible in Baton Rouge. No excuses – your credit card is on file and will be charged regardless. Late on a holiday? Don’t even get me started. ESPECIALLY trying to bail out on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day is absolutely unacceptable. You will get your service from the time we originally booked, so it’s your choice to arrive promptly. And if you arrive 30 minutes early, this does not entitle you to an early appointment either. Being late, consistently, is extremely rude and inconsiderate, especially since other workers are contractors and come only when they are booked and do not sit around all day to accommodate you if you decide to bless us with your presence. Bail on your appointment and you will be billed/ charged. Accidents and emergenices happen: that’s life. Just give us a call/ text and let us know. “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.”

(11) Do I HAVE to be under the sheets?! I’m Not Shy! Yes, the client has to be draped at all times. Each state differs in draping laws, but for our comfort and the client’s modesty/ respect, you will indeed be draped for the entire time. I know what genitalia looks like and believe me, I have no interest in seeing yours, like it’s something special. Oh, you’re feeling warm? Allow me to lower the thermostat or turn off the table warmer, or even take the blanket off while leaving the top sheet. But if you’re looking for some lame excuse to try and expose yourself, that ain’t happening. Also, curing your toes around the sheets whilst trying to pull them down discreetly doesn’t go over too well with me either. You will receive a prompt elbow on the groin for that one.

(12) The pain is lower, lower…. See #11. This is why I assess your posture and problem areas in a detailed consult before we start the session. Think you are being slick? Allow my bony elbows to put you in your place.

(13) Your boyfriend/ husband/ girlfriend must LOVE being with you. They are so lucky! Or “I wish you lived with me/ will marry me/ were my girlfriend.” Or “I love you.” ARE YOU SINGLE?! No. Just, no. A significant other has to book a massage during business hours and pay full price for the service. And usually my loved ones will be referred to another therapist. A simple “I appreciate you” or “I feel so relaxed and stress/pain-free now” will suffice just fine.

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(14) Can you give me (cheaper) Groupon price? I’d rather kill myself. Not really. But I would rather stick my head in a vat of boiling lava than have to deal with another entitled, unappreciative, unnecessarily needy, and uneducated Deal Hopper. What you are paying for on the 3rd party promotional sites is quantity, not quality. I refuse to work on coupon hoppers. I am all for helping out a client and making custom packages and helping them to set goals. I once had a client tell me, “I need you to validate why I should pay you $50 for a half hour massage if I can go online and get a cheaper 1 hour massage off of Groupon for less than half the price.” I told her that I am a filet mignon, not a McDonald’s burger, and that I can accomplish in a half hour what would take most therapists 4-5 full hour sessions to do. Obviously I was exaggerating a little bit to make a point… I let my service and returning clientele speak for itself, and if you think you are going to back me into a corner and beg for your business, you are highly mistaken. Needless to say, her husband was the one receiving the massage for his excruciating back pain, and he re-booked with a package of massages, wrote me a thank you card a few days later, and tipped me very handsomely since he hasn’t felt that much pain relief and improved quality of sleep in almost two years. Now… you wouldn’t go around asking for the cheapest tattoo artist now would you? Walk into the Ritz or even Massage Envy and see what they tell you. Don’t try to take advantage of us independent therapists – we know what we are worth and charge accordingly. Want a deal? Buy a package! I love helping people reach their goals – and I will work with you, but be willing to help yourself as well.

I could really go on and on about how deal sites work, and rant about my dislike for the deals itself, and how the people behind these customers have the same traits as leeches. I have included some links below outlining how incredibly detrimental Groupon, LivingSocial, and other daily deal site are to small business owners, especially in the service industry. Generally speaking, we take at least a 75% paycut if you are using a daily deal voucher. Not to mention the high increase of negative online reviews associated with a Grouponer’s unrealistic expectations. Everyone loves a good deal, but please take the time to educate yourself on how your local businesses contribute to the bread and butter of the economy and research how these promotions really work.

“The classic Groupon deal requires a discount of 50%, after which the merchant and Groupon basically split the revenue (after the merchant pays the credit card fees and waits around for its check). This arrangement ultimately gives merchants about 23 cents for each dollar after discount and fees.”

Here are some good links:
http://massagepracticebuilder.com/groupon-for-massage-therapist/

http://www.zcosmetichealth.com/botox/groupon-daily-deal-sites-bad-business-worse-customers/

http://salonmarketing.com/living-social-emailed-me-today/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/modern-wellness-spa-groupon_n_1819711.html

https://www.swipely.com/blog/bad-groupon-5-merchants-spill-the-beans/

(15) Have you seen “The Client List”? Of course I have seen it. Do I tell a client that? Absolutely not. I say I don’t have time for TV since I am running a professional business and making a legitimate career for myself. I understand why many LMTs get angry over the show… but COME ON. It’s a fiction Lifetime show. But seriously, Jennifer Love… We know you can afford some decent false eyelashes… Those glue on strips are unacceptable. And I would kill myself if I had to massage someone in heels. The shows is no longer on air…. Keep your fantasies to yourself, perv. Also, the brother- in – law is damn sexy!

 

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Also, do not linger after your appointment and stare at me creepily. I have other clients to accommodate, and I have just enough time to change the linens and re-book your next appointment. And NO, I will NOT go out on a date with you. I’d rather pay my bills and get rid of your muscular pain than have you ask about my personal life in an awkward situation.

With all that being said.. I really really do love my career, regardless of the challenges and obstacles and VERY interesting clients and spa experiences that I will be posting more about.

 

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3 responses to “15 Things Not to Say to a Massage Therapist

  1. Oh, man. I don’t get asked a lot of these, but I have heard some horror stories over the years from other therapists. Keep up the great work, and don’t worry about people who don’t want to pay what you are worth!!

    • Those clients aren’t of value to me. I’ve been asked much worse! Can’t wait to keep writing more about my experiences as well as my friends’! Feel free to first blog one day 😉

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