Skills of a great massage therapist
- Saturday, 04 June 2022
Understanding that sports and remedial massage is more than rubbing oil, we treat recruitment and training very seriously. There is nothing more precious than our health, so Fulham Massage & Wellness aims to offer top-standard service and the highest value for our clients.
I have been part of the reception and recruitment team for over 6 months now, and I’ve been lucky enough not only to receive numerous treatments myself, but also to gain first-hand experience in what goes on behind the scenes of the fascinating world of Massage and Wellness.
We understand that every therapist is unique and so will be the experience with them, as each one brings to the treatment their own style and personality. So how can we answer our question, how can we define a great massage therapist?
Well, first things first, we need to cover the basics. Of course, being a massage therapist requires specific preparation and our basic requirements are that all our therapists are at least qualified in Sports or Remedial massage and that they are members of a UK-approved massage association that guards the standard of the industry. Most of our therapists, however, are actually university graduates and this by itself creates a higher sense of expertise and professionalism across the staff. We also offer an extensive in-house training and coaching program so that each of them can grow and develop skills, unlocking their full potential so that they become experts in a wide range of massage techniques.
The technical side, however important, is not the only factor we consider when assessing what makes a great therapist. There are several “hands-off skills” which are nevertheless crucial for a complete and successful profile of an excellent massage therapist, which we would like to share with you:
- Trust and Safety
When receiving a massage, clients share a part of their intimacy with their therapists, and this requires mutual trust. Clients must feel absolutely comfortable and safe in talking about their conditions, confident that they will receive the most appropriate treatment, tailored to their specific needs. The very act of laying on a massage bed can make one feel vulnerable and out of control, therefore it is paramount that clients and therapists establish a good relationship, in order for the formers to feel taken care of in a safe and healing environment.
- Client understanding
Very much related to the previous point, establishing a great relationship starts with the ability of the therapist to ask the right questions during both the consultation process and the treatment itself. We provide a consultation form where clients can highlight any particular conditions or areas they would like their therapist to focus on, as well as stating the intensity of pressure they prefer. This, however, wouldn't be enough as empathy, intuition and understanding from the therapist are the key components that make the real difference when offering an excellent service. At any point of the session, each kind of feedback (verbal or non-verbal) from the client is being factored in by the therapist so that they can constantly fine-tune their approach.
- Great hands-on techniques
We do require that all our therapists have great hands-on techniques and that they are competent in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. As mentioned, Remedial and Sports massage techniques are important to us, as well as massage skills that facilitate relaxation and a “feel-good” factor, like Swedish massage or slower Deep Tissue massage techniques. Very often during sessions, we realize that a mix of different massage styles is necessary in order to help the body heal, rather than just one type of treatment, therefore we always aim to adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach.
- Client education
Of course, we are all passionate about massage therapy and can go into a great deal of detail when talking about its benefits for health and well-being. This doesn't mean, however, that our therapists are unnecessarily “geeky”: on the contrary, part of their role is to make sure that they can explain in a clear and confident way to clients how massage therapy works and how it can help with unique conditions. We do want to promote relaxation and well-being, not boredom or confusion!
- Demonstrating care
As well as explaining the benefits of massage therapy, it is important that our therapists are able to empower our clients and support them throughout the entire massage journey. A one-off treatment can help, however, massage really works as a course of treatments. We are fully aware that consistency and regularity are important factors in the healing process, therefore we do require from our therapists the ability to have a vision and plan a series of massages with their clients, showing them their progress and the results they want to achieve together. This also includes all the aftercare advice like stretching exercises, posture tips, or suggestions on how to stay hydrated, in order to maximize the therapeutic effects of each session.
- Ethical rebooking
Seeing the same therapist on each session can be helpful, as there is an established relationship and a pre-knowledge of the client's condition. However, we do have our clients' interests at heart and this means that all our therapists are fully committed to provide the most efficient advice during the rebooking process, helping our clients find the most appropriate appointment each time, even if it means recommending another therapist. The ultimate goal is clients' well-being and satisfaction and this can only be achieved by giving a treatment plan that brings optimal results.
What about gender?
Being a part of the reception team, I have also received multiple questions from our lovely clients on whether the therapist’s gender makes a difference on the type and execution of the massage. First of all, we must state that we do respect clients' preferences when booking an appointment, as some of us simply might feel more comfortable with one gender in particular when receiving a massage. In terms of the quality of the treatments, however, we believe that the therapist's gender doesn't have an impact, as both female and male therapists can usually apply the same amount of pressure. In fact, pressure application has very little to do with an actual physical strength or body size, it’s usually a skill that is influenced by the technique used, response to the client’s tissue, and more importantly, the therapist’s body position during the treatment!
We are looking forward to seeing you soon!