5 Massage Red Flags: When to cancel your appointment or cut it short

5 Massage Red Flags

When looking for long-term massage therapy, it’s important to look for a massage therapist and a clinic that makes your health and wellness its top priority. Massage is technically a healthcare service, but it’s also on a gray line between therapeutic care and spa service. As such, not everyone is in it to take care of people. Some view it as a commodity to be sold, or have some other intention a million miles from caring for your health. These warning signs should help you avoid wasting your time and money with a therapist or a clinic that won’t meet your needs.

You don’t like your therapist
It’s a simple thing. It sounds petty, but it really isn’t. You need to have a good personal chemistry with your massage therapist. If you are coming in for a massage treatment as part of a healing regimen, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable consenting to be treated by your therapist! You want a practitioner who will see you for the whole person you are, regardless of how much or how little healing you need. You want that person to be able to freely offer you both their skill and their compassionate care. If you’re personally uncomfortable with them, that will come through, and your care will be compromised.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel your personalities mesh, or if you just feel uncomfortable with a therapist, it’s best move on or try to reschedule with someone else.

Not sure if your therapist is going to be a good fit for you? We’ve provided a whole series of blog posts and videos so you can get to know the therapists of The Good Life Massage a little better.

The hard sell
You know it when you see it: it might be a coolness in the way someone sees you. Maybe your brain is unconsciously picking up on some whiff of contempt or condescension from them. If you sense this when coming in for therapeutic massage, don’t hesitate for a moment to do something about it.

 

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See this look? If you catch that look on someone’s face, even for a moment while they’re interacting with you, watch yourself. Someone who has contempt for you will do you no good as friend, business partner, lover, or even as a massage therapist. Photo: davidwolfe.com

Massage chains are notorious for this. They offer you a low rate in their window signs, but this turns out to be an introductory rate, designed to get you in so they can sell you on an annual contract.

Now, to be fair, massage chains can be staffed with dedicated professionals. Most massage therapists get into the business to truly help and heal people, not just collect a paycheck. But the nature of the massage chain system tends to promote “salesy” behavior on the part of the therapists. Sure, they’re saying you need to come in for massage x times a month. But since you’re about to be pitched on an annual contract, committing you to so many massages a month, can you be sure they’re not just trying to meet a quota?

The truth is, chains aren’t really there to sell massage: they’re there to sell memberships. If all you want is a regular, but casual experience, it might be a good fit for you. We discussed chains in an earlier post, so check that out for more information to help you make a decision.

Chains aren’t the only culprits, however. Individual practitioners or clinics of all shapes and sizes can be more motivated by the bottom line than the wellness of their clients. Watch out for the hard sell, or any sign at all that they’re more concerned with getting to the wallet in your back pocket than getting to the knots in your back.

Um … is this a brothel or a massage clinic?
Unfortunately, massage has a reputation for being a euphemism for sexual services. Since prostitution is illegal in most states, many “massage parlors” aren’t licensed clinics, and are fronts offering anything but therapeutic treatment.

Do they take cash only? Do they not give you any intake paperwork to fill out the first time? Does the massage staff seem to be exclusively female and scantily clad? Are they open late into the night with a mostly male clientele? Not only should these things have you looking up someplace else to go, you might want to notify the police. Such places operate illegally, and are often involved with rape trafficking (also known as sex slavery or human trafficking).

And certainly, if a massage therapist touches your breasts or genitals, or makes unwanted romantic or sexual advances, you should leave immediately. This can sometimes happen, even in legitimate clinics, but you have the right to stop the session short. Call the police if you’ve been sexually assaulted.

You instantly feel worse when you walk in
Any massage therapist working hard to give their clients a good massage will be conscientious about making their clients feel thoroughly welcomed and safe. Is the place dirty or unkempt? Does it feel less-than-private or unsafe?

Keep in mind that the clinic doesn’t have to be in a posh neighborhood to be legitimate, staffed with skilled, caring therapists. But if you don’t see any effort on their part to make you feel welcome, how much care are they going to offer if you’re coming in for regular treatment and healing?

As you’ll see when you come in to The Good Life Massage, we’ve worked hard to create a peaceful, healing space for all our clients. Our clinic is ADA compliant, and all our rooms are completely private. Clients have told us they feel an overwhelming sense of safety at The Good Life Massage, and that’s no accident.

They don’t listen
Say you’re having your first session. You’ve told them before you started that you don’t want your feet worked because they’re too sensitive–but they work them anyway. Honest mistake, right? But what if they do it again? Or what if, for every request, they either ignore you or forget what you’ve asked for?

Move on. Your massage therapist should be fully present with you in the session, listening to your wants and needs, and should be willing to customize the session to suit you.

They aren’t present
Are they chronically late for appointments? Do you catch them texting or using their phone while they’re working on you? A good therapist will give you and your healing their full energy and attention. Don’t tolerate a caregiver who doesn’t care. We don’t at our clinic, and neither should you.

At The Good Life Massage, we have a diverse, caring staff that show up dressed like professionals, and will treat you professionally. What’s more, our emphasis is on healing and relaxation. We train our staff to give you compassionate care first and foremost. You won’t be hard-sold on anything. So when your therapist says you need x number of massages a month, you can trust that they truly believe that’s what would benefit your health.

If you need regular massage, but need a break on the price, we offer prepaid massage packages. If you buy 5 massages at once, you get a sixth one for free. It’s simple, there’s no contractual commitment, and no expiration date.

Book your next massage with us today!

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to give your business a boost with brand and logo development, or with social media by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

Are you afraid of getting a massage from a man? Why gender doesn’t matter in massage therapy

When you get right down to it, the gender of your practitioner really makes no effective difference.

While it’s true that there are some good reasons for objecting to getting a massage from a male practitioner, my hope in this post is to at least open your mind to the idea, and question whether your objection is really as big as you think.

-With my eyes closed quote

I was a little reluctant to get a massage from a male practitioner for the first time myself. I had only ever been worked on by female practitioners at GLM (we have only had female practitioners until recently). Then, a male intern came in and I got on the list for a free session. I think of myself as open-minded and willing to try things, so I didn’t outwardly flinch at the idea of getting a massage from a man.

But inwardly? Yeah, I admit it. I did flinch a little.

After I got on the table, I realized my reluctance was completely silly. It helped that the intern in question was highly skilled and is going to have a great career in massage someday. (What I got for free will one day cost hundreds of dollars, I am certain.)

As I felt his hands on me, I realized that it’s a lot like getting examined by a male physician. This intern was there to take care of my health: period, final. There was no other motive or intention behind his touch, and every move he made spoke to his high level of skill and professionalism. With my eyes closed, I couldn’t tell the gender of my practitioner, and I didn’t care.

Why?
So why is it that I was so hesitant? What held me back? And if you have a problem with getting a massage from a man, what’s holding you back?

There’s no denying that there’s an intimacy in massage that is matched by few other kinds of health treatment. You are being touched in places few people even see, let alone touch. The trust involved in letting a stranger work on your body is hard to over-state. But let’s put the brakes on a few false ideas right now:

Clinical massage is not sexual
While massage therapy has a reputation for being a sexual service in some circles, that is emphatically not the case at a clinic like The Good Life Massage. What we offer is a relaxing, healing service in a clinical setting. While it’s true that massage can be pleasurable, in no way is clinical massage intended to be an erotic experience.

We meet and exceed Washington state law regarding proper draping techniques. Further, our practitioners are expected to be completely professional. They will not initiate sexual touching of any kind, and will end a session immediately if sexual touch is initiated or requested by a client, either implicitly or explicitly. Any misconduct in this area is grounds for immediate termination and possible legal action.

We don’t discriminate, and neither should you
The Good Life Massage is an equal opportunity employer. We do everything possible to hire the very best practitioners we can find, and gender is never a factor in that decision. Period.

If you need a massage, don’t you just want the best possible care you can find? If you need your appendix out, are you going to balk if your surgeon is a certain gender?

After my massage with that intern–feeling like my entire back and core muscles had been effectively replaced with brand new ones–I felt a little bit silly for feeling that tug of reluctance at seeing a male practitioner.

In fact, I’ve been back many times to see our newest practitioner as of this posting, Charlie Fadness. Charlie is our first male practitioner, and I wish we could have brought him on sooner. I feel like a million bucks after every session with him.

But still …
If you still object to seeing a male practitioner, we completely understand. We don’t want to pressure our clients into doing anything they don’t want to do. But there are a few things you should take note of before coming in for the fist time.

State your preference
If you feel strongly that you prefer a male or female practitioner, let us know right away. We can keep that information on record so it never becomes an issue. If you’re booking over the phone, our front desk staff will try to make it clear with whom you’re having a massage, but we won’t bring the issue of gender up if you don’t. It’s on you to state your preference and ensure it’s being honored. Read your confirmation carefully and be sure to call us more than 24 hours prior to your appointment if you need to reschedule.

Book your next massage today.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at http://www.TGunnWriter.com or on Twitter @elmanoroboto

Know Your Practitioner, Part VI: Charlie Fadness

Know Your Practitioner is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage practitioner. If you aren’t sure which of our talented practitioners would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are, both personally and professionally. This is Part 6 in the series. To learn more about our other therapists, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

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We’re pleased to introduce you to Charlie Fadness, LMP. Charlie is highly skilled, and comes to us with a great facility for deep tissue work, and can get good and deep with the pressure if that’s what you need. Being fairly new, Charlie isn’t our busiest therapist as of this posting, but we’re confident that will change soon; his clients are already starting to come back for more. We sat down with Charlie to talk about his experience, his inspiration, and his motivation for working in massage.

View the video version of this interview below:

Tell us a little something about your personal life: hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.
My name is Charlie Fadness. I’m born and raise here, living in Seattle most of my life, kind of jumping around a little bit, kind of going towards south, then kinda coming back to Seattle. My hobbies right now are spending time with family and friends, and then occasionally gaming on my computer from time to time. When I go out with my friends, I usually either try to either catch a bite to eat, or go to the movies, or kind of try a new activity. Our last activity was going to an archery range and then going out for dinner. That was really fun.
Tell us about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?
As a kid I’ve always done massage, just kind of massaging my dad’s back, and my older sister would always make me massage her hands and feet before she went to bed. So I was always doing massage in my life. But the one thing that kind of triggered it was I was playing volleyball with a friend, and we were playing and she injured her shoulder. And I really wanted to figure our what was going on in the muscles. So I was kind of feeling around and seeing what was going on in there, but I couldn’t really find out what was going on. But I really wanted to know. So I believe that kind of sparked it all, really.

Before The Good Life Massage, I started at a chiropractor. That was my first job. I was excited! It was fun. And then slowly I moved over to Massage Envy just because the hours were a little bit better. Working at The Good Life Massage, everyone is kind of one big family. Everyone gets along. The atmosphere is really great. The clients are really great.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?
My favorite part about massage has to be the clients, because each day you walk in the door, you don’t really know what you’re expecting, so it’s like a whole new challenge every day, which I really like. I’m not a big fan of the “go to this job and you only have to do this set of things and not much really changes. So, when you’re in an atmosphere where everything changes, even by the minute, it’s really fun and exciting. You never know what you’re gonna tackle.

What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?
One of my strong points in massage right now is going and finding knots. I love working out the knots, and a lot of clients have told me I just kind of know where they are, and so they’re really fun for me to work out, and it brings a lot of tension release for the client.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.
If I could pick a superpower, I think I would pick flying, because if you’re invisible, you can still be invisible. If you can fly, you can get to distances really quickly. So I just feel like it would be like soaring through the sky like a bird. It would just be amazing, and the views and the landscapes would all be amazing and breath-taking.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.
Right now, as for health for myself, I’ve been really trying to eat healthy–rarely going out to eat, making all of my dinners, making all of my lunches. So that’s really be healthy for me. And drinking a lot of water and starting to exercise a little bit more, and you really feel that. Eating healthy nowadays is really important for the body just because of all the chemicals and stuff that are in the food, and sometimes when you go out you don’t really know what’s inside the food. But when you’re at home making it, you know exactly what’s inside the food. I feel like it’s a lot more beneficial for our bodies.

Is there a client you’ve worked on who stands out in your memory? Someone for whom massage made a big difference?
One of my clients that I’m seeing now has benefited a lot from massage. She would always wake up every day and have to kind of pop her hip into place. That really irritated her until her friend recommended massage. So she went in one day and I was working into her glute muscles and her hip muscles and she felt a lot of relief. She didn’t have to pop the muscles in her hip all the time, and she was really happy. I took quite a long vacation, and when I came back, she made me feel so welcome. The first time she saw me after I came back she was jumping in joy. So that made me feel really happy and excited inside.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …
I wish my clients knew how important their bodies are, and how we influence the muscles in their bodies, and just kind of moving things around–that can benefit them so much.

Thanks, Charlie!

Book a massage with Charlie today through our website, or give us a call.

425-243-7705

Please note that Charlie is unable to perform the aromatherapy enhancement due to an allergy.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing at The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at TGunnWriter.com or on Twitter, @ElManoRoboto

Know Your Practitioner, Part V: Tianna Hull

Tianna Hull Promo - Facebook

Know Your Practitioner is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage practitioner. If you aren’t sure which of our talented practitioners would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are, both personally and professionally. This is Part 5 in the series. To learn more about our other therapists, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

 

We’re pleased to introduce you to Tianna Hull, LMP. Tianna (as in, “Would you like some more tea, Anna?) comes to GLM with experience primarily in treatment settings. Like our co-founder, Amy Gunn, Tianna is a graduate of the Utah College of Massage Therapy. Her enthusiasm for her work is as infectious as her smile. Her dedication is inspiring. As of this posting, she’s only been on our schedule for a few weeks and is already building a loyal following of clients. We sat down with Tianna to get to talk about her life, her work, and what makes her style of massage unique.

Tell us a little something about your personal life: hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. I do art, music, dance. That’s why I like massage. It’s rather artistic and creative. I went to school for massage therapy in Utah so that I could help my mom who was sick for a really long time with fibromyalgia and still is, but massage has been a great healthcare thing for us, and it’s something that I like to bring to others to help change their lives too.

Tell us more about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?
My mom and I were going to doctor’s appointments for ten years: every week, monthly to the hospital because she was in so much pain, and we couldn’t figure out what was going on. So they had her on all kinds of medications and nothing was working. So she started seeing some massage therapists, and that seemed to help her relieve some of that stress and pain that she was feeling. So it dawned on me that if I actually wanted to help her get better, that I should go to massage school, and we should just try and help her heal by doing that.

 
What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?
A lot of things! The people, mostly: the people I work with, my clients. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, where they come from, what they do in life, and everybody’s so different. Every massage is different, and that’s what I like about it. I’m never bored. I never have to want for variety in my days. There’s always variety.

What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?
My clients have often told me that they always feel very relaxed, centered, and more stress-free when they leave. So that’s what I kind of build my practice around is making sure they get that relaxation time as well as doing really productive work. I like to make sure that we’re making headway on whatever physical ailments they have. I’d say that’s what it is. They always leave feeling better.

Other than that, I’ve had clients say I do really great head and face work, so I guess if headaches are a concern, I might be the practitioner for you.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.
Flying, for sure. Those are the best dreams I have, when I’m flying and get to go anywhere in the world. I always like to think about things from a different perspective. To be above the land to see things from a different point of view would be really cool.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.
Nutrition. I don’t know enough about it. That’s something I always like to learn more about. I think health is based in nutrition. The more nutrition you’re taking in, the easier it is for your body to heal. So when we do massage, we’re creating inflammation to help heal the muscles, but if you don’t have enough nutrition for your body to actually do that repair, you’re not helping yourself. So I always try to eat healthy and make sure I’m drinking plenty of water. That’s number one for me.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …
…how much I care about them. Or, I wish my clients knew truly how beneficial massage therapy is.

She has a lot of time on the schedule, but the sessions are filling fast! Book yours today.
As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the Marketing Director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @ElManoRoboto or on his website at http://www.TGunnWriter.com