How To Deal With Clients Who Grind On Your Massage Table

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Have you ever had one those situations where someone starts to squirm on your massage table right when you’re a few minutes into the session?  Anyone who’s been doing massage for awhile has come across  a few of these.  Its never fun because its awkward and you just want to give a great massage.  The person on the table is probably hoping for more and you know that’s not going to happen.  So how do you handle this situation?  You can pretend nothing is wrong and try to bear it for the next however many minutes or you can take control of the situation.  I don’t know about you but the most painful massages are those that you can’t wait for to be over. It seems that when you’re watching that clock the time seems to drag on forever.Apparently, there’s a whole set of signs, signals and language to watch out for in those who are looking for more than a massage, but that’s for another article.  Here, I will discuss how to get the grinding under control.  First of all, I like to ask “Are you okay?”  That sometimes kills their buzz unless they say “Oh Yeah, just keep doing what your doing.”  When they say that, its time to take control.  Here’s exactly what I do to diffuse these situations and its important that you follow the first step exactly.

How To Handle Awkward Massage Requests
  1. Remain calm.  The best thing to do is not get upset.  When you get upset, you’ve completely lost control of the situation. Act dumb like you have no idea what they are trying to accomplish.
  1. Ask them very matter-of-factly if they are in pain.  They may stop squirming or they may say no and to just keep doing what you’re doing.  If that happens, go to the next step.
  1. Say very matter-of-factly that when they stop moving, you’ll start massaging.  This usually does the trick.  Sometimes unfortunately you have to spell it out and tell them…
  1. “It’s next to impossible to massage muscles that are working” and you are not interested in injuring them or yourself.
  1. If all else fails, let them know it isn’t going to work out and the massage treatment is finished.

In the early years of my practice, I had to deal with some ugly and rather awkward situations which I am now well prepared for.  So my best advice as with any situation is to stay in control at all times.  This is about having confidence and keeping yourself safe in this profession.  The best way to stay in control is to keep the emotion out of it and be very matter of fact in your communications.  This will usually diffuse things very quickly and you will be respected by the other person for handling things in a professional and respectful way.  No kidding, I’ve had people apologize for acting inappropriately and thank me for being a professional.

 

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Working as a full-time licensed massage therapist for almost twenty years, I have some insights and advice for helping other massage therapists to find their way.