Whether you’re a seasoned massage therapist or new to the profession, the pre-massage client consultation is one of the most important parts of the process. Here are some key questions every massage therapist should ask.
Have you been to a massage therapist before?
This will help you gauge your client’s level of experience with massage therapy. For more experienced clients, it’s important to follow this up by asking what they liked or didn’t like about past therapy sessions and if they were treating any injuries.
Do you have any pain, soreness, or specific areas you’d like to focus on?
Many clients seek massage therapy to help with muscle pain and soreness but it’s important for massage therapists to know where it hurts and why. If your client indicates areas of pain, be sure to ask follow-up questions to get to the bottom of the source. It can also be helpful to ask what the client does for a living. A sore back from sitting at a desk all day will have different needs than a sore back from standing all day, lifting heavy objects, or chasing after toddlers.
Have you had any recent injuries or accidents?
This question is crucial for any massage therapist to know. Whether it’s a recently healed sprain, a herniated disc, or a recent car accident — some injuries can be made worse by certain modalities.
Do you have any health conditions (including pregnancy) or allergies, and are you on any current medications?
Massage therapy can be wonderful for the body and mind and unsurprisingly, many clients may not think twice about seeking a massage for relaxation or pain relief when dealing with a health condition. Unfortunately, certain health conditions, allergies, medications, and even pregnancy can be contraindicated in certain instances.
Circulatory disorders, a history of blood clots, or a client being on blood thinners can mean the client needs a lighter touch or may need to wait on having a massage. Allergies to latex or essential oils can change the way a therapist preps the room or handles the client. And lastly, pregnant clients always require special handling.
Do you exercise or play any sports?
This question will help gauge any potential problem areas your client may have, whether they’re experiencing pain or not, and help plan the best course of therapy. Massage techniques will vary for someone who runs marathons versus someone who’s into CrossFit or lifting heavy weights. Similarly, if your client plays golf, is into gardening, or enjoys other physical hobbies or sports, it can be helpful to know.
Communication is Key
While it’s important to ask your client all of these questions and be well-informed before heading into a therapy session, it’s equally important to make sure your client is also informed and at ease. Be sure to ask them what questions they may have, make sure they understand the process, and check in with them periodically to make sure they are comfortable, especially if it’s their first massage. These tactics will build a trusted client relationship — hopefully for a long time!
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