I recently saw someone doing chair massage where I could not believe my eyes – I felt like going over and giving the therapist a ticket! ☺ This person was loading up her hands with oil. Then she actually took her hand and suddenly plunged her hand down from above the neck, under the receiver’s shirt and seemingly in random fashion to massage the skin under the shirt!
But chair massage – done well – is one the very best ways to succeed in growing your practice. It is an incredible example of what’s called “risk reversal” in marketing.
You may know you are a good therapist. But the client does not know that. When we ask people to see us, we are asking them to assume all the risk.
They risk –
- Taking their clothes off and being worked on under the sheet
- Going into a treatment room alone with someone they don’t know
- Spending usually an hour or more in the therapy session. You have generally to sign up for a whole session.
- Receive a session that may or may not expertly address their concerns.
- Paying anywhere from $40 to $150/hour – it can be quite an investment of money, time and energy.
On the contrary, with chair massage –
- They don’t take their clothes off.
- They are in a public place where they have less fear of the therapist possibly being inappropriate. They acquaint themselves with the therapist publicly first.
- They are committed usually to just 15-30 minutes. This way they get to meet the therapist and sample the work before they invest more time and more money.
- They often expect only relaxation, not, for instance, thorough orthopedic manual therapy. They have, usually, the expectation of relaxation, which are generally somewhat easier to fulfill. Done skillfully you can accomplish much of what many clients need and want in as little as 15 minutes.
- Paying just $1-1.50 per therapy hour – so usually not more than $45 for a half-hour.
By the way, as far as your marketing goes: many of ways to market yourself cost money and/or time to get any result. With chair massage you essentially get PAID to market yourself and to spread the word about your practice.
All that said, I am amazed at how many people do not have really good, thorough chair massage skills. I have, more often than not, gotten just o.k. sessions. When the therapist is well trained, professional and sensitive, this is an incredible modality.
At our school we started bringing in, nearly 30 years ago, the first teachers under the founder of Chair massage (and of the massage chair itself!) David Palmer. We have been privileged that Cindy Anderson who studied with these teachers in 1991, teaches a fantastic chair massage protocol. Because Cindy is also a superb, experienced shiatsu instructor, she brings a wealth of understanding to her teaching of Chair massage that makes it an active and powerful modality for you and for your clients benefit.
As with all forms of bodywork, you owe it to your clients to be really GOOD and to know thoroughly what you’re doing. This is the great opportunity within Cindy Anderson’s systematic and inspiring Chair Massage workshop later this month, on May 7-8.