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Reasons to Hate Your Massage

October 8, 2018

I’ve gotten a lot of massage in the last 17 years. From students, new practitioners, well-seasoned therapists and instructors. I’ve gotten massage in spas, clinics, school, trade show floors and home offices. I’ve been worked on by practitioners who knew I was also an MT and by those who had no idea.

Of them, there are just a handful that I remember as truly spectacular. Yeah, I’m a persnickety client. When I’m slapping down my money, I am super picky and highly critical. Check out this list of massage complaints I’ve wracked up in my years as a massage consumer.  (The complaints are mostly in my head, I haven’t always expressed them to the therapist or establishment. More on that later.)

  • The therapist didn’t me instruction on what to wear/not wear or how to place myself on the table.
  • There was no knee or ankle bolster.
  • The room was too warm.
  • The room was too cold.
  • The music was too loud.
  • The music was too soft.
  • There was no music.
  • The music made me want to dance.
  • The massage table was hard.
  • The face cradle didn’t adjust.
  • There were no tissues in the massage room.
  • It was noisy, I could hear other clients coming and going.
  • The therapist didn’t address my neck/shoulder/knee or whatever I specially requested. Or they did address it, but didn’t spend enough time there.
  • Or they spent too much time there, but skipped the secondary issue I pointed out.
  • Or they spent too much time there, overworked the area, and I was bruised and sore.
  • The therapist used too much pressure.
  • The therapist didn’t use enough pressure.
  • I asked for more or less pressure and the therapist acknowledged my request but didn’t actually change the pressure.
  • The therapist told me to breathe through the pain she was causing.
  • She lifted the sheet way up when I turned over, making me feel exposed and cold.
  • I made a request to adjust the heat/music/pressure and the therapist seemed put out.
  • The therapist’s hands smelled like cigarettes.
  • The therapist used a ton of oil and left me greasy after I requested that not happen.
  • Cheap, low quality massage oil or lotion.
  • Got scratched repeatedly by long fingernail.
  • The therapist used a scented product without asking me.
  • The therapist sniffled through the whole massage and I’m pretty sure her nose dripped on my back.
  • The office was dirty.
  • I used a gift certificate for a 60 minute massage and upgraded to a 90 minute massage. I was charged the full price of a 30 minute massage ($50) and not the $20 balance between a 60 minute massage ($80) and a 90 minute massage ($100). I’m still pretty pissed about that one.
  • The therapist sold nutritional or health products or gave advice out of their scope of practice.
  • The therapist commented on my tattoo/stretch marks/apparent fitness level.
  • With no warning, the therapist left the room in the middle of the treatment, then came back. Never said why.
  • The therapist made fun of me for snoring.
  • There was no hook or stool for my clothes, had to just pile my clothes on the floor.
  • The therapist told me the names of all of our colleagues who she had treated.
  • The therapist spoke negatively about other clients.
  • I saw her take cream from a bowl that was clearly used with the client before me and obviously cross-contaminated. Ditto that for tubes that haven’t been wiped off.
  • The tube or bottle of lotion was noisy. Every time they went for more. Every. Time.

With all this said, let’s take a moment to appreciate that I’ve also given some lousy massages in my career (mostly at the beginning, I hope). I’ve probably even committed a bunch of the offenses I complain about.

Moreover, I also realize that many, many of my complaints could have been resolved quickly if I had spoken up. Sometimes I do. Other times I feel like it’s futile. That’s on me. Kinda. It’s also up to the therapist to create an environment where I feel comfortable speaking up. That hasn’t always happened.

But my long career as a really picky client is part of what makes me a better massage therapist now. More importantly, it’s what makes me very receptive to your feedback. I know how annoying it is to put your money and time into a massage and not feel satisfied with the experience. I know what it is to leave a massage office feeling like the therapist missed that ‘one spot’  between my shoulder blades that I really wanted worked on.

When you tell me the pressure is too much, I won’t ask you to breathe through it. I’ll back off and find a better way to treat the area. If you’re cold, or warm, or hate the music, I’ll make it better. When you tell me, I won’t be annoyed or put out. I will not think you are high-maintenance. If you make a short conversation and I get too chatty, I will not be offended if you cue me to hush up by saying, “Okay, I’m gonna be quiet now so I can enjoy this massage.”

When you make a request, I will be utterly pleased that you are speaking up, so I can make the experience perfect for you. For reals.

See you on the table soon!

Tags: arizona, az, corey, hate massage, love massage, massage, massage in surprise, surprise, vital kneads, vitalkneads


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