Experience is perhaps the single most valuable asset in any profession. Talent is worth a lot, as is luck and determination. But really, it’s experience that sets the true professionals apart from the rest. Massage therapy is no exception – the more experienced massage therapists have worked on every different body type, and have worked to address countless different physical ailments in people. All of this experience adds up to better instincts, more reliable techniques, and better results overall.
That’s not to say that you can’t receive an excellent treatment from a less experience massage therapist – especially if they’ve graduated from a reputable massage therapy school. Therapists who are still in the early phases of their career are often eager to put their skills to the test, and if they’ve had the right instruction, they can deliver highly professional treatments with good consistency.
But there are mistakes that are commonly made by less experienced therapists, and as a potential massage therapist (or as a patient), it’s important to know about these mistakes. That’s how you get better at avoiding common pitfalls in your own practice.
Here are 3 rookie mistakes often made by massage therapists today:
1. Not adjusting pressure
The level of pressure is a notoriously difficult thing to get right. Every patient has their own preferred level of pressure, and sometimes firmer or softer pressure is the right therapeutic choice. A good therapist will encourage the patient to get to know their own comfort levels, and to be vocal about whether they want more or less pressure. For whatever reason, many patients don’t speak up when they’d like a pressure change, so experienced therapists will often ask to make sure.
2. Talking or other distractions
When a patient lays down on the massage table, they expect the full attention and care of the practitioner. Rookie therapists (or badly-trained ones) will often answer phone calls, step out of the room for a bathroom break, or be distracted any other number of ways. If you’re trying to build a reputation of happy clients who recommend your services to people they know, this certainly is not the best course of action. Being attentive and present throughout the entire treatment is one of the hallmarks of an experienced practitioner – and if something does come up, you make sure to add the extra time at the end.
3. Not keeping the room and supplies in excellent condition
A patient should feel like the room is fresh and new when they walk inside. Many therapists are overwhelmed at first, and they forget to create that professional, orderly atmosphere that sets the stage for a productive therapeutic massage.
How to establish solid fundamentals in massage therapy
If you’re in the early phases if your journey in the field of massage therapy, you might be wondering where to turn for reliable instruction and training. There are a lot of massage therapy schools out there, and many of them are very good – you will receive excellent instruction rooted in real world practice and solid theoretical understanding. But there are also schools out there that don’t equip their graduates with a full range of skills. Looking for the massage therapy school in your area with the best overall reputation in the community is one good place to start.