Etiquette


The following are my opinions, but are mostly based on the typical and the traditional.

(Your mileage may vary!)

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Customer, Client, or Patient

  • "Customer" is generally reserved to refer to the person you sell goods to.
  • "Client" is generally reserved to refer to the person you provide services to. This is appropriate usage for service you receive from most Massage Therapists.
  • "Patient" is generally reserved to refer to the person you help to heal. This is why I refer to you as my Patient. I have a genuine interest in your health and healing.

Please be Courteous

I earn my livelihood through my manual therapies and coaching. I make a point to be available for you for your scheduled time; You should have the same courtesy. Patients who change or cancel their booking at the last minute (or worse, are a No Show), cost me money that I cannot make up. This is because other patients may have already been turned away for that same time slot, or it will be impossible to acquire another patient for that time slot on such short notice. As a contract worker, I do not show up for treatments unless I have Patients booked, and it is not fun to have to sit around because someone was inconsiderate. Like most therapists, I am paid an often small percentage of what the patient actually pays - overhead is high - so if you do not pay for your scheduled service, I do not get paid. There is a policy of charging for missed sessions or last minute (same day) changes, for this reason.

Arrival Time

Please arrive early for your session. If you are a new patient, the Front Desk will want you to fill out a bit of paperwork, which may take up to 15 minutes. If you are early and I can do so, I will start your session early, which might allow additional session time for you, or allow me to catch up on other "housekeeping" tasks before my next session, which is greatly appreciated. If you show up late, your session may still have to end at the scheduled time, especially if I have another patient scheduled back to back with you.


Please note that your scheduled session time includes everything from the time you are brought back to your room until you leave that room, such as undressing, dressing, and pre/post-treatment discussion.

What are your Expectations?

Always tell me your Expectations. Yes, I can find and treat a lot of issues just by what I feel. However, if I spend all my time treating tight muscles in your legs, when your concern is the lost feeling in your arm, even though it's beneficial, it may not be what you want. I am not a mind reader, so I will often ask. If I do not, then please tell me, anyway.

What Else should You Tell Me, Your Therapist?

Everything, actually. The reason is that there are reasons not to provide treatment, whether to a local area, or to an entire person. If you are taking medications, over the counter meds, or even recreational drugs, I need to know, or else you may be injured. I need to know if you use pain killers, hormone creams, or patches. Do you have specific injuries, surgeries, or diseases? Each has special considerations. Sometimes, it's as simple as changing or limiting my approach. If I feel I cannot appropriately treat you, I will do my best to suggest alternatives or a referral.

Should You Tip?

The truth is, Massage is a "Tip-able" service (in the 20% range). However, you are never obligated to Tip, and I never provide my services with the expectation of a Tip.


It is a shame that many therapists and service providers feel it is their right to receive a Tip, even for substandard service, when the intent should be to reward for superior service. Perhaps a double insult is that some therapists will also withhold their best service if they think they are not going to get a Tip, or that you are not going to return in the future.


There are a few clinics and individuals who refuse Tips altogether. One hopes that these therapists are not in the same position of some other service industry workers (i.e. wait staff, especially) who require their Tips in order to make a reasonable living.


Here is my Personal take:


I appreciate Tips as they are a measurable way to know I am living up to my Mission Statement:

“Get It Done; Do It Well!”


I use Tips to help pay for additional training. I consider it a way to give back to those who placed their trust in me. (Our Massage Associations require 10 Continuing Education Credits per year. In my first year, I had more than 270 Credits, more than most receive in their entire career.)


If you feel that my efforts warrant a Tip, yet you are confined in some way by your finances, you might consider providing a Testimonial. (You might consider it anyway!) A Testimonial lets you tell me (and others), in black and white, what you think of my service, knowledge, attitude, and more, which can also be valuable (to me and to others).


And Referrals and Rebookings are ALWAYS appreciated!


(It is also appreciated that if you Tip, you Tip me directly, so that I know who the purveyor of goodwill is. The Front Desk does not keep records of who provides Tips and in what amounts, and it is always nice to know who is appreciating me that way. Thanks!)

What about Free Services?

Free products/services may be provided either by Me, the Therapist, or by the service business itself, and should always be considered discretionary.


Sometimes, I will provide a free tennis ball, for example, so you can do the homework I assign you. If I know I do not have to finish a session on time due to back to back bookings, I may provide some additional therapy time. I believe such bonuses are usually more appreciated by the patient when I provide them than when they are assigned by the service business.


In some cases, when the service business provides an extra for free, it directly affects my earnings, because I still have to be available for that time, yet I receive no pay for it, and I cannot be available for other patients during that time. In these cases, it is appropriate to Tip up to the full value of the free service provided, to cover that time. Of course, if you do not want the free services when offered, it is best that you say so at the time your session is booked, rather than on arrival or when you meet Me, your Therapist.

Should you do anything Before you Arrive for your Session?

I make an effort to have good hygiene at all times. I would appreciate that you extend the same courtesy. Treatments are best given and received when both the therapist and patient are clean. If necessary, please arrive early and ask to clean up a bit before your session - clean cloths and towels can be provided for you.

What should you Wear for your Session?

  • Most types of Massage are generally best received naked - I cannot properly massage what I cannot properly touch. I am a professional and you will be properly draped at all times. If you feel your modesty has priority, remember that this is your session, and you are free to wear whatever you want - just be aware that it may limit what I can do. (I have one patient who wears a rather complicated bra which is a tangle in the back, many who wear everything from a string bikini or thong (best for massage) to bicycle shorts (worst for massage), and even a few who wear socks. Your reasons are your own, and I do not judge. By far, however, most patients are naked - and covered!)
  • Myoskeletal Therapy does not always use draping, so workout clothes are most suitable. You need to be able to move, or I need to be able to move you, and it is not always practical to drape for it.
  • K-Taping may be done draped or undraped, depending on what is being done, so the same dress as for Myoskeletal Therapy is appropriate.
  • TMJ Massage (if that is all that is being done) can be done fully clothed, though a loose fitting top is suggested.
  • Shiatsu sessions are normally done with the patient wearing loose fitting clothing.
  • Then there is Jewelry and Makeup - please try to leave it all at home (particularly so it does not get lost, left behind or messed up), or at least remove it before the session. Depending on what it is, it can get tangled or broken, and may cause lacerations or other injuries. At the very least, any oil will attract dirt, so you might want to wash jewelry with soap and water later. It's much simpler to avoid the hassle in the first place.

It's All You!

Your session is all about YOU. If something is not right, please say something immediately so that, if possible, it can be corrected or accommodated. Do not worry about hurting my feelings - You won't! I make accommodations and changes for Patients all the time. (But it does hurt my feelings if you complain to someone else instead of telling me first - I can't do anything about whatever it is AFTER you finish the session.)

How Many Treatments Will You Need?

The definitive answer is: "It depends."


If you want a maintenance schedule, you will probably want a session every 3-4 weeks.


If you are having any number of issues and want to heal, you should have sessions as often as possible until the issues are taken care of. Of course, it will not be multiple times each day, or even every day, because you want to ensure you have healed from the effects of the treatment (i.e. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)), which is expected the day after anything more than a Relaxation Massage). So, probably as often as 2-3 times per week. I usually assign homework to my patients, so my expectation is that between the treatments and homework, your progress will be fastest with a more aggressive schedule.


I realize that most (all?) therapists have been taught to come up with a specific treatment plan for a Patient. Some will take advantage of this to book more sessions and make more money. My desire is to help you heal, and no one can know in advance how many treatments, how often, will accomplish this. Therefore, as a Team, You and I will evaluate your issues at each session. We are always looking for improvements, and if they are not happening, other approaches may have to be considered. If you want to get better at sports, you train more often - If you want to get better at healing, you get treated more often. Beyond that, the actual schedule is your decision. All I can do is provide the best advice and treatment I can, when You are with Me.


Some people do not accord the same esteem (if you will) to therapists as they would, say, to their family doctor, so we are sometimes not taken as seriously. My priority is your health, and I will not string you along. If I am not helping you to heal, why would you bother to continue booking with me?

Scrubs or Not?

Today's Massage Therapist is in a constant battle to distance himself from the massage parlors that are nothing more than legalized prostitution. For that reason, I dress professionally, according to health services standards, and that usually means black scrubs and comfortable black shoes. Sometimes, I find scrub tops to be too confining for certain techniques, so I may switch to a clean t-shirt or tank top at times, while retaining the scrub bottoms.

Masseuse?

Do I look feminine? Masseuse is the OLD term for a Female Massage Therapist. Similarly, Masseur is the OLD term for a Male Massage Therapist. Just as I wear scrubs to distance myself from questionable practices, I also prefer the more professional term, Massage Therapist (or, even better, just "Therapist"), for the same reason.

Cell Phones

I expect that you would want your health care professionals to not be distracted by their cell phones. Similarly, your cell phone can interrupt your treatment if it is left on. Can you visualize a surgeon putting everything on hold while he updates his Facebook status?

But... But... But...

Please! I am a Health Care Provider, and a Professional. I have probably seen and heard it all.


"But I'm a male and..." "But I'm a female and..." "But I didn't shave my legs today and..." (Guess what: Neither did I!) "But I have this deformity and..." "But I'm overweight and..." "But I'm too skinny and..."


All you need to do is bring a clean Body, Mind, and Soul (and a good attitude!). Seriously!