Websters Dictionary (August 1995) defines etiquette as: (n.) the conventional requirements of polite behavior; proprieties of conduct; good manners.
How does etiquette apply to massage and the clients? There are many factors to consider when you schedule an appointment with a professional massage therapist.
Keeping Your Appointment
First, be on time or early for your appointment. If you are late arriving for a massage appointment, you may not get the full amount of time allotted for your massage. The therapist may have another appointment scheduled after yours. It is not polite to make the next client wait because you were late arriving for your appointment.
Most massage therapists are paid on a commission basis. They receive a portion of the fee you are charged for your massage. When you fail to show up for your appointment, the massage therapist does not get paid. He/she will have to sit around waiting for the next appointment. That time is lost and no money is made.
If you must cancel your appointment, please do so with as much advance notice as possible. Most massage offices ask for at least 24 hours notice. If you can give more notice that you have to cancel, please do so. It allows more time for that appointment slot to be filled.
Some massage offices require pre-payment for new client appointments. This is done because 70% of “no-shows, no-calls” are new clients. While other offices will not take an appointment from someone who has previously had a “no-show, no-call”. I believe every case needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. I realize that sometimes an emergency arises and the massage appointment is not the first thing in the persons mind.
At Full Throttle Massage, Inc. we only require pre-payment if a person is a “no-show, no-call” two times. This is done to prevent our therapists from losing money.
Listening To Your Therapist
When your therapist does the initial interview before the start of your session try to focus on what is being said. I know this may seem difficult to understand, but many clients are in such a hurry to get the massage started they do not hear what the massage therapist is saying. I have had people start undressing at the beginning of the interview; forcing me to leave the room without the information I would like to have from the client.
There are certain things that must be covered by law, along with the therapist needing some history as to the clients complaints. If you are just wanting a general relaxation massage, this is OK. But if you have some pain that you are wanting relieved, your therapist must know some important information. You must listen and answer all the questions the therapist asks, to the best of your ability. The outcome of your massage depends on this.
Another common problem from clients not listening before the massage is the way the client lays on the table. Depending on what the client is in need of, may determine how the therapist wants to start the massage. All therapists can start a massage whether the client is face down or face up on the massage table. But the specific treatments the therapist has planned may require the client to be in a certain position at the beginning of the massage. Your time is wasted if the therapist has to request that you turn over to begin the massage.
Tipping Your Therapist
Most therapists can and will accept tips. Even though you are paying for your massage service, your therapist will only get a portion of that fee. If you are happy with the massage you received then offer a gratuity. Your therapist will appreciate the tip you leave for him/her. Unlike restaurants, there is no set customary gratuity fee for massage. Generally 20% of the regular price of the service you received is the standard amount to leave as a gratuity.
Your professional massage therapist takes great pride in his/her chosen profession. They are there to offer help, try to make you feel better, and give you the relief from pain, stress, and anxiety. Any sexual misconduct by the client is a huge insult to the therapist. This means offering or asking for sexual favors. It is not only against the law, it is very offensive towards your therapist.
Sometimes a male client may get an erection during a massage. This happens when the client is in a very relaxed state; not because he is sexually excited. Although this may be embarrassing for the client, it is not considered sexual misconduct. A good therapist will go on with the massage and make no mention of the erection. If the client makes any gestures or references about the erection, then this becomes sexual misconduct and the session will be immediately terminated.
Respect Your Surroundings
This means using your “library voice” from the moment you enter the massage facility. Some buildings have thin walls and a loud voice can carry through; disrupting somebody else’s massage. DON’T bring your child to your massage and expect the child to be watched by the office staff. I never thought I would have to say that, but experience has taught me differently.
The next time you make an appointment remember to follow good massage etiquette. Arrive early for your appointment. If you must cancel, give as much notice as possible. Listen to your therapist. Leave your therapist a gratuity if you feel they deserve one. Do not insult your therapist with any sexual misconduct.