So, you’ve finally found your favorite massage therapist and you’re delighted. After months, maybe even years of searching for “the one” you can breathe a sigh of relief, at long last the search is over. You have a few wonderful sessions and then poof, they’re gone! The business where you found them says they no longer work there and you feel devastated. You may even try to convince the receptionist at the front desk to give you their information but it’s like hitting a brick wall. I feel you, I’ve been there and it stinks.
Massage Therapists are a rare breed of humans. I mean we actually want to touch strangers for a living, who does that? Rock-star nurturer types that’s who. On top of that we can actually fix stuff in your body, sometimes completely eliminate serious pain. It’s a heaven sent when you find a Massage Therapist that communicates well, looks professional and can help you with your bodily pain. It’s a trio that unfortunately most therapists just don’t have.
I was once heartbroken for a past client I had lost touch when I worked at a spa. When we reunited she told me that she had desperately searched for me for years, “I can’t believe I found you again!” she told me. It was the making of a therapeutic love story. The truth is that Massage Therapists leave places for many reasons, below I’ll list some of the top ones.
It’s a problem when a business employs too many therapists and not enough work to distribute. As in any profession,you have top producers and savvy business owners keep their therapists by offering good to excellent compensation. Massage therapists that are paid a low wage or are consistently asked to not come into work will soon find employment in a busier locale. As a massage therapist we know that our schedules fluctuate however a business has to maintain a healthy traffic of repeat and new clients for the therapist to justify staying. There are companies that start massage therapists at an hourly wage that barely compensates for the physical exertion that giving a massage demands. In larger cities, where the cost is high a therapist might be tempted to seek another career for the same hourly rate but less demanding work on their bodies. I haven’t met a therapist yet that wants this outcome. However when their first impression out of spending thousands of dollars in a massage training program is slaving away in a dark room for the same amount an office worker makes, it makes it easy to leave the career. Sadly, most therapists are not exposed to other options and assume this is all a career in massage therapy could ever offer.
The other reason therapists leave is boredom. Places that enforce protocols ( a step by step routine) and don’t give the therapist freedom to massage from a place of intuition will suffer a high turnover. Now, there are newer therapists that enjoy the security of a routine, however no one likes to feel as through they are doing the same work day in and day out. Where is the creativity and the excitement? Massage Therapists are drawn to either challenges or the opportunity to comfort. Those that enjoy clinical work (such as myself ) love a good injury to work on. Others that are more sensitive truly enjoy catering to the needs of clients that desire to feel good again. Massage is extremely versatile, it’s a blend of art, science and intuition and while we enjoy some structure, confining a Massage Therapist to the same routine everyday will have them leaving very soon.
Low Quality Clients
The last reason I’ll mention is when a business attracts the wrong clientele. Massage Therapists enjoy their work but they don’t enjoy feeling as though they are servants or when people are not considerate enough to practice good hygiene before they arrive. A simple act like freshening up before your appointment (wash your feet) makes a Massage Therapist feel valued. Lastly, ( I swear this is the last one) massage therapists leave when they are only serving deal hunters. These are people that don’t understand the concept of massage as a healthy habit and a wellness lifestyle practice. They have no loyalty and therefore do not engage with a Massage Therapist the way a therapist would love. Massage Therapists (the awesome ones) truly love what we do but when the previous reasons listed are prevalent, they easily hand in their pink slip and head off to another career or greener pastures.
So, what can you do to hold on to your favorite therapist? There is very little you can change about the work environment but when you visit let them know their work is appreciated. If possible, tipping a customary 15-20% of the service fee always feels amazing and of course refer others to them. This encourages your therapist feel as though their work is good and that they are helping others. If they are an employee,this won’t guarantee that they won’t leave the place that you found them but by practicing these tips you can contribute an incentive to helping them stick around.
Michelle Orchid Rodriguez is a wellness lifestyle blogger,educator and an independent Licensed Massage Therapist. Her mission is to promote a higher quality of life for others through her work in therapeutic massage & promoting healthy living. She is the founder and CEO of Lumina Massage Inc. in Miami Lakes,Florida. Lumina Massage is a specialty massage company that focuses on neuromuscular therapy for pain management and advanced prenatal bodywork.