Work Smarter as a Massage Therapist

If you’re a massage therapist, you probably know your line off work can be both emotionally and physically demanding. Some therapists can see as many as 30 clients per week, and the repetitive movements day in day out across a 40-hour work week can greatly increase the risk of burn-out or injury.

While your clients are booking themselves in for some rest and relaxation, it’s important you also listen to your own body and its limitations. Since you are limited by the amount of energy you have, finding an efficient way to deliver therapeutic results without taxing your body is crucial.  It’s essential to consider how to work smarter so you can turn your passion for massage therapy into a long and sustainable career.

Here are seven suggestions that can help you work smarter and not harder as a massage therapist. From massaging techniques to massage therapist insurance, this short guide can help you build a solid business structure and talk about some skills that’ll ensure you’ll be operating for years to come.

  1. Lean rather than push

Even for a deep tissue massage, massage therapy doesn’t take a great deal of strength. Rather, it’s about positioning and a little bit of finesse. Dropping your body weight and leaning in on your client is a great technique that uses little energy. This is opposed to exerting muscular force to generate greater penetration in the massage. Inexperienced therapists may try using their own strength, which can have reasonable success at the start. But the longer the massage goes and the more clients they see, they will likely realise that they are quickly tiring. This could result in unpredictable results for the client and may even heighten the risk of injury to the massage therapist.

Using your body weight to lean into your client’s tight issue is often less painful for the client and less strenuous for you. You will sink into the first tight layer and naturally deepen the massage as the muscles become less tight rather than forcing all the layers to relax from the start.

  1. Look after your tools

There’s a saying that goes, ‘never trust a tradie that doesn’t look after their tools’. And just like many other professions, massage therapists have many tools they use in order to get the job done. But rather than a wrench or hammer, massage therapists can use their own body as the tools needed to sort out the many different issues of their clients. So, it makes sense that massage therapists should pay special attention to them.

Your hands, fingers, and thumbs are essential when it comes to massaging your clients. But with many fragile joints to consider, your hands can take a beating if that’s the only tool you use. Spacing out your workload across the day can help give your muscles and joints a break. If it’s still too sore, consider using anti-inflammatory cream to relieve the tension in your muscles.

Your hands are not the only tool massage therapists can use. Massaging with other parts of your body such your forearms or feet can help reduce the load off your hands and fingers. Your forehands, for example, can be used to cover broader spaces as they have a wider area of contact. This reduces the time needed to massage large areas such as the back. Forearms are also great for leaning into the tissue due to the sturdy base of support it provides.

Even consider just using your fingers for more delicate areas such as the feet and head to ensure your tools are optimised.

  1. Ensure stretching is part of your routine

Stretching is an extremely important part of massage therapy.  It can help both you and your client for different reasons. For yourself, stretching before any physical activity is a good idea. So, it makes sense to put aside five to ten minutes before and after your massage to limber up. Stretching can help keep your tools (your muscles) flexible and healthy. Without it, your muscles will become rigid and tight, weakening over time. Considering some of the positions you will need to get into in order to perform a massage, it’s important to ensure the blood is flowing and that your legs, arms and back are relaxed.

For your patient, stretching is also important as it can often assist with the massage. It can be the first step to relaxing their muscles, resulting in a more therapeutic and deeper massage. Stretching can also assist with finding your client’s pain spots. Sometimes people will want you to massage away in a particular tight area. However, this is often a symptom of a different source of pain. Stretching can relieve these tight areas naturally so you can focus your time on the right spots that really need your assistance.


  1. Consider having protections in place

From a client slipping to giving out bad advice, massage therapists deal with a lot of risk when it comes to their workplace. And no amount of leaning or stretching will help you if you don’t have anything in place to protect your massage business against these risks. A claim made against you could be disastrous for your small business, so you may want to ensure you consider having protections in place.

Luckily, there is insurance for massage therapists that could protect you and your business if a claim were made against you. Here are three types of massage therapist insurance products to consider if you are looking to work smarter into the future:

Public Liability insurance*

While the risk of a client slipping or falling could happen in a variety of businesses, dim lighting combined with a relaxed atmosphere could mean massage therapists are particularly exposed to this risk.

Public Liability insurance is designed to provide protection for your business in these situations where a third-party is injured (and not covered by the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)) or sustains property damage due to your negligent business activities.

Professional Indemnity insurance*

Your clients could rely on your expertise as a massage therapist. If you give out the wrong advice and it results in financial damage to the client, you could be liable to have a claim made against you.

Professional Indemnity insurance can protect you against losses claimed by a third party due to alleged or actual negligence or errors in your professional services or advice.  Your Professional Indemnity insurance will meet the associated compensation payable to a third party together with your defence costs (which can include legal costs, investigator costs and expert fees).

While your job is to ensure your clients are rejuvenated and unwound, it is BizCover’s job to help you relax when it comes to your business insurance. Consider jumping online and compare multiple quotes from Australia’s leading insurers.

The bottom line

Working smarter as a massage therapist is about reducing the risks. You chose this career and are putting your body on the line, so try to look after it by using these smart tips in this blog. Equally, you are putting your business on the line whenever you operate. Be sure to consider protecting yourself against these risks too.

* This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.

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