Are you a massage therapist who's new or old in your practice and wanting to increase your client base? Many therapists may be unaware of certain things they're doing to sabotage their massage practice. If you find that some of these complaints apply to you, take it as a learning experience and make behavioral modifications. This will benefit both you and your clients and help to improve the professional image of massage therapy as a viable wellness practice.

1. Massage therapist who don't return phone calls. If you take too much time returning calls, chances are that the potential client will find someone else to take care of them. This can also happen with regular massage clients. If you think you are the only massage therapist out there for your clients, think again. If you keep them waiting too long, you'll be one client short.

2. Routine massages are boring and they make you boring. People know when you have a routine and its boring. They know you're bored and they will also be bored. People are smart and they know when you're interested in what you're doing. Make each massage unique to that particular client and their needs.

3. Don't forget their needs and or special requests. When someone says they have pain, ask them when, where and why. Ask them how much time they want on a particular area and give it to them. When you take care of people and they feel better, they will recommend you to others if they're willing to share you!

4. Unpleasant body odor is a big turn off. Seriously folks, you are working close to people so please smell fresh and clean. Keep your breath fresh and wear deodorant. Smokers, sorry but non-smokers would rather not smell your smoke break. Please wait until after work to have a smoke. No joke, this really upsets people. They may not say anything, they just won't return no matter how good the massage was.

5. Please be on time for your clients. Whether you're meeting at an office or going on-location it's important to be on time. Sometimes other clients will run late but let them know in advance that its important to begin on time so that the rest of your appointments will also be on time. You need to practice good time management and be clear on time tables. Let them know that if they are late, you still have to end on time. It's unprofessional to be chronically late to appointments. Traffic is not a good excuse, it shows you didn't plan well in advance.

6. Who doesn't dread a Chatty Kathy? Everyone relaxes in a different way. Some people sleep and some people talk during massage. Follow their lead but be sure to let them lead or dominate the conversation. Don't talk their head off. Remember that this is their massage and not true confessions!

7. Ouch, that's too much pressure. I can't remember how many people have told me about massages that left them bruised. Since the training requirements are so different from place to place, there's different views on how much is too much pressure. Listen to your client. If they say "Uncle" its time to ease up.

8. Wimpy massage is a bummer. If your client keeps asking you to go deeper and you can't, it may be time to lower your massage table. Having your table lower will require less power from your hands as you can lean in with your whole body. Your clients will be amazed at how strong you are and you'll save your hands.

9. Sharing personal problems is inappropriate. Nobody wants their massage to turn into a session of Dear Abby. If your client is conversing with you during massage, please keep the conversation light and geared towards them. If they ask questions about you, keep it brief, general and remember to turn the conversation back to them.

10. Making inappropriate comments make your massage clients uncomfortable. Sometimes you see something on someone's skin that may be a concern. But be careful not to make the client embarrassed or stressed during the massage, it sort of defeats the purpose. If you see a mole or something that you think should be brought to the client's attention, why not wait until after the massage and ask the client if they have someone to keep on eye on it? Also, when working on people of the opposite sex, certain comments can be easily misconstrued so be sure to avoid sending the wrong message to the person on your massage table.

If you're wondering why your clients are not coming back for more, one of these top complaints could be the culprit. Think about how your clients see you through their eyes. This is a great exercise in self-examination and a wonderful tool for personal/professional growth in your massage practice.

Author's Bio: 

Lea Johnson has been a practicing licensed massage therapist for almost two decades. She is now thrilled to share her no-nonsense advice to other licensed massage practitioners to help them find their own way into their practice or improve the one they have.