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In this Post: Have you ever utilized chair massage for business growth? If not you are missing out on a golden opportunity to introduce potential table clients to your nurturing touch. Learn about cautions, pricing, and supplies needed to perform this type of massage.
During my career as a massage therapist, I have given a fair amount of chair massage. I’ve done paid and free chair massage events. Chair massage at sporting events, as part of employee incentive programs, at music venues, when people have injuries that prevent them from lying on the table, and at conferences. The places you can perform chair massage are endless, as well as the different audiences you can reach!
There are many benefits to this method! It can be an effective, non-intimidating way to introduce people to massage, promote your business, and easily donate to causes you feel passionate about.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I far prefer table massage! However, this doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in chair massage. I find myself quite frequently utilizing this technique. It is a great tool that can serve you well as a massage therapist! Teasing people with quick little introductions to your healing touch can often be the catalyst that convinces them to book a full session.
Regular physical touch is something that we as massage therapists find as essential as air or water. However, many people are not so comfortable with this type of intimate touch. The idea of having a stranger touch them may even creep them out. Insert chair massage and you can gently guide potential clients towards the more therapeutic experience of table massage down the road.
Chair Massage For Business Growth
To Charge Or Not To Charge
When you are trying to utilize chair massage for business growth, the question of whether or not to charge for chair massage depends on your desired outcome, your audience, and your own personal preferences. I frequently find myself flip flopping between payment structures based on my intentions.
Often I will have an employer or parent/teacher organization pay me to come for a set period of time. If this is the case, I generally do not accept tips.
Sometimes I work only for tips. This might be at a fundraiser or a sporting event. During times like these, I have been known to even have a drawing for a free one hour table massage. One lucky individual who gets to experience the real deal!
My trick with doing this is I do not randomly select who wins the massage. Instead, I choose a person I resonated with during the massages, the person who I think is MOST likely to become a regular client. Eleven years ago, I used this exact trick of hand-selecting my winner. To this day, I have a husband and wife who religiously come to see me once a month. They are some of my biggest fans! They share my name often, book appointments for their friends and family, and most importantly, regularly see me.
Less frequently, I’ll set up my chair at an event and charge the individuals receiving the massage. In my experience, I end up making more when I work for tips than when I have a set rate. I also tend to convert better when the initial contact is not with a fixed rate. For these reasons I tend to avoid charging a set price at an event.
And lastly, I occasionally have clients come into my office who prefer chair massage. Usually, this is because of a physical condition that restricts them from comfortably laying on a massage table.
Figure out what it is that you want to achieve from doing chair massage. Are you trying to promote goodwill towards an organization you believe in strongly? Are you trying to drum up business for your office? Or are you simply trying to make cash from a more transient audience?
Once you get clear about your intentions, it will be much easier to figure out pricing.
One other thing about pricing. I often see therapists advertise $1/minute for chair massage. This can work, but sometimes it can present problems. If you have only one client who wants a 15-minute chair massage, it can be a lot of work to set up to only make $15. One effective solution I have seen is $1/minute plus $15 to mobilize. In other words, anytime someone schedules a chair massage they will automatically be charged $15. Then every minute of massage will tack on an additional $1/minute. Therefore that 15-minute chair massage in the above example goes from $15 to $30. I don’t know about you, but I can get a lot more excited to mobilize for $30 than I can $15.
Supplies You Will Need For Chair Massage
- Paper towels
- Spray cleaner
- Hand sanitizer
- Music source
- Face cradle covers (for years I used paper towels, recently I have upped my game and started using fabric)
- Promotional material (DO NOT FORGET YOUR PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL! One of the best things about doing chair massage is the ability to get your name out there. Don’t miss this golden opportunity because you forgot to bring your stack of business cards!
Cautions Around Chair Massage
In the ’80s, when chair massage became popular, practitioners began noticing a strange occurrence. Syncope or near-syncope (fainting), while not a frequent occurrence was happening with enough frequency to be noted – especially when compared to its relative non-existence when giving table massage.
Fainting or “syncope” is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness.
While there are a lot of theories as to why this problem might occur, there is not really one definitive reason that this event occurs in every client. Answers range from having a history with blood conditions, to not eating enough food, to high heat, to not sitting correctly in the chair.
If you have ever had someone faint while giving them a chair massage, you know how scary it can be!
It doesn’t matter as much what the cause is, as how you handle the situation. It can be super scary to observe someone losing consciousness beneath your hands! It may even seem like your client is seizing (though typically they are not). How totally and completely overwhelming!
So how do we step ourselves off the ledge? The “What have I done?”‘s or “What do I do now?”‘s to remain truly present for our clients?
In spite of the unknown cause, there are precautions you can take to try to mitigate their occurrence, as well as ways to handle yourself if the situation does arise. Because if you have ever been there, you know it can be quite scary!
What To Do If Someone Faints While You Are Performing Chair Massage
- The first step is we must remember to keep breathing ourselves. Maintaining a calm disposition as the PROFESSIONAL during this time can ultimately determine how stressful this event becomes.
- Gently hold the client on the chair while they regain consciousness. Making sure to support them through the whole incident and well into their recovery period. Not only does this help prevent them from falling and you hurting yourself, but it also allows them to feel safe and comforted as they “come to.”
- Spend some time calmly explaining to them what happened, exploring the causes, and assessing what needs to be done next.
- Get the client food and water.
- When possible, release them to a trusted friend or family member who can help observe them. While most often these clients resume normal activity pretty quickly, it is never a bad idea to have an extra set of eyes on them while they “re-enter.”
- Document what happened. I always think it is a good idea to document situations like this. Note things like alcohol consumption, weather, activity before the massage, (anything that seems pertinent).
I’ve heard the statistic that 1 in 1000 will faint when receiving a chair massage. This is a pretty high occurrence. Because of that, it is crucial to stay vigilant, and even if you have never experienced it, be cognizant of what you would do if the situation ever arose. This observation on your part can have dramatic effects on how calm a situation remains!
Now, I hope I haven’t scared you too badly with the cautions of chair massage! Chair massage can be an excellent tool for business growth as a massage therapists. Getting out there and being seen is often a huge hurdle for massage therapists marketing efforts. What better way to be seen than by showing off the actual work you do? People will be able to see and feel the passion you have for massage. Who knows, you could gain some really valuable table clients!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008
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