As a massage therapist, the benefits of massage may seem to be so obvious that you think that all you have to do is mention what you do for a living and people will ask for your business card and arrange for an appointment. Unfortunately, most people only have a vague idea about the benefits of massage. However, there are so many benefits that it’s hard to wrap it up in a one-minute elevator speech. That is, unless you mention that you “specialize in stress relief.” This is something that everyone understands immediately from personal experience.
What Is Stress?
Stress can be either eustress or distress.
Eustress is good stress. You experience eustress when you slam dunk a ball perfectly into a net, feel “pumped up” before a meeting, or get a child out of the way of a speeding car. During these moments of stress, adrenaline boosts your heart rate, cortisol spikes up your blood sugar, and blood moves away from your digestive organs.
Distress is bad stress. When you have this type of stress you frequently have insomnia, chest pains, high blood pressure, upset stomachs, fatigue, low sex drive, muscular tension, aches and pains, and headaches. These physical manifestations of distress may be either frequent (happens often) or chronic (happens all the time).
If left untreated, this stress can result in your immune system breaking down and disease.
Usually, when people talk about stress and anxiety, they are referring to distress.
How to Notice Stress
As a massage therapist, you should get good at noticing stress.
When people are stressed they either have angry outbursts or withdraw socially. They also tend to either overeat or under eat. Stressful people often try to mitigate the effects of stress by using tobacco, indulging in drugs, or abusing alcohol.
Stressed-out people tend to show anxiety, irritability, anger, and restlessness. They may also lack motivation and find it difficult to focus and concentrate. Two common symptoms of distress are sadness or depression.
How Massage Therapy Helps Stress
When speaking to prospects about how your massage can relieve stress, here are a few things you could mention:
- Massage therapy can lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure.
- It can relax muscles.
- It can increase endorphin production.
- It can release serotonin and dopamine.
- It can promote calmness and relaxation.
- It can relieve acute stress.
- It can reduce cortisol levels.
- It can normalize insulin levels.
Promote Your Business As “Massage Therapy for Stress”
Besides talking about your business as a wonderful way to reduce stress, you should also have a fully-equipped office, rather than just a table, some sheets and towels, and some lotion. Once clients see your professional set-up, your business will grow through word-of-mouth.
A fully-equipped office will have the following things:
- A massage chair and table. The table should have an adjustable headrest, arm and foot rests, and neck bolsters.
- A good selection of creams, lotions, and oils. Include organic products, as well as hypoallergenic ones, too. You can even get a massage holster so that you don’t have to go back and forth between the massage table to a storage rack when working on someone.
- Lots of towels and sheets.
- A CD player or iPod, relaxation CDs, and candles to set the mood.
The Business of Massage Therapy
You have to remember that the knowledge and skills you spent so long acquiring to become a massage therapist is just the beginning. For you to make a good living from it, you also need to learn business skills—like where to advertise or promote your business, how to describe your business in a few words to interested people, how to create ambiance in your own office space, and how to show professionalism with collateral marketing materials like business cards and brochures.