Drama Queen Massage Clients

We all need to be listened to, but sometimes, that need can actually obscure communications. Take care not to be misled when a client gets carried away responding to your intake questions. Massage sessions typically begin with a question from the therapist to the client along the lines of “What would you like to work on today?” or “What brings you in today?” or one of my favorites, “Are there any parts of your body that hurt?”

Sometimes, though, people can get caught up in their stories. Everyone loves an invitation to talk about him or herself, particularly from their massage therapist.  Asking them how they are doing or checking in on any pain or discomfort shows them that their needs matter to you, which is vital to building a strong rapport with your clients that will bring them back again and again. Plus, it’s vital for you to know where to focus your work.

Occasionally, though, you’re going to get an earful of just why that toe or shoulder or knee hurts—in tedious and gruesome detail. From there, you might assume that this person’s primary area of concern is absolutely killing them and think that you’re going to need to spend a good hour of massage just trying to make it feel better. That would be a reasonable assumption, based on the amount of detail that they went into and the time they spent talking about it. It’s tricky, though, because sometimes people simply like to talk about their pain and problems, but they don’t mean to be saying that they only want work there. They might actually be looking for more of a generalized massage, or even a full-body Swedish.

Don’t be fooled by these inadvertent miscommunications. Always ask, “So do you want to do specific treatment work to help your problem area get better, or would you like more of a full-body massage?” Add this question to your intake, and you might be very surprised how often someone was just caught up in the story but actually wants you to do more of a generalized massage session.

5 thoughts on “Drama Queen Massage Clients

  1. Melanie

    I always found it helpful to listen, let them know we would be doing relaxation before getting into the problem area. By the time I got to the problem area, they were so relaxed I could do anything to that area with minimal problems and resolve it quickly. Gets great results. And I always managed to find a few extra minutes to do a littLE CST AND SER. Since I booked 1/2 hour apart, I would add an extra 15 mins for the CST & SER gratis!

  2. Mia

    Excellent article. Have been on both sides of the table with this one. Good suggestion re: refocusing the conversation with massage-session goals. But and. Speaking from the position of also being the occasional client (something we all hopefully get to be), I’d encourage watching the use of potentially charged terms, like “drama queen,” especially in re: clients. Sure, they/we can get carried away with their/our stories, but usually it’s because this is the one time in the day/week/month/year someone’s going to listen and (hopefully) care. And they have to pay for that privilege. So, and I’m saying this as much as awareness to my massage-therapist self, it’s important to remember these are fragile beings we deal with, and if they sometimes get carried away with their story, maybe aren’t being “drama queens.” Maybe it was such a relief to talk about themselves and their own needs to someone who seemed to care, they forgot themselves. I mean, yes, of course rein them in. That’s super helpful for everyone, particularly them. No one wants to miss out on their massage time, right? But watch out for that inner eye roll. It gets transmitted, even energetically. Namaste.

  3. ReBecca Lavin

    Excellent! I always make this a primary question after coming to it the hard way. Lucky readers will get an invaluable tip that should make sessions much more satisfying for both parties concerned:-)
    Thank you for posting!


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