LMP Etiquette – Is offering food to clients a good idea?

Food in the massage room is a delicate subject. No doubt it is needed. Massage therapists burn off some energy providing treatments to clients. Those who hop off the table rejuvenated often look for a little something in addition to cool water.

But what is appropriate? Some of us squint in horror of sugar in the massage room. It doesn’t seem karmic to have cookies or turkey jerky either.

I have experimented on occasion with foods in my office water jug: Sliced cucumbers, strawberries, or lemons floating in ice. Until a client told me that cucumbers make his skin itch. Another could not look at a strawberry without breaking out. Iced water? Oh, that triggers my IBS, another said. Sigh.

Which is when I went back to plain purified water, available tepid or chilled, and added a little candy dish of individually wrapped wintergreen candies. Not being chocolate, I was safe around them. Most clients seem to like them enough that I buy a big bag once a month.

This seemed a good match, as the wintergreen flavor seems to complement the refreshment of massage. Wintergreen is used in arthritis and muscle balms such as Ben Gay and has a storied history as a treatment for soreness.

Which is not to say it is a good aromatherapy or oil treatment. True oil of wintergreen is made mostly of concentrated methyl salicylate (aspirin) and can cause overdose just as aspirin creams can. I have always found it to be a good policy not to kill massage clients.

My other forays into massage food have included keeping a bowl of washed apples in the waiting room. I found the staff and I demolished them more often than the clients, which in a way is good.

Fresh fruit, however, does have drawbacks. Fruit flies may appear in the office, along with problems maintaining freshness and supply.

Actually, now I have another sweet problem. A client brought in some peanut butter-filled caramels. She left them in the candy dish where I could find them. Don’t worry, I quickly made sure my clients are safe from these..

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