Dealing with Negative Massage Clients

Have you ever had a client who walks into the massage room with you and won’t even look up? They’re like a dark, stormy cloud. You can tell that something’s going on, but you don’t know what it is. Maybe they’re upset. Maybe they’re mad. Maybe they’re mad at someone else. Maybe they’re mad at you.

So, what do you do?  It can be tempting to try to ignore that dark cloud, go right through the intake questions, and get the client onto the table as quickly as possible. Really, though, that’s not best thing to do. The massage experience is much more than just the techniques we use. It’s also about demonstrating that your practice is a place where their needs are seen and met. One of the reasons that people come in for massage is that they might be going through some stressfully unpleasant situations in their life. The best practice is to openly and caringly connect with and acknowledge what you are seeing in front of you by asking the client something like:

“How are you doing today?”

“What’s been going on with you?”

Those “how” or “what” kinds of questions can get a client to open up. If they don’t seem receptive to that, try a simpler yes-or-no question:

“Are you having a tough day?”

“Is everything ok?”

Even if you don’t get a big low-down, just the fact that you asked shows the client that you are an attentive, considerate person who notices and responds to their emotional state. That leads to a much more positive and connected session where you’ll be able to get better results for them, because now they can trust that you are not only a skilled massage therapist, but also a genuinely caring human being to whom their needs matter.

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Negative Massage Clients

  1. Lisa Windelev

    Thank you, that’s good advice & certainly worth considering, establishing trust is essential & showing that we care about our clients helps establish that trust. I’ve been the vulnerable client before & just being acknowledged helped my session to unfold into genuine healing*


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