client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

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client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Leanne on Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:39 am

I had a client that wanted deep tissue. His problem areas were his back, shoulders, quads, hams, gastrocs!! This was a big guy with a lot of real estate to cover! A one hour deep tissue was not going to get all of these areas. Maybe it is because I am new. He fell asleep quickly and snored through most of the massage, since his first request was his legs I spent more time on them. I had to wake him up at the end of the massage. When he came out I let him know that I focused more on his legs since that was his first concern. When his wife asked how the massage was I could see from the other room that he was not completely satisfied. This was confusing to me because he did fall into such a deep sleep. Anybody else out there able to satisfy a customer with this many problem areas in an hour?
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Pete on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:15 am

Leanne wrote:I had a client that wanted deep tissue. His problem areas were his back, shoulders, quads, hams, gastrocs!! This was a big guy with a lot of real estate to cover! A one hour deep tissue was not going to get all of these areas. Maybe it is because I am new.


It's not because you're new. That is a lot of territory to cover in one hour of deep tissue work. Going in to the session, did you tell him that one hour isn't enough time to do thorough and comprehensive work in all those areas? That perhaps either 90-minutes or more than one session would be needed?

He fell asleep quickly and snored through most of the massage, since his first request was his legs I spent more time on them. I had to wake him up at the end of the massage. When he came out I let him know that I focused more on his legs since that was his first concern. When his wife asked how the massage was I could see from the other room that he was not completely satisfied. This was confusing to me because he did fall into such a deep sleep. Anybody else out there able to satisfy a customer with this many problem areas in an hour?


That a client falls asleep isn't necessarily an indication of how much they enjoyed the massage or how effective your work is. The client could have been tired.

Really, it's all about setting expectations before the session so both you and the client are on the same page. If a client's goals are more than what I feel can reasonably be accomplished in the time I'm being given, I will tell them that. I will let them know what we have time for (and if I have time permitting to increase the session length, I will give them that option.) If their condition is something that may need multiple sessions to correct, I will tell them that as well. Also, I tend to dedicate the last 5 minutes or so of each session to "anything that we may have skipped or any area that you feel may need more attention..." This gives them the opportunity, DURING THE SESSION, to tell you that they are not happy and gives you the opportunity to address it. 9 times out of 10, the response is "No, I feel great" or something to that effect.

The last thing to remember is that even after the most perfect session where you did all of your best work, it's still possible the client won't be happy - not every MT is suited to every client and vice versa. Don't take it personally...
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby maestra on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:17 am

Timing can be a problem when a client is big & tall... especially with a deep tissue as you generally have to go slowly & allow time for their muscle tissue to let you in.
And I can understand your spending most of the time on the clients legs, since it was his chief concern. My guess is however, that he's more annoyed with himself for falling asleep and "Missing It" than concerned that the massage was not effective.
I think he needs to book longer sessions if he wants that many areas worked on... recommend he try 1.5 hrs instead of an hour. Did he want full body or just the posterior?
You know you gave it your best shot, if he can't stay awake for it... well maybe he needs to go to bed earlier or take a nap before his massage appointment.
I've had massages where the client fell asleep, I have woke them up to have them roll over and then had to wake them again when the massage was finished. I used to get annoyed by it, then just let it go... it's their time.
If he really wants to stop sleeping through his massage... you may need to add some more "sports massage" type elements to your massage or get the client more involved in their own treatment.
Try not to be down on yourself, just view it as a learning experience. And look at it this way, he definitely feel safe with you if he feels relaxed enough to fall asleep! :lol:
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Taoist on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:18 am

When someone has a lot of issues, it really is hard to address everything as thoroughly as you'd like in just an hour. I remember an old client of mine on whom I'd spend the entire hour just on her right shoulder girdle. It's possible he's one of those people who wanted you to give him a painful massage but he fell asleep instead so automatically assumed you didn't go as deep as he wanted you to.

Don't let it get to you too much. If people give you feedback, absolutely go ahead and change what you do for them next time, but when someone tells me the massage was good and says otherwise to the receptionist or I can just tell they didn't like it, if they're not willing to tell me why then there's just nothing I can do about it. Bridge over water.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby TouchofGrace on Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:44 am

When someone comes in and requests a deep tissue massage as that is what they are used to receiving from another therapist, I explain to them during intake that if they are used to nothing but deep tissue the entire massage, they might not like my style. I do a mixture of swedish, deep tissue, and hot stones and though I go deep, I do so slowly. Different ppl like different techniques so give me a chance and if it's not the style they like, they can go from there. 9 times out of 10, they like the massage. The one who doesn't moves on to a style of massage they are more comfortable with.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby riversinger on Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:40 pm

Ditto to what many others have said, regarding the limitations of a 1 hour session on a larger client, and the fact he slept through much of it. Some people feel if they aren't receiving a painful session then it wasn't deep enough. But just because some folks seem to think that is the only way a session can be effective, doesn't mean it's accurate. Beyond that some people will almost always fall asleep, others drift in & out. So long as they can let go enough for either of those states to happen, I usually consider that a good thing as it usually means they are relaxing.

If he should call to rebook, you might want to ask him for specifics about what his likes & dislikes of previous bodywork have been, including the session he had with you. With potential new clients if you ask them a question like that prior to their session it will not only provide you with information you can use, but also open the door to discuss their expectations of a session with you. That in turn will allow you to educate them regarding how much can be expected in a 1 hour session.

I let people know that if they simply need relaxation, or focus on a couple of areas they should choose my shortest session of 1 hour & 15 minutes. However if they prefer deeper levels of relaxation, as well as focus on several fronts then 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour treatments may be a better choice for them. 99% of my sessions are 1hour 1/2 in length, which happens to be my preference, as it allows plenty of time to address everything & do the mixed modality approach I have in my work.

Good luck to you & don't let one client make you think you are doing anything wrong!
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby jyoti on Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:23 pm

Leanne wrote:I had a client that wanted deep tissue. His problem areas were his back, shoulders, quads, hams, gastrocs!! This was a big guy with a lot of real estate to cover! A one hour deep tissue was not going to get all of these areas. Maybe it is because I am new. He fell asleep quickly and snored through most of the massage, since his first request was his legs I spent more time on them. I had to wake him up at the end of the massage. When he came out I let him know that I focused more on his legs since that was his first concern. When his wife asked how the massage was I could see from the other room that he was not completely satisfied. This was confusing to me because he did fall into such a deep sleep. Anybody else out there able to satisfy a customer with this many problem areas in an hour?


Leanne, you did fine :)

Some clients have REALLY high expectations. Since the default massage length in many places in an hour, many clients schedule an hour without thinking to ask about appropriate session length for their issues. And frankly, many receptionists at massage facilities fail to ask the client about their issues so that they can properly advise said client.

Then there's the issue of so many clients waiting until they can't bear it anymore to come in and they end up getting massage like twice a year. By then, EVERYTHING is a problem area.

When I worked at a massage therapy facility, I was at the mercy of the front desk person (we had several and some were much better than others!). During a client's first appointment with me, I would take them back to the studio and consult with them about what their desired outcome (i.e. what they hoped to gain from that days' massage). If they were signed up for an hour and they were big guys with plenty of aches and pains, I would gently (but without wavering) let them know that an hour is not enough time to properly address those areas, and I would encourage them to pick 1-2 problem areas that we would work on that day. That did two things - 1) it educated the client, setting the framework for realistic expectations, and 2) in so doing, that took the pressure off me to try and work out every little well-ingrained kink in a very short amount of time. While I couldn't control their reaction to that, fact is fact and I wasn't going to apologize for not being able to override the laws of neuromusclular physiology. :)

When the session was finished, I would ask them how those 1-2 areas feel and then say, "good. Now let's do the same for the rest of you. I'd like to see you one more time before the end of the week (if it was early in the week) to work on your calves and hamstrings (or whichever 1-2 areas were next priority on their list) so that we can make some progress there, too." This encourages subsequent visits, each with a goal. If the client is reasonable, they'll usually go for that, especially if you convey the authority that you are. (And we ARE authorities on muscle and manual therapy - don't let anyone make you feel otherwise.)

As for people who fall asleep during the massage and then claim later that they weren't satisfied, I generally say "hooey". Falling asleep requires the person to relax and if they're not enjoying their massage, they're generally not going to be able to fall asleep. This is true whether the pressure is too heavy OR light, or if the technique doesn't agree with them. I've had some not-great massages and it's almost impossible to relax enough to fall asleep - I'm usually too annoyed to relax in those (rare) cases. So for someone to fall asleep... they must not have been too annoyed or dissatisfied at the time!

What I HAVE seen when the client seems to enjoy the massage at the time but then comes out of left field later and says they didn't enjoy it, are typically those looking to get out of paying. I'm not saying that's the motive at work in this situation, but if someone's going to complain, that's usually the most common reason I've seen. And that was BEFORE the economy tanked LOL. I think some have grown even more shameless these days. Who knows if that was a factor this time or not? Either way, though, I wouldn't dwell too much on it unless it becomes a pattern. Analyze it for a few hours, figure out if there was anything you could've possibly done differently and if so, put the list in writing to help you objectify it, and then chalk it up to experience and move on to the next (appreciative) client :)
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Leanne on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:11 am

Thanks to all for your responses. Again, great advice for the newbie. I learn so much from you all :D
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Rozax on Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:21 pm

I'm still a student, but I think I dealt with a similar situation. The woman I was working on would drift in and out of sleep, and I don't think she realized it, however much she mentioned how tired she was, or the time she said, "I must have dozed off!" She insisted I missed her arm, so I had to redo it (no problem), but then she, being the expert return client, said in my evaluation that she has "experienced some amazing massages" and that "I had potential", which pretty much said I wasn't up to par. Names aren't on the evaluations, but I still know which eval belongs to whom. I explained the situation to my instructor, and was sure to mention snoozes in my SOAP notes. I have one hour to work with, and I'm hardly sorry if they fall asleep through the whole thing.

I felt sorry for another client, though. Every time I woke him, he jumped. That didn't seem like a very good response for someone who came in to relax. :undecided:
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby JasonE on Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:04 pm

Rozax wrote:I'm still a student, but I think I dealt with a similar situation. The woman I was working on would drift in and out of sleep, and I don't think she realized it, however much she mentioned how tired she was, or the time she said, "I must have dozed off!" She insisted I missed her arm, so I had to redo it (no problem), but then she, being the expert return client, said in my evaluation that she has "experienced some amazing massages" and that "I had potential", which pretty much said I wasn't up to par. Names aren't on the evaluations, but I still know which eval belongs to whom. I explained the situation to my instructor, and was sure to mention snoozes in my SOAP notes. I have one hour to work with, and I'm hardly sorry if they fall asleep through the whole thing.

I felt sorry for another client, though. Every time I woke him, he jumped. That didn't seem like a very good response for someone who came in to relax. :undecided:


If a client that has had many "amazing" massages says that you, a student, have potential... take it as a GREAT compliment!!! Remember that you are being compared to all of the seasoned professionals that the client has experienced, and as a newbie you are unlikely to outshine them all. It's really nice to have people give more effusive compliments, but those usually come from people that have had few (if any) prior professional massages. I'd rather get a "has potential" from a massage connoisseur than a "fabulous" from someone who only compared me to casual massages from untrained acquaintances. As you become more skillful and develop as a professional, you may realize that potential, and then you'll fully understand what I am telling you now. :grin:
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby EgoMagickian on Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:07 pm

I want to second what Jason wrote above... I have had bodywork from masters whose touch was so beautiful it made me cry. This is a skill you can spend literally the rest of your life developing, and still have farther to go.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Leanne on Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:00 am

I hope this is considered in line with the original post. If not, I guess I'm hijacking my own post :) I had an LMT from nearby book with me. I was not able to get deep enough for her liking. I felt that she was not totally happy with the massage. She was very supportive and sweet and even offered to show me some techniques. She called a few days ago and said how much better she felt the next day. We are now going to schedule trades!!

I will always do my best work with the skills that I have now. I will advance in my skills with CEU's. If a client leaves dissatisfied, I know that I have made some difference with my efforts. I love my job!!!
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby maestra on Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:16 am

Leanne wrote:I will always do my best work with the skills that I have now. I will advance in my skills with CEU's. If a client leaves dissatisfied, I know that I have made some difference with my efforts. I love my job!!!


Awesome Leanne! You've come full circle! :smt038

Sometimes we need to let go of the outcome and just trust. In our skills, that the client will take what they need from the session and that things will work out for the highest good of all involved!

Realize that sometimes we will have days where we question ourselves & our abilities... I think we all do no matter how long we've been "in the business!" But turn it around and look for the good that has been wrought... and remember too that our clients benefit just from their time on the table with even light touch or no touch. We hold the space and allow their bodies to do what it needs to do to heal. I know a CE provider in my state who provides a class called, "Who We Are Heals." I always thought that was a fantastic title... though I haven't taken the class yet! :altsmile:
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Rozax on Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:55 pm

JasonE wrote:If a client that has had many "amazing" massages says that you, a student, have potential... take it as a GREAT compliment!!! Remember that you are being compared to all of the seasoned professionals that the client has experienced, and as a newbie you are unlikely to outshine them all. It's really nice to have people give more effusive compliments, but those usually come from people that have had few (if any) prior professional massages. I'd rather get a "has potential" from a massage connoisseur than a "fabulous" from someone who only compared me to casual massages from untrained acquaintances. As you become more skillful and develop as a professional, you may realize that potential, and then you'll fully understand what I am telling you now. :grin:

I would take it as a compliment if she were comparing me to professionals, but she's a repeating customer in our student clinic. She was comparing me to the other students. Also, she was asleep for the majority of the massage.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:58 pm

Every single one of us has a unique touch. You can get the same massage, following the same protocol, from 10 different people and get 10 different massages. You undoubtedly remember that from school, when you were all doing the exact same thing and yet each student was different. And you'll also learn, you won't please everyone. I do a pretty good deep tissue but I've had clients who didn't think it was deep enough, no matter what I did. And I've realized that sometimes, it's not you, it's them. The people who think that unless it's really painful, it's not effective, and those that are so armored (learned that expression on this board!), they just can't *feel* what you are doing. I will never please them, no matter what and I have to remind myself of that.

Truly, I do my best work on every client and I'm always learning. But my specialty is just a truly relaxing, good pressure Swedish. That's the kind I like to receive and that's the kind I like to give the most. I was told when I first started that there just wouldn't be a market for that, people want to be 'fixed' not 'relaxed'. But I have built up a pretty good clientele of people that are perfectly happy just being 'relaxed' by my work. There is nothing I like more than to hear a drugged-sounding 'Wow...that was amazing' at the end, or see them almost staggering out to the front desk, blissfully bleary-eyed and feeling like a puddle of melted butter. I've also learned that those that want deepdeepdeep work are better off referred to one of the other 2 MTs I work with, as they just seem to have a deeper touch. And they in turn, give me clients that they know are happiest with relaxation work. I'd rather do that and have happy people all around, because it makes *us* happier knowing our clients are happy.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby pueppi on Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:11 am

tranquilspirit2006 wrote:Every single one of us has a unique touch. You can get the same massage, following the same protocol, from 10 different people and get 10 different massages.

Truly, I do my best work on every client and I'm always learning. But my specialty is just a truly relaxing, good pressure Swedish. That's the kind I like to receive and that's the kind I like to give the most.

I have built up a pretty good clientele of people that are perfectly happy just being 'relaxed' by my work.

I've also learned that those that want deepdeepdeep work are better off referred to one of the other 2 MTs I work with, as they just seem to have a deeper touch. And they in turn, give me clients that they know are happiest with relaxation work. I'd rather do that and have happy people all around, because it makes *us* happier knowing our clients are happy.


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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby squash_blsm on Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:38 am

There is a perception issue here - MT's and clients will often have totally different perceptions as to what "deep tissue" is.

I had one cient yesterday that specifically asked for 90min deep tissue.
So, during intake I ask what here main concerns were and what conditions that she wanted to address in our session.
She says that there is really nothing in particular.
I just said that normally in a deep tissue session we are doing specific work to target a specific condition.
And then I just asked her to describe what a deep tissue session would feel like for HER.
She just said that when she books a swedish massage it just isn't enough.

Okay - so that told me that she wanted GOOD, focused, specific work on areas that are uncomfortable, and that she wanted to leave feeling better.
Which is pretty much what everyone wants. :grin:

The main thing here is to just get clear on what the clients goals and expectations are.
No matter how fabulous you are, if you do not pay attention to the client and what they say to you, they will leave unhappy.

If I know I cant do what the client is asking for then I will tell them what I CAN do and just make sure that that sounds good to them.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby pueppi on Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:50 am

squash_blsm wrote:There is a perception issue here - MT's and clients will often have totally different perceptions as to what "deep tissue" is.

<snip>

The main thing here is to just get clear on what the clients goals and expectations are.
No matter how fabulous you are, if you do not pay attention to the client and what they say to you, they will leave unhappy.

If I know I cant do what the client is asking for then I will tell them what I CAN do and just make sure that that sounds good to them.


:iagree:
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:40 pm

pueppi wrote:
squash_blsm wrote:There is a perception issue here - MT's and clients will often have totally different perceptions as to what "deep tissue" is.

<snip>

The main thing here is to just get clear on what the clients goals and expectations are.
No matter how fabulous you are, if you do not pay attention to the client and what they say to you, they will leave unhappy.

If I know I cant do what the client is asking for then I will tell them what I CAN do and just make sure that that sounds good to them.


:iagree:


Yep. I've had many people say they want DT when they schedule, but when they're in my room and I'm talking to them about what they're looking for, areas to concentrate on/avoid, etc, quite often will confess "I don't really know the difference. I just said deep tissue because that is what I was told I should get." Perfect opportunity to explain, educate and find out what they really expect!
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Edgar on Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:04 pm

In our society we can find people of different behavior like this some of the people if they r not happy with the services they never let u feel but some of them just tell them that im not happy again they will take ur services these types of people are basiclly want to u work hardly this time.............
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby pueppi on Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Edgar wrote:In our society we can find people of different behavior like this some of the people if they r not happy with the services they never let u feel but some of them just tell them that im not happy again they will take ur services these types of people are basiclly want to u work hardly this time.............

Edgar,

Welcome to the forums!

If English is not your first language, could you please at least try to use the long form of words, instead of things like "u" and "r". And, guess at the punctuation. :)

If English is your first language, could you please take a little time to re-read your posts before presenting them. Currently your format is very difficult to interpret.

Thanks!
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Minxz on Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:33 am

I'm a student so I have not actual experience with this but our teacher did cover certain clients who don't want to sleep during the massage. She said she has one client who requests she wake her if she falls asleep because she feels she doesn't get he moneys worth if she misses it sleeping through the massage.

When I heard that I made a mental note to perhaps add a question on my intake sheet regarding if they fall asleep if they want to be gently woken back up or left to rest.

As far as the deep tissue...having been practicing on my 6' 6" husband there is NO way you can do 100% of the body in one hour ALL DT. Another question I asked in class was regarding people who have extreme tightness...you can't spend the whole hour on one knotted tight area not only would it be uncomfortable but you would be ignoring the rest of the body. My teacher suggested if there is a certain area that would not "give it up" and was not ready to release to discuss it with the client after. I know I could have used that conversation as a client many times because I did not fully understand that certain areas would require multiple treatments to fully relax.

Again I'm just a student but thats what I have gleaned so far :)
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby pueppi on Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:43 am

Minxz wrote:... regarding people who have extreme tightness...you can't spend the whole hour on one knotted tight area not only would it be uncomfortable but you would be ignoring the rest of the body. My teacher suggested if there is a certain area that would not "give it up" and was not ready to release to discuss it with the client after. I know I could have used that conversation as a client many times because I did not fully understand that certain areas would require multiple treatments to fully relax.

Again I'm just a student but thats what I have gleaned so far :)


In my practice I do spend a whole hour on "one knotted tight area", but that is usually a much larger space than what you may be talking about. For example: If I have a client who has back issues due to a prior lumbar fusion, then many times I will spend the entire massage for the lumbar paraspinals, into the QL's and glutes, just to get things functional for that client for that particular day. It doesn't mean that other parts of the body aren't affected by the problem, but when that is where the worst of the pain is, I usually try to deal with that first and the other areas on subsequent sessions as we can move into them.
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby jdcan on Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:43 pm

Well put, pueppi. I also like to work in "chunks", though occasionally clients state their preference to be worked on in "layers."
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Re: client fell asleep but was not totally happy with his massag

Postby Minxz on Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:35 am

Pueppi TY for the description of how some of your massages work. I was thinking of just working the knots around the scapula definitely a smaller area than you were describing though I was told yesterday by another massage therapist that sometimes you will get a client that specifically tells you to spend an hour on one area. In the cases you were describing did you client request the specific work or was it at your discretion? If the latter do you discuss that before or after with the client so they are aware of what you are doing?
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