May 19, 2016
How You Could Be Losing Massage Clients (without even knowing it)
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day (that had nothing to do with massage) and a story was told about a massage session that really made me nervous.
The host of the podcast said: " My neck was hurting and I went to get a massage... during the session, the therapist was telling me I should really try "cupping" ... she said it works really well for her. When I asked her how it works, she gave me this vague answer and just kept telling me that it works. My immediate thought was ... no thanks!" The host then proceeded to skeptically dismiss alternative therapies off to his audience of thousands of listeners.
As progressive and open-minded as people are becoming, it is still extremely important that you fully understand the techniques you are using as a massage therapist, especially if it is a largely unfamiliar technique like: Traditional Chinese Cupping. Furthermore, there will be clients that are tremendously skeptical of anything alternative. You could very well be losing clients on comments such as the one described above. It is simply not enough to just tell people that "it works".
You should know that while some alternative therapies, like massage, have scientific evidence backing their claims, most alternative therapies do not or have insufficient evidence to deem them "proven". In the case of chinese cupping, the studies that have been conducted, suggest that it is as effective or better then conventional pain medicine, however in peer reviewed journals, scientists have noted that the studies are largely biased. Here is what The Mayo Clinic:Is there any evidence that cupping therapy relieves fibromyalgia pain? had to say: "... some of the available studies do suggest a possible role for cupping in treating fibromyalgia, the definitive answer to its actual role will have to wait for larger and more rigorous studies to be completed."
So what do you do if one of the techniques you currently employ has insufficient evidence to back up it's claims?
Answer: You stay up to date with the evidence, and present it just as is. If you feel that the technique has helped your clients, continue to use it (as long as it's safe) , but explain the details to your client and be prepared to back up what you say! Whatever you decide to do...don't make claims that are not backed by science- it's unethical. In the long run it makes you as a therapist look disreputable or at best "new agey".
Finally, it's absolutely fine if you are into alternative therapies that haven't been studied or proven, but make that clear, both in your branding and in your communication. Honesty is really the best policy when it comes to paving the way in the massage therapy and preventative care fields.
Have you been using alternative techniques that you later found out weren't really as effective as they seemed? Reach out and let us know, we want to hear your stories.