Do You Have The Perfect Personality To Be A Massage Therapist?
You should consider a career in massage therapy if you enjoy helping people relax, like the idea of earning a high hourly income, prefer flexible schedules, and have an interest in the healing arts. However, although you may like the many benefits of this career, you also need to have the right personality.
In many careers, personality is not a decisive factor, but in a profession like massage therapy, where you work with people all the time, your personality makes a huge difference. Your level of skill in therapeutic massage techniques counts, of course, but you also need to have the right personality for the work.
When someone comes to you for a massage, they are seeking relief from physical pain and emotional stress. They need someone who can provide a nurturing experience because healing is a fine blend of nurturing and massage skills. They need someone who offers care and support, not someone who has a subdued or dull disposition, and definitely not someone who is negative, skeptical, and cynical. If you don’t have the right personality, you won’t be able to provide the healing experience that your client is seeking.
A therapeutic massage should engage all your client’s senses. The use of mood music, soothing massage oils, subtle lighting and aromatherapy scents will lull them into a state of deep relaxation. As a massage therapist, you should help them feel safe, not vulnerable; calm, not alert. Massage therapy is not just a physical experience; it’s also an emotional one.
Essentially, you need to have two complementary personality skills. One is a therapeutic personality, the massage therapist’s version of a doctor’s bedside manners. The other is a professional personality to take care of the business side of things. So you need to be practical enough to run a business, personable enough for people to warm up to you, and calming enough for people to get the most benefit from your well-trained skills.
Someone who has a therapeutic personality has empathy and listening skills.
Empathy is an emotion that is often confused with sympathy. The Skills You Need website offers a comprehensive definition of empathy: “Empathy is, at its simplest, awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the link between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves.”
Empathy is much deeper than sympathy. When you are sympathetic, you feel sorry for someone, but when you are empathetic, you feel along with that person by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation. As a massage therapist, this is the primary quality trait you need. Although you may not say a word, your clients will intuitively know if you’re empathetic or not.
Listening is also another essential personality trait. Many clients begin to unburden themselves during a massage by talking. You might expect them to prefer to just quietly enjoy the massage; instead, they begin to relate to you as if you were a psychotherapist. They are not actually looking for advice on how to solve their problems, but just want someone to hear them out. All you have to do is interject a few comments now and then to show you’re paying attention. They may even solve their problems themselves and then thank you for your insights. Although you may have said little, they are under the impression that you’re a great conversationalist.
Listening also plays a big role when trying to discern a client’s needs. You need to know as much as you can about their injury, sprain, or reason for their visit so that you can provide the right treatment. You also have to be able to respond to feedback when you give them a massage. Perhaps they want more pressure, perhaps less; perhaps you’re just missing the muscle that is causing the most pain.
The opposite of listening is imposing your own views. If you tell them what you think is wrong, they may feel misunderstood. You can suggest, of course, a broader interpretation, but don’t try to correct them. Also, if you try to resolve their emotional issues when they start chatting on the massage table, you interfere with their ability to figure things out for themselves.Worse still, they might blame you if your advice doesn’t work for them. Listening is difficult, because you may, in fact, have a clear idea about the actual cause of their physical pain and know exactly how to quickly fix the problems they are having in their personal life.
Someone who has a professional personality has a high standard of professionalism. They are well-trained and keep up with the latest developments in their field. They return client’s calls within a reasonable amount of time. They look calm and relaxed when client’s show up for an appointment (as opposed to impatient, distracted, and stressed-out). They also run their business like a business, making sure that people pay for their services rather than try to get special discounts or get some free massages. And, of course, they manage their time, staff, and finances well, maintaining a high level of neatness, cleanliness, and order in their offices.