Be Aware and Informed
Once you are in the massage, being totally aware and informed of your clients' expectations might mean changing the plan mid-way through the massage. Clients may communicate to you that they want to switch from deep tissue massage techniques to a Swedish massage, and giving a good massage means being able to communicate to the client any changes or focus areas that you believe would be beneficial.
For example, imagine a client who has requested a Swedish massage for relaxation, and indicates noticing some adhesions in their shoulders and back. If you want to change massage techniques to address these areas, you should always ask the client if they want you to want to address the adhesions with deeper techniques before doing so - "never assuming" is part of giving a good massage! Just because a client mentions a problem area in the initial interview does not necessarily mean that they want you to spend time on it during the massage. Clients may just be giving you background information to be helpful. This can be understandably confusing, but it is a common break in communication between the therapist and the client, and can, unfortunately, lead to your client leaving unhappy, or uncomfortable if you use the wrong massage techniques.
Understand Appropriate Positioning
Giving a good massage means being ready and able to adjust your table to accommodate all clients. Not everybody will want or be able, to lie on the table prone or supine during a massage. The clients you encounter will likely have several unique personal and medical needs. By understanding how to appropriately position clients and alter your massage techniques for any number of issues, you can be sure to give each of your clients the individual service and attention that they deserve. Some preparation recommendations for always giving a good massage:
Stocking your room with at least two extra bolsters, or three pillows. These can be used to support a side-lying position and can provide extra comfort to people with injuries or painful areas.
Preparing for Emotional Issues: Existing or Brought on by Massage Techniques
Giving a good massage also means being ready to address clients' emotional issues. Sometimes, an emotional memory may come up during an otherwise routine massage. Clients experience muscle tension due to emotional stress, and when addressing the physical ailments of a client, thoughts, and memories of the related cause of the stress may occur.
Even if your client is not emotional when they arrive for the massage, techniques used during the session may bring up feelings or memories related to an event or injury. Don't worry! This isn't necessarily a sign that you aren't giving a good massage; most people have varied reactions to touch, and some of these emotions may manifest as crying. It's important to understand that while these situations can be awkward and potentially embarrassing, they are common and should be treated with respect and compassion before, during, and after a massage. Clients should not be counseled by you during these emotional situations, as this is outside of your scope of practice.