As the old saying goes…”If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”– Some really smart person, probably
What’s trendy right now in Massage Therapy?
You don’t have to answer that question. But it is a question people ask.
As a society, we seem to want to know what the latest trends are. Whether that’s in food, clothing, events, or even health and wellness, we want to keep up with the latest and greatest.
Back in 2016 during the Rio Olympics, one particular treatment that massage therapists can do came into the spotlight. If you watched coverage of the swimming events for more than about five minutes, you probably came across some images of Michael Phelps and the obvious round bruises he had on his arms and upper back. And he wasn’t the only athlete with them — not by a long shot. This got the media talking about them and of course, talking about what caused them: Cupping Therapy.
That in turn got the healthcare community talking about it. Is it effective? Is it useful for clients? Is it something they wanted to learn and incorporate into their own practices?
Now, I’ll leave the discussion of the effectiveness of this treatment modality to someone else.
But what I do want to talk about is how I see Massage Therapists and other health care professionals jumping on the fad treatment bandwagon and how you really should stop doing that.
Trendy Treatments in Massage Therapy?
Let’s be clear here before I go on:
I’m NOT saying these treatments are just fads and aren’t good options for some patients.
What I am saying is this: I see a lot of Massage Therapists take a course because it’s the latest trend, because it sounds cool, or because they think it will make them lots of money.
Not because they’re super interested in learning the modality. Not because they think it’s a direction they want their practice to go.
But let me ask you: is that what’s best for your business?
During the years I was an active Massage Therapist I saw a lot of fads come and go in terms of their popularity for continuing education courses. For example, right after I graduated, hot stone massage was the treatment you wanted to learn. It felt like everyone was learning it or some modified version of it, and the course options were plentiful. I totally admit I went and learned it because it seemed like ‘the thing’ to do!
But here’s the real problem with that: the business I was hoping to create at the time was focused on amateur (read: regular joes like you and me) athletes and rehab work (like MVAs) and hot stone didn’t really fit into that picture.
When you do anything for your business, you really should always ask yourself one big question: Will this help me achieve what I’m hoping to achieve for my business?
Or put another way, does this really fit with what I do best and the types of clients I want to keep seeing?
For me and hot stone massage, it really didn’t. It brought me some lovely people, sure, but they were focused on relaxation, stress reduction, and ‘treating themselves’. While those are all nice reasons to get a massage, it wasn’t in line with what I was trying to build: a stable practice focusing on rehab and working with athletes.
But what about the growth of your business? It might seem to you that adding a new modality to your practice will only help bring in new clients. If you add cupping, hot stone therapy, or acupuncture, surely that will only help your business because there will be more things for folks to choose from.
Well, I’m going to disagree with that! (Bet you didn’t see that coming!)
Building your toolbox as a massage therapist
It’s good to have a varied toolbox to help you in treating patients. But the toolbox you build should be focused on helping the folks in the niche you want to serve.
Building your practice should never be about casting a wide net and hoping you’ll attract enough people to fill your schedule. When you do that, people will have a hard time figuring out what exactly it is you have to offer. If you’re offering so-called ‘standard’ massage along with reiki, cupping therapy, cranial-sacral and hot stone, that doesn’t have an obvious cohesiveness. Unless you can really clearly tie them together for people, they’re going to be a bit confused.
Let’s put this in another way: If you had a serious skin condition, would you just go to your family doctor? Or would you make sure you got in to see a dermatologist? I’m betting you’d want to see a dermatologist because they specialize in skin conditions and are that much more equipped to help you with your condition.
The exact same thing goes for massage therapists and other health and wellness professionals! You can and should show people what kinds of therapy you are focusing on. That focus should be reflected in your marketing and advertising, your website, and anything else you do that shows current and potential clients what you have to offer.
If you’re thinking of adding cupping — or any modality to your practice — make sure it’s something your target clients actually are looking for or could greatly benefit from.
Don’t do something because it’s the latest trend. Do it because it’s right for you and your business.
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