Friday, September 21, 2007

“Shoes and Cobwebs,” How Massage Therapists Communicate Without Saying a Word

During our ethics course we usually watch a couple episodes of Friends. If you remember, Phoebe was a massage therapist. Unfortunately, she didn’t always make the best ethical decisions regarding her clients. In this episode, she developed a crush on a client and began to dress up for him; more specifically she began to dress up her feet. I’m not going to broach the other problematic dilemmas this episode touched on (you’ll have to attend the class for that), but I do want to commend Phoebe for knowing that this is an avenue for client communication. In reality, once the client is safely ensconced on the table, there are only two areas they will usually focus on … the ceiling and your feet. Their impression of these normally insignificant items can form an impression of who you are, especially for new clients, who are apt to be less forgiving.

It sounds simple, but I can speak personally to the times I have seen some pretty hairy (no not feet) cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. Improper cleanliness can leave an impression of poor care which will transfer to their perception of how they will be cared for. I would suggest you lay on your table and gaze at the ceiling and around the periphery. Check for cleanliness and disrepair. Then, get creative and think of using this area to softly communicate to your client. You can instill a nurturing message through colors, quotes and plants placed high.

Place your face in the cradle and see what your client sees from this angle as well. As far as the appearance of your feet, there aren’t any rules except for what you set for yourself. If you prefer to go barefoot, then take care with your feet. If you prefer to wear socks, make sure your little piggies don’t have escape holes. While the latest pair of Jimmy Choo shoes are not required, always remember your feet will communicate about you when the room is silent.

View the episode on YouTube HERE

No comments: