“In your opinion, what does it take to be a top massage therapist?
Written by Julie Leppert LMT, Louisville, KY
This open-ended question was recently asked in a massage discussion Facebook group and received a wide
variety of answers. My contribution to the answer was rooted in two key points, presence and
What is presence? It’s simply paying attention. This includes visualizing the anatomy as you’re
manually manipulating the tissue, noticing every nuance of your client’s body language, being
aware of the ambiance in the room and the comfort of the table, etc. Does it mean your thoughts
never drift to Fiji? No, but it also means you are disciplined enough to redirect your attention to
the most important person in the room. Without our clients, we would not be. They can feel the
difference in the energy when we are THERE, and when we are in Fiji the whole session.
A very wise mentor of mine taught me years ago that massage is 90% intent and 10% technique. Initially, I scoffed. How can that be? We spent so much time in massage school on
But there’s so much truth, when we understand the “why” behind the “what” we are doing, it
becomes purposeful, and it naturally makes sense. If we are just kneading to fill time, doing our
favorite massage modality because that’s our personal agenda, or rolling over those adhesions without
intent (cringe), our massage treatment has no purpose or integrity. There is so much I can say, but slow it
down, and think: “does what I’m doing make sense and is it the wisest course of action?”
If not, reevaluate.
Another essential part of the intention is the intention to be consistent with your points of difference
that is part of your client’s experience every time. Examples: asking intake questions, offering a
hot towel, offering a beverage, prebooking, etc. These create stability, comfort, higher retention,
and send a nonverbal message that the client can let their guard down and relax because they
can trust you will not cut corners.
Under the umbrella of intention is making a good impression on purpose. A few key points:
● Establish a signature wardrobe for your brand/business that conveys professionalism
● Hygiene and grooming-if we appreciate our clients having basic hygiene, we should do
● Your room should look the same for the last client of the day as it did the first
● Greet your client warmly with a smile, a firm handshake, and say their name at least 3 times before they leave.
● Do let them set the pace of conversation and don’t share your personal life story.
● Overall-always think about what everything feels like through the lens of the client.
Do yourselves a favor, try it out, on purpose for a month. I’d love to hear feedback! “Whatever
you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln
Categorised in: Orthopedic Massage general
This post was written by Linda Hoppe