First Massage Client

First Massage Client

My Very First Massage Client

You’ve graduated, taken your licensing examination, and passed!  Congratulations!!  It’s now time to jump into the world of massage therapy.

I was so excited when this happened that I couldn’t wait to get started.  Until the first body magically appeared on my table…..and I forgot everything I had learned.

Not literally of course….I still remembered some things.  But all of my intuition and flow seemed to fly out the window.

It wasn’t the ideal situation either.  I was doing event sports massage in the middle of a gymnasium.  It was hot and there was no air flow.  I was nervous and felt unprepared.

You’ve heard the term “fake it ‘til you make it.”  I won’t say that is what happened.  But it could have been.  I took some deep grounding breaths and started to work.  After the first few minutes, I started to feel my “groove.”

My practice came back to me and I was able to once again envision the muscles, fascia and bone beneath my hands and fingers.  I started to move more instinctively toward attachment sites and began to stop thinking so much.

Unfortunately for me…and that first client, the session was only 20 minutes.  Toward the end, I could really see that I was doing my best; but those first few minutes…not so much.  Before I even had to think about, my second client was laying down for her work…another 20 minute session.

It continued like that for about 2 hours.  I got more comfortable in my own skin and with the set-up that we had.  I kicked off my shoes and made some adjustments to my typical session to make more progress with less time.

By then end of the event, I was sweaty…I don’t mean a little perspiration, I mean dripping with sweat gross.  I spent time making sure that I wasn’t dripping on my client.  I started to learn about what I needed to be prepared for in my own practice.

When I finally took a break to use the restroom, I ended up washing my hands next to the woman who had been my second client of the day.  She thanked me again…and then said “I wish I lived closer, your local people are very lucky to have you.”

My jaw should have dropped to the floor…it didn’t.  I shared with her that this was only my first event and I was so thankful for her support and encouragement.

I share this with you for a couple of reasons.

  • You too will have the “first real paying client panic.” You will also get through the session, look at the cash in hand and realize that you can actually make money doing something this fun!
  • You will question your abilities…maybe you won’t…but most people will. You will also have a client who will reassure your faith in yourself by providing you with honest feedback…in the most unexpected places.
  • You will have some type of bodily function while in a session (dripping sweat, intestinal gas, etc.). You will get through it.

The key to all of this is that you will get through the challenges.  Your education has a clinical component for this reason.  You will need to have some exposure to paying clients prior to your graduation and licensing.  There is, however, no way  that your education can prepare you for every possible scenario that will occur in your practice.  Every human body is unique….every massage  should be as well.

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous.  Our bodies respond well to stress (remember your A & P classes on the Nervous System)….we can handle it in the short term.

So, take some deep breaths, relax, ground yourself, hydrate, and jump in.  It’s the only way to get past those first client nerves!  Until next time….breathe.


About the Author

Beka C Rebecca Charles, the new "voice" of Massage Schools Guide. By day, a health educator at a rural non-profit, by night, I teach part-time at a local community college, and I spend my weekends in a 1000 hour massage therapy program in New York State.

For me, massage was something that always seemed to be in the back of my mind, but only recently did it really seem to "fit" into my world. I'm looking forward to an exciting transition into a world of massage therapy and all that it has to offer! When not working, teaching, or learning, I live in rural Pennsylvania with my husband (The Suit), our sweet daughter and our 11 year old lab. It's a crazy life and wouldn't trade it for anything!



1 Enlightened Reply

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  1. Destiny Lee says:

    Hi, my name is Destiny Lee. I wanted to thank you for your insite on your work that you did. I can’t wait to practice on some client’s of my own some day. I haven’t finished High school but I can’t wait to get hands-on experience with the massage therapy industry. This has always been my dream and passion, this year is my last year in High school and I’m going straight into college after to get started on my career. If you have anything that you think could help me be more prepared for my dream career that would be awesome. Thanks again.

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