Would you like to offer massage therapy in your business? Whether or not you choose to become a certified massage therapist yourself, you can immediately benefit by adding massage to your business structure. The new service will improve overall client results, add new revenue streams, increase client retention, give you creative options for packaging services to attract new clients, and bolster the mind-body component of your business.

Here are some essential guidelines for including massage in your business:

Define Your Own Role. Identify what you want your role and your involvement to be. Do you want to be a practitioner of the work? In that case, attend massage school and complete the necessary hours for state licensure or national certification. Do you want to remain purely in the role of manager or owner? Even if you don’t choose to become certified as a massage therapist, I highly recommend that you attend a short course or weekend workshop sponsored by a legitimate organization. Doing so will help you understand some of the basics of massage therapy and will make you a better manager of new services for your clients.

Hire Only the Best Certified Therapists. The best therapists are typically those with the highest credentials combined with a true desire to help people. They have a great “touch,” wonderful intuition, compassion, a professional appearance and the ability to create a relaxing environment. They also possess solid follow-up and customer service skills.

Create a Soothing Environment. Provide a separate massage room that is at least 9 x 9 feet (10 x 10 feet or larger is ideal) and designed to be relaxing and therapeutic.

Market Massage. Promote and market massage therapy as part of your business and part of your business culture. Your belief in massage is your greatest selling tool.

Integrating Massage Therapy With Training

If space is limited or you are not interested in expanding your team, you can still bridge the world of personal training with massage or bodywork.

For example, we now provide “Integrated Flexibility Sessions” as part of our personal training program. These are like mini “massages” that we offer either for 10 minutes at the end of personal training sessions or as a separate 30-minute stand-alone service. The focus is on flexibility and relaxation using a powerful percussive massage machine called the DMS (Deep Muscle Stimulator). We integrate manual stretching, the DMS and Optimal Performance Bodywork techniques. Integrated Flexibility Sessions are appropriate for personal trainers, since no “massage” is performed by the hands and, therefore, no special license is needed other than training on the equipment. The key here is the DMS machine. We were already offering hands-on, manual stretching at the end of personal training sessions, but using the DMS is new for us. The feedback from our clients has been fantastic, and the DMS has provided an additional revenue stream for the business.

If you create a program similar to Integrated Flexibility Sessions, you won’t require a special treatment room. Just like our postworkout manual stretching, both the 10-minute and the 30-minute sessions are conducted on the gym floor. Trainers use a solid massage table and provide great results for clients.

Is it better to have massage therapists work as employees or independent contractors? For a look at this issue, plus more on running a successful massage program, please see the full article, “Knead Massage?” online in the IDEA Library or in the May issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.