How to Introduce a Friend to Massage
Sharing the Benefits of Bodywork
Gifting Massage: Gift certificates are a great way to share massages with the people in your life. Looking for the perfect birthday present? Purchase an hour gift certificate for them with your favorite massage therapist. Thanking someone for pet sitting? Reward them with a half-hour reflexology treatment. If it's your spouse or significant other that you're hoping to get interested in this healing therapy, perhaps a couple's massage, where two people receive massage in the same room, could be an anniversary gift.
Giving someone a gift certificate allows the recipient to experience massage without financially committing to something that they might not be sure about. After the initial visit, it is up to them to evaluate whether the experience makes them want to pay for another one.
Outline the Benefits Most people are aware that massage is effective at relieving stress and promoting relaxation, but there are myriad benefits you can highlight depending on your audience. For those who suffer from low-back pain, a study by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle has shown that massage is more effective than medication at reducing pain. Some massage therapists provide specialized sport massage, something that might appeal to your golfing buddy who needs to loosen up his swing and increase his range of motion.
In addition to helping people reduce pain or cope with physical injuries, the supportive touch of a massage therapist can be a powerful positive encounter during times of emotional distress. If someone in your life is dealing with grief or loss, you might recommend massage as a way for them to relax and be tended to without having to actively share their feelings, a welcome relief for many people.
Here are just some of the positives that massage and bodywork can provide. You can tailor your "pitch" to your audience by focusing on those specific to their situation:
--Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
--Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow--the body's natural defense system.
--Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
--Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
--Improve the condition of the body's largest organ--the skin.
--Increase joint flexibility.
--Lessen depression and anxiety.
--Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
--Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
--Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
--Reduce spasms and cramping.
--Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
--Release endorphins--amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
--Relieve migraine pain.
Take Baby Steps: If the person you are trying to introduce is intrigued by massage but reluctant to dive in headfirst, there are several ways to encourage them to stick a toe in the water. Many massage therapists offer chair massage in smaller time increments than a typical one-hour appointment. This is an ideal way for a person to experience the benefits of touch without having to worry about undressing or being overwhelmed by a full session.
Consider inviting your "recruit" to meet your massage therapist before your next session. Most therapists would be happy to give a potential client a brief tour and talk with them about the process of receiving a massage. For many people, being able to put a face to the person who is going to be touching them will calm some of their fears of the unknown.
For those who need more specific information about massage, you can direct them to Massagetherapy.com, a public education site provided by Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). On the site they will find an introduction to massage and its benefits, information on what to expect from a session, and a glossary of terms and techniques to help them understand massage lingo. There is also an archive of articles from Massage & Bodywork magazine to help the potential client answer any questions they might have before taking the plunge.
Be a Billboard: Friends and family are more likely to follow your lead if you show them that you enjoy, and benefit from, receiving massage. If you have a regular routine and are feeling good, when you recommend bodywork to others it will be more influential. Whether it's increased range of motion, a sunnier disposition, or an improvement in posture, what you've gotten out of massage will be the best advertisement you can show them.
If, after all of your encouragement, they are still reluctant, you need to respect their feelings. Not everyone is ready for the hands-on experience of massage therapy, and some may even have some serious personal issues about touch. If you allow them to come to massage and bodywork on their own terms, they are more likely to be open to the safe, comforting, professional touch that the massage therapist provides.