When we think of massage therapy, we often focus on the therapeutic benefits of the massage itself — excellent technique, soothing touch, and perfect pressure. However, a truly amazing holistic massage session should engage all the senses — touch, smell, sight, sound — to create the most relaxing atmosphere possible. When designing your perfectly holistic massage room, work on establishing a soothing, calming, and peaceful ambiance. From the lighting, to the paint colours, to the scents circulating the room, here are some tips on your perfect massage room:
Get the Lighting Just Right
In your massage practice, your clients come to you with various needs and preferences. You might have a client who prefers to have a fairly straightforward, clinical session focused on sports rehabilitation. In this case, you both might prefer brighter light in the room while working. On the other hand, you might have a client who schedules massages in the hopes of experiencing a blissful 60 minutes of relaxation. For this client, a dim and relaxing lighting situation is preferable.
Because your clients' needs are so variable, you need lighting that's easy to moderate. Consider the perks of LED lighting for massage, where you can operate your lights on dimmers that suit your needs. In addition, consider any curtains, blinds, or drapes you might require in order to filter natural light — or allow some in, depending on the circumstances. Whatever you decide, ensure that the lighting you choose for your massage room is easy to customise based on your clients' needs.
Ensure Convenience & Privacy
Your patients come to you for relaxation, therapeutic touch, and a break from sometimes stressful lives. When you're planning your perfect room, make sure that you're making that experience as convenient and private as possible. In many cases, this will depend upon your holistic massage room's setting. If you're working in a physiotherapist's office or at a spa, then the establishment likely will provide adequate bathrooms, parking, and accessibility for clients. However, if you're setting up your own in-home office, consider the following:
- Ensure adequate, clearly-marked parking
- Make sure it's accessible for everyone
- Ensure the massage room is close to a bathroom
- Keep the massage room separate as possible from your home, and only use it for treatments
- Choose a quiet location where your client won't be exposed to traffic noises or sounds from other rooms in your home
Think About Paint Colours
If your massage room is bright orange, you may want to rethink your strategy. Though you can certainly customise your room to include colours that you find pleasant or enjoyable, it's important to balance your preferences with your clients' needs. In fact, there's a whole realm of science, called chromatics, based on the science of colour and mood. Consider some of these colour schemes when painting your perfect massage room:
- Earth tones. For emphasising a more nature-connected practice, consider using earth tones like soft browns and greens to create a balanced, earthy haven
- Relaxing cool colours. For a relaxing oasis, consider cool shades in your paint scheme
- Soft blues, greens, and violets can contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere
- Soft white. If you're looking for a very clean — but still pleasant — approach, consider soft white walls. Make sure you choose a soft white that's not too bright and jarring. Feel free to decorate your calm, white space with accent colours
Choose Calming, Peaceful Decor
For many massage therapists, decorating their office with calming, peaceful decor can be very enjoyable. For example, you might want to consider a Himalayan salt lamp that casts a pleasant light in the room. Perhaps you have a favourite artist who creates peaceful, beautiful watercolour prints. Even the furniture is important — is there a special chair on which a client can place his or her belongings? Do you have a soft, slip-free mat to place near the client's feet for when they exit the massage table?
As you choose decor for your room, ensure that each piece will create the optimal environment for your clients. For example, if you love the idea of incorporating plants in the space, make sure that you're choosing plants that won't trigger allergic reactions in anyone. When picking wall hangings or art, carefully consider if the art would make anyone uncomfortable. Again, your room should be a perfect balance of your aesthetic — mixed with healthy respect for your clients' comfort.
Set up the Perfect Massage Table
Since your clients will be spending the majority of their time on the massage table during the session, it's important to ensure that it's as comfortable as possible. First of all, you definitely want to invest in a solidly-built, high-quality massage table. Though these can be expensive, it's often possible to purchase a great massage table second-hand. Once you have your table set, consider the following:
- Padded cover. Many therapists like to provide an extra layer of padding between the client's body and the massage table for added comfort
- Sheets. Again, choose sheets whose colours resonate with your practice and invoke a soothing atmosphere. If possible, try to shop for sheets that don't show oil stains as much as others. And remember that the sheets will be on the client's bare skin, so the texture is incredibly important
- Blanket & Table Warmer. Even in warm climates, you should always have a blanket and table warmer available for your clients. Some people find that they catch a significant chill over the course of the session
- Face cradle. While some massage tables have openings for the client's face built-in to the table, others have removable headrests. Ensure that you're getting the most comfortable and adjustable head cradle possible — even if it costs a little extra
Get the Right Equipment
At the end of the day, all you require in order to be an excellent massage therapist is your compassion, your two hands, and a great relationship with your clients. However, having the right massage equipment can elevate your practice and help you stand out as a professional. In addition to your amazing outfitted massage table, consider the following equipment for your room:
- Oil/Lotion warmer. The sensation of cold oil on bare skin is rarely pleasant. Consider getting a small, unobtrusive oil warmer so you can ensure your clients' comfort at all times
- Pillows & Bolsters. Ensure that you're well-stocked with an array of pillows and bolsters in all shapes and sizes. Especially for clients with health conditions and for pregnant women, pillows are essential for a comfortable, safe massage
- Hot stone warmer. If you're planning on offer hot stone massage to your clients, treat yourself to a professional hot stone warmer. Your clients will thank you for it!
- Essential oil diffuser. Because candles aren't always safe in the massage room, you might want to consider getting an essential oil diffuser for your room
- Speaker. To engage all your clients' senses, make sure you have a speaker in your room so that you can play relaxing, calming tunes throughout the session
Be Scent Sensitive
We all know that essential oil scents like lavender can have incredible calming benefits, but that doesn't mean you should heavily spray or diffuse lavender essential oil before each session. Clients with chemical or scent sensitivities can sometimes have strong reactions to even mild scents, so it's important to discuss options with your client before the session.
If your client does enjoy essential oil smells in a massage, give them choices. Use high-quality essential oils and consider using a diffuser in your room during sessions. When possible, air your massage room out between sessions so that no smell becomes overwhelming or overpowering in your perfect massage room.
Take Your Practice to the Next Level
Along with designing a perfect massage room, you can take your massage practice to the next level by joining a professional membership like IICT. Our professional membership offers massage insurance for a variety of holistic modalities. In addition, we offer support and resources to help you expand your holistic massage therapy career.
To find out more, feel free to contact us today.