You became a massage therapist to make a difference. You understood from the beginning that mastering the healing arts could help you improve people’s lives.

As a massage therapist, you want to help people relax when they are stressed out and tired.

Ironically, most people who come to you won’t realize how much their high levels of stress has impacted their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

But, fortunately, there are many ways that you can help them understand and deal with stress better.

Provide a Sanctuary 

You can do a great deal to help people unwind as soon as they come to your clinic.

Your receptionist could help them feel comfortable and at ease, offering them a beverage and an interesting magazine to read while their waiting.

You could equip your clinic with luxury massage tables, soothing music, and a few small water fountains.

And you could burn some essentials oils like lavender.

The more peaceful your clinic, the more of a sanctuary it will be, and the more they will love coming to see you.

Educate your Clients  

Many clients will not be aware of how stressed they are.

While it’s obvious to everyone around them, they are oblivious to it. All they aware of is their aches and pains, but not the reason why they always feel out-of-sorts.

What’s happened is that they’ve become so accustomed to stress. They think high stress is normal. In fact, if it weren’t for their somatic distress they would be completely numb to it.

When talking to clients, you have to get two ideas across: first, the havoc that chronic stress can have on the mind and body; and second, what they can do to lower stress.

Here are some ideas, you could share with them:

  1. Common symptoms of stress: 
  • Stress can make people feel irritated and impatient. As a result, they make bad decisions and have mishaps and accidents, which only reinforces their bad mood.
  • Stress can often manifest as anxiety, making people feel that their problems are far worse and more intractable than they really are.
  • Stress can often lead to depression as people focus on what’s not working and why things just keep getting worse for them.
  • Stress can be the root cause of frequent headaches.
  • Stress can cause poor sleep habits, like insomnia or a restless night of sleep.
  1. Simple ways to reduce stress: 
  • Getting regular massages (although they may have figured that one already.)
  • Hot baths at the end of the day, instead of simply going to bed without unwinding.
  • Gentle stretching exercises before going to bed and upon waking up. This will ease their aches and pains considerably over time. These don’t have to be long or complicated. 10 minutes may be enough. If you ask them to do 20 minutes or more, they might never even try. 10 minutes is doable.
  • Going for long walks, either in the morning before work or in the evening after work. Fresh air and movement dissipate stress.
  • Eating healthy foodslike blueberries, oranges and dark chocolate.

The Alarming Consequences of Ongoing Stress 

According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged stress can lead to over-activation of the body’s stress-response mechanism.

This constant secretion of cortisol and other stress-inducing hormones puts someone at risk for serious illnesses because of a compromised immune system.

Tracking Stress Levels 

If your clients are willing to develop a program to relieve their stress—for instance, coming in for a massage at least once a month and going for daily walks—then it’s important that they also track their progress. This will encourage them to take stress management seriously.

Here are two  ways of tracking stress:

  1. If your clients are willing, they can ask their doctors to track their stress levels. For instance, saliva is used to measure the level of stress hormones in the body. Other ways of tracking stress are heart rate variability.
  2. Keeping a mood journal. At the end of each day, clients could rate their mood levels. They could see if their anxiety or depression or irritation decreases over time as they practice stress-reduction exercises.

Expect Resistance 

In closing, don’t expect your clients to immediately embrace these ideas. While they might seem rather straightforward to you, they will view them as radical.

First of all, they might not be convinced how stressed they are even after you point out some obvious symptoms.

Secondly, they may be reluctant to change, just because change, even if it’s adopting some mild new habits, is seen as uncomfortable.

Be patient. Over time, they may come to appreciate your wisdom.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is only to raise awareness about stress.