More Than Just Great Massage

By Karrie Osborn
[ABMP Member Profile]

Delivering outstanding massage therapy is but one component of a successful practice, says massage therapist Mary Davis, owner of Healing Traditions Bodywork in Evergreen, Colorado. Delivering outstanding customer service, however, is the framework on which a successful practice is built.

Davis, who graduated from the Colorado School of Healing Arts, says giving clients special attention 100 percent of the time is just good business sense. “I try to be mindful that clients have a lot of choice in where they can go for massage services. I see it as a large part of my job to make sure they choose me and my business, and that they want to keep coming back. My goal is to make the time the client spends with me the best one hour of their week. I set that intention for every massage,” she says.
“But, it’s not enough to just give a great massage,” she adds. “That is the bare minimum. I strive to exceed the client’s expectations and to provide the best experience I can.”
Davis, who has been in practice since 2004, says even the basics can make a difference. “I have seen other practitioners lose business because they didn’t return phone calls, didn’t show up on time, or otherwise weren’t reliable and didn’t value the client.” She believes every single interaction with a client is important and can make or break the relationship. “The client should know that we appreciate and we want their business by the way we treat them.”
Whether she is having a great day herself or not is never part of the equation. “I try to remember that the client has likely been looking forward to the massage for days or weeks. This time should be totally focused on them. The therapist’s mind-set is key. It may be one of many massages for the therapist in a given day, but we can’t just go through the motions,” she says. “The client feels the difference if we are fully present, focused, and engaged. Even when I am tired or have things going on in my personal life, I work very hard not to allow these to interfere.”
And the results show her dedication is working. “I have a full, busy practice and wonderful, loyal clients who refer their friends and family. My practice has been primarily built on word of mouth and I have a great return and retention rate. I also have a network of referral sources in the community. I find I don’t need to do a lot to bring in new clients. Referrals keep me booked.” And for that, Davis is especially humbled. “It’s a blessing to have a thriving business in this field. I do my best to remember to be grateful every day.”
To balance the commitment she makes to her professional world, Davis takes advantage of all that Colorado offers—from skiing to hiking (she has a pair of hiking boots in her Jeep at the ready for that next great trail) and everything in between. A love for animals has also spurred Davis and her family to volunteer for Jefferson County Horse Evacuation Assistance Team (HEAT)—a group that rescues large animals in danger—and together they have worked to save horses left behind when their owners were evacuated during several of the state’s most devastating wildfires. “Helping rescue horses in the middle of the night with flames visible and structures burned to the ground all around was an experience I will never forget.”
For more information on Mary Davis and her practice, visit her website at

Karrie Osborn is senior editor at ABMP.