Do You Prefer to Work With Certain Clients?

By Tara Doyle
[Tell Me ...]

If you are lucky enough to choose your clientele, you likely pick those who make you happy, inspire you, and rekindle the inner fire and passion you hold for your craft.  
Do you have a preference? Or do you accept all clients with pleasure? You may have heard this interesting theory: you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. Think of the five clients you see most often. Are you happy to be grouped with them, or do you resist the idea? You may not always be in a position to fire a client or work exclusively with a certain population, but word of mouth and referral incentives can certainly drive people from similar groups through your open door. The pull toward a specific clientele can exist for many reasons; perhaps a particular population calls to you, inspires you, or helps you grow as a massage therapist.

Body Awareness
Some MTs enjoy working with specific clients because of their personality types, such as Sarah Mace of New York who gravitates toward working with people who share her viewpoint that quick fixes may not be an option for treatment. “A client with both Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis might do better than someone with a simple cervical spasm because they have a more forgiving attitude and lifestyle,” Mace says.
Several massage therapists expressed that they prefer working with clients who are more aware of their own bodies, such as yoga instructors or athletes. Aaron Witz, a massage therapist from Illinois, says, “I am a huge fan of working with athletes. It is all about the mind-set of the client. Athletes will do whatever is in their power to get back to competition (unless that thing is rest). They do their research, and are open to a wide variety of different treatments based on what condition they are experiencing.” Witz says athletes push him to stay current with research and treatment modalities because of their involvement with their treatment process.  

First Sound Sleep
Other MTs choose to work with specific populations because they’re rewarding. Dawn Keown of Indiana prefers medical and special-needs clients. She enjoys the challenge and the reward of helping someone with a wide-ranging list of symptoms. “I live for the client who tells me they had their first sound sleep in months after our session. The results aren’t always dramatic or fast, but knowing someone can better deal with their condition physically and mentally because of my help just can’t be beat!”

Special Place
Perhaps your benevolent nature colors your world and drips from your hands with the actions you choose to take. Glenna Maynus of North Carolina personally identifies with her oncology clients and enjoys the benefits reaped from their journey with massage therapy. “I love being able to help anyone,” she says, “but I have a special place in my heart for my oncology clients. I know how massage helped me during my cancer journey.”
Carla Andrade Kirk, a massage therapist in Utah, enjoys working with those who suffer from chronic health issues. “I like to do sports technique and real deep tissue to assist the body in healing. I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of massage, and I love to see people get better.”