Strive to Be A Better Client

By Robert Chute
[Practitioner Parables]

Some massage therapists are reluctant to work on other therapists for good reasons. It’s not about stealing trade secrets. It’s that some massage therapists make poor clients.

The most common problem between professionals, when one of them becomes a client, is talking shop way too much. Discussion can be OK, but too often the session’s emphasis becomes the chat. I can chat anywhere. I can only receive focused, uninterrupted massage on the table.

Some therapists even avoid practitioners they know. They feel the need to lie about their occupation to avoid a session that turns into a Q&A about the state of the profession.

Then, there are the evaluators. I’ve been guilty of this. For the first couple of years after I graduated from training, I was far too analytical when I climbed onto a fellow therapist’s table. What is she doing now? Do I like that? Would I use that technique myself? It’s difficult to get lost in the eternal now when your focus is more critical than appreciative.

I got over that tendency when I realized I was ruining my massage experience by evaluating every moment. And, of course, a massage is more than what is given. It’s very much about how the work is received. If therapist and client don’t click together like puzzle pieces, they may very well end up butting heads.

Therapists have arrived at my clinic door announcing that they couldn’t find a decent therapist in the entire city. That was a warning sign I should have zeroed in on immediately. During treatment, one therapist lamented that she could not clone fabulousness so she could treat herself.

This won’t be news to most of you, but no one gives the world’s best massage. There is no such thing as the ultimate technique because no one therapy works for everyone all the time. Massage outcomes are influenced by factors besides the therapist’s excellence. If you feel a massage was particularly good or particularly bad, it might have more to do with the body/mind you brought to the table than what your therapist did or did not do.

There are many excellent therapists, but none of us performs with such unerring perfection that our work is for everybody. However, there may be a therapist who is perfect for you. Find him or her. And in the meantime, strive to be not only an excellent therapist, but also a better client.


Robert Chute may be one of your clients, but he’s not telling. Contact him at