Massage at a Spa Pet Peeve

27 thoughts on “Massage at a Spa Pet Peeve

  1. Lauren

    It's funny.. I usually find the complete opposite to be true!

    It seems as though I've barely taken off my necklace and the knock at the door comes.

    Then the inevitable "Is this your first massage? Not that you're clumsy or anything!"

    I try not to take it to heart.

  2. Mary

    Hi Susie, Agreed on being annoying and rather perplexing especially if the guest is a 1st time spa visitor.In a previous life with a Spa Management Co. we trialed asking the guest to knock on the door when ready for the Therapist/ Practioner to re – enter. Yes, one more thing for the guest to do but it did reduce the uncertainty.However, the more annoying activity is the universal scripting so instructions sound the same everywhere and not terribly personalized.
    I really enjoy the Blog and use the topics in our local Spa Business classes.

  3. cnyspagirl

    I love this thread. This has happened to me so many times, but I'm not as brave as you are Susie to jump under the sheets with the therapist in the room! I think I'll wait for you to test that out and report back as to how it went.

    In the meantime, sounds like a good question to come right out and ask a favorite therapist – "how long do you wait" or "what do you do while you are waiting". Take the mystery right out of it!

    I look forward to the other comments on this one.

    Michele McIntyre

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Susie – your blog is very funny – and all too true!
    As I'm waiting – and waiting – on the table I also start wondering what the therapist could possibly be doing…and what do they think people are wearing that takes 15 minutes to remove?! (I'm pretty sure girdles haven't been in vogue for awhile). Then I start sending mental messages (I'm ready!). By the time he or she returns I'm usually stressed – not the best way to start a massage. Recently I've mentioned that I only take a few seconds to get ready so don't go far – that seems to help…a little.

  5. Anonymous

    I loved this post! The same thing happened to me in the Dominican Republic but I think I waited 15-20 minutes! I finally got up, re-robed and peeked out the door and called "hello?" My massage therapist was finally found and apologized for not being to get off the phone with a regular client. Needless to say, I thought that she should have made sure the present client was satisfied, because I certainly wasn't!

  6. Milana Knowles

    Susie, I couldn't agree with you more. The same thing happened to me more than a few times. I at times felt putting the robe back on and start looking for the therapist.

    I also had a great experience once in Paris. It was in a shi shi hotel my husband took me for our
    10th anniversary.

    They had a little gong placed right next to the massage bed, that I was to use when ready to start the service. I always thought that it was a brilliant solution.

  7. Anonymous

    Hi Susie

    You expressed my sentiments, exactly. In fact, as spa journalist, I am so accustomed to this that I actually do take off my robe immediately and jump onto the table. I tell them I'm not 'shy' and actually don't need any privacy. (Since getting a massage is about as intimate as you can get, anyway). It was great to hear you complain about it, since I thought I was the only one! Every second does count when you're being pampered. It's pure luxury and although it takes away from the total experience to think this, every minute counts!

    So jump right in next time and you'll be glad you did!

    Happy spa-ing!

  8. Anonymous

    Absolutely spot on, Susie! It's particularly annoying when you've already changed into a robe beforehand.

    This perhaps leads to a larger issue – that of the spa goer assuming greater responsibility for his or her part in the treatment equation. I'm thinking of, for instance, too much or too little pressure during a massage or an uncomfortable tingling of the skin during a facial and lying there waiting for the therapist to read my mind.

    In any case, giving the therapist some sort of cue or feedback before the treatment is a good idea!

  9. Anonymous

    As a therapist of 8 years I would have to say that in my experience the wait time before entering a room to perform a massage is as fluid as the different modalities of massage. I find that there are some clients that need a few more minutes of quite before I enter to properly prepare for their service. For example, a mother of 3 with an ill parent that is all wound up can benefit from just a few extra moments to breathe. And to answer the question of what we do that depend on the spa we work for. A spa that is super commercial and schedules no extra time between appointments can sometimes not even allow time for a therapist to go to the bathroom or eat for the entire day. So I have seen therapist do this. Most of the time we stretch, breath, have a sip of water and prepare ourselves to massage for up to 90 mins, five or six times a day. One suggestion I would give is to politely say that it won't take you long to be ready before your therapist leaves the room. Last but not least the time that you are paying for should start when their hands touch your body not when they leave the room. Time to disrobe, waiting for your therapist to re-enter the room, or getting off the table should never come of the time of your service. If it does I would mention it to the Director. Hope this helps to establish a therapists point of view.

  10. Anonymous

    As a massage therapist I can let you know what I do when you step in to that room and de rob. I am going to wash my hands or go to the bath room. I just finished with some one before you and I need to stretch after just changing the sheets and was working on someone before you. If I have to go to the restroom it may take me longer than 2 min to get back to the door. I'll knock and say are you ready. Sometimes they are and sometimes not. If they were ready and I have made them wait, I will give them their time allotted.

    I worked at the Spectrum Club where they would book back to back. So it was hard to get a break before your next body.
    Sometimes you're OK going from one person to the next with no break and sometime not. You don't know if they are going to drain you or not.

    Ask a Massage Therapist about being drained. Then you would be glad that they went to wash off what was there before you.

    I do agree with the time thing and we know that clients are all looking at the time. I go over all the time with my clients because most people that I worked on were 90 min. I got used to that so that for my hour people they did not mind the extra time I gave them.

    Yes we are taking a pee or taking a quick bite of our lunch or washing our hand's or trying to be nice to a new costumer and answer their question about massage, really it could be so many things. That is life and we all are here to serve one an other.

    So before you get upset, just think. Did this person get done with someone before me and not get to go to the bathroom because she had to change the sheets or clean up a mess? Did they get to stretch or drink water before they start on another person? Well, I can keep going but I'm out of time.

  11. Anonymous

    let me know how it go's by DE-robing in front of the therapist. That is actually not allowed. The therapist can turn around. But like going to a doctor's office, if it is a male doctor, they need a woman nurse or some one with them. So that they are going by state law's. You are only allowed to expose the part of the body that you are working on.

    I have had customers do what you are thinking about doing. What I do is say OK and turn my back to them. You want that peace to be in the room not the tension.

    See one thing is that I am honest with my client. If I need to go to the restroom or get some water before I start on them and they say I will be quick, I will communicate with them. I need a few minutes myself since I have to use the lady's room, but you will get your full time. Like I said I always take care of my customer.

    They felt the same way as you did about the waiting in the spa room. I don't know who they had before me but it must have been a similar thing happen to them. Yes they don't want you to leave the room. For they want there full time. I get that.

    Well let me know how it go's. This should be good. I know how people get if they don't have a few minutes for themselves. They get sucked dry and then quit. Or even worse, push themselves into carpel-tunnel, tendinitis or fatigue. An average Massage Therapist only last for 5 years. Very few can go beyond that.

    I have met one lady that is 65 and she has been doing it for like 20 years and she herself had to stop because of the essential oil's aroma therapy. It damaged her lungs. One of my teachers has worked 15 years yet she had tendinitis and was scared of what she was going to do next with kids to feed and no husband.

  12. Anonymous


  13. Anonymous

    Having had massages for more than 25 years on and off and having to wait for what seemed an entity for the therapist to re-enter, I feel that the massage therapist should pay attention to what type of clothing the client is wearing (to judge how quickly they can get undressed) as well as their age (us aging like fine wine age ladies might need a minute longer) and judge accordingly on how long to wait.

  14. Anne-Marie

    As a regular spa goer, I can only speak for myself but I like to be told clearly how long it will be until the thearpaist returns. After clearly communicating you need me to remove jewellery, leave knikkers on/off ..etc etc gently say "I will give you 2-3 minutes to get comfortable and will knock before I enter". That should give me enough time to strip, wriggle into a comfy position and take a few few deep breaths in readiness. One more thing – PLEASE ensure the room is warm enough. I think I am very easy going and will put up with quite alot of discomfort in a spa, but having to shivver through a massage or any treatment ( whether a local day spa or major international resort spa) is absolultely inexcusable! Thanks Anna

  15. Anonymous

    i have tried the whole "i dont mind, you dont have to leave" thing for the same reason… and they insisted on leaving because they had things to get anyway…it seems they bank on that time/have a set routine of things they do while a client disrobes. hopefully thats is only the case at the spa i tried it out at…

  16. Anonymous

    As a Massage Therapist for more than 10 years, I believe that a client should not have to wait more than 5 minutes, once a client has been given direct instructions on what to do to prepare themselves for a treatment. I have seen and experienced first hand Massage Therapist leaving a client in the room or on the table for much longer than it takes to prepare one self for a treatment. We tend to book a treatment for one hour, which gives the client 5 min. to undress and 5 min. to redress. I believe anything else is unacceptable!

  17. Anonymous

    As an owner of a spa, we never start the time of the massage until the therapist is back in the room performing the massage. What really needs to be blogged about is all the inconsiderate customers that come 15-20 minutes late for their appointment and expect they will receive a full hour!!!

  18. Anonymous

    As a massage therapist I have to say, it's hard for many of us to decide what is the right amount of time to wait before entering a room. We have to account for various people taking various amounts of time to get disrobed, or vise-versa. And depending on how booked we are that day will play a factor as well. If we are booked solid, we will probably take a few extra minutes just so we can breathe. If it's been slow, we will probably come in quicker because we've been bored all day. Don't take one experience or one therapist and extend it to every therapist. And I agree about clients coming in late as well, if you come in late be understanding that our time is money and we just lost some waiting. I hope everyone has great experiences with massage. Therapists need to remember that we are being paid for an alloted time slot and need to full-fill that obligation. And clients need to remember that massage therapists are people just like them.

  19. SalonProfit

    I have never stressed about how long a Therapist takes to return, but then I always assumed the time starts when the massage commences. I would also be hacked if it cut into my precious massage time. My pet hate is A COLD ROOM. I cannot enjoy my massage if I have to strip down and shiver. You can be the world's best Massage Therapist, but I can't relax and enjoy when I am cold.

  20. Anonymous

    As a massage therapist also I would like to say is that the time does depend on how busy the day is. There has been many of times when I have approached the room and they are not even unrobed or undressed. I have walked in on many of my clients that after 2-3min they still haven't gotten underneth the sheets. I always make sure that I tell each client that I will knock before reentering. And as far as disrobbing while still in the room I have had it happen a many of times by both male and female. There are state laws now and you never know who is in the spa trying to catch a therapist doing something wrong like remaining in the room while a client disrobe. This is my job and I have no intention on loosing it because someone wants to disrobe while i'm in the room. All it takes is one foul cry from a client and a therapist is let go. And no there is usually no investigation no matter how good the therapist is they are let go the same day. And not to mention the time when the massage is over of how long it takes for a client to rob up.Some like to just sit on the edge of the bed and get them selves together before exiting the room not knowing that there is very limited time to get to the next client. But I'm quiet sure that every therapist does there job to make sure that every client get all there time. So don't be so quick to judge. As a therapist who gets massages on the reqular I ask the therapist to give me at least 3-4 min. to get myself ready on the table and get comfortable.

  21. Nicole

    Great post Susie! I've not had this experience as my massage therapist is a friend of mine who works out of her home, but it is interesting the way massages and therapists work in the spa environment.

  22. Anonymous

    I have been getting massages for 10 years plus, mostly at the same spa and never had to wait on the table after disrobing. Waiting for the therapist to appear in the waiting area – yes, but that is generally do to late clients prior to my appointment.

    At the spa I frequent, if you arrive late you must pay for the treatment you booked but you will only receive treatment for the amount of time remaining in your scheduled appointment so as not to disrupt future client appointments. This policy should be adopted for all beauty services – spa and salon – you will see the lateness minimized. There is no logical reason why one person's lateness should impact the schedule of others.



  24. Pam

    As a therapist of 25 years I have always booked appointments for 1hr 15 mins.While my client undresses I step outside, ground myself breathing /stretching etc) massage for 1hr and then I leave the client to relax. I go and wash my hands upto the elbows/go to the toilet etc. This is when the negative energy should be got rid off. By this time my client is up and dressed. I have been doing this since 1985.

  25. Li Ma

    It’s definitely a little awkward when you only take about 2 to 3 minutes to get ready and then spend 10 minutes waiting for the therapist to come back into the treatment room. I always have good experiences with my favorite Chicago Spa, The Senina Spa. they have their therapists stand by the door, and constantly checking with clients, so there won’t be any time wasted waiting by yourself under the sheet inside the room.

  26. Jennifer

    I can understand it is annoying to have to wait more than 5 minutes. As a massage therapist for over 7 years, I never make a client wait that long for a massage. Although I think sometimes that the client expects a lot of the massage therapist who works so hard and sometimes has their own pains to contend with. At my spa, maybe its the economy, but lately I have been experiencing some bad tippers. If you go to all the trouble like I do, to be on time to work, greet each client, act very nice even if you arent in the mood, and give all you got to give a great massage and then get $5 tips or less, I mean, day after day it’s going to be hard on the therapist to continue working that hard and maybe they do need a few extra minutes to ground themselves before each session and think positive thoughts despite a bad tip.


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