When you’re relaxing on a massage table, it’s easy to see massage as a gift. Whether you’re there to reduce pain, to ease anxiety, to help you recover from the physical and mental stresses of work or athletic training or parenting or simply being alive, massage is a moment of freedom in an occasionally crushing world. If you’re thinking of sharing the gift of massage with someone else for a special occasion or “just because,” you are almost certainly doing so from a place of love and generosity. It’s lovely to offer to people who would rather have experiences than “stuff” at the holidays – as long as you go about it correctly.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of giving massage as a gift! But just as with choosing to visit a massage therapist yourself, there are some considerations when offering this kind of gift.
Massage is an amazing gift! But there are a few steps to think about in advance.
Think about the best way to deliver your gift. Gift certificates are the easiest way to give a massage as a gift, as it allows the individual to schedule on their own. Scheduling on their behalf and prepaying online can sometimes work as well, although this can require additional strategic planning.
Look for genuine excitement. When you mention massage are they enthusiastic about the idea? “Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing!” is what you’re looking for, not a polite “Yeah sure, I guess I would go if it were free.” If you can get a more excited response by offering new socks, go with the socks. But many people are thrilled by the idea of getting a professional massage as a gift.
Talk with your massage therapist. Are they accepting new clients right now? Do they allow people to purchase massages as a gift? Do they offer the kind of massage this person needs or wants? For example, I specialize in problem solving, medical/therapeutic massage to overworked and stressed out business owners. If you’re looking to give a massage as a gift to someone who wants reiki, energy work or reflexology, my massage gift certificates wouldn’t be the best fit.
Plan WELL in advance if you want to make the appointment for them. Massage openings fill quickly, especially around holidays! Don’t assume that spaces will be available on a particular day just because you’ve got a month to spare. I have many openings (typically) in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, but almost none in the evening. You can check out my schedule directly to see if I’m a good match for their availability.
Consider and remove obstacles. Unlike a nice sweater or a juicy novel, there can be a few barriers to someone enjoying even a gifted massage.
Massages are great! (For many people.) Surprises are too! (For some.) But if you’re cooking up a surprise outing for a loved one, consider something else. There are a few reasons for this:
The solution to this? Talk about it in advance. It’s better to take some of the mystery out of a surprise and know that it’s welcome than to end up with the Worst Gift Ever trophy.
This has been an awful lot of what-if-ing. What if they don’t want a massage? What if they can’t get to their massage? What if they’re just being polite, and get a massage but kind of hate it? But there’s another important possibility to consider: what if they love it?
For starters, you won’t hear anything about it from me. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is your spouse, sibling, parent, or anyone else super-close to you. If they really enjoy their massage, if it eases their pain, if it helps them to relax … you can ask them all about it. The fact that it was your gift doesn’t make a difference. Once you give that gift, it belongs to them, and their experience is just as private as though it was all their own idea.
What if they decide to come back as my regular client? You still won’t hear it from me. If you happen to chat about it, great! (And if you’re comfortable doing so, I always appreciate it when clients share their positive experiences with others, like on Google Reviews.) But while I’m always happy to chat about the latest Doctor Who or facebook meme, my client list stays private.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Rest matters. Peace matters. Sometimes, one of the best gifts you can offer others is to take a moment away from the chaotic world, so that you can be a better spouse, parent, colleague, neighbor, or friend. Sometimes self-care can feel like a strangely radical act, but it’s a vital one. When we have good examples of people who know to care for themselves before running themselves ragged, it’s a better environment for everyone.
To give the gift of massage, there’s a few things you should know. Quality Life Massage Therapy has an identity crisis – it’s the business identity of me, Leslie Forrester AND a co-op space for several other small wellness businesses that rent space from me. Some of them have gift cards/certificates, some don’t. Everything I’ve said is about me, myself and I and the massage that I do. The online gift certificates are for me alone. Just so you know. Want one? Online Gift Certificates available here!