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September 19, 2017 Amelia Wilcox

Massage Therapist Training: Verbally Help Your Client Relax

As a massage therapist, you know how hard it can be for some clients to relax. No matter how great your technique or how long you massage a client, if they don’t let their muscles relax, those muscles just aren’t going to relax.

That’s where verbal cues come in. In this article, we’ll cover three different types of verbal cues to help your clients loosen up. 

Loosen Up! Massage Therapist Training on Verbal Cues

massage therapist training


Why Learning Verbal Cues is Essential to Massage Therapist Training

Let’s talk about why it’s important to use verbal cues in massage. The answer is quite simple, really. Your clients may not always know how to get their bodies to relax—and nothing is less relaxing than being told to relax. Massage therapists have to get creative in how they coach their clients. 

In the video below, Brooke covers three ways to help clients relax. 


Verbal Cues all Massage Therapists Should Know

These verbal cues are the simplest way to guide your client. The idea is simple; just ask your client to do things for you that will release their hold on their muscles. Here are a few examples from the video:

  • “Let your arm be dead weight….”
  • “Let your elbow be heavy….”
  • “Let your arm drop closer to the floor…”

These cues can be adjusted for whatever part of the body you’re working on, and you can get a little more creative and add visuals to help your client really understand what you’re saying.

For instance, “let your arm be heavy like a giant rock…” (Don’t be too silly, though. You want your client to be relaxed, not laughing at you.)


massage therapist training


What to Do When Verbal Cues Aren’t Working for Massage Clients

Remapping/ Repatterning

If your client just can’t seem to release the tension in their muscles, you can use what Brooke calls “remapping” or “repatterning.”

This involves moving the muscles in unpredictable ways so your client can’t pre-emptively tense up. In reality, you’re just confusing your client’s muscles in order to help them relax.


If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

If all else fails and you just can’t seem to help your client relax enough, you can have them help you move their muscles. Brooke calls this “Call for movement.”

So let’s say you find some tension in a muscle. Think about what that muscles does, and ask the client to move. Brooke provides a couple of great examples of this in the training video.  

There are lots of great ways to help your clients relax if you know what to tell them. 



Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)