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Don't Leave a Review of Your Massage Before You Read This: How to Write an Effective Online Review

The Power of Your Words: Leaving Impactful Reviews in a Digital Age

In today's digital world, where we do everything online, from ordering dinner to learning new languages, your voice as a consumer holds immense power. Writing effective reviews for businesses has become more critical than ever before. Your feedback helps fellow consumers make informed choices and is a valuable tool for businesses to grow and improve their services.

In the Massage and Bodywork industry, potential clients are essentially shopping for someone they'll feel comfortable being in an intimate and vulnerable situation with, and many are looking for relief from suffering. Each year, 43% of Americans seek out massage for health related concerns, like pain relief, but not all massage is created equal. Choosing a therapist after a google search of massage near me can be overwhelming. There are dozens of providers to choose from and loads of different modalities with fancy names and initials that aren't always very clear about what they are. And massage is an expense. People want to feel as confident they're making the best possible purchasing decision with what financial and time resources they have.

When a person decides they need or want to book a massage, in the absence of a personal referral, they'll go online and shop around, and they're going to look to reviews to help them make a decision. Chances are pretty good that you found your current massage therapist this way. And you probably already know that not all reviews are created equal.

In this article, we'll explore why your review matters, why you should want to leave a review and how to leave one that's impactful and effective for the services providers you appreciate and other people out there looking for the healing benefits of massage.

Effective Reviews vs Ineffective Reviews

Imagine it's 2:00 a.m., and you can't sleep because the shoulder that has been bothering you for weeks is screaming at you and keeping you awake. You down some anti-inflammatory medicine and pray for it to take effect quickly. While you wait for the pain to subside and hopelessly stare at the glowing clock ticking down the minutes till you have to be up for work, you decide you've had enough. It's time to book a massage. You don't know of any personal recommendations, and it's not exactly the right time to phone a friend, so you do what we all do and turn to Google: massage near me.

You get a ton of hits, but now what? Words and bits of phrases float in front of your sleep-deprived eyes: Deep Tissue Massage, Structural Integration, Rolfing, Cranial Sacral. All claim in one way or another to rid you of your pain. Most have decent looking websites, and all claim to be effective. But what one is for you? You need to feel better, but you don't want to get ripped off, book with someone well-intentioned but inexperienced, or stuck in a room with some aging hippie chanting over your shoulder to "relax the energetic spirits." So you do what any sane person does and look at reviews.

Therapist A has fifteen five-star reviews over the last ten years, and they all essentially say: great massage, therapist was nice, and felt better. Ok, nothing too recent and pretty vague and impersonal.

Therapist B has three lovely five-star reviews from three years ago that say something like: Jane is a lifesaver. I've been seeing her for years and wouldn't go to anyone else. Ok, sounds nice, but pretty subjective and still vague.

The next five or ten therapists have varying reviews that are mostly good but unspecific, and you're not sure what problems people are going to them for.

Then there's Therapist C, with over fifty reviews - and ten are from the last three months. The reviews vary, but many say something along the lines of: The studio space was clean and professional. She really listened when I talked about my trouble areas - I've been having a lot of pain in my shoulder and asked for focus there. She spent the perfect amount of time on my shoulder - working deep and adjusting pressure as I needed. After I felt amazing, my pain was less intense, and I had more range of motion.

If you were up in the middle of the night, in pain and about to book an appointment that involved being naked on a table in a small room with a virtual stranger, which one would you choose? I know which therapist I'd be booking.

When the feedback isn't so great

Negative experiences happen, and they're just as valid as positive ones. But, before you publicly blast your therapist for a disappointing experience, take a moment to think about what made the session less than satisfying for you and if you could have communicated more effectively before or during your session. Wishing silently for more pressure for a whole hour and not saying anything, then leaving a negative review online that says pressure not as deep as I wanted, is frustrating and unfair to your therapist. Here'a a great guide to check out before your session: Massage Etiquette: What to Expect During Massage and How to Communicate With Your Therapist.

Most of the time, a sub-par experience is due to a vague misfitting of client and therapist. It happens. You try a new modality, and it just wasn't your thing. You meet a new therapist, and your "energies" seem off. You couldn't relax during the session, but you're unsure why. These are all good reasons not to return to a particular provider without being the provider's "fault." Your failure to rebook will be plenty of feedback on its own.

However, if you communicated clearly and the provider continued to work in a way that created a negative experience for you, a personal, specific, and respectful call or email to that therapist explaining why you weren't satisfied is usually the best first step for that uncomfortable kind of feedback to be given and received, and allows the therapist a chance to make things right if possible.

How to Write an Effective Online Review

Picture this: You just had a killer massage, you're feeling like all is right with the world and wondering why everyone doesn't get massage every day. Did the birds always sound like a Disney movie, and why didn't anyone tell you your body could feel so ... centered, light and fluid?

Wether you just had your first session with a new therapist or your hundredth session with your longtime therapist, instead of singing your joy from the rooftops, consider leaving an online review. Before you do, consider the following components of a well crafted review to ensure yours is valuable, effective, and appropriately conveys your experience.

Therapist name: This is especially helpful when reviewing establishments with many providers. You want the right therapist to get credit for your great experience. But, it's also beneficial for solo practitioners as it personalizes the experience and humanizes the therapist to potential clients.

Why did you seek services: Saying what you were seeking services for helps people gauge what types of clients and issues this therapist serves. Were you looking for a relaxing massage to unwind after a big project? Were you seeking to manage a chronic pain issue? Did you want an all-over deep tissue massage or focused, skilled work for a specific problem-area? Did they help you with a shoulder problem? Hips? Headaches? This information helps potential clients know what issues the therapist had success working with.

What service did you receive: Letting people know what service you received is especially helpful if the provider offers more than one service. But even if they only have one service, mentioning it reiterates what type of work the provider does and helps the algorithmic gods point Google searchers to the right place.

What was the service like: Giving a short description of what the service actually felt like on the body and mentioning anything unique or different that stood out is incredibly helpful to potential clients trying to gauge what they can expect to experience - especially when the modality you received isn't particularly well understood by the general public.

How were you seen and heard: Our needs are individual, varied and changing. Mentioning a specific indicator that demonstrates the therapist payed attention to your needs helps potential clients feel confident that their needs will be met and reinforces to the therapist how valuable those listening skills are.

Overall experience and highlights: Summarize your overall experience and mention any highlights that made this session review worthy.

👉🏼 The nitty gritty: If nothing else, what potential clients really want to know is what the session feels like (usually pressure) and that the therapist listens to individual client needs and actually delivers. Those three things should be the core of your review. Above all, be specific, clear, and respectful in your review. Your words have the potential to influence others' decisions, and can impact a hard-working individual doing their best to help other people, so use them wisely.

Short and Sweet for the Win

A highly impactful review need not be more than a few lines long. In fact, waxing poetic is a pretty good way to ensure your review won't get read - the opposite of impactful and effective!

If you're not sure where to get started, you can copy/paste and tailor this script to make it your own:

I had a {deep tissue massage} with {Megan} to address {terrible neck and shoulder pain from long hours at the computer.} The massage was {deep, focused and relaxing, and she spent a lot of time on my neck and shoulders, adjusting pressure as I needed.} The experience was {incredibly healing,} and I left {being able to turn my head again without pain.}

Here are some more examples of actual reviews my clients have left on Yelp that are specific, impactful and effective. Notice they all vary in format, but each one includes why they came to see me, specifics about my work, and how they felt improved afterward.

Juliette is the best massage therapist I have seen in decades. I used to think that pain was a necessary component to "digging in deep" on tension, but she can get a lot more done without causing my body to freak out in any way. Going to her has been a crucial part of my recovery from shoulder injury. The world needs more like her!

I needed massage therapy for the neck and shoulder pain I developed from all the virtual meetings in front of a computer. Juliette honed in expertly on the problem areas. Her hands are firm but gentle with just the right amount of pressure. The massage was amazing and helped break the pain cycle.

I've seen Juliette several times for deep tissue massage and can't recommend her highly enough! She is a skilled massage therapist, who excels at therapeutic deep tissue technique that actually feels good. The first time I had a massage at life balance, I have been struggling to fix a chronic shoulder issue for six months with physical therapy and yoga. It went away after my first massage with Juliette.

The Takeaway: The Impact of an Effective Review

Hopefully, this article left you with a different perspective on the value of leaving an online review of your massage therapist's work, inspired you to do so and how to write one effectively. Leaving an honest, specific and detailed review of a therapist's work accomplishes three things.

One, It shares valuable feedback with your therapist, letting them know what they're doing right and what really impact your client experience. Clear and specific feedback allows a therapist to grow and improve as a healer and, often, as a business owner. Telling them in person is always wonderful, but taking time to leave a review online shows an extra step of gratitude.

Second, It serves as a guidepost for potential clients overwhelmed with choices, helping them decide where to invest their time and money and offering a window into the experience of working with a particular therapist. The more specific and detailed reviews a therapist has, the more likely a potential client is to feel comfortable booking with them. A well written review also helps guide the right clients to us - those people looking for the therapy we specialize in - ensuring overall client satisfaction and the therapist's sense of effectiveness and accomplishment.

Lastly, It's a lovely way to thank your therapist and make a gesture that shows public appreciation and helps our business grow. Even those of us who have been practicing for decades still rely on an inflow of new clients as client bases shift and change with the tides of life. In addition, many massage therapists tend to be naturally inclined caretakers who delight in crafting a session in which you feel completely taken care of. We put a lot of physical and energetic effort into creating a nurturing and healing experience for you, and it means so much to hear straightforwardly that you really enjoyed the work and why. A happy client is a repeat client, so we appreciate knowing the small and big things that really hit the mark for you.

Just be sure to remember that when you write a review, keep it honest, specific, and respectful of the therapist's humanity as a growing service provider.

Stay curious. Stay humble. Stay kind.




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Hey there, I'm Juliette (She/her) – I'm a Bodyworker and Writer.

I run a thriving massage practice in the East Bay California, where I've helped thousands of people feel amazing in their bodies.
When I'm not helping people feel better in their bodies or writing about wellness, practice-building and the messy art of being human, you can find me hanging with my family, curled up with some chocolate and a book, drinking room-temperature tea or hiking the gorgeous Bay Area with my pup.

My daily grind involves battling my brain to carve out a space for healthier living, personal growth, and a pinch more self-love. It's an ongoing challenge!

Join me as I explore wellness of the head, heart and body. 

Stay curious, stay humble, stay kind.



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Juliette Wilk is a licensed and certified Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience. She runs a thriving private practice in East Bay California, where she's helped thousands of people feel better in their bodies. When she's not helping people achieve a state of bliss or writing on wellness and practice-building topics, you can find her hanging with her family and pup, curled up with a book, drinking room-temperature tea or hiking the gorgeous Bay Area. Work with her or read more @


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