The Art of the Intake

A new client has just walked into my office. It’s time to shine! The intake sets the tone for the rest of their experience and we want them to feel confident they’ve made the right choice in booking with us.

If surfing, teJourney-Land-Welcome-Signxting or emailing when they walk in, stop and stand up to greet them (this can be can finished up when they’re getting on the table or after their session). I have to admit that I sometimes forget to introduce myself since I’m a solo practitioner and assume they know my name, but I’m aware of that tendency and remind myself to do it every time. Asking if they need to use the ladies/mens room (I think it sounds better than restroom) before starting any paperwork improves the client experience for two reasons: (1) using the restroom is not convenient once the session has started and (2) so they won’t be hoping the massage is ending soon with twenty minutes remaining because they need to go.

Narrow down what medical information you feel is really important to protect the client’s safety (and yours) to keep the intake form brief. I use a very short intake form because I hate filling out a complete medical history simply to get a massage! Don’t get me wrong, I know how powerfully massage can affect someone, but I’ve also learned that it’s safe for the majority of people who seek it. In addition, using a short form makes it easy for clients to complete it while we sit together and discuss it, which allows me to glean so much more information than if they fill it out alone in my waiting area (check out my intake form here).

2. water while the intake form is getting started (which seems a bit defeating if they’ve used the restroom). After determining if there are any contraindications, find out if the client wants a full body massage or focused work on specific areas. Both have merit depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. Make any recommendations that will enhance their results (such as hip and hamstring work to facilitate low back work), which the client has to agree to before incorporating any suggestions into the session. As long as their requests are legal and safe, their wishes should be honored. After all, it’s their massage and a new client knows their own body better than we do (at least for the first few visits)!

Before leaving the room for the client to undress and get on the table, instruct them where they can leave their clothes (I’m amazed at where clients have chosen to leave them without some guidance) and ask them if they have any questions. My final direction is to get under the top sheet (I’ve had more than one uncomfortable moment overlooking this, luckily all face down). Let them know you’ll be knocking before coming back in so they know it’s not necessary to yell when they’re ready.

While the client is alone in my treatment room, my hope is that they feel comfortable with me and assured that their needs will be met. Next time, I’ll be sharing a few questions to ask once we’ve re-entered the room prior to the actual work. Clients appreciate being listened to and knowing what to expect, helping me create a successful practice that I love!

How do you create an exceptional intake experience? Please share your tips in the comments. Thank you!

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About deepheeling

I'm an ashiatsu barefoot deep tissue massage specialist dedicated to sharing my journey to creating a successful business that I love!
This entry was posted in Client Experience, Communication and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Art of the Intake

  1. Stephanie Van Bogart says:

    This is great advice and so easy to overlook. These moments become so routine and common with the practitioner that he or she may overlook small details that enhance the client’s experience and also enhance a first impression.


    • Thanks for your comment! In my massage training, we were given a generic form for clinic clients to complete on their own in the waiting area. I performed my intakes that way for years until I realized the intake is an opportunity to start building a relationship.



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