The Art of Executing A Spa Treatment When the Service Time is Cut Short

We’ve all been there: a guest arrives late for her treatment. This is added pressure for the spa therapist to deliver a service that still presents the ‘wow’ effect. Especially when we have a guest booked in the next time slot after her.

Since the spa industry is about selling time, I have instructed my staff of spa therapists not to volunteer that the guest will only be receiving the time that is left. Instead, she is greeted and brought into the treatment room and given a consultation without the feeling of being rushed. A massage therapist will ask her, “What are your areas of concern?” If the guest says, “Oh it’s my neck and shoulders.” Then the massage therapist could say, “If you would like, we could spend the entire duration just on those areas so that you feel that much needed relief.” Usually the guest agrees that this is the best option. If the guest is looking for a little bit of time spent everywhere, then the real skill of the massage therapist is getting around the body seamlessly in the remaining amount of time.

Stretches, compression work, shiatsu points and traction on neck and feet are incredibly effective in making an impact on a guest who has limited time to relax. These maneuvers don’t even require the application of oil or difficult draping. Yet, you still can deliver a fantastic treatment if you take the time to learn other modalities besides Swedish massage that enrich your work and make your treatments more memorable.

Swedish strokes such as effleurage or petrissage should be administered at a slower pace so the guest can experience and follow the progress the massage therapist is making while relieving any tension.

Sometimes we think we have to incorporate every stroke or maneuver we have learned and squeeze all of it into an hour treatment just to show that we are well-versed in this profession. The key is to be present and in the moment. A rushed treatment (even when it is not the fault of the massage therapist) may come back to haunt her if the guest leaves the spa feeling greasy and uneasy.

Suggested Articles

In honor of the brand’s 30th anniversary, Murad’s fist-of-its-kind activation aims to unlock a healthy lifestyle.

The brand believes everyone deserves to express themselves through color and it’s a step towards breaking down negative stereotypes.


It's imperative to ensure your therapists are feeling their best at work. Here are a few ways you can support them.