Add-On Services

Mmm, Mmm Massage

Looking good is all about feeling good, and nail technicians who spend time on the feel-good massage hook clients for good.

Noelle’s clients enjoy not just a massage during their manicure or pedicure, but a neck and shoulder massage while their hands are under the nail dryer. “We found women didn’t like to sit under the nail dryers because they were bored and just ready to leave, so we started doing a neck and shoulder massage and now everyone looks forward to it,” she says. “You can do a lot with that massage because there are so many points you can touch on the neck.”

For salons that really want to meld massage therapy with their nails services, Novelli  recommends chair massage, which is done using a specially designed, ergonomically correct chair with a chest pad, face rest, and armrest. “Clients could come in and have a manicure while they’re getting a shoulder or back massage,” she says. “It’s a phenomenal tool to increase clientele.”

Sullivan-Brown agrees, saying they just added chair massage a few months ago. “They’re vibrating massage chairs, and the idea is if someone is getting their nails done the nail technician can offer a quick shoulder or back massage,” she says. “We’re also finding clients want a quick 5- or 10-minute massage and they don’t want to get disrobed.”

Learn Before You Earn

While therapeutic massage techniques require specialized training, and licensed massage therapists spend hundreds of hours studying anatomy and physiology in addition to hands-on techniques, Novelli points out that clients gain much just from the superficial massage a nail technician can offer. Most nail technicians learn the basics of hand and foot massage in school, and Lana Huff, a nail technician at Marilyn Ihloff Salon in Tulsa, Okla., says refining techniques are something that can be picked up along the way. “I took a Reiki class, but it takes practice more than anything else,” she says. “You also should talk to people in the massage therapy field, and go have a massage yourself. Pay for the service with someone you really want to learn from. That’s how I keep learning new things every day.”

“A weekend workshop would be all a nail technician needs for the fundamentals,” adds Will Green, president of the International Massage Association and owner of Georgetown Bodyworks massage School in Warrington, Va. “And the more you do, the better you get.”

Marla Fisher, a nail technician at Skin Sense in Los Angeles, Calif., also urges her peers who seriously want to pursue massage as part of the nail service to learn more about reflexology. “I think nail technicians who want more diversity should consider reflexology. You can add it to your menu and offer it as its own service. I charge $25 for half an hour of reflexology, and $40 for a full hour. The training is not that expensive. I went to a weekend-long training session twice because the first time I knew nothing about anatomy and had to work very hard. The second time I concentrated on my technique.”

McElroy says she charges $1 per minute for reflexology, saying she will have clients lay on a massage table with a pillow under their knees. Clients come out very relaxed.”

Beyond the opportunity for additional income, however the massage aspect of the nail service presents the ideal opportunity to transform their nail appointment from yet another obligation to a must-have opportunity for relaxation. For your part, it presents an opportunity to grow and further your career while building your client retention rate.

“Nail technicians were very stagnant in the past, and that’s changing now because they are realizing they can do so much for the hands and the feet,” Sullivan-Brown says. “They’re crazy if they don’t further their education and learn more about services like massage because it will make them more well-rounded and improve their client retention. When you give more to the client, she feels like she’s gotten more for her money and she will come back.”


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