So, you’ve booked in for a complementary therapy session and something is wrong. What do you do?

Well, it depends on the situation and what the issue is.

In most situations communication is going to help you resolve your problem. Before each session I tell someone if they’re not happy at any point to let me know. This gives me the opportunity to address any issues and ensure the person leaves their therapy feeling they’ve received what they were expecting. This means you need to speak up, or your therapist is going to assume everything is ok.

Here’s some scenarios:

  • Asked for a gentle massage but you’re thinking you’d like more pressure? Just tell your therapist you’ve changed your mind – it’s ok. Sometimes, people think no pain no gain, and that the deeper the pressure the better. Bear in mind if you ask your therapist to work deeper they may not physically want to, as it can take a strain on their body. Also, deep isn’t always needed – research is showing the pressure is not necessarily the way to release a muscle, as it is now thought massage can influence the nerve response to relax the muscle
  • Asked for a particular area to be massaged but you want to include more work on a certain area? Again, speak up during the therapy. If your therapist is about to turn you over and you’re thinking you’d like more work on that side, let them know. If its the shoulders or neck they may be wanting to work the area from the other side but it’s fine to ask
  • Feeling cold? Ask for the heating to be turned up or if you can get a blanket
  • Feeling thirsty or need a tissue? Ask!    
  • Booked for a reflexology session and decided you don’t like having your feet touched? Let your therapist know! It may be their pressure isn’t quite right for you, that you need to relax more to let someone touch your feet, or that a shorter session may be more suitable
  • Don’t like their technique? Remember, that if they are part of a creditable membership body then they will have spent considerable time and money on training, along with continuing professional development. The complementary therapy field is changing considerably at the moment and each therapist will choose to specialise in particular areas. Do not assume just because the technique is not suited to you that they are in some way incompetent, it may mean this therapist is not the right fit for you. Again, if you’d prefer a particular type of technique, speak to the therapist and find out if they’re qualified to use it. If they are, they will probably be happy to incorporate it into the session for you
  • Decided you don’t like the oils being used? Ideally, you should have smelt them before the session, however, again speak to your therapist. They can probably switch your blend to a single oil and carry on with your session with minimal disruption.

    Regardless of your issue the worst thing you can do is stay quiet, or choose to tell your therapist when you are dressed and off the couch. At this point it is too late and your therapist will have already invested their time and energy into your session with the trust that if there was an issue you would have said something. It is your therapy and if you’re not happy it’s your responsibility to speak up – your therapist is not a mind reader!


    Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers aromatherapy, reflexology, holistic massage, baby massage, reiki and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information about Louise, visit