How Providers Can De-Stress Before a Client

Smiling female masseur standing in massage parlor
Yakobchuk Olena -

As spa providers embark on the journey to create a haven of calm for our clientele, we deserve a few seconds of inner peace, a quiet moment before we step into the treatment room to bring our minds into flow with our tranquil touch. Providing spa services with this type of mindful focus can increase work happiness, promote creativity and enhance performance.

There are a few ways we can de-stress prior to our spa sessions to encourage a foundation for this flow type of focus, like practicing a moment of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to slow down and bring the self into the present moment by taking the brain off autopilot. It is the opposite of multitasking.

During mindfulness, we allow ourselves to fully immerse in the moment, instead of thinking about other troubles and worries. Current research into the practice of mindfulness indicates a wide array of potential health and well-being benefits, including stress reduction.

Your Mindfulness Practice

When looking to implement the practice of mindfulness to reduce stress just prior to a spa session, renowned clinical psychologist and teacher of mindfulness and compassion Steven Hickman, Psy.D., recommends “door handle meditation,” in which the practitioner uses their hand on the treatment room door handle as a little meditation reminder.

“When you feel your hand on the door of the treatment room, it can be like a meditation bell reminding you to become present,” he explains. “Notice what the handle feels like on your hand, how your body feels at that exact moment and maybe even tune in to the sensations at the soles of your feet. Even a three-second pause can help you release whatever thoughts and emotions you are carrying with you, so your mental and emotional load is a bit lighter and you can be more present to the person right in front of you—and yourself!”

As spa therapists, we know that our best sessions occur when we are solely focused on our guests and are in perfect flow, completely immersed in the experience we are providing. Our knowledge, expertise and therapeutic touch perform together in perfect harmony to create an incredible spa experience.

Related: Self-Care Practices for the Spa Professional

A meta-analysis of 17 studies with more than 10,000 individuals indicated a connection between the practice of mindfulness and flow.1 To that end, Scott Glassman, Psy.D., author of A Happier You and director of the master of applied positive psychology program at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, echoes the sentiment that finding a way to center yourself before a session will only serve to improve the experience for you and your client.

“When we care for others as providers, we are most effective if we can be fully present and centered in our interactions. Unfortunately, life often pulls against that with distraction, stress and time pressure,” says Glassman. “To counter that effect, providers can build a ‘centering space’ into their schedules—a brief time to pause, close their eyes and bring attention to the breath.”

Simply taking a moment to notice our breath and bringing our mental focus inward for a brief time prior to our treatment sessions can have a powerful impact. “What can accentuate this breathing space is an affirming or reinforcing thought such as, ‘I am taking this much-needed time for myself,’ or ‘I am coming home to my essential self,’” adds Glassman. “Simply noting that ‘I’m fully present with self-compassion in this moment,’ can create a feeling of calm and renewal.”

Glassman emphasizes that this practice doesn’t need to take very long; even a minute or two can make an impact. “Providers may find that they need to create several of these opportunities throughout the day and protect them by blocking out their schedules for a few minutes. This way, these recentering pauses are less likely to get crowded out by other seemingly more important tasks,” he says.

Regardless of how you choose to de-stress before stepping into the treatment room, recognize that as spa providers, it is equally vital to care for ourselves in the same way we prioritize the well-being of our clients. We should allocate time for ourselves, just as we dedicate time to others.

We provide sanctuary for so many people, but one cannot pour from an empty cup. The benefits of self-care are cumulative, and taking even a few moments throughout a busy day to pause, breathe and center can nourish our well-being, so that we may better serve our communities.


  1. Schutte, Nicola S., and John M. Malouff. “The Connection between Mindfulness and Flow: A Meta-Analysis.” Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 200, Jan. 2023, p. 111871,

Kristen Johnson, founder of the Waterwell Center for Well-being (, is a registered nurse, licensed esthetician and reiki master/teacher with over a decade of experience in integrative health and wellness. She has an MSN in nursing education and is finishing a second master of science degree in applied positive psychology through the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

More in Self-care