From time to time I ask myself this question. Partly because if I do some work, looking at the main reasons for seeking treatment I can then target my advertising to that group. (So far I have written blog posts about some of the things that people come to me with but that is about it.) Another reason is much more simple – curiosity.
If I look at the breakdown of my clients, the majority are women. (around 80%). Over half are not from the UK. This partly reflects British attitudes towards massage and touch but is probably also influenced by Cambridge having a lot of people living in it who are not born in the UK.
Most if you exclude those who come via one off promotions are reasonably well off. £50 might is a lot for a one and a half hour treatment for someone on benefits and it takes into account the fact that over 15 pounds of the £50 goes to room hire. I also have to wash and dry the towels I use which takes time. I have professional association and insurance to pay each year as well as mandatory training for professional development. I have to spend money on advertising and time on my website, otherwise no clients will know about me. Suddenly, while £50 might seem a lot to the person paying, it does not represent a high rate of pay and did I not have a partial pension from taking early retirement from the NHS I would almost certainly have to take some other employment to make ends meet.
I hope that eventually it will make more than just pocket money but that time is not yet.
Back to the point of why do people come to me?
I would say that the most common reason is stress and or anxiety. I also get a lot of clients who are taking antidepressants, though some of these are taking them to help with sleep.
After that I get a wide range of physical problems with neck and shoulder tension being the most common by a long way. (So many people in Cambridge spend most of their working life sitting in front of a computer!)
I get a few people who are serious amateur athletes. – marathon runners and rowers being the main ones.
Quite a lot of those I see have never been for a massage before and have had the treatment bought for them as a present, often for a birthday.
I have a handful of clients who are regulars and they are all very different from each other.
Some of the bias in the type of people who come to me is down to how I advertise. (A background in psychiatric nursing and explicitly stating that I work with the mind body interface is a good clue as to how I like to work.)