Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sustainable Massage Practice

In this blog I will give my thoughts on having a sustainable massage practice, what it means and why it is important. I will divide these thoughts into four catagories, environmental, economic, social and human

Enviromental sustainability. We are all becoming very much aware of what we and previous generations have done to our planet and most people are re-thinking what they purchase,how it was made and most importantly what are the byproducts. We now recycle and reuse more because of this awareness. In our massage practice the largest effect on the enviroment is probably the use of electricity to light and heat our massage rooms and wash and dry our linen. It is important that our rooms are kept warm but lighting can be kept at a low level. Washing our linen in hot water is essential for hygiene reasons but laundry can be hung on the line instead of being put in dryers, that assuming that you don’t live in Dunedin or Invercargill. Using sheets and towels made from natural re-cycle able material and not synthetic fibres will help the environment. I make my own massage wax. That way I know there are no harmful chemical additives, it is less expensive and I have control over what I am massaging onto my clients. When thinking of the environment it helps to look at the “Output Rule”which states that waste should not be at a level which cannot be assimulated without environmental degradation. “Input Rule” states that in the case of renewable resources, harvesting should not impair renewal. Non renewable resources should be used at less than the historical rate in which renewable substitutes can be found or manufactured.

Economic sustainability: When starting a business you need sufficient financial capital to carry you over until you start to earn money. You need to earn enough money to cover your costs and earn a wage and maybe even to expand your business. Because we are in a financial downturn at the moment I wonder who and how many people are going to be able to afford to pay for regular massages. Massage could be considered as a luxury by some and luxuries are the first things to go when money is tight. A business plan is essential to a successful massage therapy business as is advertising. New clients could also be attracted by group demonstrations using a massage chair and by satisfied clients telling their friends.

Social sustainability: Maintain good friendships,ones that are supportive and caring. Flush out negative influences because they end up draining all your energy. Where ever you have your massage clinic, get to know your neighbours and make sure you have a friendly relationship with them. Treat your staff and clients with good communication, respect and kindness. Volanteer work in your community is a good way to help people who are less fortunate. Networking with other massage therapists is a great way to help each other with knowledge and maybe some client referrals. We all have different strengths.

Human sustainability: In order to be the best individuals we can be, we as a society need to have early intervention plans in place for when things go wrong. Dealing with problem children before they end up in jail as adults is an example. The health system needs to make sure that services are available to everyone and they need to be easily accessed. But that is in a perfect world and ours is slightly flawed. We as individuals and massage therapists must be responsible for looking after ourselves physically, by eating good food, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. Emotionally we need to love and respect ourselves before we can help others. I am far from perfect but I am the best person I can be and I'm proud of myself.

This unit has certainly given me plenty to think about for the future. With more awareness of sustainability and more people talking about it I think all bodes well for the future of our planet and society.

Reference: Elluminate. Fundamentals of massage. Sustainable massage practice. from David McQuillan,class lecturer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009



As massage therapists, we consider ourselves to be health professionals. But because some still associate massage therapy and the sex industry as one in the same a high standard of ethics is required for the industry.

Care should be client centered. Clients needs must be explored and addressed before and during the massage. Through clear and open communication we must find out what they are hoping to achieve from the massage. We must also let them know what we expect from them. All clients must be treated with respect and compassion. Communication with clients should be clear, letting them know what we will be doing during the massage, how to undress and lay on the table. Informing them that they will always be draped in an appropriate manner except for the part of the body that is being massaged at the time. They should be told that they have control over the massage and can stop it at any time. They should be asked if they have any parts of their body that they want us to avoid. Verbal permission must always be obtained when a therapist is wishing to work on the gluteus.

As massage therapist we must be aware that there is a power differential, with us being seen by most clients as the experts. This is a situation that could be abused by a therapist who does not have good morals. Clients can be vulnerable and open to suggestion during the massage process. Care must be taken when making decisions at this time, that it is in the clients best interest and that no harm will be done. Our clients need to know that we are massage therapists and are not able to help them with other medical problems. We are able though to refer them to another health professional if we think it would be helpful to the client. Ethically we must only perform massage techniques that we have been appropriately trained for. If you have been trained in only relaxation methods, deep tissue work should not be attempted as injury could occur.

We should show our client how we take notes and record treatments and outcomes. They should be told that they can view their notes at anytime, that they are confidential and no-one else will see them without written permission from them. Benefits and likely after effects of massage should be explained to them along with appropriate massage research.

The relationship between massage therapist and client should be professional. This can be achieved by the therapists image and behaviour. A complaints procedure should be explained to all new clients which will give them the confidence that they have somewhere to go to if there is a problem that they cannot discuss with the therapist. We need to be aware that sometimes clients can become very dependant and needy and want more than a professional relationship. In this case we must maintain clear boundaries and if it becomes unmanageable we must consider referral to another therapist.
We as massage therapists also need to look at our feelings towards our clients. Are we expecting to be able to fix everything, have our clients adore and be grateful to us. If so we are in this profession for the wrong reason.

Good ethics is essential for the massage therapy business to move forward.

Time Management


I have always thought that I was efficient at using my time and felt that I was able to achieve more in my day than most people. I have come to realise that that is not the same as good time management. In this blog I will attempt to explore what I am currently doing as time management and how I could improve that to achieve a less stressful outcome.

At the moment I am still getting used to being an adult student in tertiary education. I have spent many hours trying to understand what we are expected to be able to achieve on a computer. I now have organised some peer support for that and soon should be able to complete my I.T. Induction paper. Anatomy was difficult and like a foreign language. In the beginning I understood very little and remembered even less. I failed my first anatomy assessment and was really disappointed in myself. I had to study exclusively on anatomy for three weeks over our break and managed to scrape through with a pass on our second assessment. This has given me some confidence and I am well on my way to being ready for our third assessment. I am really enjoying bioscience and like the way it is formated. It suits my learning style. I need to spend more time on practical massages and get more time logged in my massage book.

I am not in employment and have no family commitments during the week, therefore my time is my own. I do a small amount of volunteer work but that is flexible.

I plan to do two hours a day study on anatomy and keep ahead of my bioscience units. I need to plan better for when essays and assignments are due especially if I am going to need help from the learning center.

My biggest weakness is that I am a great procrastinator, but if study and polytechnic work is made a priority each day it will give it a more important focus. I work well on the basis of thirty minutes study, ten minutes for me, doing something that I like doing, then back to thirty minutes study.

I have all our elluminate session dates and when assignments are due written up on a wall calendar. I haven’t discovered how to work google calendar yet. I will plan my week on Sunday night record it on a sheet of paper and place it on my fridge door for easy reading. Each morning I will plan for what needs to be done that day. If it is not achieved that day I will carry it through to the next day.

My strength is that I am determined to succeed in this massage course and will not loose control over the study that has to be achieved. Apart from my first anatomy assessment I am not the sort of person who gets caught not having the work done. I hate the feeling of being bogged down with too much work or being unprepared.

With the stratagies I have put in place I am sure that my time will be managed in a way to allow me to study and pass this massage diploma.