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.