Massage Therapy: Safety on the Job

massage safety on the job

As is the case with any profession, there are considerations of safety to bear in mind when working as a massage therapist. In fact, some people contest that massage therapy is more dangerous than many other types of work – particularly if you run your own business in an isolated atmosphere. Due to the personal nature of hands-on body work, clients who step over the line can pose a big danger for those who don’t take the proper precautionary steps.

In order to maintain professional boundaries and protect yourself from personal attacks, some steps include:

  • Refusing to see clients or build up a practice from your own home
  • Not scheduling appointments after dark
  • Working as a part of a “team” (either with other massage therapists or healthcare providers)
  • Keeping a record of which clients you see, at what time, as well as their personal contact information
  • Not providing any of your own personal information
  • Maintaining strict boundaries when it comes to the types of massage provided
  • Keeping pepper spray or other protective devices on hand

Of course, personal safety is only a small part of on-the-job hazards. Other considerations for massage therapists include everything from avoiding tripping hazards to proper ventilation. Although you may not be able to control the whole massage environment, you should pay attention to:

Massage creams and lotions: Although most of these are harmless (after all – you’re putting them on your clients’ bodies!), there may be allergens or large concentrations of certain chemicals or preservatives that, over time, can cause illness in the massage provider. Using trusted products and avoiding any ingredient you aren’t familiar with can help reduce the chances of a reaction. The Human Toxome Project is a great resource for looking up unfamiliar ingredients, as well, since they look at long-term effects as well as short-term ones.

Human contaminants: Because massage therapists work with human beings, the chances of medical contamination is fairly high. You should always keep disposable gloves on hand in the instance of waste products that need to be cleaned up, and a well-stocked supply of disinfectants and clean towels should be a part of your storeroom.

Air quality: Of course, with all these massage oils, disinfectants, and possibly even some aromatherapy in the air, you’ll want to make sure you have a safe breathing environment inside your massage practice. Air purifiers, a well-ventilated system, and even windows that will open to allow a breeze can go a long way in making the massage environment safer and more comfortable.

Workplace setup: Any workplace is fraught with dangers related to cords that can be tripped over, objects not stowed properly in cupboards, counters that might be ill-placed and bang your hips, and the potential damages of repetitive motion. Taking the time to clean up your massage space after each client, arranging items so that you are comfortable with them, and ensuring you take adequate breaks will all help in keeping your massage experience professional and safe.

 

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