Massage therapists come into physical contact with the public in a very intimate way. Touching people’s bodies that are laying on a table comes with risks. There are many things a massage therapist can do to mitigate risks to their clients and to themselves.
The best protection is a practice of professionalism every day with every client. A confident handshake goes a long way to building confidence in clients. People that trust are more likely to relax and not be on guard for mishaps. Setting up a good first impression with a warm but firm handshake starts the working relationship on the right foot. Part of professionalism is maintaining eye contact in a relaxed way. Overbearing eye contact can make people feel uncomfortable, but warm and attentive eye contact can make people open up. Professionalism in interactions with every client can go a long way toward warding off risk associated with working with the public.
Another great protection to risk is to maintain a clean and orderly work space. From the curbside, through the entrance, all the way to the massage table, every detail should be clean and open. Any disrepair should be eliminated. Clutter and disarray should be cleaned and every detail should lull clients into serenity. Broken massage tables are dangerous. Be aware of entrance hazards like stairs, rickety handrails, ice or slippery leaves on the sidewalk, and other potential risks.
Be prepared! A level of preparation for incidents goes a long way to preventing a small thing from growing into something massive. That means having a First Aid kit that is well stocked and easily available when needed. Have a straight forward incident report to fill out if an injury happens. This is a tool that forces practitioner reflection if something happens. It can provide context if something that seems small at the time turns into something more massive than expected. Dutifully fill it out every time a risky incident happens.
After all of those things have been followed, the final protection is to carry massage insurance. Massage insurance protects a massage therapist against things with the public, such as injury on site or during massage. It also protects against damaged or stolen property. Massage tables are a valuable investment and need protection. Massage insurance also offers protection to the property if it is damaged while being rented by a massage therapist. Damage may happen in the course of normal work, such as if a massage table is knocked over and damages a wall. This insurance can also protect the massage therapist if a client has an adverse reaction to a service. For example, if a client has an allergic reaction to a lotion or oil used during a massage, a massage therapist with massage insurance will have protection. If a client has a bad reaction to a modality or massage technique used, a massage therapist with massage insurance will have protection.
It is important for peace of mind for a massage therapist to know that if an incident arises, they will have protection and mitigated risk associated with the incident. Massage insurance provides that peace of mind. Massage insurance also provides peace of mind to clients. They will appreciate knowing that if something happens to them while at a massage office or during their massage, they will be taken care of. Risks are a part of working with the public and mitigating that risk is part of practicing responsible massage therapy.