Photo of air filtrations system
Photo of air filtrations system

5 Tips for Keeping Yourself, Your Clients and Your Practice Safe in 2022

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
January 12, 2022

5 Tips for Keeping Yourself, Your Clients and Your Practice Safe in 2022

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
January 12, 2022

Come the new year, public service announcements start to (smartly) remind homeowners of the importance of checking the batteries in safety devices like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. You get reminders about blowing candles out before leaving home, properly unplugging electronics, cleaning your chimney before lighting a fire at the start of the winter season—all great, necessary precautions.

Showing your practice this same love and attention isn't always easy, especially when schedules are busy. But, the start of a new year is a great time to take stock of a few practices that help keep you, your clients and your massage business safe.

No. 1—safe laundry practices

You know that following proper sanitation guidelines are essential to your practice. But, make sure you’re also reading the label of any oils and lotions you’re using so you know the proper way to launder any linens that come into contact with them. Flammable substances require special attention. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that ends with a cool-down period.

It’s also a good idea to promptly wash any oily sheets or linens. If laundry that has oil on it sits for too long in a pile, heat is generated as the oil oxidizes and creates the potential for fire or spontaneous combustion.

Tip: Additionally, regularly cleaning your dryer vent and checking your lint filters are musts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, washing machine and dryer fires combined are responsible for $238 million in direct property damage. Experts recommend cleaning lint filters after every load and dryer vents annually, at minimum.

No. 2—avoid tripping hazards for your clients

Massage therapists need to ensure proper lighting from entry all the way into their practices. Give careful attention to rugs and cords, or anything that may be a tripping hazard, and make sure you’re cleaning up any spills that might be slippery, like massage oils or lotions.

Tip: Keeping your walkways clear, especially during the winter months—where frost and snowfall may make your sidewalks, parking lot and steps particularly slippery—is also important. Note that snow and ice can also be tracked into your office, creating a slip hazard on non-carpeted flooring. Additionally, look for uneven concrete or loose railings and fix them.

No. 3—take special precautions when using heat

If you use hot stones, heated wraps or other temperature-controlled accessories, make sure all items, storage, and heating equipment is in proper working order at all times and that you’re using proper technique. Avoid using equipment not made specifically for the heating task. Of course, as always, check in with your clients before and throughout the session to make sure they don’t have any conditions that would contraindicate the use of heat and that the temperature feels comfortable.

Tip: Consider taking continuing education courses to deepen your understanding of the benefits of using heat during a massage session, most commonly hot stones. AMTA has courses that cover both hot and cold stone massage techniques available at amtamassage.org/learn.

No. 4—remember the importance of thorough intakes

Massage therapists are accustomed to talking with clients before a massage therapy session to better understand why they are seeking massage and where they would like you to focus attention. Most intake forms explicitly ask clients about any health conditions, whether chronic or acute, that they are currently managing. Revisiting this information before every massage session is imperative, as a client who was healthy in one session may have developed a medical issue generally or locally that no longer makes massage safe. A regular dialogue, especially with repeat clients, is essential.

Tip: Be sure to ask clients about the medications they are currently taking, any surgeries they’ve had, as well as allergies and hypersensitivities. Some people may not realize how massage may be contraindicated, and especially if you use any scented oils or lotions during a massage session, knowing what might cause a client to react is important.

No. 5—proper ventilation

Since the start of the pandemic, most everyone’s understanding of the importance of proper ventilation has grown, and though early in the pandemic recommendations were changing rapidly, some guidance is more stable now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that most buildings are not going to require completely new ventilation systems. The CDC does, however, offer some general ideas to help business owners improve ventilation:

  • Weather permitting, open windows and doors to improve outdoor airflow. To increase effectiveness of an open window, consider using a fan, though make sure to place where contaminated air can’t potentially flow from one person to another.
  • Ensure that current ventilation systems are in proper working order and provide acceptable indoor air quality.
  • When possible, rebalance or adjust HVAC systems to increase total airflow to occupied spaces.
  • Use portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fans/filtration systems to enhance air cleaning.

Tip: For more information, visit cdc.gov.

Read More About Safety in the Massage Profession

How employers started to rethink safety while navigating the pandemic

Massage Therapy Foundation develops recommendations for ergonomically safe massage therapy work