The importance of personal hygiene as a massage therapist, and encouraging your clients
In all massage therapy classes, you have been told to have good personal hygiene and a professional image when you welcome your clients. You are also trained to react with tact and respect when the lack of hygiene concerns your client. Today, I want to address this important question again.
Even if you generally have a neat “appearance”, make sure you have a good daily hygiene, have clean hair, smell good (I do not mean to smell perfume!), and have a fresh breath. Indeed, you will be very close to your client, and an inadequate body odor can bother greatly. Also, close to the body clothing and natural fibers will better support your work all day. Do not hesitate to bring another underwear and sweater, and your toothbrush to work. Your very short nails will avoid leaving marks on the skin, and will prevent bacteria from remaining underneath.
As far as your customers are concerned, there are some good ways of reacting when one of your clients comes to you for a massage with a lack of personal hygiene, either because it is at the end of his work day, or after a training session, or for any other reason. Some massage therapists have a shower available to their clients both for the comfort and self-esteem of the client, as well as their own comfort and personal esteem. Other therapists will adopt, for example, the foot bath during the usual questions before massage. You can also massage for example the feet over the sheet, if your customer has white fungus under the toenails (contagious). You can also omit the head massage if his/her hair is oily with sebum, appearing that it hasn’t been washed for many days.
In the latter case, your client may ask why you have not massaged his/her head. You can explain that you do not want to spread the sebum in her face or neck, and you will want to respect yourself by encouraging him/her not to let more than a few days between washing his/her hair and the next massage.
In cases of contagious infections, such as nail fungus and herpes pimples on the lips or buttocks, many clients will not inform you during the usual questions before massage. It will be yours to be vigilant during the massage, and NOT to touch any suspect area. Indeed, you do not want to spread the infection on your client’s body, nor do you want to be affected yourself.
Adopting good personal hygiene is not only good for physical health but also for self-esteem! 🙂 It is an attitude to adopt for yourself as a massage therapist and as a client to other massage therapists, and an educational language to develop with your clientele.