Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sustainability and Massage

“Sustainability seeks to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future.” (Scripps College, 2009) Sustainability has three main aspects social, environment and economic.

Social Sustainability and Massage
“Social sustainability is in essence about a shift from focusing more or less exclusively on the needs of the individual, community or country, to the needs that will meet the best interests of the whole.” (Nave, 2007) As massage therapists we have to show reliability, competence, trust, concern and empathy towards our clients to build a strong therapeutic relationship with them. Our focus is to be purely on our clients’ needs and not our own. We have to look further than ourselves and take others into consideration. Massage therapy can help with bonding and relationship building between the client and therapist. This can lead to the client forming positive bonds with others outside of the sessions. Relationships can be built with others in the community. It can also result in your client feeling happy and positive about themselves and their lives. This positive energy from your client can also encourage others to feel this way and can spread joy to those around you. Social Sustainability in massage is all about building and strengthening relationships. Positive relationships can then be passed on through communities, countries and to other individuals. Social sustainability and forming relationships with others will impact on the future generations and their perspective on life.

Environmental Sustainability and Massage
Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment. (CES, 2006) As massage therapists starting new businesses we need to consider environmental sustainability. Are our products environmentally friendly? Is any of our out puts such as waste polluting the air, water and environment surrounding us? We want to reduce the impact on the environment so we have a safe and clean place to live. This will also impact on us and our quality of life. We need to research renewable and environmentally friendly products that we can use in our clinics. Recycling is a great way to start reducing the impact on the environment however this alone is not enough. Spreading the word to other massage therapists and helping them to build a business that is environmentally friendly will impact hugely on our community. We need to act now so that our future and the future of our generations can live in a healthy, safe and pollution free environment.

Economic Sustainability and Massage
“Economic sustainability is not just about achieving economic growth year on year. It’s about understanding that economic growth is only sustainable if it simultaneously improves our quality of life and the environment.” (NHS, 2009) For massage therapists starting a new business it is important to make enough money to cover the costs and also make some profit. The more profit made and the growth in a business economically can impact on social and environmental sustainability. With more profit the therapists business can afford to make improvements on their business and to buy products that are environmentally friendly. This would have an impact on the people as they will not only have a better clinic to go to but their environment will be cleaner. A profitable business will also help with the economic growth of the town or city it is situated in. Helping and supporting other industries will also be possible.

Making my practise more sustainable
I think that I could improve on sustainability when it comes to my massage practise. I think the first thing I could do is to recycle. I need to stop throwing away equipment after I use them e.g. wax containers and oil bottles. Setting up recycling bins and then taking them to the recycling centre once a week would be a good start in sustainability. When I next purchase any products I am going to make sure that they are environmentally friendly. I need to do some research into different products before purchasing them to make sure they are environmentally sustainable. Socially I think I could improve by building a strong relationship with other therapists. Building this relationship will benefit my business as they will be able to refer patients on to me. I need to build this relationship up so that they will trust me to take over any clients and put their needs first before mine. When I start up my own business I will consider economic sustainability and make sure that my business positively affects the environment and people. I need to learn how to build up a business and how to slowly build a profit off it. Social, environment and economic sustainability should be considered when setting up a massage business. I now know the impact sustainability has on me as a therapist, my clients and those of the community.


Class notes

NHS.(2009).Economic Sustainability. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from

CES.(2006).Environmental Sustainability. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from

Lisa Nave.(2007).Social Sustainability. Retrieved May 22, 2009,from

Scripps College.(2007).Glossary. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Task 7 Time management

“Time management is commonly defined as the various means by which people effectively use their time and other closely related resources in order to make the most out of it.” (Wikipedia,2009) For any studies it is important to use time management effectively to make sure you are organised and work is completed on time. Managing study, assignments, exams, social life and events will make life as a student more efficient. There are many ways of managing time whether it is using a wall planner, a diary or a “to do list”. We are all different and have our individual ways of managing time.

Personally I am a planner and this is the tool I use when managing my studies. I plan ahead and try my best to stick to it. I feel planning is the most well-organised way of managing time as I then don’t feel rushed or leave things to the last minute. I use a wall planner to highlight important dates such as; assignment due dates, examinations and social events. I also have a diary in which I plan each week. I work out what I am going to do each day and what is coming up that week. This way I keep to schedule and am up to date with study requirements. The week that I have classes I have to make sure I am really organised and have planned well so I can also fit in my own study. I think that planning ahead is a strength of mine and I have found it a worthwhile skill so far this year. Planning makes life less stressful and helps to complete work on time. This tool helps to motivate me and avoid procrastination. If I have not planned what to do for the day I tend to procrastinate. Having a plan motivates me to do my work as I feel satisfied when I have completed everything. Flexibility is required with this method of time management as no matter how well you plan ahead, unexpected events such as sickness may occur which requires reprioritisation and rescheduling.

Prioritising is an essential part of time management. Prioritise is “To arrange or deal with in order of importance”. (Free Dictionary,2009) I try to prioritise time for each different topic taught throughout this course. Prioritising study over social life is one of my strengths as I find it easy to say no to people and put my study first. For many students this is hard as they can easily give in to peer pressure but I know how important it is to put as much time as possible into study. I find that I struggle when it comes to prioritising study and practical work. I tend to spend the majority of time studying and less on practical. I recognise that I need to change this and create a more even balance as practical work is as crucial for my learning as study. To do this I need to set out a certain time each week for practical massage and then work my studies around this. Rewarding myself with a special treat for work achieved helps to maintain a healthy balance between study and social life, which I need to be aware of.

Completing this course would be extremely difficult without having any understanding of time management. For myself I find planning with both a wall planner and diary very worthwhile as I feel motivated to do the work set out for each week. Without this plan I would fall into bad habits such as procrastination. Prioritising is critical and is something that I am beginning to grasp. I need to put in some time to prioritise my study and practical work and with the help of more planning I will be able to achieve this.

Free Dictionary.(2009).Prioritise.Retrieved May 19,2009,

Wikipedia.(2009).Time Management.Retrieved May 18,2009,

Time management learning modules

Ethical Considerations

“Most licensed health care professions have a code of ethics that members of these professions are expected to follow when working within their scope of practise.”(Salvo, 2007)

Client Centred Care
“When the therapist has a client-centred approach to care, the client feels safe and well attended.” (Salvo, 2007) As massage therapists we have an ethical responsibility to incorporate into our practice; respect, compassion, safety, be responsible for our client and their needs, and build a relationship based on trust. Taking a client-centred approach benefits the client and helps them to trust the therapist in forming a therapeutic relationship. At all times the focus is on the client and their needs. Effective communication with the client is essential for building trust and respect.

Informed consent
Obtaining informed consent prior to performing any massage on a client is a vital ethical consideration. This ensures safety for the client and the therapist. Communicating with the client is the best way of informing them about the information they need to know before they give consent to the massage. The client needs to be informed about the therapists; qualifications, payments types available and price of massage, record taking before the massage, contraindications, confidentiality and scope of practise. It is also crucial that the client is informed about your treatment plan, benefits and effects of massage and the feedback system. Client forms, handouts and pamphlets’ are an easy way to notify any relevant information the client may need.

It is essential for a therapists to respects their client confidence. All client records and personal information needs to be kept confidential and in a safe place (Locked filing cabinet). Client records can be accessed by the client or other health care professionals if needed. No information can be given out to family members or other members of the public without the consent of the client. The Privacy Act 1993 states “ensure that personal information which the organisation holds is kept secure against loss or unauthorised use, modification or disclosure.”(Privacy Commissioner, 2009) Out of work the therapist cannot discuss any of their clients with their family or friends and if the therapist sees a client out of work it is best to wait for them to approach you first. Maintaining client confidentiality is an ethical responsibility and requirement of the therapist.

Scope of practise
“Therapists are required to know and practise only services stated in their scope of practise outlined in the state in which they practise.” (Salvo, 2007) It is important that a therapist only performs massage techniques in which they are qualified to do. At the end of this term we will have a Certificate in Relaxation Massage and it is crucial that we only perform relaxation massage. It is in the best interest of the client as we are ethically bound by the hipocratic oath to not want to cause any harm to them. We need to know our limitations, work within our scope of practice and can refer clients to other therapists that have different training or qualifications when needed.

Boundaries/ Power differentials
A therapist must have boundaries between themselves and their clients. Important boundaries to establish for a therapeutic relationship between client and therapist are; personal space, emotional distance and not building a relationship with a client that will be more than just professional. Establishing boundaries and respecting them helps to build trust and a feeling of safety and is an ethical consideration and responsibility for the therapist to maintain. Boundaries may not be crossed and communication is needed to prevent this from happening. There also needs to be boundaries put in place to prevent the client from feeling vulnerable or inferior to the therapist. As massage therapists we have the skills and qualifications but we do not want to show a difference in power because of this. From our experiences and knowledge we are able to stop a massage at any time if we feel uncomfortable with our client or if they cross any boundaries.

Transference and Counter-transference
Transference can occur if a client sees the therapists as a friend, family member or lover and not as the professional they are. As some clients are very vulnerable they can feel comfort, care and a sense of safety from the massage. This can result in feelings for the massage therapists. Clients may want to spend time with therapists outside of work or may even start sending you gifts to show their feelings for you. As therapists we cannot change the way our clients feel but we can try reducing transference from occurring. Counter-transference can occur “when the therapist has trouble maintaining his or her professional distance and detachment from a client.”(Salvo, 2007) A therapist can feel overly responsible for the needs of the client and can lose all the boundaries by having unnecessary feelings towards a client. Warning signs such as attachment to client and the desire for more than a therapeutic relationship can go unnoticed. It is important for therapists to put their personal needs and desires aside when at work so that they can be professional and run a smoother practise.

“In order to meet the trust placed in it by the public as a whole, the professional must have care for the setting in which the profession is practiced: the human setting of massage, the ethical setting, and the overall political setting. This involves the professional voluntarily accepting a code ethics that goes beyond that required of ordinary citizens by law.” (The Health Network, 2009) Client centred care, confidentiality, communication, scope of practise, informed consent, boundaries and power differentials need to be considered when building a professional and successful practise. Ethics are important when it comes to understanding and building therapeutic relationships with clients.


Class notes

Salvo.S.G. (2007). Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice (3rd ed.). Missouri, Saunders.

The Health Network. (2009).Massage Ethics. Retrieved May 18, 2009,

Privacy Commissioner. (2009). Privacy Principle Five. Retrieved May 16,2009,