At one of our staff meetings in November, Bill made the recommendation that instead of the usual office holiday gift exchange, we put the $25 towards buying items for the Waldoboro Food Pantry. The company matched the donation, which gave us $250 to spend on items for the local food pantry. On Wednesday, we closed the office at 1 and headed to a local store, filled up our carts, then delivered the goods. We really enjoyed this opportunity to give back this holiday season in our community!
An active massage therapy practice is the result of hard work, education, and a credible professional reputation. We can advertise, use social media, network with other health professionals, but our reputation is the corner stone of successful practice. Ethical dilemmas are a part of our society and to think we are never going to be exposed to a professional ethical dilemma is naïve. What if your employer suggests you give extras in your workplace and you are strapped for money? We know this is unethical. Shall we sweep it under the rug and say it never happens? That would be like saying that crime does not exist. And since denying that this practice is not what therapeutic massage therapists do, what should we do now? People have faults. People make mistakes. We can deny this happens and it is all fantasy or we can investigate the ethical pathways that help us stay on the straight and narrow.
How do we practice ethically? We have to make sure that our professional identity is clear, otherwise the work can be laden with stress, be less satisfying and ethical dilemmas are apt to appear and remain unresolved. Therapists have to continually follow a code of ethics and attend continuing education in ethics. Ethics goes beyond school and the ethics class. We represent an entire profession and if we practice unethically it reflects back to our field. This is our responsibility. The value of attending an ethics class is to remind us of our boundaries that will help maintain our stellar reputations, bolster our existing character traits and toss around ways to solve ethical dilemmas in the work place environment. Operating without peer advice can lead to snap decisions that are not necessarily the best ethical avenue. Protect your corner stone of your practice by exploring the boundaries of the profession and sharing ethical dilemmas with your peers and with an expert with an objective ear!
Somewhere along the line of our practice, we have to develop value in our ethical foundation. Developing value in your practice represents an investment in maximal competence, a sense of duty to uphold standards, protecting relationships, boundaries and honesty with clients, employers and colleagues/health professionals. Work should be satisfying and grow with you and your practice involving developing goals.
How do we develop and keep the value in Ethics beyond school and into our practice?
- Modeling – Adhere to the highest standards of conduct.
- Enforcement – Unethical behavior should not be tolerated.
- Communication – Maintain a open dialogue about ethics as an investment for schools, students, faculty, CE providers, therapists and industry ethics, and for our reputation as a whole.
- Transparency – Openly post codes of ethics and mission statements. Have policies posted on how you deal with ethical issues.
- Oversight – Support organizations, boards, associations, schools, etc. to maintain consistent enforcement policies and have committees that review codes.
- Education – Promote ethical courses and dialogue in all aspects of our profession.
- Prevention – Recognize at the outset where conflicts of interest may arise and put specific safeguards in place. Utilize and develop policies before a problem presents itself.
A code of ethics does not ensure ethical behavior. We have to construct an ethical culture for our industry and it starts with our investment and commitment to massage therapy and bodywork.
Investment and commitment will help you to create a legacy to leave to the profession of massage therapy. Remember this is your journey, but sometimes you might need a road map, so here are a few suggestions:
- Involve yourself in taking continuing education
- Find a mentor who can help you see the forest through the trees
- Involve yourself in your state chapter – join a committee
- Look at how you can further massage in your community or in your state
- Make a five year plan – look at your life as a journey and plan your route.
Ask yourself, why am I in this profession? What can I do to further the profession?
- Start small – you do not have to be President tomorrow, either in your state chapter or for the National Board.
- Do you want to teach? Look into the standards for teaching from the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. AFMTE.org
- Take courses that will prepare you to teach.
- Surround yourself with individuals who are visionary.
- Link yourself to a school that supports standards, provides CE hours, and supports graduates.
- Reach out and meet your peers. These are people of like minds.
- Research massage – The Massage Therapy Foundation has provided us with the mechanisms of research. Another wonderful organization to investigate!
- Write – the Alliance has many members who are authors and publishers attend our conferences. Authors are giving. There are many present here!
- Present about massage.
- Get massage yourself.
- Attend ethics classes and share your experiences with peers.
- Remember self-care and prevent burn out.
- Whatever you do, remember that massage therapy provides a social service that is unquestionably valuable to the human race. Be proud to be a massage therapist. This is a wonderful, satisfying career. Enjoy the ride and give back. Create your legacy and retain the value of practicing ethically!
Reprinted with permission from https://downeastschoolofmassage.net/recent_blogs/practicing-ethically
Our guest author today is Allissa Haines. She runs a massage practice and collaborative wellness center in Massachusetts. She partners with Michael Reynolds to create business and marketing resources for massage therapists like you at MassageBusinessBlueprint.com. Check out the Massage Business Blueprint podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or at the website.
There are a million different kinds of massage therapists. We work in spas and hospitals and do home visits. We wear jeans and scrubs and button-down shirts. We work with athletes, new moms, construction workers, babies, people with cancer, people with anxiety, and people who just think massage therapy feels great. But every single one of these massage therapists has one thing in common: they were all beginners once. And being a beginner can be scary as heck. Even if you're also feeling well-trained and excited!
If you're a student and preparing to start your new career in massage therapy, congrats! Allow me to offer you a little graduation gift: some solid advice that every massage new therapist should know before striking out on their own.
Act like a pro. With everyone.
As you finish up school, treat every practice client and every treatment like a real-life professional situation. Even when you practice and work on friends and family, be a pro about it. This is important for three reasons: it’s good practice for you to get your routines and scripts smooth, it helps your friends and family see and respect you as a professional, and consistent professional behavior is the foundation for a great reputation.
Being super professional with your practice clients not only impresses them in the short term, but also impacts how they’ll think of you after you graduate. But what does it mean to show professionalism? What does this actually look like in practice?
- Show up on time.
- Have all your equipment and paperwork ready to go.
- Practice proper hygiene.
- Drape conservatively.
- Maintain appropriate boundaries while in the role of massage therapist. (Even when your friend wants to gossip or your mom makes a joke about cellulite.)
- Stay within your scope of practice and don’t make any wild claims about what massage can do.
- Maintain client confidentiality.
Does this mean that you can’t be yourself? Of course not! You don’t have to wear a suit or talk like a robot to be professional. The idea is not to be somebody else. The goal is to be the most respectful, clean, and reliable version of you. Be your best business self, even when your client is Grandma or Aunt Kim or your bestie from middle school.
Know the most common massage complaints
Do you know the number one complaint people make about their massage therapist? “She talked too much.”
When you start up and you’re excited to be meeting people and working, it’s easy to slip into ‘chatty’ mode with clients. Resist! Resist the temptation to give longer answers and be super friendly during a massage, even if your clients are chatty themselves. You’ll likely get the same batch of questions with each new client:
- Where did you go to school?
- How long have you been doing this?
- What did you do before this?
Be mindful that some people will ask questions because they are a little nervous or because they don’t know it’s okay to not talk.
Fight the urge to initiate any unnecessary conversation and give the shortest possible answers when answering a direct question. It’s even okay to say, “It’s so tempting to use this time to chat, but you’ll get a better massage if I don’t talk and we focus on you!”
The second most common complaint? “She didn’t get to the areas that needed work.”
It’s amazing how many experienced massage therapists end up with a poor reputation simply because they give the massage they want, rather than the one the client has asked for. Luckily, this is an easy situation to avoid.
Be sure to listen very carefully to what the client asks for before their massage, and then repeat it back to them with your plan for the massage to get their approval.
Here’s an example: In your verbal intake before the massage, a client rubs their right shoulder and says, “My shoulder is sore and I’m just all-around tired.”
To be sure you are address what they need, you’ll want to clarify the details and present your plan. It may sound like, “Ok, we can address your whole body and spend some extra time on your shoulder as well. It’s your right shoulder? Can you show me where exactly you’re feeling pain?”
Whenever appropriate, address that primary issue first and check in with the client before you move on. Ask, “How is this shoulder feeling? Is there anything you would like me to go back to?”
Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know
You’re a massage therapist. Not a pharmacist, physical therapist, or herbalist. You’re a massage therapist. You can’t possibly know all the things right out of school. (Or ever.) You will never know all the answers to all the things right off the top of your head.
So when you are reading an intake form and it lists a medication or health issue you’ve never heard of, get more information. Admit openly, “I’ve never worked with a client with joint hypermobility issues. What factors do I need to be extra mindful of?”
Once you’ve talked it through with the client, let them know you’re going to take a minute to look it up before you begin the treatment as they are getting on the table. Most clients won’t mind spending an extra few minutes getting cozy on the table before their massage, especially when you are using that time to craft a safe and effective session just for them.
If your client asks you for a technique you don’t know how to do (or aren’t sure is safe), let them know you’ll find out more and get back to them before their next appointment – and follow through. Showing commitment to improvement means your clients can look forward to a better massage each and every time they see you.
Choose the right products.
I tried so many different massage creams and lotions and oils my first few years as a massage therapist. I slipped and slid with greasy formulations. I itched from additives and scents and over-laundered stained linens. I worried about clients with nut allergies and read labels like a new scholar.
Then I found jojoba.
I can use jojoba for light massage on very fragile skin and also for deep work that requires grip and traction. A very small amount goes a long way, so I use much less than with other products.
Jojoba is safe for clients with allergies and safe for me. I realized early on that my body is soaking up my product for more than 20 hours a week. I wanted to feel good about what is and isn’t in the product and jojoba fits that criteria.
It’s a resilient product that can tolerate heating, cooling, and reheating. Jojoba won’t oxidize or go rancid and doesn’t require refrigeration. And it won’t stain your 100% cotton sheets, so you’ll save a ton on linens long-term.
It’s hard to find a product that is just right for every massage client and every treatment, but I think jojoba comes close.
And on the rare occasion when Jojoba isn’t the best solution and a client absolutely needs a cream or lotion, I turn to PurePro, (whose owner told me about Jojoba when I was first learning about all this!).
Your reaction matters more than the glitch.
Draping issues will happen. Fix it quickly and move along. You will trip and make a loud noise during a deep relaxation treatment. If the client obviously notices quietly say, “Sorry about that,” and move on.
You will double book or accidentally no-show for an appointment because your calendar freaked out. Apologize, schedule a makeup treatment at no charge and move on.
Dumb things will inevitably occur in your business. You will make mistakes. If you are graceful in handling glitches, if they are rare glitches, and you make a real effort to prevent them moving forward, people will forgive you and respect you.
You got this.
Massage therapy can be an amazing career. Take all your education, your enthusiasm, and your passion for learning, and dive in. Everyone is nervous at first, but know that you're not the first beginner on the planet. Take a deep breath and know that you have what it takes. Welcome to the world of massage!
We received this note from one of our customers, we thought we'd share her great uses for jojoba throughout the seasons. We added additional notes and links in parenthesis.
There are some Maine products that serve us well through the sweltering days of August to the frigid days of January and every day in between. Jojoba is one of them! These are my personal experiences.
Those nasty black fly bites that surround our hairline after an afternoon clearing and/or planting our gardens are no match to this magical elixir. Rub Jojoba on the bites when you come inside and poof the action stops.
(works well on mosquito bites as well, adding a drop of lavender essential oil, or using lavender infused jojoba also works wonders on insect bites-- see our post on how to make lavender infused jojoba).
Get into a patch of Wild Parsnip? Tame the results and shorten the healing with Jojoba. (also works well on other skin issues as well, especially for those with sensitive skin, check out our post about using jojoba for cradle cap).
Keep the summer shine with a Jojoba and Himalayan salt rub on your face and hands. For real! (you can also use sugar, it can be a bit less abrasive for those with sensitive skin, check out our post on how to make jojoba sugar scrub).
Oh, that wood-stove heat dry skin just drinks Jojoba.It's nice to be warm AND supple! And for those of us who suffer from Venus Stasis Dermatitis, put your feet up, wear compression socks, and use Jojoba to keep the itching at bay.
And year round, there is no better make-up remover than Jojoba! Enjoy! -Jan
Do you have any great seasonal uses for jojoba to share? Send them along to us, we'll share them.
We were disappointed to learn that the North Atlantic Region Whole Foods Markets have decided to stop carrying our product in their stores. Their decision was not based on the quality or price of our jojoba, but rather, as they stated, “current directions we’re taking as a company”. You can read the full Press Release here.
Our jojoba has been carried in the Boston area Whole Foods Markets for 25 years, and we consider the store in Portland, ME our home store. Our main concern is that our customers will still be able to find the First Press quality that only we offer in Pesticide Free and Certified Organic HobaCare and Jojoba Baby that they have been using for years.
We appreciate your loyalty to our First Press quality jojoba. We encourage our customers to support local businesses by purchasing our jojoba from their neighborhood natural food market or co-op, however with this development, not all customers will have a local purchasing option. We will be contact more co-ops and natural food stores over the coming weeks but customers asking for the product is more effective than anything.
If you would like to purchase from us directly, we offer Free Shipping on any Retail Order of $35 or more.
There are so many items around the household that can be cared for with a drop of jojoba. Most recently, I purchased a new pair of Gingher scissors. The use and care guide states "Occasionally placing a drop of oil in the pivot area will facilitate a smooth cutting action." Naturally, I use jojoba for this lubrication need. Not only is it technically a wax ester, which means it won't get gummy or attract dust, it also won't stain clothing (an important thing since these are sewing shears).
Not only will these shears be lubricated occasionally with a drop of jojoba (putting some in an old dropper bottle is a great way to use with the precision needed), they will also be occasionally wiped down with the tiniest bit of jojoba and a soft, dry cloth to inhibit rust on the metal. Around here, jojoba is also using to lubricate the sewing machines (and sergers and coverstitch machines as well).
We are constantly trying to find better packaging options for our jojoba, particularly, closures that dispense drops of jojoba (since a little goes a LONG way) and that don't leak. Nothing is perfect, but sometimes small changes can make a big difference. In the coming months, you will be noticing a change in our closures and labels. After many trials, we have settled on a disc top cap instead of a pump.
We have found that these new closures are much better at dispensing single drops and small amounts of jojoba. The pumps will still be available as an add-on (we find that some of our customers, like massage therapists and aestheticians use a little more jojoba at a time and prefer the hands-free pumps that dispense larger amounts).
We are also in the process of updating our labels, making them easier to read and a little more modern. As we use up our current labels, we will be transitioning to the new labels. Currently, 8oz HobaCare (Pesticide Free Jojoba) will be shipping with the new labels & disc top caps.
Our one ounce bottles will be completely different as well. So long little round caps, hello taller, sleeker bottles with labels that fit more information.
Most likely, if you have pets, you've experienced a hot spot. Hot spots are acute moist dermatitis, and are characterized by red, irritated, weepy sores that can be terribly difficult to get rid of. They can grow rapidly as pets try to clean them with constant licking. There are loads of treatments out there, but we have found a simple treatment that works beautifully. Plain jojoba works wonderfully on hot spots, we've heard from many pet owners that have used 100% jojoba straight from our bottles on hot spots. It works not only on hot spots but on other skin issues in pets as well, like dry skin. While you can use plain jojoba with success, the addition of calendula will make jojoba even more effective for hot spot treatment. Calendula is said to have be antiseptic and anti-imflammatory properties as well as speeding up healing of wounds. These properties make it especially beneficial in troubled skin salves and mixes, and they make it particularly great for hot spots on your pets. Here's how to make a simple calendula infused jojoba for treating hot spots. After you make a batch, gift some to your friends with pets, they will appreciate it! (never mix essential oils with jojoba to use on pets, essential oils can be toxic to animals, cats in particular)
CALENDULA INFUSED JOJOBA FOR TREATING HOT SPOTS
1. Place dried or fresh calendula flower petals in jar filling to about 3/4-2/3 full, quart size is generally a good size to start with. You can use fresh herbs, but make sure they are allowed to dry down for a day or two. The moisture in the herbs can increase risk of mold. So be extra watchful if you use freshly harvested calendula from your garden.
2. Top off herbs with jojoba. The goal is to keep herbs submerged under jojoba, be sure to leave some headspace for expansion.
3. Cap, shake jar and place jar in sunny windowsill. Allow to infuse for four to six weeks, shaking every couple days. It is helpful to write the date the mix was made on the bottom of the jar.
4. Strain herbs out of jojoba with cheesecloth, a couple of layers might be needed to remove all particles. Transfer infused jojoba to smaller bottles to be used as needed or gifted. Write date finished on bottom of jar and try to use up within a year. While jojoba has an indefinite shelf life, the herbs introduce properties that can go bad or increase risk of mold.
As with all herbal preparations, please test your calendula infused jojoba on skin in small amounts before using a lot. While jojoba itself is non-allergenic, the herbs used in infusions can cause reactions in some people.
Naturally, we recommend taking your pet to see a veterinarian if your pet's hot spot is really bad, doesn't heal up, or seems to worsen.
The most important reason to use jojoba, as opposed to other massage mediums is that it’s a 100% non-toxic product. In fact, it’s recommended for oncology massage because cancer patients are so sensitive (see Geralyn O’Brien’s article for the Integrative Cancer Review). In addition to being non-toxic, the second best reason to use jojoba is because clients LOVE it. It doesn't have any added fragrances and it leaves their skin feeling soft, smooth, and conditioned, not greasy, oily, or sticky and they won't feel compelled to take a shower when your therapy session is concluded. Jojoba’s non-staining quality will be something they appreciate. Massage sheets/towels will not get the sour, rancid smell either (see our directions for laundering jojoba out of linens & clothing). While many companies sell jojoba, our jojoba is better, Why? It’s a first press, light press quality. We are the only company that uses these parameters for pressing jojoba, the result is a jojoba that feels much better on the skin than others. For more about our product quality, see this post. https://www.jojobacompany.com/blog/what-makes-our-jojoba-different
Of course these aren’t the only reasons to use jojoba as a massage medium in your practice here are a few others:
JOJOBA IS NON-ALLERGENIC
Why? First, it's a liquid ester akin to the esters we produce in our own skin. Second, it's unadulterated. There is no formulation. HobaCare Jojoba contains only the pure expeller pressed extract of the jojoba seed we have grown to our unique requirements. Absolutely nothing is added. HobaCare Jojoba is pure. Period. The product is especially useful to therapists and clients with sensitive skin. Everyone, no matter what his or her skin type, benefits from using the product.
JOJOBA IS SHELF STABLE
It has an indefinite shelf life, and does not oxidize or turn rancid. Heat does not affect it and it does not require refrigeration. Massage Therapists in Florida, California and other warm climates prefer Jojoba to triglyceride oils such as almond, grape seed, macadamia and other fragile products, which deteriorate in the heat. Therapists performing hot stone massage are excited about HobaCare Jojoba because, unlike oils, it can stand up to heating and re-heating. See our post about laundering linens that have jojoba on them.
JOJOBA IS NON-COMEDOGENIC
It does not clog the pores. Aestheticians give facial massages with jojoba and it's used in many skin care products.
JOJOBA DOES NOT STAIN NATURAL FABRICS
It washes out of 100% cotton clothing and linens with hot water and detergent. If used appropriately, the product will stay in the skin and will not come out on linens or clothing. For more on this, see our Laundering Instructions.https://www.jojobacompany.com/blog/laundering-directions-jojoba-spills
Jojoba works by conditioning (not moisturizing) the skin. Determine the amount you use by balancing the needs of your client's skin with the requirements of your methodology. Experiment. Apply a couple of drops to the back of the hand. Massage it in. Gauge the degree to which the product has conditioned the skin. You're looking for a very soft, smooth, silky feeling, one that evidences reduced friction but keeps you in total control. Always work in increments of drops, not dollops. If the product is coming out on your linens, you're probably using too much. The key to using Jojoba is to heed the admonition, "less is better". A little really does go a long way. You can use as much as you wish, but using more than you need is wasteful.
You will find yourself using measurably less HobaCare Jojoba than other products. A therapist giving 30 to 35 massages a week customarily uses three to four gallons of our product a year. Hot stone modalities will require more.
Hot Stone Massage Therapy, a relatively new introduction to U.S. spas, virtually mandates the use of Jojoba. The procedure requires the heating and re-heating of massage lubricant. Jojoba is the only massage lubricant, which survives such intensive use. Oils cannot withstand repeated heating and quickly turn rancid, creating an undesirable odor, an impression upscale spas and massage practices can ill afford to tolerate. La Stone Therapy endorses and uses HobaCare Jojoba in their stone therapies. (As for the day-to-day cleaning of the stones, themselves, we recommend a good dishwashing detergent. If for some reason you notice a build-up on the stones, laundry detergent eliminates it. We recommend wearing gloves if you're using laundry detergent. It can be harsh on skin.0
A month or so ago, one of our customers contacted us to see if she could use jojoba on a vintage spinning wheel. She was interested in its protective properties for wood. She sent us after photos of her spinning wheel and said:
"The wheel was quite dull before using jojoba oil. And for a 36 year old wheel, it came up beautifully.
It is amazing how a shiny revived spinning wheel makes spinning even more enjoyable." - Julie
We love hearing about the ways you are using jojoba around the house, especially on wood products. If you use it to protect any furniture items, take before/after photos and send them along. We'd love to share them here on the blog.
I've ordered jojoba before and your jojoba is leaps and bounds above any other. I could immediately feel the difference in the way it looks, smells & feels on my skin. The first thought in my head was that this is truly an elegant product. I'm glad I purchased it.
My clients love Jojoba; it washes out of sheets and clothing easily, and it makes my work easier. The absence of fragrance is especially nice. I highly recommend it!
I just wanted to email to say that I'm so in love with Jojoba.
The glide is perfect and I have yet to find another product that can rival its positive effects on the skin. And as a therapist who does mostly medical work, it is a wonderful thing to have found a product that none of my clients are allergic to.
Your product is amazing and I couldn't be happier with it. It is high quality which is what I strive for in my own practice.
After reading that it was not toxic for animals, I treated My dog's inflamed area. It was raw, scabby, and quite itchy. I treated the spot directly, massaging through the hair to her skin. I also covered that area with a shirt, to ensure our dog would leave that area alone. Within days, I noticed an improvement.
I just want to let you know how much I love your Jojoba. I have been using it for about 10 years now, after seeing it at a massage convention. One year I decided to go cheaper and found my sheets smelling rancid and after throwing them out decided I'd never do that again.
I don't know what I did before I started using your product.
It is by far the finest skin care product I have ever used.
I want you to know I appreciate your wonderful customer service. There is never a delay in the shipment of my order and I very much appreciate it.
There are some Maine products that serve us well through the sweltering days of August to the frigid days of January and every day in between. Jojoba is one of them!