Massage & Bodywork

May | June 2014

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TELL ME … I t p a y s t o b e A B M P C e r t i f i e d : w w w. a b m p . c o m / g o / c e r t i f i e d c e n t r a l 19 ❱❱❱ Barefoot, Shoes, or Socks? What's the Best Way to Work? WHAT DO YOU PRACTICE? When deciding what kind of footwear works best for you, it's important to consider the type of work you'll be doing. If you practice ashiatsu or Thai massage, it's a no-brainer that you'll be going barefoot. On the other hand, certain types of work such as deep tissue or sports massage might actually be easier to perform with the traction and support of a good pair of shoes. "I normally prefer barefoot, but if I need better traction for heavy work and sports massage, I wear a light shoe," says therapist Corrine Haas in Michigan. You should also think about your work surface. Working all day on a hard floor without shoes can wreck your body, but if you have a soft floor, you may ultimately be more comfortable without additional shoe padding absorbing the pressure you're trying to transmit to the client. Even the temperature of the floor can make a big difference, as therapist Michelle Smolenski knows: "I go barefoot in summer, but wear socks in winter … it's cold in Michigan!" WHERE DO YOU PRACTICE? One of the biggest deciding factors in whether you can work barefoot or not is your work environment. If you are an independent practitioner or if you work in a fairly casual setting where it's allowed, it can be perfectly acceptable to go barefoot. However, it may not be appropriate in a medical or other more formal setting. As therapist Jenny West in Maryland puts it, "We won't be treated as medical industry professionals as long as we are working without shoes. I wouldn't go see a doctor who was barefoot." You can also compromise and only remove your shoes immediately before you begin working on a client. "I always wear shoes that can be slid off easily and I never walk through the clinic barefoot," says Stacey Swank in Kansas. "I slip them off when I walk in the room to do the massage." If you do decide to work barefoot, remember that your toenails must be maintained with the same high standards as your fingernails. WHAT ARE THE RISKS? Lastly, you need to think about some of the risks that can come from working without shoes. Barefoot clients are getting on and off your massage table all day, and by working on that same floor, you may be exposing yourself to fungal infections. Additionally, if you have an undetected fungal infection on your own feet, you may be putting immunocompromised clients at risk for a more serious infection that their body can't handle effectively. Of course, they could pick up those same infections from other clients just as easily, but it's still something worth thinking about as you decide what works best for your practice. How do you prefer to perform massage and bodywork? 53% barefoot or with socks with shoes depends on what I'm doing 21% 26% ❱❱❱ © All rights reserved by bekluvsbroncos

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