Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2009

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ten for today BY REBECCA JONES CHOOSING PRODUCTS WISELY "Organic," "hypoallergenic," "fragrance-free," "preservative-free." Makers of massage supplies often slather their products with as many green-sounding adjectives as possible in hopes of appealing to socially responsible consumers. But how can a massage therapist—at least one lacking a degree in chemistry—really know which products are worth investing in and which claims are just unfounded hype? More importantly, could some products actually cause harm? It's not always easy to know. But following are some things to consider and some steps to take toward becoming the most responsible consumer you can be. 1. LABELS DON'T MEAN A THING Just because something is labeled "hypoallergenic" doesn't mean it won't irritate the skin. "Organic" or "preservative-free" products may still contain chemicals. And "fragrance- free" doesn't mean you can't smell it. "There are a lot of 'organics' out there," says Dianna Dapkins, president of Pure Pro, Inc., based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. "The word organic has become like the word natural in the '70s. It just gets put on there. But there are no organic standards for topicals or cosmetics. When you see 'organic' on a label, it doesn't mean anything." The one exception is a label carrying the "USDA certified organic" logo. Products carrying that specific designation cannot contain a drop of anything synthetic. 80 massage & bodywork july/august 2009

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