Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2010

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visit abmp.com FEATHER YOUR NEST Personalizing your space is easy enough if you're in business for yourself, but there are still some rules to guide your choices. If you work for someone else or practice in a medical setting, gym, or salon, nesting your space may present a challenge, and there may be rules that can cramp your style about having personal items in the workspace. If you work for a franchise, chances are each therapy room looks alike— same color of paint, same furnishings in the same positions, etc. Part of the philosophy of such establishments is that the client knows exactly what to expect—from the massage, to the sheets on the table, to the pictures on the wall. Most franchises provide a tabletop frame for your license so you can take it to the room you're working in, and that may be the only personal item you're allowed to display. Regardless of the setting, there are ways to personalize your workspace and make it more comfortable for you and your clients. Here are some tips for feathering your nest, no matter what circumstances you're in. YOUR OWN SPACE Whether you're the owner or renting space and free to do as you wish, please bear a couple of things in mind. First, cleanliness is the most important thing. It doesn't matter if you have the latest in modern lobby furniture or an antique cabinet in your massage room, the ambiance is lost if it's wearing a layer of coffee stains or the dust bunnies are multiplying underneath. It's a reflection on you as a professional. You greet clients and give massage dressed in spotless clothes, so have a spotless office to match. Second, clutter is not conducive to a relaxing experience. It's amazing how easy it is to accumulate things, and you've got to suppress the urge to keep it all in your massage space. It's OK to personalize your workplace, but keep knickknacks and personal mementos to a minimum. Do periodic purges of extraneous stuff. Take things home or give them away. Recycle the magazines in the waiting area. Therapists who practice at home must be especially mindful of clutter. If it's at all possible to have a separate entrance into your massage space, it will keep clients from traipsing through your home. If you own your house, it may be well worth the investment to have a door installed so you can truly have a private workplace. If that's not possible, remember that clients coming in your front door shouldn't see last night's cold pizza on the coffee table or have to tiptoe over toys on the way to the treatment room. In the event that the desk or table you use for business is located in the same room as your massage table, keep it neat or purchase an inexpensive screen to hide it. If you can choose the color of paint in your space, pale shades of blue, like robin's egg, and pale shades of purple, like lavender and lilac, are soothing to the senses. Pastels, like buttery yellow or pale pink, and neutral hues are also appropriate, as are creamier shades of white. Avoid using vibrant colors in your space, except for small accents. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a nicely decorated office. Green plants are cheap and they add a lot to your atmosphere (not to mention helping to filter the air). Even if you don't have windows, there are plenty of plants that thrive without sunlight. Other than your massage table and stool, all the furniture you really need in your massage room is a small table or shelf to hold your lotions and a couple of stacking shelves or a small bookcase to hold your music, sheets, and so forth. If you need extra pillows, sheets, and towels, under-the-table shelves are great storage places for things you want hidden, but easily accessible. A chair for clients is a necessity. They need to be comfortable while you're conducting the intake interview and have a place to sit for putting their shoes on, post-session. If space is at a minimum, a folding chair will work; you can put it behind the door during the massage and unfold it for them on your way out. You can make a small room appear more spacious by covering one wall with mirrored tiles or by hanging a larger mirror horizontally (never vertically, that actually makes the space appear more narrow). connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 21

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