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32 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 1 Being a Client Makes You a Better Therapist By Cindy Williamsª education | BACK TO BASICS One of the best ways to relate to another's experience is to put yourself in their shoes. I've seen the looks and heard the words of skepticism from students in massage programs questioning why they are required to focus on seemingly minute details of the massage experience. I've also seen experienced practitioners who have been in the field for a while and gotten comfortable, letting those details fall by the wayside. One such experience recently occurred, and it reminded me of how powerful it is to be on the receiving end of the client- therapist relationship. When we put ourselves in the shoes of our clients, we are better able to recognize through firsthand experience why those small details can have the biggest influence over whether they choose to return to our tables. As an instructor, I am especially attuned to the details. With that in mind, I'd like to share this recent experience and what can be learned from the client perspective— from beginning to end. This will not be a comprehensive review of everything that needs attended to. Rather, it will be a synopsis of the missing details from my experience as a client. THE MASSAGE ENVIRONMENT My first stop upon entering the office building for my massage appointment was the ladies' room. We learn in school that, per standards of sanitation, all waste receptacles must be covered with a lid. This was a small, single-toilet restroom with a large trash can sitting right next to the toilet. The trash can was completely full, was not covered with a lid, and at the top of the pile of trash was a soiled sanitary product. Not only was this unpleasant, but it also created an unsanitary environment ripe for disease transmission. It made me question how often the restrooms were cleaned. Not a positive way to kick off a massage experience. Even if you rent an office space with a shared bathroom, it is your responsibility to discuss these types of issues with building maintenance or the landlord. Ensuring that all trash cans are covered and emptied on an appropriate, regular basis is extremely important. THE INTAKE PROCESS This was a sole proprietor with an office to herself. As I walked in, she looked up from where she was seated at her desk and said, "How can I help you?" While this isn't a horrible greeting, a better greeting (knowing that she has an appointment with me at this time) would have been "Welcome! You must be Cindy!" After identifying myself, she directed me to have a seat. She then asked, "What can I do for you today?" There was no intake form. There were no specific questions about my health history, medications I might be taking, special accommodations I might need, etc. There were no questions or forms to fill out regarding exposure to COVID-19. She did not wear a mask. She did not advise me about the need to wear a mask, although this could have been because I arrived wearing one. Regardless, no single word was mentioned about COVID-19, including no informed consent. In a nutshell, the intake process lacked information, documentation, specificity, and meaning. Unfortunately, this is all too common. NOTHING®AHEAD¬PEXELS

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