Hello again, fellow MTs. We are now fully one month into this pandemic. I’m sure many of us have faced challenges during this time not only professionally, but also personally. I hope you are taking good care of yourselves!
I’ve put together some suggestions and tips for maintaining your practice during this crisis. Although we aren’t seeing clients currently, there are things that you can do (if you haven’t already) to prepare your practice, your business and your treatment room (or rooms if you’re fortunate to have more than one) for when we return to seeing clients.
DEEP CLEAN YOUR TREATMENT ROOM(S)
Even without the presence of the novel coronavirus, deep cleaning your treatment room periodically is a very good idea. It not only helps to keep down or eliminate pathogens, but will also help to reduce the presence of allergens, and even help to eliminate other pests like insects or spiders (I know, “yuck!”).
What better time to do it than now, while it is not being used? Whether you subscribe to Feng Shui or not, you will feel an energy shift once your workspace has been thoroughly cleaned! Then, when you do return to work, you can reassure your clients that your office is safe!
1. Deep clean carpets and upholstered surfaces. Carpets and area rugs are known for harboring allergens like dust, mites, and dirt. Now is a good time to do a thorough cleaning of those, and of upholstered surfaces such as chairs, and even drapes. If you have access to a steam cleaner, this will certainly help to do a deep and thorough cleaning of these surfaces. If not, you can at least do a thorough vacuuming, maybe spot clean carpets and rugs if needed, and launder your drapes if you have them.
2. Clean and maintain your massage and bodywork equipment. Use your equipment manufacturer’s recommendations to clean and perform maintenance on any equipment you use: towel warmers, paraffin wax heaters, oil warmers, hot rocks equipment, heated bamboo kits, and even your bottles and containers of oils, creams, gels, and lotions. Also detail clean any tools you may use, like thumb savers, or any other mechanical massage tools. Check your electrical cords and make sure they are still in safe working order and aren’t frayed, and that all of your dials, controls and displays are cleaned and working properly. Also, tighten any fasteners, bolts, screws, or any other things on your massage table and other equipment that is used frequently.
3. Deep clean hard surfaces, such as cabinets, tables, shelving, countertops, artwork, and even doors and walls. Don’t forget blinds, if you have those. Be sure to get those doorknobs, too – everybody touches them on their way in and out of your treatment room. Clean first, and then sanitize these surfaces (especially countertops, doorknobs, and places that are touched by you and others frequently).
4. Pay special attention to your restroom. Deep clean around both the toilet and sink. Obviously pay special attention to faucets and handles, but also clean toilet paper dispensers, paper towel holders and soap dispensers. Regular hand soap is best to keep in the dispenser as it breaks down the fatty oil on the outside of the coronavirus molecule. Soap and water works better than hand sanitizer for washing hands.
EVALUATE YOUR BUSINESS PRACTICES
Whether you operate your own business, or you are an employee or “1099” independent contractor, now is a good time to review and evaluate your business practices as it relates to your career in massage therapy. Take a good look at where you were when we had to shutdown. Consider if you are where you want to be, and if you’re going where you want to go. Ask yourself the following questions, and write out the answers if that helps you:
- Am I working with the type of clients that I want to serve? If not, what do I need to do to get there?
- Is the environment I’m working in one that suits me well?
- Do I still have the same goals as an MT as when I started?
- What, if anything, needs to change?
- Do I feel that I am fairly compensated in my practice?
- Am I happy?
Take your answers, and make a plan for yourself going forward using the self-analysis you’ve done.
If you are a business owner and have control over the following, you should evaluate these as well:
1. Your business plan. Update and modify as needed to suit your current business goals.
2. Your marketing/advertising plan. Is it effective? Is it tailored toward your target market? Is it within budget?
3. Your business budget, especially now, when you’re likely not making money doing massage should be considered. Are you staying within budget? Will you have enough funds to reopen? Also analyze past spending and budgeting, notice trends and make adjustments as needed.
4. When the time comes, what else will it take to reopen your business, in terms of time, personnel, equipment, etc.? Write these things down, and develop a checklist of what you will need to do to reopen.
5. Review your client files and be sure they are up to date. Close out clients you have not seen in over a year, or those you know who have moved out of town or passed on.
6. Review your local municipal codes and state laws and regulations to see if there have been any changes in regard to Massage Therapy businesses, and ensure that you are still in compliance.
7. Contact your suppliers and others with whom you have business relationships. This can include your linen service, the business where you get your massage lubricants and supplies, as well as other practitioners with whom you have a referral network. Check in with them, see how they are faring, and get a sense of whether they will be part of your network when you reopen.
I hope you find this information helpful and useful, and that you are taking care of yourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Be safe and be well,
Paul Mattson, LMT