Treating yourself to a massage, reflexology treatment or other complementary therapy can be a wonderfully relaxing and balancing experience. A complementary treatment allows you to fully kick back and can help to dissolve some of the stresses and pressures of everyday life. A treatment room is a safe and calming space and for many provides an opportunity to not only enjoy a treatment, but to talk about worries or concerns.
But what is it like for the practitioner? Being in a position where you are helping to improve your client’s wellbeing on a daily basis, can over time lead to your own health and happiness levels being depleted. How do we prevent this from happening?
Look after your physical self
Many complementary therapies, in particular touch therapies such as massage, can put undue strain on the body over time. Stretching your body in awkward ways, over-reaching to perform a treatment or holding yourself in an awkward position can all lead to injury and strains to muscles around the body.
There are several steps you can put in place to tackle this. First and foremost you should look at the setup of your treatment space. Ensure your treatment table is at an appropriate height so that when you are treating a client you don’t have to bend or stretch to reach them. Also be sure to leave enough space around the treatment table for you to manoeuvre around the client easily, reducing the risk of overreaching or stretching.
You could also try a rebalancing or aligning exercise such as yoga or Pilates to help stretch and strengthen the body.
Don’t be afraid to refer your clients
As complementary therapists we are not qualified to act as counsellors to our clients, but it is only natural that many will divulge often sensitive and sometimes upsetting information to you. One of the worst things you can do as a complementary therapist is try to solve issues you are not trained to deal with. Taking on another person’s worries can be damaging to your own mental health and can leave you in hot water should your client regret speaking to you later.
If one of your client’s divulges something sensitive to you, you should of course keep this confidential. However it is important that if you feel that your client could benefit from or needs to talk to someone else about the problems they are experiencing, make sure you have the details of a talk therapist to give to them. Often when people are going through some kind of trauma the hardest part is sharing this with someone else. Once that step has been taken, you may find them more willing to talk to others.
Be realistic about the structure of your day
In any business the overarching goal is to earn as much money as possible, however it is incredibly important to be realistic about how many people you can see in a day and what impact seeing lots of clients might have on your own health.
With hands-on massage treatments you should allow yourself at least 20 minutes between treatments, particularly if you are using essential oils and if possible, should keep your working day to between 6 and 10 hours. Undertaking back-to-back treatments for 12 hours a day although lucrative, will have an impact on your body and exhaust you mentally.
Many complementary therapists find it helpful to speak with a counsellor or talk therapist on a regular basis. This will give you a confidential platform for letting off steam and will help you to cope with anything concerning you. A talk therapist may also be able to give you some advice on how to help any clients who are struggling, without the need to coach them through the situation yourself.
At Brighton Holistics our Level 3 Complementary Therapy Courses cover self-care for a therapist. As industry professionals with decades of experience, we understand the need for our students to understand how to look after themselves through their training and professional development. Over the years we have spoken to students in all sorts of difficult situations and will help to guide them through the best way to look after themselves, whilst caring for others.