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Massage Therapy And Personal Hygiene

Feb 2, 2008
When you choose to be a massage therapist, you choose a job where you will be in very close proximity with others. Keeping that in mind, it's vital tht you consider your own personal hygiene, so that you don't offend your clients.

One of the first things that comes to mind is smoking. If you're a smoker, you may not realize that the smell of smoke lingers on your hair, your uniform, along with your fingers. I distinctly remember getting a massage, and when the therapist was doing a facial massage, I could smell the smoke on her fingers. It took a soothing experience and turned it into an unpleasant one for me. Do you smoke? What are your clients thinking? I'll be honest, I didn't return to that therapist after that session. If you're a smoker, it's important that you don't smoke between clients. Many people find the smell of smoke that lingers on you offensive. Someone is paying for your time, and you don't want that tiny little factor to be the reason your clients don't return.

Another personal hygiene issue you'll want to think about is your body odor and your breath. Because you'll be so close to others, this again can be the difference between a one time client and a return client. Most clients will not tell you they found you offensive, but I can guarantee they will find a new massage therapist. Brush your teeth and floss often. Daily showers and deodorant help keep body odor at bay.

What about perfume or cologne? Many people have allergies, and this may bother them. A good rule of thumb is to avoid personal fragrance when working with clients. Remember that what is pleasant to you, may not be pleasant to another. That also comes into play if you have a hairspray that has a strong scent. These may seem like tiny things, but when doing work so closely to another, these tiny things make a difference.

Your nails should be kept short and neat. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than someone with dirty or jagged nails. People notice, and it's not sanitary to work on a client if your nails are dirty.

Another thing you may want to consider is wearing a uniform. If you work for yourself, or a spa, a uniform will help give you a professional image. People expect professionals to have a professional image. Be sure to wear clothing that is non-restrictive so you can easily move how you need to. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes with good support, and above all, make sure they are clean in appearance.

By paying attention to small details like above, you'll present with a clean, professional appearance. Avoiding smoking between clients, and keeping your breath and body fresh will give you the neutrality you want when working closely with another. Remember one simple thing, you want it to be a good experience. I've freely admitted I've not returned to a massage therapist that was a smoker. I'm sure I'm not alone. I don't smoke, and the smell of smoke on my face while I'm relaxing was enough for me to change therapists. Will it be enough for your clients as well? They won't say anything to you, but they may be thinking it. Make clients, repeat clients by keeping your personal hygiene in check.
About the Author
Deborah has a resource guide full of tips, information and links for both the massage student, massage therapist and consumer at Massage Mix. You'll find two entries, one for the therapist, and one for consumers that are looking to do massage at home with their partners.
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