In my effort to find great research material to offer to other massage therapist’s in the field, I have discovered that too many of us are taking risks with our own safety. While checking the latest headlines for our industry I have found story after story about Massage Therapists in the field taking risks and placing themselves in situations that are dangerous or being subjected to unsafe conditions.
Many Massage Therapists work in Spas, local offices or contract with a larger company for outside client work. These places have safety rules in place to help protect their therapists from harm. Most of the headlines I have read point to those of us who are independent therapists working for ourselves and setting our own appointments but sadly not all of the headlines point to the independent therapist.
Before I continue with the safety recommendations I would like to reveal two of these stories that will show us what we need to be aware of. The first story from Friday, February 26th is from Kansas City as reported by Crime Scene KC, “A woman who placed an advertisement in an alternative weekly newspaper offering massages told Kansas City police she was raped Thursday in a motel room“.
The second story is from Thursday, February 25th out of Oxnard California as reported by ABC 7 news, “A 26-year-old man has been charged with rape, kidnap, robbery and other crimes in connection with attacks on two women at an Oxnard massage parlor Feb. 17″.
These two stories are not unique. I could fill this page with multiple stories of crimes against massage therapists. These stories can reveal to us the precautions we need to take to protect ourselves and ensure that we can be the most productive in our field as we wish to be.
Looking at the first story we can point out rather quickly the mistakes that were made and could have been avoided.
- Never list your services in an alternative mass mailer.
- Never meet a client at a hotel room.
The second story presents a harder assessment of what precautions should have been taken but after reading the entire story we see that these two women were in the establishment alone and had no ability to call for help in a speedy manner. This is an important issue facing massage parlor owners. In smaller establishments, therapists find themselves scheduled during periods where they are in the establishment with only one other therapist, this is a very dangerous choice on the part of the owner, leaving their therapists in situations that leave them vulnerable to any type of crime especially if they have clients at the same point in time.
Here are the top ten safety precautions I have found that can protect us from situations that could harm us or something worse.
- Avoid advertising in alternative mailers. Keep advertising specific to your client base.
- No Hotels, Motels or any other unprofessional location.
- Never meet a new client in an unsecured environment.
- Always have an exit plan, whether in a Spa or out call you need to know you can leave if it is necessary.
- Someone should know where you are at all times during an out call appointment, this includes an address and a phone number. Have a phone buddy, check in with them before and after the appointment.
- Do not accept anything from your clients. This includes, most importantly, food and drink.
- Always carry with you a cell phone and a whistle. A certain percentage of our population do not listen to cries for help but they will hear a whistle and recognize it as a danger signal.
- Stay fit and strong by enrolling in a defense course that you will like. We can’t always trust that someone will be there to help, so take responsibility for your safety.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, it is hard to transform an alert, confident person into a victim.
- When in doubt, just say no. You are offering a luxury service not a required service, so if at any time you feel your safety is in question you must leave the situation.
It is my hope that the readers of this post will add any recommendations they feel were left out. If you have suggestions that you wish to share with other therapists, please leave a comment. We can work together as a community, and make our field as safe as we can by staying responsible and watching out for one another.
“Choose each day to be blissful and complete, a whole person well cared for by you”