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Article du mois
Article of the month



The key to being successful: being prepared.

By: Jocelyn Vincent

Supplying home service to massage users can be gratifying.  Home service can provide an income when times are rough, and also offers the  therapist a new clientele. However, home service is potentially the most hazardous activity that you will undertake.

What is home service?
Home service just means the therapist goes to the client rather than the clients coming to the therapist's office.  Home service can be supplied at the client's home or in a hotel, a resort or the workplace.  This service can be offered to a variety of target groups, including people on vacation, workers, and sick or handicapped people.

Selection-a critical step.
Whether your business is based in your own office or at the client's home, your main safety precaution is to carefully select your clients.  Most clients will phone in order to learn about your services, schedule, fees and availability. The use of a phone call agenda could eventually be useful to verify either a name, the address of a call dating from several months, or to retrace a person whom you have not chosen to consider as a client.  You should write down basic information like the last name, the first name, the address, home and office phone numbers, how the client  learned about you and the reason they consulted.  Be specific, get details and record as much information as you can.  Ask if they have had  prior experience with therapeutic massage.   Did they enjoy the experience?  What do they expect from a massage?  If the answers seem evasive, keep questioning. Be professional and courteous, but don't be afraid of being direct.  Insist on the fact that you have to complete a health check and that you do not massage the private parts.

A lot of people still think that massage, therapeutic or not, is a euphemism for sexual favors.  Better to be honest with the client, rather than have a bad interpretation of the type of services you are offering.  Listen to your gut.  If the phone interview gives you a bad feeling, act on it, be careful and do not go to the appointment.  

Useful tips.

  • It's important to identify all of your tools. i.e  your massage table, your radio and your towels.
  • Purchase a cell phone.
  • Write all of your appointments in your agenda.
  • Phone the client before you arrive.  This will allow you to verify the phone number and name given to you, before heading to the address as well as the actual state of the person.
  • If you're offering your services at a hotel, sign in at the reception and hotel security first.  Look to see if the client is checked in and tell the receptionist when you should leave .
  • When you arrive in the parking lot of your meeting site, check your surroundings.  Once again, if your intuition tells you that something is wrong, LISTEN TO IT.  No massage therapy session is worth your safety.  Call your client and cancel.
  • Give each client a brochure that gives information about your professional practice, how you can be contacted, a clear policy concerning the ethics and behavior of the massage therapist and the client as well as your prices and fees.
  • Never agree to meet with somebody who cannot give you a phone number, no matter what the reason.
  • Avoid last-minute meetings.  Besides, if someone is phoning you because they just got hurt, they should go to the hospital instead.  If they have been feeling pain or discomfort for several days, they could certainly wait another day!  This safety rule will allow you to eliminate a large number of people who would like sexual favors.
  • Encourage new clients who have been referred to you and indicate the source of your reference in your files.
  • The most important thing is to always keep your car keys on you  In case of danger, you can leave the place quickly and take shelter in your car.

Have a plan
It is recommended to leave a message in your voice mail before each rendezvous. State the name of the client, the phone number, and the address. After the session, when you're back in your car, leave another message, where you state that you have left this client and that you are heading to another one and give the new coordinates.

Before leaving your home or office for your daily meetings, make sure you have a copy of that day's schedule in a locked filing cabinet. Leave a sheet on your desk or cabinet, saying that your daily schedule is in your filing cabinet in such and such a place, in case something happens to you.  Then, if necessary, the authorities will be able to open your filing cabinet and know your last moves.  Don't forget to write on your daily schedule that you always leave messages on your voice mail before and after each appointment.

When you enter a client's home try to see where the emergency exits are.  If the client is drunk or intoxicated, tell the person that they are in no state to receive treatment and suggest that they call you and schedule another appointment.  Once again, if your intuition tells you that something is odd, leave. A diplomatic way to leave is to suddenly become "sick".

Even though most calls are legitimate and safe, you should always think and act safely first.  Also remember that it isn't, because a client  behaved themselves properly, the first time you offered them your services that you can assume that they will have the same appropriate behavior during future sessions.  If at any point during the session, you feel threatened or in danger, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.  Just leave your equipment behind and go. Drive until you get to a safe place and call the authorities.  Note what happened, what was said, the sequence of events, the measures taken by the customer and by you, etc. Let the authorities ( i.e police, hotel security) bring back your equipment.  Your brochure  will give the authorities proof that you had clearly communicated information concerning your services to the client.

Since the therapist travels to the client's environment, it is extremely important to completely and utterly respect your code of ethics as it may happen that a client may press charges against you. This could be based on a misconception .  If you've respected your code of ethics, it will be a lot easier for you to stand up for yourself in front of the disciplinary committee, if need be.

Home service is a valuable service that can be offered to the public.  However, it is very important to respect yourself and be responsible for your safety.  Home service has, unfortunately, potential risks that  good prior preparation and systematic use of safety rules, can greatly diminish. Your personal safety must always come first.

Jocelyn Vincent is a massage therapist and the president of the ACTMD





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