Is your equipment working for you, asks Beata Aleksandrowicz?
As therapists, we often just take whatever there is in the spa or salon for granted, but is your equipment working for you? This is very important question that every therapist should ask.
You should ask this question at the beginning of the day before you start your shift. I always recommend that you go to the treatment room you have been assigned and check that everything you have will support you throughout the day. Make a mental note to identify where everything is that you need.
Starting with massage table, check the height of the table. Is it the height right for you? Naturally you will adjust it according to how your client is built, but it's very important to check the correct positioning as it may be set for another therapist who was in the room the day before and this won't be right for you.
Another important thing would be the adjustability of the bed; it has to be adjustable and if it isn't then you need to ask for one that is. Don't be shy about asking this kind of question, health and safety in the workplace is a serious matter and you work with your body, so need the correct tools and equipment to support this.
It is essential that you have an adjustable bed, as a good treatment will use your entire body weight in the massage. If you are working with a non-adjustable table, you will not be able to use the energy which comes from your lower legs. If the table is too high you will only use your shoulders in the treatment, causing you to bend in an unhealthy way, and this can hurt your lower back.
The bed also needs to provide access to the client's body. If the bed is too big or too wide, it will be very difficult for the therapist to access the specific areas of the body that may need extra work and attention. Ideally the treatment bed will be one with an adjustable face rest too. If it's simply a hole in the bed, this doesn't allow full to access the body, plus it doesn't allow for the neck to adjust.
Occasionally treatment beds are too narrow, so narrow in fact that the client is basically falling off the edge. This is not good for the therapist or the client and makes the work of the therapist almost impossible.
If we are talking about a facial, the height of the stool is crucial as it determines the position of the therapist's arms; if the table is too high it will change the posture of the therapist and effect the back and shoulders.
Thinking more generally about equipment in the room, ensure that there is easy access to the equipment which requires a treatment room with space. Especially where lots of different pieces of equipment are involved such as with complex facials.
So, whilst the responsibility for purchasing equipment does rest with your employer, you also have a role and responsibility to ensure it works for you. If it doesn't, do not be shy about making recommendations and suggestions, because your body is your most precious tool, and this should be supported by the correct equipment.
Beata Aleksandrowicz is a massage, healing and wellbeing expert, and Founder the Aleksandrowicz System.