A career in massage therapy can be quite demanding in many respects. The long hours that you may have to work can be challenging. Moreover, you will have to deal with a wide variety types of clients. Some may be very pleasant to deal with while others may be difficult.
Of course there are other clients who may expect inappropriate things from you. However, there is one aspect of the job which may be classified as the most challenging; it is to deal with clients who have special needs.
Clients with special needs can be extremely easy or quite difficult to deal with, depending upon the situation. This is why you have to make sure that you are trained and prepared to help them out.
Who Are Special Needs Clients?
Throughout your career as a massage therapist, you will get various types of clients. Some of those clients may have special needs. Now does not refer to the need for particular type of massage technique. In fact it refers to the physical condition the client may be in.
In most cases, a client with special needs may be physically impaired. Such clients come in to relax their muscles so that mobility can be restored to them. Other clients are simply suffering from certain ailments for which they require massage. Pregnant women can also be classified as clients with special needs. Elderly are also clients with special needs.
Since they have special requirements, you will need to alter your massage technique. The techniques are altered to makes sure that the clients get what they need and yet are safe. Giving a massage to a special needs client can be tricky. In fact, you need special training to make sure that you do it properly.
Things to Consider When Giving Special Needs Clients a Massage
Giving a massage to a special needs client requires learning special techniques. These techniques could help you decide what you need to do, to make sure that your clients are properly taken care of.
There is still a lot to consider when giving a massage to such clients. One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is when you do not know about the client’s needs.
Most clients fail to relate their special needs to the therapist when making an appointment. This is one aspect that you have to be prepared for. Let’s look at a few things that you need to consider when dealing with such clients:
Ensuring Safety When Providing Massage
One of the main things that you have to ensure is the safety of the client, as well as yourself. This is absolutely necessary for clients who have a physical disability or are on a wheel chair. Never try to move such clients on your own, no matter how strong you think you are. This is because you could end up straining the client’s muscles or joints, and causing them an injury.
This can be a big problem to deal with and some clients often file lawsuits because of such issues. Moreover, you may strain your muscles in moving the client. This is why it is best to have a helper for such massages. You do not need to have someone to help you for the actual massage but, you have to have assistance in moving the client.
Applying the Proper Massage Technique
Encountering such clients during your massage therapy career is almost a given. You will receive such clients at some point and you may need to deal with them. This is why it is best to receive special training to learn how to help them. Most massage schools provide training on how to deal with special needs clients.
If you haven’t learned about this in massage school, you should definitely consider learning appropriate techniques. The massage techniques for special needs clients are not significantly different. They just have a few additions or exclusions to the original technique to accommodate different needs. Be sure to learn about these techniques.
Making the Environment Comfortable for Your Client
Clients with special needs often get offended if they receive special treatment. This is because it can be psychologically degrading for them. This is why you have to tread very carefully when dealing with such clients.
For instance, you should ask them if they need help with anything instead of jumping right in and helping them. This way you will get a better idea of how to deal with the particular client. Of course, not all clients are this sensitive. You should develop the skills necessary to deal with all sorts of special needs clients.
Analyze Your Range Of Skills
The worst things you can do as a massage therapist is to think too highly of the skills you have. Always remember that everyone has their limitations. The best thing to do is to accept your limitations and deal with the situation accordingly.
If you come across a client who has a special need which you are not aware of, avoid dealing with him/her. The issue may be quite simple, or it may be extremely complicated. But it is best not to take a chance if you are not sure. You may end up injuring the client significantly. Therefore, you have to know when you should refer a client to another therapist who can deal with them.
Being Prepared for Last Minute Surprises
There are countless times when special needs clients do not tell the therapist about their condition. They set an appointment and you may find out only when you actually meet the client. This can be a tricky situation, which is why it is best to be prepared.
A good option is to be prepared for such clients at all times. You should keep any special supplies you may need handy. Another great option is to ask clients if they have any special needs when they are setting the appointment.
You have to be very tactful as to not offend customers. You can ask clients general questions like if they would like you to make any special arrangements or not. Regular clients may not be offended with this question and special needs client may tell you about their condition.
Now that you know about special needs clients, you should be better prepared to handle them. Always remember that you have to be extra vigilant when dealing with clients who have special needs.