Course Information

School Policies

Respect
The school has a zero tolerance policy on inappropriate comments or actions including those related to age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, physical or mental ability, learning styles, or other. Such comments or actions can result in suspension from the course without a refund. To avoid such incidents, please think before you speak and treat the teacher/ other staff/ students with respect at all times.

Confidentiality: please respect your classmates by not sharing their information and sensitive information they may disclose to you.

Safety
Any harmful actions whether verbal or physical experienced on the course by any student or staff member are to be reported immediately to the teacher.

The teacher may refuse your acceptance on the course if you are not well enough to attend, based on the questions and answers from the Student Intake Form.
If you are unwell at the start or during the course, in a way which might seriously affect your learning, or other learners (such as having a contagious virus), the teacher can refuse your right to attend. A refund will not be issued, but you may attend a future course subject to availability.
Best practice: communicate with the teacher as soon as you begin to feel unwell before the course starts so that your place can be filled.

It is your responsibility to decide if you are fit and well enough to complete a massage course, which is quite active in nature, but the teacher has the right to make a judgement also.

The teacher and the school are not responsible for your safety during any activities you may pursue outside of massage element of your course, these may include (but are not limited to) exercise, yoga, outdoor swimming, hiking. For such activities it is your responsibility to decide if you are fit and well enough to take part safely. It is your responsibility to make sure you have the correct equipment and clothing to ensure your safety carrying out any activities during or outside classtimes.

Complaints
Any complaints are to be made in writing to the teacher, and/or school manager.

Deposits, deferrals and refunds
Please refer to the below page for more information:

Booking T & Cs

Your compliance with these policies will be agreed by your signature on the student intake form.

Learning Outcomes

Carry out a chair massage massage routine for the back, shoulders, neck and head.

Understand contraindications and aftercare for your clients safety.

Be ready to set up and promote your onsite work practice.

Assessment Details

You will be assessed at the end of the day by carrying out a treatment on a classmate.

Criteria: 

  • Posture– therapist uses safe body mechanics to minimise physical strain and the amount of energy used
  • Communication with client– therapist encourages their client to communicate their preferences for pressure, and gauges a comfortable level of massage pressure whilst carrying out firmer techniques with their client.

Technique:

  • Warming up– therapist builds up the amount of pressure slowly, initial movements are lighter
  • Speed– therapists moves slowly when carrying out firmer movements
  • Depth– adequate pressure for the client is achieved based on communication with them in the consultation and throughout the treatment, and meeting their expectations

The above criteria will be assessed visually, and by asking your ‘client’ for feedback.

Assessing theory– satisfactory discussion on contraindications and aftercare. Teacher outlines different consultation scenarios (clients who have different health situations, such as pregnancy, high blood pressure and epilepsy), and questions learners response to these scenarios.

Client safety

Client consultations

The consultation process for onsite/mini treatments at offices and events is less thorough than a typical massage treatment, in standard massage treatments, clients often fill out a lengthy form which is usually 1-2 pages on paper.

For onsite massage visits, when you are asking them to complete a consultation form, instead of a page per client, you can prepare a page with a set of questions at the top which you will ask each of your onsite clients, if they answer yes to any of them you can ask them to provide more details. Once you are happy to proceed and you have explained what the treatment involves and ask for their signature. You will need a grid with the headings ‘Name’ and ‘Signature’ so that you can fit multiple clients on the page.

The questions to ask:

  1. Are they pregnant?
  2. Are they hungover?
  3. Do they have a contagious illness?
  4. Do they have any injuries in the areas you’ll be working?
  5. Do they have any allergies?
  6. Do they have any unmedicated/unmanaged health conditions such as high/low blood pressure, epilepsy?
  7. Have they been in hospital in the last year?
  8. Are they undergoing treatment for any illnesses (other than antidepressants)

Notes on the above situations if your client says ‘Yes’.

  1. Pregnancy – Make sure they are past the first trimester (after 12 weeks). Massage is not proven to be harmful at this early stage, however, the chances of miscarriage are naturally higher in the first 12 weeks, so you want to avoid the chance of someone (wrongfully) blaming you for any issues. Also, most insurance companies do not cover you to work on women in the first trimester.
    After this phase, you can provide the treatment but avoid applying much pressure to the point on the top of their shoulders (acupuncture point GB21) and near the collar bone (ST 12) See the infograph below. You might need extra cushions to make the client comfortable, you must avoid them leaning against the chair on their bump. You can ask them to sit on a standard dining chair instead if necessary.
  2. Are they hungover? If they have had 1-3 drinks the night before but feel fine and are hydrated you can proceed, if they drank more than that the night before or feel hungover (such as ill, headachey, thirsty) you shouldn’t proceed incase the massage makes them feel worse.
  3. Do they have a contagious illness? You should not proceed incase you catch their germs or the clients afterwards
  4. Do they have any injuries in the areas you’ll be working? You can’t proceed incase of damaging the area, however, you can avoid working on the specific area and focus on the others providing that it doesn’t cause the client pain and that at least 2-3 weeks have passed since the injury if its a sprain/strain or 2-3 months if it was an operation.
  5. Do they have any allergies? When carrying out acupressure massage (over clothing), this question isn’t as relevant as you are not using oils which could cause an allergy (such as nut oils). Its still good to be aware though, in case you are using cleaning products or aromatherapy they may be allergic to, or if they have a severe pet allergy and you are wearing clothes that have been in contact with that type of animal.
  6. Any unmedicated/unmanaged health conditions such as high/low blood pressure, epilepsy? You are not advised to work on a client who has unmanaged (ie. unpredictable) conditions in case they become ill/have an attack of the condition and you aren’t trained in dealing with this, or in case you aggravate the condition.
  7. Have they been in hospital in the last year? This is another way of determining if they have any serious illnesess or injuries that you should avoid.
  8. Are they undergoing treatment for any illnesses (other than antidepressants)? This question can refer to serious illnesses or cancer. If they are undergoing chemotherapy, massage should be avoided, however clients with cancer can receive massage as long as attention is paid to any possible sites of concern (such as if the cancer was in the area you’re working).

The below sections cover contraindications in more depth, please read through to familiarise yourself with these potential client situations.

Image Source: https://acuproacademy.com/acupuncture-practice-tcm-resources/

Tip:

On the consultation form you can ask a question to sign if they consent to photos being used in case you take a few promotional shots.

Contraindications

Contraindications are conditions and physical states which may be affected by massage. For example, receiving a massage whilst ill with a cold can make someone feel worse, as well as potentially pass this on to the therapist. We need to make sure that the client and therapist will be safe and not negatively affected by massage. Asking clients for their medical history is very important to protect them. It also protects your business; if you massage someone with a precarious state of health such as a serious unmedicated condition, and then they claim that you have harmed them, it can damage your reputation or lead to legal issues.

The best way to ensure that you can treat a client is to ask them to complete a consultation form before their appointment. This can help you to work out if they are suitable for treatment.

Localised contraindications- Conditions which are localised to a specific area of the body

Burns

Bruises

Varicose veins

Inflammation

Cuts or wounds

Fractures, sprains and strains

Skin conditions like eczema which only affect a certain area

You can massage clients with these issues, except over the affected area. In most cases mild varicose veins or mild bruises can be massaged over lightly, but you need to discuss this in the treatment plan with the client to agree on a course of action.

Sprains and strains:

You can massage lightly over strained areas (such as a pulled muscle), avoid firmer movements until the area feels much less sore, around 3 days-2 weeks.

A sprain is an overstretched or torn ligament (ligaments are connective tissue which bind bones together), wait until the pain/inflammation has subsided, then very light massage can be applied.

Whole body contraindications- Conditions and physical states which affect the whole body

These conditions mean that massage may not be suitable because treatment can make the symptoms worse. Or that special precautions need to be taken to ensure your client is kept safe.

Asthma

It is not contraindicated but with it would be worth asking your client to bring their inhaler. An easy way around asking them to do this would be to include on your consultation forms or pre -treatment advice info, that they should bring any medication or devices such as inhalers/ epipens which they need on a regular basis. It’s common sense, and it’s very likely they will already do this, but there’s no harm in over-informing clients on health and safety topics.

Blood Clots and a note on post covid

Massage can cause blood clots to move around the body and to possibly reach vital organs. Therefore, clients with current blood clots or a history of them should ask for medical approval before receiving treatment to ensure this is not a risk. If a client has had serious repercussions of covid and were hospitalised, its worth noting that there has been some links with covid and blood clots, and checking if they have a history of this and asking for medical consent.

Cancer

Clients with cancer can really benefit from massage. You do not need a specific oncology massage qualification in order to practise as long as the client is in remission*, and they are not undergoing chemotherapy. So make sure you understand as much as you can about their situation first, and if in doubt, feel free to refer them to an oncology trained massage therapist.

*Remission means that the signs and symptoms of your cancer are reduced. Remission can be partial or complete. In a complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. If you remain in complete remission for 5 years or more, some doctors may say that you are cured. Source: Article from the National Cancer Institute.

Here is a nice, clear article about breast cancer and massage. Please read it, especially if you are preparing for a treatment with someone relevant.
Some of the main messages from the article:

Areas to avoid: As a therapist you should avoid directly massaging the arm/shoulder area if your client has lymphoedema. There are specialist lymphoedema massage treatments (known as manual lymphatic drainage) which can help improve the flow of lymph fluid. If your client has had lymph nodes removed, it is best to avoid working on and close to the area. For example, for lymph nodes near the armpit, avoid massaging the arm closest to the operation site.

Comfort: If your client has any soreness or discomfort from surgery, you should provide extra cushions to protect any areas of discomfort or allow/ encourage the client to adjust their position.

Pain: Explain to your client before treatment that they need to communicate to you if they are in pain. And during the treatment, check in with your client in case they have pain in their arm or shoulder, if so, stop working on that area.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy: If your client has recently completed treatment, ask them to check with their treatment team if it is safe for them to have a massage on the area that’s been treated.

Contagious Diseases

Although massage might be beneficial to the individuals, massage is not suitable for people with contagious diseases due to the risk of cross infection to the therapist.

Epilepsy

Massage can be very helpful for clients with epilepsy but precautions need to be taken. Ask the client if they are taking medication to control this. Ask them what the triggers are for a seizure so that you do not aggravate the condition. And make sure you have a plan of action in case of a seizure.

Fever/colds/flu

When ill with a type of fever, the body is undergoing immune responses to fight the illness. It is best to let the body heal naturally before having an appointment. Massage can exacerbate symptoms. In addition, as a therapist, you need to protect yourself from catching germs. You can always recommend your client to self massage by leaning onto tennis/ other massage balls to relieve shoulder tension whilst they wait until they are ready for an appointment.

Fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases

Clients who experience conditions which cause them to feel pain should be treated the same as other clients, but pay extra attention to communicating about how much pressure they would like in their massage. During the verbal consultation prior to treatment, discuss a treatment plan which includes the amount of pressure they prefer, and the areas you will work on. Communication is key, so you need to check in with your client to make sure they are comfortable at various points throughout the treatment.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure is common, and if the condition is managed with medication, and the client is otherwise healthy overall then massage is safe. However, unmedicated clients who have (uncontrolled) high blood pressure require medical consent.

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Massage can furthermore lower blood pressure so make sure the client feels well on the day of their appointment, for example, when you receive their consultation form you could message them to say, ‘As you have stated that you have low blood pressure, please feel free to contact me in the days leading up to your appointment or on the day if you feel unwell’.

During their appointment, pay special attention to allowing the client time to lie down or be seated for their treatment, as well as lots of time to get up. Make sure they are hydrated and encourage them to communicate with you if they feel lightheaded.

Kidney Conditions or Liver Conditions

Clients should speak with a medical professional to discuss if massage is suitable for them. Once you have approval, make sure you only massage the areas over or near these organs lightly.

Pregnancy

Massage is very beneficial in pregnancy. A woman’s body is going through a lot of changes and massage can help someone to physically and mentally adjust to these changes; by soothing backache, for example.

Massage is not known to be harmful during pregnancy. However, precautions need to be taken. In the first instance, find out from your insurers if you are covered to treat pregnant clients, they might require to take a specific pregnancy massage workshop. Most insurers will not cover you for claims on a pregnant client in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (the first trimester). Massage does not have a negative affect at this stage, the reason behind the caution is that women have a higher likelihood of miscarriage during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. So insurers want to steer clear of any cases of a woman linking a miscarriage with a massage appointment. In addition, if a pregnant client has any health conditions you should ask them to obtain medical approval, such as from a midwife or GP.

How to massage a pregnant client

Position: Clients should lie on their side with pillows to support their hips and bump. Place the leg underneath the client straight on the table and encourage her to bend the top leg, this adds stability on the table. Place a pillow in between the knees, this raises the hip to keep the joints in alignment. A pillow under the ankle, bump and head is also required to keep the body aligned and supported.

Speed: Keep a slow, calm speed to relax your client and to avoid shocking the nervous system.

Avoid pressure on these points:

Image Source: https://acuproacademy.com/acupuncture-practice-tcm-resources/

Contraindications – a summary

Communication is key: speak with the client in advance of their appointment to find out more if necessary.

Ask the client to get approval from a medical professional if you are in doubt.

Holistic therapies can be incredibly helpful to clients experiencing pain and/or stress, providing that they are applied with care and that your client is comfortable.

Aftercare

At the end of the massage, ask them to sit up straight and carry out a few lighter techniques, so that they are not going from being face down on a massage chair to standing up suddenly which could cause lightheadedness.

Make sure you encourage your client to drink some water.

 

Setting up

What to take to an onsite booking
  • Massage chair if using
  • Consultation forms
  • Clipboard
  • Pens
  • Promotional material – flyers, business cards or a printout of your business details they can take a picture of
  • Gentle cleaning products for the face cradle and your hands such as spray bottle and baby wipes
  • Optional: Face cradle covers
  • Optional: Scented products such as diffuser and premixed scented oil
  • Relaxing (license free) music (example of some)
  • Deodorant! A full day of massage can be sweaty work!
  • Lots of snacks and drinks to keep you energised!
Planning your day

If providing a full day of treatments at an office you are generally required to provide a timetable so that the staff can complete this in advance of your visit. This can be as simple as a word document with a column for time and name which they fill in online and provide you with on the day.

At events where clients choose a slot on the day, you can have a similar form with set times so that they can fill it in then come back for their selected time.

For example:

Time       –   Name

10.00 – 10.15 – ……….
10.20 – 10.35 – ……….
10.40 – 10.55 – ……….
11.00 – 11.15 – ……….
11.15 – 11.45 – Break
11.45 – 12.00 – ……….

Pricing and payments

You can charge either what you normally charge for an hours treatment per hour or more. You need to factor in your travel time and expenses too.

Usually you agree on a price with a company then send them an invoice afterwards. You can find invoice templates online or on Canva.

 

Finding Work & Promotion

 

Working for a company

There are various companies such as Urban Massage in cities who you can work for. I used to work for a small company in Manchester called Take a Breather.

When I was working for these companies from 2019-2022, the going hourly rate was from £20-27 per hour.

They usually provide a consultation form sheet but you bring everything else. Some companies provide a uniform.

I will be promoting onsite massage in Cumbria and you can work with me! The hourly rate will be higher than working for larger companies 🙂

Ways to promote your services

Firstly,

Think of your target client: the manager or HR manager of a company who has lots of staff, or an event organiser. Get inside their head and emotions, what are their priorities and fears? How can you ‘speak to them?

They want their staff to be happy, to not call in sick, to keep working. So explain how massage visits can help to achieve these goals in your marketing or verbal communication.

Tip: Never put your pricing on your flyers in case you change it!

Networking events

There are events designed simply to network, learn new things and meet potential clients. Take your business card and go up to people and ask them about yourselves. Be curious and open minded and you will meet the right people to help you.

Free events in Cumbria:

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce 

Cumbria Tourism
You can attend their networking events for free if you are a member, or pay a £20 fee as a non member.

Letters

Write a letter to HR managers at local offices explaining how your services can help their team. Send it by post.

LinkedIn 

Make a free profile and add ‘connections’ who interest you (tip, just add loads of people!) Make posts on there about your relevant services and contact some potential clients directly. Tip: LinkedIn is not for generally advertising your 1-to-1 massage services, but more for contacting managers and event organisers about booking your onsite work (ie, its not like having a Facebook business page which can be more general).

Website

Having a dedicated page on a website helps, even as a way for potential onsite massage clients to see as a reference once you have contacted directly. If you don’t have a website I’d recommend either working with a web designer, or making one using No Hassle Websites. Its marketed at coaches but actually relevant for any profession. I’m not a fan of Wix sites as they tend to look off centre on mobiles but you can probably find other good ‘DIY’ website builders too. Or you can make a Facebook business page until you are ready for a website. It could be less likely that managers would be likely to book from a social media account though.

Local Events

Holistic fairs are a great place to provide mini treatments. For example, I work with Roots of Life who is run by lovely and warm Northern ladies! They hold huge events in Cumbria and Lancaster, the stall fee is £75. I’ll be holding stalls at their events 🙂 You can usually see such events promoted on holistic groups on Facebook.

Also, local markets, sporting events, community events and Christmas fairs are great options to provide onsite massage at. Contact the organiser to set it up.

With all these options, you will surely find work providing onsite massage.

Top tips:

  • Take your business card/ flyer.
  • Take photos of the event/ you working etc for your website/socials/flyers.
  • Get a review from the organiser for your Google listing/ website/socials.

 

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