I'm going to do the unthinkable in this blog post … I'm going to use a dirty word. Actually, I'm going to use two dirty words. I think you can handle it. So, here goes. Today, we are going to talk liability and risk. So, take a deep breath and let's delve in.
I've heard a multitude of horror stories over the years. I won't repeat them because, frankly, I'd rather not be a downer. The fact is that although flukes can and do occur, a large majority of the liability issues that arise are preventable. In an effort to help you avoid risks in your business, I've put a list of oh-so-crucial reminders together.
Read Your Manual
This should probably be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised. I strongly encourage you to read the product warnings on the massage supplies you purchase. They are there for a reason. And don't discount something because it seems self-explanatory. If a company has taken the time to include it, they've done so for a reason. Case and point – certain massage chairs go so far as to tell you how to sit down properly in them. Why do they do that? Because there is a right way to place your body in that particular massage chair. By not adhering to those instructions, you run the risk of breaking parts of the massage chair and potentially injuring yourself or your client.
Don't assume your clients know how to maneuver themselves in a particular way. Many a massage therapist has instructed a client to turn over on a massage table only to find that the client does so by pushing themselves up on the facecradle or side extension. Neither massage table accessory is built for that type of pressure and can subsequently break, causing serious injury. A simple “Please turn over by sliding down and pushing off the table” can prevent a world of hurt.
Interview Your Clients
I know what you're thinking: Every instructor you have ever had has told you this very thing. You get it. I know. But a friendly reminder can't hurt, right? After all, interviewing your clients is crucial to not only preventing injury, but also to documenting your diligence should a lawsuit ever arise.
Buy Liability Insurance
If you haven't considered it, I would strongly encourage you to do so. I know people who would disagree with me. They feel that if you are diligent in your practice, you are unlikely to ever need liability insurance. There is some truth to that. However, you can be extraordinarily talented, educated, and thorough and still be sued. If you ask me, it simply isn't worth the risk.
So, there you have it: My list of “risk-avoidance” to-dos. Certainly, there are a multitude of other steps the professional massage therapist can take to lessen his or her risk of liability, but this list covers some of the most fundamental in my opinion. If anything, these should serve as friendly reminders as to why we are as diligent as we are.
Happy Massaging! :)