There are several definitions of sustainability, one understanding of it is “a type of progress that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (CES, 2006). The following are examples of economic, human, social and environmental sustainability that are relative to me and my massage practice.
From an economic point of view, the reasons I have decided to build my own massage practice are for the following benefits:
* Set my own hours
* Be my own boss
* Focus on approaches to care, or types of treatment that I prefer
* Make more of the money from my massage therapy sessions
The first step requires investment in some supplies and equipment. Determining what type of service I want to offer the Client will allow me to maximize the impact of my purchase. Initially, as I am a student, I want to spend the least amount of money possible on my equipment to get my business off the ground. Running my own massage practice will eventually require earning an appropriate income to keep my practice afloat. To sustain my practice I need to set goals. By balancing the number of appointments, hours booked, pricing for appointments, and practice expenses will determine my income requirement.
The second step will be my training and credentials. Completing my Diploma in Massage Therapy and by becoming a member of MNZ will ensure my clients feel safe in the knowledge that I am following certain ethical standards. By applying the following ethics will help establish a professional practice based on trust and credibility:
* Client-centered care
* Informed consent
* Scope of Practice
* Power Differentials
* Transference & Counter-transference
By reducing pain, relieving stress and cleaning out toxins, to name a few, will have a positive effect on my client and their human relationship with others. Positive people attract positivity. Educating my client to be body aware and encouraging my client to push play, and by giving them stress management/therapeutic exercises, will help to support my clients health and well-being. From an Employers perspective, providing and promoting training to your staff member by managing their workloads and avoiding over-booking, and encouraging self-care training will help to ensure their health needs are being met. This, in turn, will transfer positivity to the client. On the flip side, by good body mechanics, regular exercise, including stretching and strength work and being nutritionally aware will support my own health.
The third step is to form social referral partnerships with key professionals, which is a long-term and sustainable way to build a business. There are two types of referral partnerships: primary & secondary. Primary partnerships are formal, professionally structured relationships. The partnership has to be a win, win, win and has to benefit the therapist, your referral partner and their client. Secondary partnerships are more casual; for example, leaving your business card at a business that can be reciprocated.
Finally, environmental sustainability - “Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment” (CES, 2006). An ideal society satisfies the needs of its people, without depleting or degrading its natural resources. The following are examples of environmental awareness that I am implementing in my massage practice:
* Using energy saver light bulbs.
* Washing linen in cold water, hanging on the line and avoiding the use of a drier. I am now using sheets as a preference to towels as they dry a lot quicker.
* Bio-degradable cleaning products used on my equipment, bathroom and also around the home.
By building relationships with my clients based on trust, and understanding and anticipating their future needs will help me achieve my goal in forming a successful, sustainable massage practice.
Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability (CES), 2006. What is Environmental Sustainability. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/ces/wcmn301.nsf/Home+Page/Default~newhome?open