Caterpillar Therapy

Holistic Beauty Treatments

UNDERAGE SPA TREATMENTS (part 2)

The following is addressed to therapists in regard to working with minors, either in a spa setting or beauty center.

To begin with, I am pro-massage all the way: starting with my own experience in receiving a treatment which felt as if stepping on clouds rather than walking, to scientific research into touch therapies its plentiful proof therapeutic touch keeps us healthy from all points of view.

However, there are few aspects to be considered more carefully when offering complementary therapies, especially massage to young people; as I mentioned before this is due to the fact they are crossing the bridge of childhood going into adulthood. Being an adolescent is not easy and considering society’s aversion to touch and nudity we have to realise we walking on thin ice when putting all these together.

Some places have well set laws, and spas and beauty centers know how to deal with such issues by having signed a parent consent form and well trained therapists with experience and qualification on working on these people. As a matter of fact, there are education concepts that after one complete basic massage or reflexology course would continue thereafter with professional development courses, to teach therapists further as in regard to specific techniques for different categories of age, and also conditions. There will be a specific course for baby massage course, pregnancy massage, reflexology for neurological conditions, Abdomen Maya Massage to be able to learn techniques for infertility or digestive problems, and courses to teach geriatric massage, and the list goes on.

It happens in a course of 4 years, I did not offer treatment to anyone under 18, and only in a span of a month we had few young girls coming with their parents at the spa. To some, I offered treatments when the mother was in the room either having herself a treatment or just being present, but also mothers who refused my offer to stay in the treatment room. Now thinking back, I feel I could have chosen a better solution for the girl and for myself as a therapist too.

Many basic massage courses lack plenty of aspects when comes to train future therapists, not only in providing the massage techniques, but also information about ethics, etiquette and protecting client’s intimacy all the way throughout their treatment, but also they fail to mention in reality we will deal with loads of people who would need to be educated. This education is about what massage can offer to them starting with healthy development in babies all the way to relaxation, stress relief and compassionate touch which is so beneficial for the elderly. None of these are mentioned and many of us will have to have the willingness to rediscover our profession.

With the new generation of people, I feel is all in place. It is really delivering them the treatment while fully prepared to receive and rip the benefits at maximum.

I wrote below few guidelines for therapists when working with minors (and please add to this list if I missed something).

  • Consider parent written consent when treating anyone under 18 years of age
  • Parent should be present in the treatment room at least for the first session offered, to be able to build trust and for your safety as well; if you were to confront with a complain it will not be any of the usual ones in regard to room temperature, massage pressure etc., but on top of it serious issues such as inappropriate touch can ruin your career even if proven untrue
  • Inform yourself. Study and try to understand the many aspects when massaging a teen. It’s the age when most of us are easily influenced and impressionable
  • Although an adolescent may ask for a full body treatment offer a shorter session at the beginning. Young people have lesser health concerns than an adult, lesser muscle contraction and in general are not that energetically blocked as adults.
  • Be communicative at all times. Before the therapy, during and after to get your feedback and also offer advice. You cannot be too careful or communicative with young clients. The damage of offering a treatment and not making sure they are good can be higher than ‘interrupting’ the treatment to check on them
  • As you were trained in your ethical conduct and professionalism this should include but not be limited, to offering through touch, clear messages of caring and healing
  • Protect your client’s modesty at all times. It is even more of an issue for teens than adults, although no exceptions should exist in practicing the massage on one part of the body while the rest is fully covered (draping should be done carefully and no intimate parts should be touched)
  • Be gentle in whatever therapy you offer: massage, facials, reflexology and so on. There is never a good choice to start with strong pressure on young clients. Most likely they would feel nervous at the beginning and will need you firstly to reassure them to be able to incorporate the therapy step by step
  • Strictly speaking of techniques, effleurage and light strokes are the best choice. Use light to medium pressure asking for feedback on it from your young client
  • Constantly asses the response of the receiver’s muscles and energy and address their needs keeping the boundaries of professional practice
  • Do not massage gluts, abdomen and pectorals. Ask at the beginning if there are other parts of their body they do not want to be massaged
  • Same-gender therapist is often a better option for a minor
  • And not lastly be aware of the power of your touch and the ripple effect it has on your client. As my tutor, Beata Aleksandrowicz would explain, through nurturing touch, we not only affecting directly the receiver, but we indirectly affect all the people this person interacts with. In a case of a teenager, she or he may improve relationship with their parents, siblings and have better interactions with their school peers. In other words, we get to influence their understanding and communication with the world around them.

Keep well and good practice!

Iuliana Simion, therapist Eden Spa Sibiu

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2013 by in Posts, Uncategorized.
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