Going green is no longer a fringe trend popular only in progressive parts of the world. In fact, being eco-friendly has become a key business strategy in industries ranging from automobiles and architecture to fashion and restaurants.

It’s no wonder many massage therapists and bodyworkers are making moves to employ more eco-friendly habits into their own daily practices. The field of healthy touch seems to go hand-in-hand with green living, by promoting ways for people to be well in a noninvasive way.

So, too, can your practice promote the health of the planet, by leaving the smallest “footprint” possible and setting an example for others as well. There’s a wide array of ways a massage therapist may choose to integrate green habits, and these eco-friendly moves may benefit you and your clients, in addition to protecting the planet.

You might begin by looking at your linens. Going green means picking linens manufactured without a slew of synthetic chemicals. The Soil Association, a certification organization for organic food and farming in the United Kingdom, reports the textiles industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. Growing conventional cotton, according to the association, uses about 25 percent of the world’s insecticide supply and about 10 percent of the world’s pesticides.

Once the cotton has been harvested, the Soil Association reports that approximately 8,000 additional chemicals are used to convert the raw fibers into the material we use every day. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies many of these processing chemicals as “moderately hazardous” or “acutely hazardous.” The WHO also reports 20,000 deaths occur in developing countries each year from pesticide poisoning, and many are attributed to producing cotton—the world’s principal fiber.

The good news is organic cotton is grown in more than 22 countries, according to the Soil Association, and textile merchants continue to jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon in droves. For a list of companies that sell organic-cotton sheets, as well as sheets composed of other organic fibers, visit OrganicExchange.org, or simply check the label on linens to see if they were made with organic fibers.

It’s important to investigate the way you launder linens, too, as this is one activity that can make a major impact on our environment. If you use a cleaning service to pick up your linens on a regular basis, check to see if it’s a company that employs eco-friendly practices. If you wash your own linens, be sure to purchase environmentally friendly detergent.

This same logic applies to many other products you use on a regular basis in your massage therapy or bodywork practice, such as lubricants. Look for massage creams, lotions and oils that contain organically grown ingredients, manufactured using eco-friendly methods.

Stocking your session room with green ingredients not only helps our Earth, but it also may help your bottom line. As the eco-friendly trend continues to gain more and more momentum, clients should feel good about setting up appointments with a bodyworker who is doing his or her part to go green.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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