Your car mechanic seems to be a genius.
They have an almost uncanny ability to figure out the cause of that odd rattling sound that only seems to happen when your car goes from second gear to third gear, and then fix the problem in practically no time whatsoever. It seems to be like magic.
How do they do it?
The truth is that your mechanic isn’t using magic to get the job done. In fact, they are using a very simple, common sense technique that keeps both your car and their skills in perfect running order.
Your mechanic would be unable to fix that rattling sound without a set of tools that that can be relied upon each and every time they are put to use. How does your mechanic make certain that he can rely on those tools every single time he reaches for that wrench or that socket?
One of the main ways mechanics keep their tools reliable is through regular, consistent maintenance.
Another is to have a regular routine after each time the tools are used, in order to make certain they will be in top condition the next time they are needed.
By now, you are probably wondering what your car mechanic has to do with your massage therapy practice. Well, let’s think about how your mechanic is able to consistently do quality work on your car.
Applying your mechanic’s principle of routine care for tools, such as your table upholstery and linens, to your own practice can almost certainly get you on the road to success as well.
Treat Your Table with TLC
Keep it clean: As all massage therapists know, you absolutely must wipe down both your table and your face cradle between each client to avoid any risk of infectious contamination that could pass from a client to you or from one client to the next.
Because table upholstery is porous, sweat, skin cells, makeup or massage oil or cream residue can be left behind, all of which may contain infectious bacteria.
For general cleaning between each client, use a cleaning solution containing 10 percent mild liquid soap and 90 percent warm water to wipe down both the table and the face cradle.
Let the solution dry, then spray and wipe with plain water to remove any residue. Let the table dry again before covering with any linens, pads, or towels.
Alcohol solutions or wipes are not recommended, as they evaporate too quickly to be very effective.
They can also dry out the upholstery and may eventually cause it to wear and crack. Try not to use scented cleaning products, particularly citrus, as some clients may react badly to any lingering fragrance.
If your table or face cradle cover has developed stains, make a solution of 10 percent all-purpose cleaner and 90 percent warm water. Dampen a cloth and gently rub to remove stain, and then use another cloth dampened with just water to remove any cleaning solution residue.
For a tough stain, it’s time to bring in the heavy-duty ammo, in the form of a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water. Using a white cloth dampened with this solution, rub the stain gently until it is gone, and then use another cloth dampened with just water to remove any bleach residue.
Let the table air dry after removing any stain before covering it with linens.
Have table, will travel: If you travel to your clients with a portable table or chair, don’t store either in your car for long periods of time when not in use. A closed-up car can get extremely hot, which may damage the upholstery.
You should also always keep your table or chair in a carrying bag when not in use to prevent wear and tear.
Time for a tune-up: When you bought your car, you probably also purchased a warranty that covered any authorized tune-ups for a certain period of time, which probably saved you a considerable sum of money.
Most table manufacturers offer similar warranty deals, which are generally a good idea, particularly if your table sees a good amount of use.
There are minor repairs you can do yourself, such as tightening loose nuts, bolts or hinges, but something more complicated should be a job for a repair person.
Giving Your Linens Some Love
The other main tool you use, aside from your hands and your table, are your linens and any table toppers, such as pillows or pads. While your linens help make your table look inviting to your clients, they serve a purpose beyond just looking pretty.
Linens provide a barrier between your clients’ skin and the table and face cradle upholstery. This also means that your linens will need to be changed out between each client to avoid any possibility of pathogen transfer.
It’s pretty obvious that your linens will be your second biggest expense, next to your table.
Luxury linens at an affordable price: Because you will require multiple sets of linens per day, you will need to consider the proper balance between cost and comfort. While 100 percent cotton is the most popular and affordable fabric, it wears out the fastest and can be difficult to clean, requiring stronger detergents and bleach.
Although cotton-synthetic blends are easier to clean and are more durable, they are not as soft as 100 percent cotton. Some of the more exotic fabrics, such as bamboo, hemp, and soy do feel softer, but are more expensive. This can be a factor to consider when you realize that you need to have multiple sets of linens.
Washing your dirty linens: As a massage therapist, you will probably end up doing more laundry for your work than you will be doing for yourself and your family. Here are some tips to help you care for your linens as you put them through repeated wash and dry cycles.
- Wash newly purchased linens before using them to remove any chemical stiffeners the manufacturers may have added.
- Sheets must be washed within 24 hours of use, or stains may set in. Water-soluble massage oils and creams will make it easier for stains to come out.
- Wash linens in warm water, and rinse in cold water. Using hot water and a hot dryer will set in oil or cream stains.
- If you must add bleach to remove stubborn stains, add another rinse cycle with plain water to remove any bleach residue.
- Dry linens using high heat (160°F or 71.1°C). Take them out of the dryer right away and fold them, so you don’t have to spend extra time ironing them.
It may seem like you are doing a great deal of work to care for your table and linens. Your clients won’t notice the difference, right? Well, think about why you trust your car mechanic.
Every time you bring your car in for service, you know that you will get high-quality work. The reason you do is because your mechanic understands that they must have quality tools to do quality work.
Perhaps you should think about your massage table and linens in the same way.
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