Should massage therapists work when they are sick?

acupunctureIf you are a massage or bodywork professional, energy work is a big part of your process. So should you work when you have a cold or the flu? While the answer is ultimately up to you, massage professionals have strong feelings about it.

Some say the answer is simple. If you’re sick, you should stay away from your clients, period. Let them know that you have to cancel, give them the reason for it and use the time to allow your body to heal.

For other massage professionals, the decision should be left up to the client. Some say you should definitely let them know that you are feeling under the weather, and then allow them to cancel and reschedule should they choose that option.

Some massage therapists may go on with the appointment and hope the client doesn’t notice, but what if the client does notice, and even worse, what if the client gets sick as a result? Will that client blame you for making him or her sick? Might they stop coming to your practice, or — even worse — tell others not to frequent your business?

There’s another option that you can take. Sometimes clients are looking forward to having a massage done when it was scheduled. For that reason, it’s a good idea for massage therapists to have agreements with other massage therapists. If there is someone you know and trust, you might come up with an agreement in which you serve as their emergency backup therapist and they serve as your emergency backup therapist.

That way, your client can get the massage done by your backup if they don’t want to wait until you get well.

If you do end up postponing the appointment, should you offer your client a discount?  While that would be a nice gesture since you’re the reason for the change, it likely isn’t necessary. Your clients should respect that fact that you’re sick. However, if a client balks or complains, you can use a discount to try to appease them.

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