There have always been clients who prefer to have their treatments outside, especially when the weather warms up. Perhaps they are on vacation, or just appreciate the relaxation of the great outdoors. Depending on their location, these outdoor massages and other treatments may take place on the beach, near a pool, in a backyard, on a balcony, or on a roof.
Now, with the spread of COVID-19, clients who may never have contemplated an outdoor massage may request one. That’s because the risk of viral infection is lower outside, as the virus dissipates much more quickly in outdoor settings than it does inside, where air may be recirculated.
If you’re visiting a client for a massage in their home or hotel, you should be prepared to perform an outside massage if requested. What do you need to know if you are asked to perform a massage outdoors?
The classic massage outside takes place on a beach or poolside in a cabana, a tent set up for changing clothing—and sometimes, massages. The advantage of a cabana or tent for the provider is that it provides shade from the sun as well.
If you are asked to perform a massage or other treatment outdoors during the daytime, without a tent or cabana, determine if the table can be set up in a shaded area or under an umbrella (with the consent of the client, of course). If not, make sure you are wearing adequate sunscreen. You may also wish to wear a hat to keep sun off your face during the massage. These sweatproof sunscreens will do the trick.
Along with fresh breezes and rays of vitamin-D-providing sunshine, the great outdoors can bring insects and stinging bugs with it as well. Consider bringing some kind of insect repellent with you to massages. Your client may have a citronella candle, and, if you prefer natural insect repellent to Off!, lemon eucalyptus and lavender oil are both known to be good ways to ward off tiny bites.
Your client will need to change clothing for the massage, and you will need a place to wash your hands before and afterward. Make sure to ask your client where you should do hand-washing and sanitation, if this is not immediately obvious.
While, for massages, most clients will provide sheets as they normally do, you might suggest that some use beach towels or larger bath towels outside for draping instead, especially if the massage takes place near the water.
Massage therapists are accustomed to providing music during massages. Keep in mind that there may not be outlets for phones or speakers, so keep batteries handy, or even wireless charging devices. Or ask your client—many enjoy an al fresco massage to the sounds of nature instead of recorded tunes.
We hope your summer provides plenty of opportunities for you to relax, in addition to providing rewarding services for your clients—whether indoors or outdoors!
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.