Another week, another goldmine of clinical tips & experiences!
Unprecedented numbers of new clients
Lockdown seems to have made people really appreciate Touch – and recognise how important it is to look after themselves. One clinic alone has seen the number of new clients each week triple. Reopening can seem daunting but your services are not only needed – they’re highly sought after!
There is also huge potential to “give back” to some of the professions who have born the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis: medical staff, carers, priests & ministers to name but a few. Try contacting these groups in your local area, explaining you are giving them priority booking (say, for a week) as a thank you for all they’ve done.
You may also want to consider a “Covid Reopening Special Offer”, much like the “Eat Out to Help Out” campaign – although, sadly, the government aren’t subsidising our treatments (yet!)
Different approaches to restarting
Reopening your clinical practice is a very personal decision – you may have already been back for several weeks, or you may not be planning on reopening for another month or two. Wherever you are on that scale, these are some of the approaches therapists are using as they get started again:
“I’ve prioritised my long-standing clients and am gradually working through the appointments I had to cancel as lockdown first hit. I’m keeping the numbers of treatments each week relatively low to give myself space to adjust to the “new normal” – as well as to fit in all the additional cleaning!”
“It used to be that clients just turned up for their appointment. I’m in Scotland so because both my client and I need to wear a mask as soon as we’re indoors, I start with a Zoom consultation prior to the appointment then do the initial consultation in a bell tent in my garden (where masks aren’t required as long as we are at least 2m apart). Some clients choose to stay in the bell tent to have a clothed treatment – otherwise we move inside for the Touch part of their session. Everyone’s adapting really well – and the bell tent is a real hit!”
“I’ve made a video so my clients know exactly how the session will run. This felt particularly important for my regulars who will see a lot of changes from pre-lockdown at my clinic. The video is me literally walking them through arriving at my clinic, and completing all the procedures I have in place to keep them and me safe. When clients have arrived for their session having seen the video, they take to the changes like it’s second nature.”
Soothing the Nervous System
Almost universally, therapists are noticing that it’s taking both them and their clients longer to settle into their treatment. All the changes you’ve had to implement to keep everyone safe register as a potential danger to our unconscious and primal neuro-circuitry. Because it’s the unconscious which is putting your nervous system on alert, you’re actually facing an even greater challenge than your clients: despite consciously choosing to make these changes, if you add up the number of times you’ve given a treatment (versus the number of times a client has received a treatment) the shift your unconscious is facing is far bigger than your clients’.
So be kind to yourself. Let yourself make mistakes. Be OK not being perfect.
The best way to address this for both of you is to go slow. Give yourself and your client plenty of time at the beginning of the treatment to settle into this “new normal”. Keep going slowly, literally, with your Touch until you feel completely at ease in your Hara and until you have sense your client drop into that magical healing zone. The NO HANDS Client & Practitioner hubs are an excellent resource if you or your clients are struggling with this – check out your TRANSFORMING TOUCH manual if you need a reminder!
The Cumulative Effect & the Importance of Story
The cumulative benefits of Massage are well documented and explained beautifully for your clients in the An Ancient Formula booklet – available in packs of 10 from the office. However, having had at least 4 months without Touch, it’s important to remind your regulars that it may take them a while to get back to the cumulative impact they were getting from their treatments pre-lockdown. It’s totally normal: just because you ran a marathon a year ago, if you haven’t done any training since it’ll be a while before you’re back to that level of fitness!
Which is where the power of story comes in: explain what’s going on, give them an analogy, offer a narrative to help explain their experience. Humans are separated from every other animal by our ability to communicate with stories. We see it every day: there’s no “real” significance to a game of football except the story we’ve told ourselves about the players, the tactics, the movement of the ball…you get the idea. So make sure you are taking your role as storyteller to your clients seriously – and help them get the very best outcome they can.