Going Green: Make Your Massage Practice Earth-Friendly

An increasing number of people are interested in going green—living their lives in an environmentally friendly way. Consumers are becoming more aware of their environmental impact and are seeking out businesses with environmentally sound practices and products.

It’s important to understand the impact your practice has on the environment and what you can do as a massage therapist to lighten your footprint on the planet and attract similar-minded clients.

Whether you are a massage therapy student, new graduate or a seasoned professional, here are a few simple and inexpensive ways to make your massage therapy practice green.

 

Go organic.

Whether it’s massage oils and creams, spa treatments or linens for your table, many companies are now offering an organic option. Organic standards prohibit the use of pesticides. Since the body absorbs chemicals through the skin, using products that are free of these chemicals is a must. Farmers growing organic cotton use sustainable agriculture practices and avoid the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. These products may cost a bit more, but the savings to the planet will justify the small additional cost.

 

Be green when you clean.

Common cleaning products contain an array of potentially hazardous chemicals. Use all-natural cleaners for your office and home. Wash linens with biodegradable detergents that are made without petroleum-based chemicals. These cleaners and detergents are made from plant-based chemicals and are free from phosphates, dyes and bleaches. Health-food stores offer a variety of options.

 

Avoid the use of synthetic products labeled antibacterial.

These products often contain triclosan, which is an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Antibacterial products kill both harmful and beneficial micro-organisms, and have been implicated in the development of bacterial resistance.

If you are concerned about clean air and improving indoor air quality, decorate your space with live plants. Plants such as English ivy, Boston fern and peace lily have been found to reduce indoor air pollution.

 

Save energy.

Use natural lighting whenever possible. Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or use LED lighting. If you like to burn candles, make sure they are made from vegetable oils, beeswax or soy, as burning paraffin candles may produce toxic fumes. Also, save on gas by carpooling or taking public transportation to school or work. If you live nearby, walk or ride a bike. Fresh air and exercise are good for the mind and body.

 

Recycle, reduce and reuse.

We all know it is important to recycle paper, cardboard, plastics and glass, but have you thought about other ways to reuse items and eliminate waste? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Old linens make great cleaning cloths and rags. Donate old towels, sheets and blankets to animal shelters.

2. Furnish your office with materials from thrift and consignment stores or garage sales. Be creative and let your space reflect your personality.

3. Share supplies with other therapists, such as the massage chair that is sitting in your closet collecting dust or the music CDs you’re tired of hearing.

4. We all know the benefits of drinking plenty of water, and we counsel our clients to do the same. However, drinking bottled water is not the best way to go. Millions of plastic bottles are thrown away every day, producing tons of waste and clogging up our landfills. In addition, plastic bottles contain chemicals that can leach into the water in the bottle. Get a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle and refill. Encourage your clients to do the same.

 

Buy green.

Purchase products from companies that utilize eco-friendly practices. Also, buy local whenever possible to reduce the amount of fossil fuel used in shipping. Purchase recycled products including paper towels, facial tissues, business cards or advertising printed on recycled paper.

 

Network green.

Get involved in local green initiatives. Supporting eco-friendly projects in your community demonstrates that you care about the community. This can also help you connect with other green-minded people and build your practice.

The decisions we make daily at home, school and our workplace have an impact on the Earth. While some changes are simpler and less expensive than others, every step we take to reduce our environmental impact makes a difference. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the task? It’s easier than you think to go green. Try implementing one small change each month to reduce waste, conserve energy and improve the health of our planet.

 

About the Author

Marianne Harmon, N.P.-C., L.M.T., is the owner of In Balance Therapeutic Massage in Scarborough, Maine (in-balance-massage.com). She is a certified nurse practitioner and licensed massage therapist.