No doubt you've probably read the Buzzfeed article regarding sexual assault allegations at Massage Envy. If you haven't, you can read about it here.
I have been sitting at my computer off and on for the last week or so, trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings on everything surrounding what's happening.
So. Many. Thoughts.
My first thought is I'm angry. I'm angry that for the 180 women who have come forward, there are probably just as many or more who haven't. I am angry that a select number of individuals have betrayed this profession that I love so much.
There is NEVER an excuse for ANYONE let alone a massage therapist to violate your trust in this or any other way. Period.
I'm angry at the lack of remorse and accountability of Massage Envy corporate, who seems to be more interested in protecting their brand above everything else. I am angry that they have in essence hung their franchisees out to dry with their "not our problem" corporate policies. I am angry at their lack of training protocols for franchisees on how to handle reports of abuse to both clients and therapists. I am angry that some of the therapists have been accused on more than one occasion and have not been fired or had their licenses revoked. I'm angry that thousands of good and ethical therapists who still work for ME and elsewhere will be viewed as guilty by proxy and I'm mad that some my male colleagues have seen their schedules empty out because of this.
But most importantly, I am angry that they have betrayed the trust of you, the public. You put your trust in your massage therapist to provide a safe and nurturing environment and when that trust is violated, it's impossible to get back.
I've spent some time thinking about our little piece of the massage world here at Knead to Run. We recognize and appreciate the trust you, as a client, put in us and our top priority is to make absolutely sure that you feel 100% comfortable, nurtured and above all safe. Here are some of the ways we are working to make your safety our number 1 priority.
Starting with draping. I will be reviewing draping standards with everyone on the staff and retraining if necessary. We are taught in school how to make sure that clients are properly covered and that there is no chance of exposing body parts that don't need to be. If we're working on a leg, for example, we want to make sure that the sheet is tightly secured around the leg and pinned at the hip in such a way that if you need to work on the hip flexors that you have access without gaps in the sheet that could expose genitalia.
I will be reviewing with the staff and posting a copy of the massage therapist code of ethics in the waiting area of the studio.
Reviewing our company policies on the therapeutic relationship and professional/ethical boundries with staff.
Updating our intake process, including our informed consent policy to ensure that all clients are clear on the treatment plan, expected outcomes and possible benefits and risks associated with massage.
Creating a series of videos, demonstrations and live chats on Facebook about these topics
I'm saddened that these events have even happened in the first place, and hope that the steps we've taken to ensure your safety will go a long way in keeping and restoring the public's faith in massage and the therapeutic benefits it has to offer.