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Stay Safe & Protect Yourself
Having worked as a Sports Therapist for the past seven years, personal safety is an issue that has always been at the back of my mind, as I'm sure it is with many female therapists who work alone either from their home or as mobile therapists.
In our line of work we have to build up a rapport with a client, he/she needs to feel comfortable and relaxed with you, just as they would with a physio, osteopath or any other professional dealing with musculoskeletal problems. They are trusting you with their body, which is quite a responsibility and very daunting as a new therapist!
I am sure that when I was training to become a Sports Therapist back in 2004, that we covered personal safety, but I have to admit it isn't something that particularly sticks in my mind. Common sense tells us that if we are visiting a new client for the first time make sure someone knows where you are and how long you are due to be there, find out as much as you can before you visit, and stay within your comfort zone. Most clients are really nice, but we all know there are some very twisted people out there!
Something that comes with experience is learning to read a potential client, be it a telephone call or an email you'll generally get a feel for a person. I had one guy that used to phone me quite regularly, I never felt comfortable when I was talking to him on the phone so always used to say I was fully booked, he may have been perfectly fine, but my gut instinct was telling me 'no'.
Moving on to emails, I regularly receive email enquiries, either via my website or one of the many holistic search engines I'm registered with. I remember receiving emails from a guy who was located in the Jewellery Quarter, asking me if I could go and do a Sports Massage Treatment for him; having explained that I didn't do mobile work in Birmingham as it wasn't viable for me, he suggested I attended after clinic hours and he would pay me £200; I'm sorry but to me that just set off alarm bells immediately, flatly refused and pointed him in the direction of my governing body, thankfully I never heard from him again.
As an older therapist I probably have a little more confidence than some of the younger therapists, and although I have a business to run and a living to make, I will never be afraid to say no, perhaps because of this I have been fortunate during my career not to have been placed in any awkward situations. Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I've treated a new client, not felt entirely comfortable and have either done a poor treatment so they've not come back to me, or I have refused to do further treatments. I tend to trust my gut feeling.
Ok, so what happens if you are put in that situation and someone does try to attack you, what do you do? How do you react?
Automatic reaction is to defend yourself, as women we are blessed with long nails, so if in doubt, get them claws out, scratch at a soft tissue area, get some DNA and mark them! Obviously, you need to be 100% sure of your situation before you launch your attack, but if you genuinely feel your personal safety is in danger then you must protect yourself and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as you can. Make sure your car keys are close to you and forget about your equipment, it's replaceable, you on the other hand are not!
I was fortunate enough this week to attend a women's self protection class, which was put on especially for us ladies, free of charge, by Russel Perks Martial Arts Academy, Kidderminster. The session was 90 minutes long and during that time we were taught some very valuable techniques which we were all able to put to the test at the end of the session.
RPMAA are fortunate enough to own a full body suit (these cost somewhere in the region of £1000) so we were able to do mock attacks, enabling us to experience what it would be like should it ever happen to us. I have to say, the fight or flight really kicked in and poor old Tim, our volunteer for the day had a good old beating from around 20 women - talk about women scorned!
Russel is looking to put more of these workshops on, so if you are interested please log on to www.rpmaa.com , there is a contact number and email address on the site, and I can honestly say I am looking forward to the next one.
The classes are about staying safe, not about learning how to fight.
Stay safe now.
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