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With cold and flu season approaching, maybe earlier than we might like, I'm curious to know what massage therapists do when they have a cold. In the past I've had clients that caught colds very easily so I would call them if I was coming down with something and give them an option of canceling.

What do you do? Cancel? tell your clients you're sick and give the chance to reschedule if they want? or nothing and hope they don't notice?

***update*** Thank you so much for all the responses, which poses my next question: If you reschedule, whether by your choice or theirs, do you give a discount if they reschedule? especially if they reschedule immediately.

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Rosemary: I feel much the same way. If I get anything it's usually a head cold that's not debilitating but I often call to let my clients know that I've got something and they're more than welcome to reschedule.
I've got a great client base that I have a relationship with and try to maintain that trust with little things such as this.

If I am coming down with something I have a combination of essential oils I use to relieve the symptoms.
Thankfully, it doesn't happen that frequently.
A cold is viral contagious disease. You could “pass it on” to a client or co-worker.

Staying home is the best option.

Cancel clients or arrange for an associate to fill for you till it runs its course (usually 5 days from onset of symptoms).

If you have hay fever (with is essentially an allergy) rather than a cold or flu, you can massage, but beware of the dreaded, the feared, the awful….. runny nose.
Donna, I have recently (within the last 5 months) been introduced to essentials oils. I am in love.... lol. Anyways I was wondering which ones you were using to alleviate your symptoms? Also, I agree with you all that the professional and respectful decision would be to reschedule... otherwise somewhat defeats the "wellness" intention most come in hope of.

Donna Whitton said:
Rosemary: I feel much the same way. If I get anything it's usually a head cold that's not debilitating but I often call to let my clients know that I've got something and they're more than welcome to reschedule.
I've got a great client base that I have a relationship with and try to maintain that trust with little things such as this.

If I am coming down with something I have a combination of essential oils I use to relieve the symptoms.
Thankfully, it doesn't happen that frequently.
Jessi Talbot:

I use Eucalyptus Globulus for the congestion and I find it also 'warms' the raw feeling my throat gets from post-nasal drip.
Peppermint along the neck muscles for tightness and stiffness that occurs, especially along the occiput.
Finally, I use Young Living Essential Oil Deep Relief Roll On. It's a blend specifically for relieving muscle tension but I've discovered it relieves the 'plugging' in my ears/tubes - my weakest point in my head/sinuses, so it always gets effected when I'm suffering from any sinus issue.

Hope this helps; and, if anyone uses anything different, I always like learning so feel free posting what works.
Donna,

If you have a cold the client will likely detect it even if they don't comment. If they get sick they will naturally think they caught it from you.

I think it would better to rebook them so you can stay home and pamper yourself.
I agree and think it's proper protocal to cancel but was wondering what others did, especially after having an MT tell me that he/she didn't do anything and hoped the client just didn't notice. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that he/she is employed versus me who owns/runs my business and really respect need to offer a valuable service to keep a good client base.

Shirley Henderson said:
Donna,

If you have a cold the client will likely detect it even if they don't comment. If they get sick they will naturally think they caught it from you.

I think it would better to rebook them so you can stay home and pamper yourself.
I was real sick last February for about 6 weeks. I had a very difficult time shaking that mess for some reason. Anyway, I worked once I was on the mend and told my clients I had been sick and gave them the options. I also right away started taking some essential oils called Inner Defense and have been taking them everyday since. So I hope I do not get sick this year. This Inner Defense is a Pure Therapeutic Grade of Essential Oils that contain Cloves, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, and Lemongrass. This is an immune builder so will see what happens this season. Since it is Essential Oils it can be taken 1-5 times a day if really stressed. Youngliving.com makes this.
I call my clients and let them know that I am coming down with something and do not want to pass it on if it is not allergies. I ask the same of my clients when they are sick as reciprocation is the key to a thriving business. All my clients understand and appreciate my honesty and usually ask for me to call them when I am better to re-schedule or they wait until their next appointment (I usually schedule out 3 months in advance).

As a massage therapist, I give a lot of effort and energy to each and every one of my clients. So when I do not feel well, I do not want to transfer that energy to them. Yeah...financially it hurts at times, but in the end it will all pay off. I have a very good clientele (some since I started massage therapy over 8 years ago) and I believe because of my willingness to show up and be honest with them and not pray they don't notice is a strength I have in dealing with my clients.

I also remind my clients that because I have a family at home and that working in close proximity with them that they let me know their health condition prior if they suspect they may be coming down with something. I also do confirmation calls the day before and since we are now getting into cold/flu season (officially in October) I remind them to call me and let me know if they are not feeling 100%. The clients seem to be grateful of this strategy.
I use a combination of tea tree oil, ecupl and pepp. camphor.. oil in a disfusser, and burn it all day,, I add quite a bit of water,, the tea tree kills virus, and the exupl kill bacteria camphor is just for colds,, and the peppemint is for relaxing. this usually clear me up pretty good and does wonders for the client. ... I just realized that I have not had the flu or cold since I have been using this,, that has been about 3 yr.. but in the season for colds and flu. I keep one burning,, and the whole place smell but ever one loves the smell..Barbara Moore
You know I always reschedule with my clients if I have a cold. I find that they are thankful for the fact that I am keeping my germs to myself as well as respecting their health.

Just a little FYI, I use the netti pot every morning in the shower. This rinses out you nasal cavity and gets ride of any bacteria that is in there. I swear by it. If you get an infection you can add a drop of tea tree oil and it takes care of it. You can find it at most drug stores
Donna,
I never work when I'm not 100% there for my client. Over the 20+ years all my clients have appreciated as I have as well, when they reschedule.

I once had a massage from someone who had a runny nose. I happened to open my eyes and she had a tissue plugging up her nostril. TOTALLY Gross!

I also have a great easy remedy to kick it in the butt.
One whole garlic BULB, crushed. 1 organic lemon - squeezed . A small amount of maple syrup or agave to sweeten ( if needed). Eat it all up!
Yummy :)

If it doesn't cure you, it will keep your clients from coming to you while you are sick. ;)

I also use the essential oil from Young Living "Thieves' a couple of drops in my water and it usually does the trick. And Neti pots are great for the sinuses too. I agree!!
You can sorta consider that the primary contagious stage of colds is often a few days prior to onset of symptoms to a day or 2 later. So, you could have milder symptoms for days after onset. I take Aleve cold & sinus. Not 'holistic' - but effective!
Fever is an absolute rescheduler, but as symptoms fizzle out, should be OK to work.
I do agree with calling clients & giving them a choice tho. Colds are annoying, but flu is a whole 'nother story!

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