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Real Life Stories: Staying Safe During House Calls

While house calls, or out calls as they are sometimes called, can be convenient for the client, they have the potential for being quite dangerous for the massage therapist.

Submitted By Anonymous

I was doing house calls and a man met me at the door in a bathrobe and a beer in hand! I had to explain that I was a massage therapist and that I was there only to give a massage. I asked if he would mind dispensing with the beer and putting on a pair of briefs. Then I introduced him to my 12-year-old son who was with me to help carry my equipment. The man was actually very pleased and welcomed me in for the massage and, in the end, he said it was the best massage he had ever had, and that not having to worry about what HE had to do after the massage made a world of difference in his relaxation.

If you were confronted with the same situation again, how might you handle things differently?

Response from Anonymous

I would do the same thing. If the man had refused to put away the beer, which he had just opened, or put on the briefs I would have apologized for the inconvenience and left.

Response from Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies

While house calls, or out calls as they are sometimes called, can be convenient for the client, they have the potential for being quite dangerous for the massage therapist.

The best way to stay safe is by taking preemptive steps:

  • Don’t take same day appointments from someone you don’t know. These last minute calls should raise red flags all over the place.
  • Always take a fully charged cell phone with you and, when you arrive at your location (and in front of the client), make a call to let someone know where you are and when you plan on leaving.
  • Send a first time client an information sheet with instructions listing what they need to do, or not do, for the session. For example: no alcohol; adequate space for the massage table; what to wear, etc.
  • If you have several outcalls scheduled for one day, leave a copy of your schedule with someone. Include the client names, addresses and phone numbers as well as the times of the appointments.
  • As an extra measure of safety, wear a whistle around your neck. Just tuck it in under your shirt. In case of an emergency, the sound of a whistle carries further than a scream and takes less breath.

Too many massage therapists going to a house call session have been, at the very least, surprised by the expectations of a new client and, at worst, been assaulted or even killed, simply by not taking safety precautions.

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