Friday, May 22, 2009

Sustainable Massage practice

How principles of sustainability relate to massage practice

In massage practise today we need to consider the effect our business has on environment, social and economic sustainability and that we are not causing pollution to our environment, using health-damaging products, having industrial accidents, stressed employees with illness and exploiting labour (Inkson & Kolb, 1998).

Economic Sustainability

Economic sustainability in a massage business is not just about continually achieving economic growth each year. We need to understand that it is only sustainable if it also improves our quality of life and the environment. (NHS Purchasing and supply agency, 2009).

Initially setting up a massage business requires financial budgets to be completed. Income needs to exceed expenses so that the business is profitable. Cash flows need to be completed regularly to ensure this is maintain so income can be drawn to improve your quality of life.

When spending money, purchase New Zealand made equipment and materials. If New Zealand made products are unavailable, purchase imported products but do this through a New Zealand business. Use business partners that also have an environmental, social and economic focus.

Whenever possible spend locally to support local business. This has a flow on effect through the community to help other.

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability in a massage business will ensures that basic needs are being met to help human life to flourish (Ministry of Environment, 2009).

A business has a roll on effect from the owners who have a financial stake to clients and customer who use the products and services. Employees and contractors depend on the business for their livelihood, these people live in the community where the business is located as well as creditors, bankers and suppliers (Inkson & Kolb, 1998).

We need to maintain a work/life balance. To take time out from our paid work of massage to enjoy family and community activities for social, sports, religious or cultural occasions. With working from home it is sometimes harder finding that balance. You do not walk into your business at 9.00 and walk away at 5.00. Work eats into leisure time with such things as cleaning, washing and ironing as well as phone calls.

Providing a massage business maintains the physical, mental and social well being of your clients and the remainder of the community that decide to use your services.

Joining support networks and have relationships in the community - Women in Business, Lions Clubs and the local promotional group all have flow on effect to help the community.

Membership to Massage New Zealand gives opportunity for learning by attending conferences as well as making contacts within the massage network.

Provide safety for staff with a healthy work place. They will enjoy coming to work. Ensure massage tables are set up for staff safety and that staff have manageable workloads.

In New Zealand food is considered as an important element affecting health (Inkson & Kolb, 1998).

Have nutritional food available and provide cooking facilities in favour of processed snacks from vending machines or local cafe. Supply filtered water for drinking and encourage intake of fluids for staff and clients. A saving on heating water for coffee and tea.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability in a massage business is the use of resources and the impact it has on the environment now and in the future so that we can ensure we are meeting the needs of people today but at the same time safeguarding the interest of future generations.

The main materials I use in massage are electricity and physical materials.

Electricity - heating my room and lighting. A thermostatically controlled heater and energy efficient lighting can be used to reduce power consumption. Turn everything off at the plug when not in use. Dry linen on clothes lines and use a dryer only in emergencies. Use a green electricity company to provide your power.

Physical materials - recycle paper by using both sides. Only print off what needs to be printed from a computer. Ink cartridges can be refilled. This is also a cheaper option than purchasing new ones.

Pay accounts by Internet banking which saves paper on envelopes and cheques, no postage cost, and also lower bank fees. Bank statements can be received electronically.

Use bio degradable washing detergent and hand wash.

When shopping for materials take environmental bags with you so you do need the plastic bags used today by many businesses.

How I can make my massage business more sustainable

To make my massage business more sustainable I plan to do the following:

Insulation put into ceiling to reduce heat loss. Wool may be the option. It is natural and is recyclable.

Use energy efficient light bulbs.

Use biodegradable rubbish bags.

Use time effectively - Have more clients in a day and make sure I don’t have gaps between clients thereby reducing the time worked which will save on electricity for lighting and heating.

Become a member of Massage New Zealand for social networking. Attend local promotional meetings for my community.

Additional thoughts

Make sure that what we are doing towards sustainability is not having a negative impact on other areas such as hygiene.

Rooms have to be warm for massage. Thermostats need to be set at a high enough temperature to maintain this. No point in using a lower temperature to save electricity and then have the room cold for the client.

The use of a green electricity supplier may be more expensive. You need to way up the economic viability compared to the environmental viability.

There is no way I am going to save the planet but if we can lead by example maybe the following generations will be more educated towards sustainability than the past generations have been.


Class notes
McQuillan, D. (2009). Ethics. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago Polytechnic.

Experience in setting up my own business


Previous Learning

Text Books


Inkson, K & Kolb, D (1998). Management - perspectives for New Zealand. (2nd ed). New Zealand. Longman.

Ministry of Environment. (2009). Govt: towards sustainability practise. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from

NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. (2009). Economic sustainability. Retrieved May 21, 2009. from

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