Likely due to the escalating effects of global warming, the rising cost of fuel and the growing number of those suffering from environmental sensitivities, more and more people are interested in living their lives in an environmentally friendly way. Also known as eco-friendly or green strategies, environmentally friendly goods and services are considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment. While there is no universal standard for eco-friendliness, bodyworkers adhering to green concepts will do their part in helping the environment and will attract clients wishing to do the same.
Making the effort to transform your massage practice into an eco-friendly one may seem like hardly enough to influence your surroundings. However, all significant change begins with the intentions of individuals. Deepak Chopra wrote an essay on peacemaking called, On Consciousness, War and Peace. Chopra writes, “Mahatma Gandhi spoke the truth when he said ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ We are units of consciousness, and the world is our projection.” Accordingly, it is the global collection of eco-friendly efforts that will secure a healthful future for our planet.
Chronicling the history of environmental awareness documents its evolution. In previous decades, going green was simply associated with composting and using organic solutions for insect, disease and fertility problems in the garden. Today, evidence of environmental awareness is everywhere – in food, household and cleaning products, automotive design, bicycle lane construction, Energy Star appliance ratings, recycling programs and more. Incorporating green practices into everyday living has made the transformation from being used solely by left-wing, environmental activists to mainstream society.
Massage therapists can employ various approaches to help preserve the environment. In addition to conserving natural resources, some eco-friendly practices directly benefit clients who are sensitive to toxins or chemicals. With the goals of recycling, using renewable resources, improving energy efficiency and avoiding toxic materials, bodyworkers can take part in the green revolution.
Although not exclusive, the following suggestions can be considered to escalate your practice into an environmentally-conscious one:
- Organics – When possible, use organic supplies. Organically grown cotton linens are produced without the use of pesticides; they use sustainable agriculture practices such as crop rotation, and support beneficial insect life. Since the body absorbs chemicals through the skin, using organic massage oils and creams are a must for an eco-friendly massage.
- Chemical-Free – In addition to being eco-friendly, reducing toxins in your practice benefits clients who are sensitive to chemicals. This includes covering the walls with zero-VOC paint, cleansing linens with biodegradable detergents made without petroleum-based chemicals* and laying down eco-friendly flooring. Such flooring is made from renewable resources (such as bamboo or cork) and minimizes chemical off-gassing.
* Although washing in cold water is another green way to do laundry, this is not suggested for massage linens. Hot water and a hot dryer are necessary to kill any potentially infectious organisms.
- Save Energy – Reducing your business’ consumption of fuel and energy minimizes environmental impact – and depletion of your wallet. Ways to support environmental longevity by preserving energy include substituting standard light bulbs with energy efficient ones, saving on transportation fuel by enrolling in distance learning programs for CE Hours, and taking advantage of state and federal rebates for installing solar panels to generate electricity.
- Recycle – When the paper, cardboard or plastic you recycle is broken down into raw materials, new items are created. Considered to be the ultimate green act, participating in a recycling program makes a big impact on preserving the environment.
While some eco-friendly changes are simpler and less expensive to implement than others, every step towards living green makes a difference. Whether installing solar panels, using organic cotton sheets, recycling paper or completing continuing education units online, every individual effort strengthens the collective reduction of environmental toxins and overall protection of the earth.
http://en.wikipedia.org, Environmentally Friendly, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2008.
http://extension.unh.edu, What is Eco-Friendly?, Margaret Hagen, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, 2008.
www.altmed.com, Going Green: Massage Therapy Specialists Use Eco-Friendly Products, altMed LLC, 2008.
www.massagemag.com, Spas Go Green, Naomi Serviss, Massage Magazine, Inc., 2008.
www.selfgrowth.com, Top 10 Eco-Friendly Wellness Tips, Sarah Garney, SelfGrowth.com, 2008.