Diversity has become a bit of a buzz word. Personally, I think this is a good thing but I do wonder if, as a society, we embrace all diversity. At my clinic, I aim to encourage diversity and welcome it in all its forms.
So, how do I try to promote diversity?
At times I review our practices and my business to see how I can promote more diversity in my business and at the clinic. It’s work in progress and if you think there’s anything I can improve on, just let me know. On my website, you’ll see that if you’re a wheelchair user to get in touch and speak to me. I know my clinic isn’t mobility friendly, but I don’t feel this should be a barrier for accessing therapies. For those who will encounter an accessibility issue visiting the clinic I offer a mobile service and I work with people who are bed bound or in wheelchairs.
A couple of years ago I decided to review my consultation forms. I was still using the initial consultation forms since I qualified and which ask if you’re male or female. Thinking about it, I decided I don’t absolutely need this information, but if you encounter a particular health condition which may be gender related we can talk about them as needed. Unfortunately, I think gender vocabulary hasn’t evolved enough to give us the tools to help people identify correctly and my aim at the clinic is to provide a safe and supportive environment to anyone who is exploring their identity.
I became aware my website was particularly focused on one skin colour and one gender, so have again try to adjust this imbalance. Usually the bias is towards men, however in the therapy industry the bias is towards photos of white women. While trying to update my websites, I actually began to appreciate how frustrating it was to be unable to find diversity in photos of babies and adults who may be of African, Caribbean, Asian or other ethnic heritages. I was also aware I was unable to find photos of people who present as non-binary or who have a visible disability receiving a massage.
I also welcome invisible illnesses within my clinic. While people are slowly becoming aware of invisible disabilities, people are still quick to make judgements. Sometimes a therapy may need to be adapted even if you walk into the clinic and appear fit and healthy. If you have a colostomy bag, you may find lying on your stomach uncomfortable. If you have trouble breathing you may feel uncomfortable lying flat on your back. It’s about working out what you need to help you be able to relax.
Diversity can also be seen in our image and clothes size. Regardless of your size or appearance you will be welcomed to the clinic. We all have saggy skin, wrinkles, and personally I won’t be reaching my ideal BMI anytime soon. If you have physical scars they show you have survived and how strong your body is.
I also welcome faith diversity at my clinic. While religion is currently no longer fashionable, I do have a degree in Religious Studies and while I’ve forgotten much of it, it does help me try to be respectful of your beliefs. I welcome people of all religions to my clinic, including Christians including those who consider themselves fundamental Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, those who consider themselves spiritual, Jehovah’s witnesses, pagans etc. If you have a particular religion and are concerned about a therapy, I’m happy to talk to you about it and how I will adapt it to respect your beliefs.
Diversity also means I am happy to treat any age range. I teach baby massage and treat all ages up to my lovely client base of people who would be considered an Old Age Pensioners. They are showing me that aging is a positive thing and can be done well. Being in your 80’s or above is not a barrier to having a therapy. Having just tried to find a photo of an older person receiving a massage, it’s another area where we don’t exhibit diversity!
If you visit me and think I’ve got something wrong, talk to me. I’m human and I know I haven’t yet got things completely right, but I aim to respect everyone who comes to my clinic and I’m trying! I’ve been privileged to have some very open, vulnerable conversations with my clients and friends which has helped me understand how I can encourage diversity more and I always welcome ways to help my growth. I enjoy working with people to try and make my clinic safe and supportive for everyone who walks through its door. So if you sit on a bus and think you’re different to everyone you’re looking at, celebrate it! We are all different and unique and the ways that make us different is something we should celebrate!
Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers aromatherapy, reflexology, holistic massage, baby massage, reiki and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information, visit her website louise-morgan.co.uk