Many of us who are working in the Spa, Wellness and Health industry, meet people from different cultures and traditions throughout our professional lives. We might experience this multiculturality through our own career movements (travels and working in different countries or regions) or through treating clients from very different backgrounds, or even both. In his post I want to reflect upon how we can and should adapt ourselves to best help and serve our multifaceted client group.
When in Rome…
All of us who travel around the world offering our services as a health, massage, or wellness professional, or have a steady job in another country, need to try to adapt ourselves to our new surroundings. This means trying to adapt ourselves to the culture and ways of doing things of the society in general. This does not mean that we need to stop doing things that are important for us (routines, habits), but we need to make sure that we always respect our host country´s culture and religion. We will also enjoy our new environment more if we try to integrate ourselves in it, for example try to adapt ourselves to their daily rhythm and schedule for waking up, meals, etc., tasting their food, spending time with the locals, visiting important sights and places where people gather together.
Adapting ourselves also means trying to integrate ourselves in the local work culture, and if we are working for example in a Spa as a massage therapist or physical therapist, try to become another member of the staff. This requires spending time with the staff, following their schedules and protocols, and in general being flexible and eager to fit in. This can be tricky at times as each organization has their own rules and protocols, apart from the influence of the local culture, but keeping in mind all the things we can learn from this experience, will motivate us to make our best effort to fit in.
Obviously this is not a one-way street, in the sense that our only goal is to adapt and to learn, as in many cases we can also contribute to the host culture, sharing our professional knowledge and experiences as well as our best practices. The different perspective we might have on things, might enrich their work culture.
Adapting to our clients at home
The other side of the coin is the diversity of clients or patients that we face each day in our Spa, massage, bodywork, physiotherapy, or energy healing practice. We need to be attentive to our clients, and treat each one as an individual, taking into account not only their physical state, but also their cultural background, religious beliefs, and emotional state. If we respect our clients and really listen to their needs, they will be grateful and become loyal to us.
Sometimes we will even need to redesign our treatments in order to adapt ourselves to our client needs or requirements. For example swap a fully body oil massage to a massage done over the clothes, or even just changing the background music or beverages we offer post-treatment. This will help us grow professionally and to diversify our offering, so we should see this as an opportunity, not an obstacle.
So all in all, in a nutshell: adapting to our clients and the surroundings will help us to grow professionally, enrich our own as well as hopefully also other professionals´ practice, and most importantly, offer the best service to the people that we want to help and heal.
Do you have experience in working abroad, or do you have a very diverse client base? I would love to hear your own stories and tips!
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