Beware the dreaded hangnail that subtly, but painfully lacerates an invisible path through your client’s skin! Of course, we’ve heard about it, or maybe even experienced it (ouch!), but no it’s never happened to us; we’ve never been the perpetrator of the hangnail crime. At least, we think we haven’t..
Fingernails, like hair, have no nerves. So, unless we check—or have a client willing to object, which many aren’t—we’d never know. I know I’ve received a massage more than a few times where the intermittent presence of a ragged tiny bit of nail was an impediment to my otherwise enjoying a good session.
What to do? Well, one simple habit that many good therapists develop is to check their fingernails against their forearm before each massage begins. Simply rock each of your fingers side-to-side, brushing them against your bare skin to feel for any irregularities, hang-ups, snags, or anything else that will get in the way of a delightfully soothing massage session.
To take care of them when they do turn up, make sure you keep not just nail clippers, but also a good, fine file in your self-care kit to smooth down the sharp edge of the clippers’ cut so that you don’t just trade one impediment for another. It’s much better to be on your clients’ “most wanted” list for giving excellent, effective massage than to be guilty of the dreaded hangnail crime.