Why We Need to Change our Minds about Gloves

Why I Advocate for Gloves During All Services…Even Massage.

-Karen Hodges

I know… I know!  Immediately the heads are thrown back and the umbrage begins! But just for a couple of minutes, open your minds to allow some new thoughts…ok?

Times have changed. Maybe it was acceptable to do things a certain way in the last millennium, but just as so many things have evolved over the last couple of decades…so have certain health considerations:

1. We have new “super bugs” that have evolved and are dangerous, even deadly:

  • MRSA used to be known as HA-MRSA = Hospital Acquired, but it has left the hospital and is colonized by carriers walking around with no symptoms and is now CA-MRSA = Community Associated.
  • C. difficil is much more prevalent AND much more virulent in the last decade.
  • Influenza (flu) strains are evolving – there is a new strain every year HxNx is the nomenclature by which they are identified = H1N1 is swine flu, avian or bird flu is H5N1… and so on.

There are more, but we simply have to conduct ourselves differently.

2. Our demographics have changed and the majority of our population is at risk:

  • The “Baby Boomers” have hit the threshold of “elderly” (over 65) and it’s a fact that as we age we simply are not able to resist and bounce back from attacks on our health.
  • More people are health compromised than ever. When the CDC started tracking diabetes in 1934, they estimated 3.8% of Americans were diabetic. Decades pass and in 2000 the estimates were 4.3% but as of 2012 that had more than doubled to 9.3%
  • More than half – 52% – of Americans have been diagnosed with at least 1 chronic illness – 25% have more than one. Examples of chronic diseases are diabetes and a variety of immuno-deficiencies

We have an aging population with more health issues than ever before…and the diseases are evolving to become harder to treat. Times really have changed and the immediate knee jerk reaction of “I’ve always done things this way for xx years and haven’t had any problems is 1) close minded 2) dangerous 3) possibly untrue – who’s to say you haven’t transferred viable microbes from body to body — I bet you have.


A myth that is often quickly thrown up “I need to touch my Massage is safer with glovesclients — I can’t work effectively with gloves”. Maybe that used to be true before there were so many varieties, shapes and sizes of gloves, but now it’s possible to find well fitting gloves that glide along the skin smoothly and silently.

Another myth — “I can’t feel what I need to feel.” I personally can state that I have worn gloves the entire facial for 18 years and with the right gloves, I can feel a milium or even a hair lying across the skin.

Myth — “My clients won’t like it.” Maybe a couple decades ago it seemed strange but not these days. Clients are used to being seen and touched by persons wearing gloves. And, our clients like what we tell them to like! They take their cues from us. They trust us and follow our recommendations and our lead. All the time I have worn gloves in services I never heard/saw/witnessed the least objection to my donning gloves. I have had multiple clients remark they were happy I wore gloves – it helped them relax because they felt safe.

Myth “Gloves interfere with the flow of energy when I touch my clients.” Again, this has not been my experience. I put a great deal of energy into my work … my services are massage-centric and at the end of them, both my clients and I have felt the transfer of my intent.

So think about being open to new thinking and new ways of doing things. Don’t push back so fast. Experiment a little. Order several samples of gloves and give them an honest, open trial.