I was having coffee recently with an old client who has recently moved interstate. She was back for Christmas break. I’m lucky. Many of my clients have become friends. Not always the “let’s go have a coffee type”, but the type that when they come in for a treatment, I get to catch up on all their news. I know of their trials and tribulations, their struggles and their joys. I celebrate births, marriages and have seen them in their grief over their personal tragedies.

In some cases, after practicing so long in the clinic I am even treating some of their kids and grand kids.

Anyway, back to coffee this morning. My friend makes it back home rarely. You know what it’s like, kids, school, busy career. She confessed that she had ventured into another clinic close to her new home and was determined to share her experience. It wasn’t good.

It gave me the opportunity to look at my own clinic and treatment practices with fresh eyes and to ask the question –

“What makes a client choose their laser clinic?”

Obviously, there may be some pretty personal reasons such as the relationship you have developed with your therapist, the great results you’ve experienced or it may be that they are always offering specials.

Coming with years of experience behind me, I decided to answer this with a question and for those of you unfamiliar with laser safety and what to expect this may help choose your clinic.

What would I be looking for? Here are some questions I would ask myself.

What is my therapist wearing?

This is always the most obvious sign that the clinic may not operating by Australian & New Zealand Safety standards. Black is out!! Best practice laser clinicians will wear white. It’s simply that white does not absorb light and minimises risk. I was chatting to a young therapist working at a well-known franchise who had been instructed that she could not wear black nail polish when she was working. Spot on, but she did ask why they wore black tunics. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive a response.

Is there a constant staff turnover?

This is a good sign that the poor therapists may be pushed to the limit with high sales targets expectations. With some clinics allowing only 5 minutes for some treatments, you might like to ask the question as to how thorough the treatment actually is. With some clinics expecting their therapists to work 12 hour shifts, therapist fatigue is a concern.

A sign that this is happening is that you are always being treated by a different therapist. My concern here is that although a good therapist will understand required endpoints to achieve great results, they also need to know you. Do they have time to discuss your concerns with you? Do they even ask? Do you feel rushed, do you feel pressured to buy product. Which leads to another question.

Did they try to sell me unnecessary product with my treatment?

Unless you know what is needed to obtain good results, you can be easily misled to purchase lotions and potions that in the end make no difference to your treatment.

You need sun protection, but if you are being told that you need specialist body lotions or exfoliation creams to “give you better results” with your hair removal treatments, that is simply not true. Unless you have a serious ingrown hair problem, a good rub with a dry towel will suffice to remove shedding skin cells. Many clinics who offer low price treatments will try to upsell clients with products, so in the end you will be paying the same, if not more than a clinic who is concerned about you, not the return to an investor.

My therapist is a nurse, so I must be in good hands, aren’t I?

Not necessarily. The first thing that I look for is a government accredited laser qualification on the wall!! Being a doctor or a nurse does not make you automatically a good laser therapist. Many practitioners are relying on the basic training that is sometimes provided when their machines are delivered. The understanding of the reaction of light physics in the skin is essential in a good therapist. Laser interaction with the body is still not part of the medical curriculum and in many parts of Australia, there remains absolutely no regulations overseeing safe practice. But don’t get me started there. That’s another blog all together!

And the most important attribute of a great, not just good therapist?

Passion.

After 16 years of being a laser therapist and personally performing over 100,000 laser treatments ranging from fungal toe nails to the amazing healing properties of therapeutic laser, I still love what I do.

To see teenagers’ self esteem increase with improving their acne or to assist people who have been crippled with anxiety due to rosacea or other skin conditions is truly an honour and a privilege.

Is your therapist just doing a job, or are they truly interested and passionate about helping you reach your goals?