I learn so much from my clients. Today in particular. Today was one of those days that every client was a return clients ( I love those days!) One client in particular ( you know who you are) sauntered in today after working very hard for a number of months. She took the whole day ( or atleast most of it) and treated herself kindly. A pedicure here, the gym, tanning, all the things that make her feel good to be alive! I was inspired ( and a bit jealous 😉 ) I am always talking about taking a break but can I honestly say that I take one? Between school, work, and my spiritual activities it is hard to find time ( excuses excuses) … the truth is I have to force myself to be good to me. So tonight when my hubby left to visit a friend and I was alone in the house I decided to do what makes me feel alive! I brought out my foot spa, sat in my massaging chair , poured a glass of wine ( albeit cheap wine, because I wasn’t ready to break out the good wine from the Wine Festival on Saturday) and I began to write this. So thank you anonymous client for reminding me to heed my own words!
Today I also realized what I know is true. I can’t “fix” anything. As a therapist there is a lot of pressure to be clinical and to address physical ailments methodically. I think this is all fine and true. But there comes a point when I have done as much as I can. The rest is out of my hands. Before I go into any treatment I always pray that my higher power guide my hands and my words. When people tell me I have a “magic” touch or something similar I say thank you but really I am thanking my higher power who guides me. In my opinion, massage is a gift. It’s a gift that I enjoy giving to others but for the purpose of living I get paid for it. I understand the importance of loving touch and even what physiological effects it can have on a person. The touch of someone else raises the serotonin levels in your body. This creates a feel good feeling that can combat depression. It is reassuring and creates security in an often cruel and insecure world. As much as I love being able to treat an ailment, my first priority is a loving touch. There are a few clients who may contest that my touch is not always loving but please be assured there is love behind my elbow.
Depression happens to most of us at some point in our lives. Some people endure it for a short time. Others experience it year after year during certain seasons. Others suffer chronically day after day. If you fall under one of these categories then you would probably agree that you would try anything to feel some relief. Well there is hope. Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of healing. We massage our aches and pains almost instinctually. But what else can massage do for us? In recent years, studies have found that regular use of massage can elevate moods and decrease depression. It has been known to increase levels of both serotonin and dopamine. These are essential to an overall feeling of well being. The power of touch can be very healing and is in fact a necessary part of life. According to the Touch Research Institute, touch therapy can alleviate pain, reduce stress hormones, and reduce depressive symptoms. Many people may not even know that they are suffering from depression but may mistake it for something else. Depression can take many forms. One of the symptoms of depression is feelings of isolation. Many sufferers of depression do not intentionally isolate themselves but lack the energy to socially interact. Sometimes this lack of energy translates into a physical lethargy. Some of the symptoms may include aches and pains , sleep problems, loss or gain in appetite. Massage therapy has been proven to benefit all of these symptoms. It is important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for traditional treatments otherwise prescribed by a physician, but rather a compliment to pharmaceuticals or psychotherapy. Sometimes simply having the caring touch of someone else offers us the security and affirmation we need to live. Think about the last time you gave someone a hug. Did you experience an elevation in mood or perhaps you felt comforted and consoled. Massage therapy offers the same rewards as well as many other benefits.
* If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of harming yourself/themselves it is important to notify someone immediately.
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Taking 5 minutes a day to become aware of your surroundings can have a profound effect for both the client and the practitioner.
There is a lot to be said for finding a therapist with an intuitive touch. You can train all around the world for years, but if you don’t take the time to tune in to your clients it will show. Communication is the first part of this tuning in process. Ask questions before your client reaches the table. Questions such as, ” Have you ever had a professional massage before and if so was this a good experience or bad experience.” You would be amazed at what a difference it makes when a client knows you have their best interest in mind and that they are not just another number. Being aware of the clients state of mind during the massage is important as well. If they suddenly show tension when you get to a certain spot, ask them how they feel about the pressure and reassure them that they have the control over how deep their massage will be. If they can’t seem to get comfortable, verbalize that you sense their uneasiness and offer to make them more comfortable. You can add more pillows or reposition them. It is also important to pay attention to details. Details of the body that is. So many times I have gotten a massage that felt like a quick once over. Take the time to map the body with your hands, acknowledging each individual muscle, increases the clients confidence in your ability to pay attention to their unique composition. If you are a therapist, do you find it difficult to leave the outside world out of the massage room? Try sitting quietly by yourself for 5 minutes each day and practice becoming aware of your senses. What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you see? What do you feel? Don’t over analyze it, just go with it. This exercise can be beneficial for both the client and the practitioner. If you are the client, be assured that as practitioners we want you to verbalize what you want. If the pressure isn’t what you were looking for just a quick word will help your therapist tune in to what you do want. If you would like to move the headrest or maybe add some aromatherapy, we would love to accommodate you. This is all an important part of building a client/therapist relationship. This is your time, not ours.