Body Sense

SUMMER | 2015

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8 Body Sense "Please, Stop Talking!" Have you ever thought this during a massage session, but didn't say anything? I have. Plenty of times. It didn't matter if the practitioner was someone I knew or a complete stranger; I had a hard time speaking up. When I interviewed Mike from Washington, his main complaint was, "My massage therapist talks a lot. Granted, I have known her for years now, so I'm OK with it. But in the beginning, I was really put off by the talking. I wanted to say, 'I just want to relax and get a massage, not lie here talking to you.' So my advice to massage therapists is to limit the conversation." What is interesting about Mike's statement is that rather than speaking up, he resigned himself to the situation. A great way to address a chatty massage therapist is to tell her up front that you really like quiet sessions. The truth is, if you are engaging in conversation with your therapist during table time on any topic outside of what she is working with in your body, you most likely are not getting your money's worth. Massage is deeply therapeutic, but only if the practitioner and recipient are present with the immediate experience. Otherwise, it's like a shoulder rub in front of the TV. It feels good, but it doesn't stick. There should always be an intake process where you document your health history and current needs with your practitioner. In most cases, this will be a perfect time to mention your need for quiet, so that you can deeply relax. From a physical point of view, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in when you are not in a responding mode. This means that in quiet space, your body rests, rejuvenates, and replenishes. And you get your money's worth! "Do You Mind Working the Area I Asked You to Work?" If you go in with an aching neck, then you'll likely want ample attention to your neck. Sounds reasonable, right? Doreen from Nevada says, "I once went to a local spa and I told [the massage therapist] what was ailing me that day and where I needed work. She just did what she did, and that's what she did. She didn't listen to what I was saying to her. Consequently, I haven't been back." Doreen did confirm, however, that she didn't speak up during the massage. Despite receiving regular massage from all around the world for more than 40 years, she still struggled with giving feedback in the moment. In many cases, it might seem reasonable to trust the therapist's knowledge and let her do her thing. After all, body parts are connected. But if you aren't getting that "oh my, that feels so good" experience in the area that is hurting you, you need to speak up. Licensed massage therapists are trained to adapt to the client's preferences and adjust their protocol as needed. During the intake process, a simple solution is to say you would love to have about 5 minutes on just your neck, for example. If there is a specific part of your back that feels incredibly good when it receives attention, tell your therapist and feel free to ask for a specific time frame, if that is your expectation. Being specific is the best way to get what you want. My interviews revealed that clients often feel most comfortable communicating what they would like prior to getting on the table. Anyone who works with your body can only know your experience through you. Otherwise, your therapist relies on her experienced, educated hands and instincts to guide her. Whether it's more time on a specific area, a desired depth for all or parts of the massage, or requests as seemingly mundane as needing blankets because you get cold during massages or preferring a specific kind of music to truly relax, trust that it's OK to ask for accommodations. secret #1 secret #2

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