Body Sense

SUMMER | 2015

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Page 8 of 15—your resource for all things bodywork 9 "Oh, That's the Spot! Stay There. Oh, No … Oh Well" Riding the coattails of the previous point, this is about being specific with the feedback you give during the massage. The challenge of giving feedback in the moment is well reflected in this statement by Kathleen from Colorado when she says, "It's awkward, because you are basically judging the therapist and what they're doing." Even if your goal is relaxation, when your therapist gets to a tight spot you want him to remain on, ask him to stick with it. All you have to say is, "That feels great! Can you hang out on that spot for a minute or two while I relax?" This is a dream come true for any dedicated massage therapist, as it helps to tailor the experience to your individual needs. As previously mentioned, often the most comfortable approach for clients is to discuss this with the therapist prior to getting on the table. Tell him you like to be included in the session so you can relax into specific spots. You can even phrase it as a question: "Do you mind if I give you specific feedback during the session if there is a spot I want you to stay on?" It sets the stage for an interactive experience, and your therapist will likely appreciate knowing you want to be involved in your own wellness, moment by moment. It may feel like you are having a long initial intake process before the work begins, but it is important to keep you safe and healthy, and meet your goals. Come to expect this from your massage therapist on a first-time visit, as well as a pre-session check-in at the beginning of every subsequent session. Speaking Up is Hard to Do There is a perception that offense will be taken—or that the therapist will feel criticized—by feedback and requests. In truth, your therapist's goal is to meet your needs, and two- way communication is the best way to do that. Therapists who initiate a detailed intake conversation, and then communicate during a session with the sole intent to enhance the experience and better understand your body's patterns and needs, are displaying a desire to put you first. So if you have a question, ask it. Massage therapists are trained to assist you in understanding your body's tensions and responses. When there is purposeful communication, there lies the best chance of getting what you want. B S Cindy Williams has served the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor since 2000. She enjoys the challenge of blending structure with creative flow to provide balance in her classroom, bodywork practice, and life. Contact her at secret #3

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