Body Sense

Winter | 2014

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What Just Happened? Emotional reactions on the massage table By Darren Buford 10 Body Sense Massage and bodywork evoke many responses from clients. While relaxation, stress relief, and pain management immediately come to mind, other reactions might not be what you expected—but that's perfectly normal. Following are some stories from massage therapists who have helped their clients through an unexpectedly emotional session. BRITTNI'S STORY "Once I had a client cry about 25 minutes into her two-hour massage. I was playing classical music, and it just struck a nerve, and she started crying for her father who had passed away 10 years prior. If you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed with a memory or untapped emotion during a massage session, let your therapist know what you're experiencing. Massage therapists and bodyworkers are not trained counselors, but can provide a good ear and direct you to the care of another health-care provider if needed. And, if something about the massage is triggering bad memories or emotions for you, it's fine to ask the therapist to pause or to try something different. I told her, "I will continue with this massage, unless you want me to stop." She didn't want to stop. She just wanted to be heard and wanted me to know she missed him. It truly was a great experience. I continued massaging her, let her cry and get everything out, and we grew closer from it." STEPH'S STORY "It's my job to allow whatever happens to happen, but guide it to a better place for the client with no judgment. For most people who end up having an emotional experience, it is due to muscle memory or some sort of spark that led to that memory. And it's my job to just listen, be there, and let them know, "I'm here for you. I'm not going anywhere, and this is OK." Most people just want to be heard in any way they can. I always listen. I have heard so many secrets and had lots of tears spilled on my table through the years."

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