I was first introduced to the importance of touch in my first massage class, an evening class that I had begun while working full time. I knew it felt good to receive a massage, but it wasn’t until later in my career that I realised how good it would feel to give. I’ve begun to feel deep connections with clients, and I’d like to share some experiences with you.
I was taught in that first massage class to protect myself from getting ‘drained’ by clients or taking too much of their personal lives on board. I spent the first couple of years trying to distance myself from my clients’ issues - trying to listen but not absorb. It’s a tough gig. I’m a big softy. When someone on your table is explaining the fear and anxiety they felt during a tough life experience, how can you not cry with them? I have twice so far. I asked this question of a recent client who is a psychologist. She explained to me how you can sympathise with your patients but should avoid empathising with them. By that she meant I should give recognition, comfort and assurance, but be careful not to make somebody’s pain my own.
The really awesome connections began when I was given a wonderful opportunity as part of my Musculoskeletal Therapy degree to participate in a wet lab. Here we were able to view (and touch, if we wished) some kindly donated cadavers. I held someone’s brain in my hands, and for me it was a special moment - I paused while I held it and felt deeply thankful. Thoughts rushed through my head: Who was this person? What was their life like? Who did they love? What did they do for a living? I have always loved to give a neck, head and scalp massage, but now I have much more appreciation for what I hold in my hands each and every day.
I used to stress out about my treatments and whether the person on the table would enjoy them or not, but now I leave my ego outside of the treatment room. I slow down and breathe and let my treatments flow with the way their body responds. This may seem far fetched, but I find that I can ‘tune in’ better with the persons body when I simply slow down and ‘listen’ with my hands.
I now feel really connected to clients, especially when I have seen them a few times and we’ve built up mutual trust. Sometimes, when it feels right, I will finish the massage with gentle pressure on their temples, holding their head and saying a little silent wish for them. A kind of ‘blessing’ I suppose, a wish for them to feel rested, to be patient, to feel peace - whatever I feel that they need right in that moment.
Amazingly, recently one client mentioned that they felt the connection. They asked me after the treatment was finished whether I did any healing at the end. I confessed that, yes - I did make a silent wish for them as I held their head. They thanked me, and I was grateful that I was connecting with clients in a way that I never knew possible.
Thank you for reading, I wish you peace and love and rest!
9/8/2014 03:02:52 pm
What an excellent way to debrief after a busy day with clients. From one massage therapist to another- I look forward to reading more x
9/8/2014 03:12:36 pm
Such a lovely story to read. I'm looking forward to reading the next post. :-)
20/8/2014 04:43:34 am
Your website looks lovely Lauren and I enjoyed hearing about the growth in your practice. Keep up the good work and remember to take care of yourself too :-)
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An authentic perspective from a Musculoskeletal Therapist Student ... what I learn, how I can help you, the massage learning curve as I grow as a therapist.