Great Massage Therapist: Good Listening Required
In order to be a great massage therapist I need to listen intently.
I need to listen to what you say about your life and your body. When you come for a massage I will ask what has been going on in your life and how your body is feeling. Do you have any areas that are bothersome, tight, or painful? Do you have issues or areas on which you want me to focus? People usually do have at least one, if not several, areas of pain, tension, or injury. It is important as a therapist that I pay close attention to what my client is telling me and showing me. When you are on the table for your massage, I want to make sure I address the issues we have discussed. I am listening.
Don’t fret that I haven’t listened if I work in areas other than the one where you are having an issue (that spot that you pointed to on your body). In most cases muscles are not tiny spots. Quite often they cross several joints or areas in the body, and it is helpful to address the whole muscle, its sites of attachment, and surrounding muscles to properly treat the problem. For example, if you tell me you have low back pain, I will probably work on the fronts and backs of your legs as well. If you tell me you have neck pain, I will probably work on your upper chest along with many other surrounding muscles.
I need to listen to what you say with your body. When I am working, I watch your body language and your breathing. I don’t want you to hesitate to tell me if something is too intense, but if you do, many times your actions or your breath will give you away. They don’t usually lie, and I try to listen to them attentively. They are my friends (and yours).
I need to listen with my hands to what your muscles and fascia (connective tissue) say. Are they tight, tense, and knotted or are they relaxed, healthy and supple? Do they want to let me in now, or do they need more time to adjust before I work with them? Do they need more attention or is it time for me to move along and visit somewhere new? Is this really where the problem lies, or is it hidden somewhere else? Muscles and fascia have a lot to say!
I need to listen to you and not speak more than is necessary or wanted. Some clients want to talk about what is going on in their lives during their session. I listen and respond as much as I feel they would like. Some clients are totally silent during their session. I listen and am quiet as well. Both of these choices are fine, and I try to listen to the best of my ability and give my clients the amount of conversation they are asking for. I love to talk with my clients, but only if and when they want to talk; I follow their lead. I understand how disappointing and aggravating it can be if a massage therapist doesn’t listen to what you say, ignores the areas or issues which you have asked to address, or talks during your session when all you want to do is relax. I have experienced all these things as a client and I did not enjoy them. So I promise: I will listen and I will, to the best of my ability, do none of these things.