“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” ~ Rumi
Like any profession, there is so much to learn as a massage therapist. There is an abundance of knowledge that is taught in massage school: different modalities, the anatomy & physiology, pathology, the skeletal system, the bony landmarks, the meridians & some traditional Chinese medicine, the anatomical position, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, indications and contraindications, different strokes, the intake process, ethics, ranges of motion, concentric and eccentric movements, body mechanics and so on.
On the other hand, there is an abundance of knowledge that is gained from experience, practice and self awareness as a licensed massage therapist: how to really connect with the client, how to be present and hold space, when to transition from hands on body work to a more subtle modality such as reiki or craniosacral therapy, the grounding energy of compressions/hand placement/the mothering hand, entering a client’s space and aura with intention and gentleness, inviting the client to breathe so there is an opportunity to dive deeper into the body, the stillness & freedom that can come from a slow stroke, the subtle messages from the client’s body when it tenses up, the secondary pain and discomfort that is happening on the other side of the client’s body, and much more.
As a licensed massage therapist and lover of body work, here are my wishes for you:
Please, let go. Drop in deeply. Allow the mind and brain to be at ease, there is no need to guess my next move. You can dim that part of your brain. No need to think or predict, “is she going to turn my neck to the right now? Probably...let me help her move it.” Actually, please don’t. If you can allow yourself to melt and feel heavy on the table, the strokes and movements and rotations that I do will feel much juicier. You will actually be able to FEEL the juiciness when you aren’t thinking about what is about to happen next.
What would it feel like if you could just let go? If there is a need for the client to actively perform a stretch or movement, it will be mentioned. All other times, you can let your body know that it is safe. This is no easy task. Our bodies hold much trauma, stress, and restrictions. My goal as a massage therapist is to balance the nervous system and bring ease into the body and encourage healing. As a client, please know you have the freedom to switch up your experience. If you talk a lot during your session, what would it feel like to experience silence? If you’re quiet most of the time, what would it feel like to express something verbally? If you typically leave on an undergarment, what would it feel like to undress completely under the linen and feel a complete, fully encompassing stroke around the hip and lower back? If you typically request deeper pressure, what would it feel like to experience some more gentle work? Some energy work? Some lymphatic work?
After suffering a bad headache months ago, it wasn’t the deep pressure that provided me relief, it was actually the 5 grams of pressure for lymphatic work that was helpful. If you only receive upper body work, what would it feel like to give the lower body some love? If you always ask for the scalp and face to be avoided, what would happen if you decided to let those areas be worked on?
You are not just a client when you come to me, you are a human being on a healing journey. As a massage therapist, my goal is to always offer a safe, comfortable space. When you allow your body to release and receive, your body will show the way and I will follow. It’s like a beautiful dance that occurs between us. There is no forcing, only an allowing. We are intricately connected in a communication that goes beyond words. There is a deep honoring that happens in this work together. Thank you.
About the author: Meagan Visnaskas, LMT is a licensed massage therapist at the NH Health & Wellness Center. She has been trained in deep tissue, reflexology, cupping, lymphatic drainage massage, thai stretching, somatic massage, Swedish massage, and craniosacral therapy. She is a registered yoga instructor and certified Reiki Master Teacher. She is currently enrolled at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda working towards becoming an Ayurveda Health Counselor. To schedule a session or for more information, call 603-801-2777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.