Note: This blog is not based on a specific client or one experience. Instead, this blog is a fictional story of multiple instances and experiences from over the years tied together with the intention of sharing how valuable multiple sessions of bodywork can be.
Jordan flew in like a chicken with her head cut off. She was a new client and it was her first time coming to the office. We had interacted via email and she expressed interest in receiving 60 minutes of energy work and some massage therapy to help tackle the stress and anxiety she was experiencing. Being a new client, she had received all the necessary information for her first appointment- payment info, parking information, directions, and a couple new client intake forms. Included in the email was a blog on the science behind craniosacral therapy so she could have some knowledge as to how the session would go and what to expect.
It was 15 minutes after her scheduled appointment time and there was no sign of her. I looked at my phone which is kept on silent at the office and I had one new voicemail. It was the new client with a sound of panic in her voice…she was lost, had no idea where to park, or what floor the office was located on. About seven minutes later she burst into the office, completely frazzled in every way it seemed. I did my best to calm her, saying “You’re here now. You’ve made it.” I wanted to get her started with the session as soon as possible, since at this point our session would only be about 30 minutes. I asked her for the filled out intake forms from the email I sent her. She shook her head and stated that she didn’t have them. A few minutes later the forms were filled out in the office. She spoke about how she is overworked, overweight, dehydrated, and doesn’t exercise or spend time outdoors. Her sleep cycle is horrendous and she is addicted to caffeine. She then started asking me about craniosacral therapy and what happens during a session. I was happy to explain, but at this point her 60 minute appointment was about to be 20 minutes.
It was apparent that she had not read the email I had sent her….she maybe hadn’t even opened it.
It was 35 minutes past her scheduled appointment time when we got her on the table. This appeared tough for her. I noticed her short, chest breathing. Her eyes were squeezed closed, but darting under the lids. It appeared her jaw was clenched shut and her entire body was pressing into the table. Her fingernails were chewed down to the skin, her arms and hands were braced and holding onto each other for dear life.
A short 25 minutes later the session ended. She got up off the table asking, “What should I have felt? When will my anxiety go away? Will it go away after one more session? Did I feel the right thing?”
It was unfortunately quite clear that this client was hoping for a quick fix with one session. My heart broke for her, I got the sense that this woman had been living in fight, flight or freeze for many years now and her nervous system and adrenals were crying out for a break, some rest, attention and care. The path to healing is long, surprising, not linear, and can take years and years of work.
I explained to her that these bodywork sessions move at their own pace, it is different for everyone depending where they are on their journey. I personally have been receiving monthly bodywork for years now, and I still have emotional breakdowns on (and off) the table. The shifts and growth don’t necessarily happen ON the table, but between sessions depending on how you move through life and the other changes you are making along the way in all other aspects of your life: diet, sleep, water intake, movement, breath work, joyful experiences, boundaries, other modalities, etc.
She did rebook, only to cancel at the last minute. I don’t know exactly why, but I know the call to healing can be frightening, challenging, and scary. It asks each of us to be courageous and vulnerable along the way.
I have many clients who come monthly and they say, “Each session gets better and better.” (Note: I consider each session a two way street between therapist and client. The receptivity of the client is equally, if not more important and critical than my level of skill). They tell me about the other areas in their life that they are changing and adjusting to align more with their goal.
Sessions will evolve and unfold at their own pace, making every person's journey unique and special. For some clients, weekly appointments are recommended. For other clients, coming every 4-6 weeks is recommended. I am honored to be part of this unfolding.
Meagan Visnaskas works with massage clients at the NH Health & Wellness Center, including guiding them in self-care practices. She has been trained in deep tissue, reflexology, somatic massage, Swedish massage, and craniosacral therapy. She is a registered yoga instructor and certified Reiki Master Teacher. To schedule a session or for more information, call 603-801-2777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.