This means we work together. It's not about me as your therapist doing work to you. Especially with deep massage work that makes lasting change, it's about your participation. And how does that look because we need you to relax and receive as well.
When you first come in for a massage, we're going to talk about your areas of pain, tension or limitation. We'll talk about what you've tried for it in the past, what has worked and hasn't, what you do that aggravates the problem, what relieves it and what your goals are for your body. Based on that information, we'll come up with a treatment plan for our session and subsequent ones if we decide we are a good fit to work together. I am like a detective. You bring me a problem, and I'm going to find out as much as I can to uncover the cause of that problem. Many therapists address the pain only, but in working with thousands of people, I have learned that when I can find and address the cause of the pain or tension, it changes everything!
During the massage, it is my job to do my utmost to help you feel comfortable, safe and certain. When your mind and your nervous system trusts me, as your therapist, and the work being done, your body; your muscles will relax into the work. It is your job to tell me what you want, when something is uncomfortable and when you want something I am doing changed. You don't have to "put up with" anything! It's your body, and you are ultimately the boss! In this way we create rapport and trust, and the massage work's effectiveness increases exponentially through our session.
The second and very important way we work together is through discovering what behaviors of posture, movement (or lack of movement) are causing the tensions and pain in the first place. Then we discuss what changes in behavior are necessary, and develop a plan for you to slowly and consistently cultivate habits toward those new supportive movement patterns. Then with each massage, part of our check-in is to see how your body is feeling since your last massage, what things you did (your homework), and what changes you notice because of it. In this way we create a cadence of accountability which produces long-term results.
You can go get a relaxing massage and feel good for a little while, and it requires nothing of you but to show up, relax and pay for the session. However, if you are looking for some lasting changes, it does require your participation, and that is what I want if you are to work with me or the other team members here at Lifelong Wellness.
What questions do you have about receiving massage or taking care of your body? Leave a comment here.
Adinah Barlow has been a massage therapist since 2007 and Self-Care Coach since early 2017. She believes that when people prioritize their own well-being, everything else and everyone else in their life becomes exponentially better.