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Friday Fives: What not to say!

Welcome to the first Friday Fives.
Each Friday I will be bringing you a "Top Five" of something Massage Therapy or Health related so if you have any topics you would like to have covered by the Friday Fives then please let me know.

Top five things you should never say to a client!

The Therapist/Client relationship is a sacred, and very personal one. With the right client we become their friend and confident.
Massage sessions can often create a gateway for an out pouring of secrets, thoughts and emotions so it is important that we conduct ourselves in a friendly, safe and polite manner.
As I attend class each week, I often hear myself and other students spit out knee jerk words or phrases as we massage our partners. Some we laugh at but there are often times when I think to myself, WOW you would not want to say that to a client.
So here is my list of the five things we definitely should not say!

5. OOPS!

This, along with other reactionary phrases like "uh oh" and "sorry" should never be heard by a client. Could you imagine laying there on the table, entrusting your therapist with your body and health and out of the silence you hear "OOPS!" ?
The best thing you can do if you can catch yourself thinking that you have had an "OOPS" moment is to take a deep breath in instead, and if you cant do that, try biting your tongue until the urge goes away.

4. Girl, You've got some junk up in there!

This was the comment I overheard in class that got me thinking about this topic. I was mortified when I heard it. Looking up I understood what the Therapist was talking about, as she worked some static friction into the Rhomboids and Trapezius muscle of their partner. I know i've thought something similar myself when feeling knots and taut bands in muscle but it's just not something you say. Particularly when massaging a female, prone, because the word "junk" just screams "Big Butt" to me and thats not really polite or comforting to the client now is it?

3. Excuse you / Pardon you.

We all know that as our bodies relax there are certain gaseous releases from both ends of the body that tend to be unavoidable.  If you are massaging a client and this happens the worst thing you can do is acknowledge that it did. Your client is probably laying there in the face cradle praying that you didn't notice it.

If they acknowledge the act you can smile, and maybe say something like "dont worry about it" and continue on with your routine. You certainly dont want to laugh at it and say to your client "Phew that was a good one" or some such similar jest, if you do, it may be the last time you jest with them.

2. Talking about yourself.
Some clients like to talk through their massage, personally when Im having a massage the last thing I want to do is waste my 60 or 90 minutes yammering away, and there are plenty clients who agree. If it is your first or second, maybe even a third session with your client it can often be difficult to gauge how they are, so let them take the lead. Respond politely when spoken to, and try to avoid the normal "no go" topics such as Religion, Politics or Money. Just dont talk to them at length unless asked to, and try to use as much of the session to ensure that the client is relaxed and comfortable and NEVER burden your client with the drama llama that lives in your back yard.

1. Did you bathe today?

I asked around my friends and family to try to find out what was the WORST thing they felt a massage therapist could ever say to them in the therapy room and everyone answered the same thing. They would HATE for a therapist to mention something about their hygiene or cleanliness.
This was one of the items on my "con" list when considering signing up for school, the thought of having to massage someone with poor hygiene but Im not really sure that its such an issue any more. A friend and fellow therapist let me into her secret of dealing with clients who may not have the prettiest smelling feet, and she uses warm moist towels as a way to "wipe down" the feet as a part of her routine so that the client didnt feel uncomfortable or embarrased.

Try to remember the saying our Mums, or our Grannies used to say to us:

"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"

The Human Touch Initiative.

Some Rochester, NY,  Cancer patients may soon have the opportunity to receive free, or low cost massage Therapy treatments thanks
to a new service to be offered by the Human Touch Initiative.

HTI held a fundraising event on July 4th and plans to begin oncology massage services this fall. To get services, cancer patients will fill out a form, not yet on the Web site, seeking a voucher for free or reduced-price massage therapy from a list of local licensed providers who've had training in oncology massage. Eventually the program wants to offer decongestive lymphatic therapy, guided meditation and yoga/movement therapies.

This is great news for Cancer patients as the rewards both physically and mentally that one can receive from having a massage are tremendous.
I can only imagine the benefits people in such fragile conditions can receive.

There have been many different research studies over the years headed mainly by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, FL

One of their studies regarding patients with Breast Cancer found that regular massage reduced anxiety and depression, as well as improved immune function and an increased number in natural killer cells.

Benefits of massage therapy for cancer patients may include:

  • Pain Reduction

  • Increase Relaxation

  • Stimulate Lymphatic System

  • Reduce Muscle Tension

  • Feel Better, Do Better

However lets hope not all of our massage therapists are jumping up and down to get their hands on a Cancer patient as a client.
Oncology massage is specifically adapted for individuals of all ages and types of cancer and patients should only receive massage therapy from a therapist educated in oncology massage. A therapist uneducated in the adaptations of these styles and proper techniques actually can cause the cancer patient to develop different conditions.

Kim Ross, a Licensed Massage Therapist and the Director of the Human Touch Initiative hits the nail on the head when she says that most Doctors as well as patients are
unaware of the benefits of massage. It's great to see such a pioneer for the practice, a kindred spirit who also strives to raise the awareness of the Benefits of Massage Therapy within the medical community.

Massage Therapy is a complimentary therapy, it is certainly not a replacement for traditional medical practice, but if we could only work together I think we could serve patients more effectively and more cost efficiently than we do now.

What, When and where?

So when will I be updating this blog?
To ensure I can meet your expectations and mine, I will be updating this blog 3 times a week.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

However, should I end up with so much content that I just HAVE to post something, I post on my off days as well, but for now you can count on seeing new posts from me on these days.

To make it easier for you to know when I have updated, please consider Subscribing to my RSS feed.
Also if you have any questions, concerns or products that you would like to see discussed in my blog, please feel free to send me an email.

Why Massage Therapy?

Welcome to the first entry in what I hope to be a long and fulfilling blog about my Journey as a Massage Therapy Student, as well as the trials and tribulations of beginning my career with the hopes of running my own successful business.

It has taken me what I think has been many years to finally accept that this was a career that I felt would make me happy.
After almost 9 thankless years in the IT industry, I was stuck in the belief that I couldn't do anything else. Now I can see what a ridiculous thought this was.

Do you remember your first massage?
The excitement of being pampered, the nervousness of that one on one session with a stranger, that deep breath you take, as you lay prone (face down) waiting for the moment when the therapist first lays their hands on you?

What an exhilarating feeling, walking away on a cloud after having every ounce of tightness and stress slowly removed from your body.
I never looked back, I became a massage addict.
That was almost 6 years ago, and now I feel I have gained so much relief, and insight from my experience that I want nothing more than to share that with others.

I hope that you will join me on this journey, and I hope that I can encourage you to consider Massage Therapy as a regular part of your health maintenance.

What you can expect from my blog:
I want to let you know what my plans are for the blog so that you can also help me stay in check and do what I am promising.
Which is to offer regular articles on the benefits of massage, reviews of books, music and massage products that I have had the chance to experience. I also want to provide commentary on my progress through Massage school and offer little tit bits of Information that I have learned, or find interesting along the way.

Please feel free to email me should you have any questions, or have a Massage related blog or product that you would like to have featured on the site.
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