Confessions of a massage therapist

I love my job, there’s no denying it. It’s a privilege that people feel so comfortable in my treatment room that they unreservedly open up about things that are either troubling them or making their world a better place. When I looked at the course outline for my massage course back in 2001 and saw that counseling was part of it I was a little confused, will I be tapping into their muscles and counseling them I thought? Anyway I boldly went where every other massage student before me had gone and thought if that’s what I need to do to be qualified, then sign me up! The first time a client burst into tears after simply stepping into my treatment room and me closing the door behind them, I was a little confused, after all the only thing I had said was “hi, how are you?” They were a long term client of mine and felt completely safe in my treatment room and hence the façade dropped and the real emotion came out. This has happened several times over my career so far, it’s an honor and I completely get why I was introduced to the world of counseling.

There are several questions and comments that regularly come up from clients that I find amusing and thought you might too. Probably one of the most common from my lovely over considerate female clients is “I’m really sorry Amanda but I haven’t shaved my legs today” to which my usual response is, “well if that’s the worst thing that happens to me today, I’m pretty happy with that!” You see, if only they thought about that fact that 95% of my male clients don’t shave their legs and some of them are hairy buggers, they would realise that this was truly not an issue for me at all. In fact I generally don’t notice until something is said. But perhaps the hypocritical part about this is that I think about whether I have done the deforestation act on my legs as I am sitting in the waiting room of my massage therapist….

The client’s perception of their legs:

& My perception:

A common question I get from clients is “don’t your hands get sore? I massage my partner for 5 minutes and my hands are sore after that, I don’t know how you do it for several hours each day!” Occasionally my hands do get sore but that would be the same as anyone who has a bigger than usual day whether sitting at a desk, running around after the kids or retail assistants doing long shifts during half yearly sales, but that’s why I have regular massage to help my body recover from these days. It is like any other skill you learn, the more you do it the better you get at it and knowing what works for your body and what doesn’t, like having my treatment table too high or too low and overusing my thumbs. A big no no!

To talk or not to talk during your massage, this is 100% your decision, please don’t think your massage therapist has an expectation on this. I have some clients that talk during their whole massage and others that don’t say a word to me once they have lain down. The treatment is all about you, not your massage therapist so you must do what feels good for you. If your massage therapist does continue to talk and you just want to lie there and zone out, let them know, they shouldn’t take offence at that. & Whilst we are on the topic of letting your therapist know how you feel, if you want the pressure of your massage altered, even if its several times during the treatment say something. Remember its about you 100%! Ultimately we want you to come back for another treatment because regular massage is a great way to be proactive about your health and you’ll only likely do that if you have your expectations met.

There are few professions in the world that would ok with you falling asleep whilst in their workspace, massage therapists take this as a great compliment so I think why not make the most of this. If that’s what you body is telling you it needs, have a nap. We don’t judge you for snoring either, how awesome is that!!! Your face is squished in a hole and your sinuses are therefore compromised, that’s why you may let out the odd little snore, a completely scientific explanation, just to make you feel a little more comfortable should the inevitable happen. My only request is that you snore loud enough so the people in the waiting room hear and this creates more appointments for me cause they want what you’re having.

A few shorter notes, your muscles don’t really have knots they are adhesions of your muscle fibers. I do cringe a little when I get called a masseuse rather than a massage therapist, but I bear no grudge. I request you put your mobile phone in flight mode during your treatment so that it doesn’t disturb you and you lay there thinking I hope that’s not someone who needs me urgently, it doesn’t bother me that it rings, beeps or vibrates. & Finally thank you for thinking of me when you put your “good undies” on in the morning because you know you’re coming for a massage!


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