fingertips for the client
By Laurie ChanCe Smith
Note to massage therapists: each issue of Massage & Bodywork coNtaiNs the columN fiNgertips for the clieNt, which is
targeted to clieNts. this columN is available oNliNe at www.massageaNdbodywork.com as a priNtable file. priNt the faciNg
page, attach your busiNess card, aNd seNd it home with clieNts, courtesy of associated bodywork & massage professioNals.
36 massage & bodywork may/june 2009
Your Massage session
Vocalize Your Needs
When a massage therapist’s hands During the session, vocalize your
touch the skin, the effect reaches needs as they arise. If the room is
down to the muscles and ligaments, too warm or cold, say so. Herbal and
and then positively influences the aromatherapeutic oils add healing
circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous benefits to massage. Tell your therapist
systems. Healing touch, a sensitive if you are sensitive to an herb or
style of communication, speaks safety essential oil, if you’d like him or her
and comfort. “The beauty of massage to use more (or less) massage oil, or
lies in it being such a simple, direct if you don’t care for an oil’s scent.
form of human contact,” says Susan What if you feel pain during
Mumford in The New Complete Guide massage? In Massage: Mind and Body
to Massage (Penguin Group, 2006).
Massage is a safe therapeutic art,
(DK Publishing, 2003), Larry Costa
says we must “distinguish between
considered by many to be a vehicle
for mental, physical, and emotional
comfortable and uncomfortable pain.”
When working on sensitive areas of and verbal
health. People seek massage for myriad your body, the therapist will begin
reasons—from simple relaxation to slowly then move toward deep-tissue information you
addressing muscular injuries. An work. “You may experience some
intuitive therapist is likely to pick up
many clues about your needs from an
discomfort to begin with, but this
should diminish after a few minutes
provide and the
intake interview before the session,
and even by the way you sit, talk,
as the muscles relax,” Costa says. This
is comfortable pain. “Pain that causes questions you
and walk. The written and verbal you to wince, cry out, or tense up is
information you provide and the probably not doing you any good.” ask are crucial
questions you ask are also crucial for a Ask your therapist for less or more
successful bodywork session. Mention
particular issues you’d like to have
pressure, depending on your needs.
“The healing touch of massage
for a successful
addressed and feel free to ask about the
techniques being used in your session.
is one of the best gifts you can give
your body,” writes Esme Floyd in bodywork
Inform your therapist of short- or Body Massage (Carlton Books, 2004).
long-term medical conditions. Massage Touch, a basic human impulse, session.
is used cautiously, or not at all, in some soothes the body and relaxes the mind,
situations. For example, massage is promoting physical and mental well-
generally avoided when a person has being. Massage sessions provide a safe
fever, open wounds, or certain skin space for you to relax, reflect, and feel
disorders. People with long-term comfortable in your own skin.
medical conditions, such as cancer,
diabetes, or osteoporosis, should seek Laurie Chance smith is a Texas-based
a doctor’s advice before massage. writer and photographer who works for national
With medical supervision, a trained and international markets on a plethora of
bodyworker often helps ease long-term topics. she can be reached at
pain and stress, usually with gentle email@example.com.
strokes and personalized techniques.
for more information, visit massagetherapy.com 37