Things I Care About vs. Things I Don't Care About
From my experience, I have found that many clients seem to have the same concerns when getting on my table. I thought it would be appropriate to address these concerns on a larger scale so you know where I stand on these topics. This is not the complete list of concerns but they seem to be the most common things I hear. I am separating this between 2 categories: Things that don't concern me at all and Things I do care about and want to know. I hope this list helps to ease your mind a little when you are on my table, ready to get a massage.
Things I don't care about:
1. Body Hair: I don't think a day goes by without someone apologizing for not shaving or for having a lot of hair on their bodies. I appreciate that you are very aware of this but it is not a big deal. I probably didn't shave my legs either that day. We are human. I have an 8 year old, a husband and a small business. I am amazed I do anything for myself some days. The great thing about massage is that I am using a lubricant: oil or cream, so hair doesn't affect how I do massage. I am prepared for any amount of body hair.
2. Your breath: I think most people have a concern over this. I try to alleviate this concern by having mints next to the chair where you leave your clothes. I will be totally honest; I can't smell your breath. I'm not trying to smell your breath. I am focused on the massage (and more concerned that you smell mine). I am not a science person but I think the way you are lying on the table stops your breath from moving in my direction. It is not something I am specifically looking for so I never really notice.
3. Bodily Noises: I am specifically talking about 2 noises your body makes. 1. Your stomach. It is actually a great thing to hear! If your tummy rumbles during massage, that means your parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This is the part of your Nervous system that deals with relaxation. I hear a gurgle or two, it means I have done my job and I'm happy. 2. Gas. Who hasn't had a slight panic attack when you feel one coming on in the middle of a massage? I know I have! I totally understand that it is embarrassing but it's happening and there is nothing you can do but let it out. If you TRY to keep it in, all you do is tense up and I know something is wrong. It's best to just let it happen. I've said it before, many times; Better out than in. I am more than likely pushing down on an area that will make it impossible for you to not let it out. You can even warn me, if you like. Apologize afterwards but I'd rather you just let it out.
4. Falling asleep/snoring: I'm not sure why people apologize for this. You won't find too many people that are happy when someone falls asleep but that makes me proud. It means you are comfortable with me. You trust me. That is a wonderful compliment in Massage Therapy. It's the equivalent of a standing ovation. Sleeping around a complete stranger can be very vulnerable to some and knowing that you feel safe enough to fall asleep makes my heart sing. Snoring just adds to my joy.
Things I do care about:
1. Recent and Past Medical History: This may seem like a no-brainer but there are several reasons that I need to know your medical history. There are medications that I need to be careful with pressure. If you have had surgeries, cancer, dislocated shoulders; these are medical conditions that require modifications. I want you to get the most out of your massage and I certainly don't want to leave you with a negative memory. Being honest about your medical history benefits us both. We can work toward a common goal: a better quality of life for you!
2. Your comfort: This doesn't happen with every person but I find some people won't let me know if there is something that needs to be changed. Whether it's music or the temperature of the room or my pressure, I can only fix it if you tell me. The big one, Pressure, is most important because I want you to leave feeling good. I don't want you to leave feeling like you just got hit by a train. I have firm pressure! Not everyone wants that. You may think you do but in the moment you change your mind. That is the perfect time to say, "Hold on Lady, lighten up the pressure!" I totally will and I'll be so happy that you said something!
3. Talking vs. No Talking: Please don't feel obligated to talk to me. This time is for you! I know what I got myself into when I pursued this profession. I may go the whole day without talking to anyone. It's totally fine! You can even tell me before we start that you would prefer silence. I will talk only to ask if you are doing well and to tell you to turn over. I am happy that you spoke up about your preferences. My husband may not be thrilled with a quiet day because I will go home and talk his ear off but that was his fault when he married a Massage Therapist who loves to talk! I do love talking and if you want to talk, I'm down for it. I will usually let you wind down with some quick chitchat in the beginning but I'm taking my cues from you. If you want to talk, we'll talk but if you want silence, there will be silence.
5. Your skin health: Skin health is very important to me. I need to know if you have any known skin allergies (for obvious reasons) but there are other things going on with your skin that I need to know about. Warts, Athlete's foot and other types of fungus are very important for me to be aware of because they are very contagious! Remember that I work with my hands. If I get a wart, I can't work or I'll have to wear gloves (which is very annoying because it is hard to find gloves that fit). I am also on the lookout for any suspicious moles; especially on your back or feet (places you normally don't look at or can't see). I am not diagnosing you in any way but I want to be sure that you are aware of them and should have a doctor monitor them for any changes. It is not in any way to scare you but it is good for you to know.
I believe most Massage Therapists are with me on this. I hope you feel more at ease at your next session. It's good to remember that I am human too and feel the same feelings you do. My job is to make you feel at ease in my presence. I want you to feel comfortable being honest with me. See you next time!