- “I Hope my hands aren’t too cold, and that my initial touch felt warm, welcoming, but firm.”
- I Feel tension/knots/stickiness in this area, I should put more pressure here and stretch this muscle out. Did I just feel resistance from the muscle? Maybe I should ask this person if that was too much pressure.
- Do I feel a change in this area of the body? Does this area feel warm? I think it’s time to move onto the next area.
- I hope this person feels like their drape (covering) is warm and secure, and they are relaxing.
- I hope this person has more awareness of their body, and they want to book with me next time they feel tightness or stress in their muscles.
Occasionally people ask me if I have trouble giving someone a massage due to – Insert undesirable trait here. There are a lot of people who are conscious of different aspects of the body – hair, smell, etc. – but I often remind people that as a massage therapist, I am not paying attention to those aspects of the body.
Massage therapists have mini X-Ray machines in their hands because we have practiced and been trained to look for things underneath the surface. We spent months poring over pictures of muscles and bones in our text books, then touching multiple bodies so that we could envision how each person’s muscles map to the models that we studied in or texts. Over the course of a year this created some interesting neural connections in my brain that have given me the ability to dull all of my senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing) except for touch. Before every massage that I give I take a moment to stand with my eyes closed, take a deep breath, and silently set the intention that my touch will be beneficial to the person in front of me. In this moment the X-Ray machine turns on.
In those 60 – 90 minutes that I spend with someone in my massage therapy room I feel a grounded sense of joy and wonder. I’ve joked before that if we were living in a comic book that would be my super power: X-Ray Hands that alleviate pain and stress. My greatest hope is that each person who leaves my massage therapy room benefits from these powers in some way. Who knows, maybe those few minutes of rest and relaxation might give them what they need to exercise their own super powers out in the world.