Acceptance and Relaxation

August 9, 2023  |  by Sheryl Rapée-Adams  |  Comments are off  | 

This is a come-as-you-are practice. We don’t ruminate on clients’ appearances. Clients need never worry that we’re considering what they’re wearing, how they look that day, what we think of their body art, etc.

“Now, there are others who believe that society is enriched by engaging with strangers. And I rarely succeed in convincing them that comments about appearance are often unwelcome, and even compliments betray an unappealing entitlement to judge. “It’s just a compliment!” they say. (Sigh.) So, choose your own path. But I would respect the privacy of strangers and engage with your tatted-up friends, instead.”

The answer to the second question in this NY Times Q&A is why we don’t mention clients’ body art—or any other part of a client’s appearance—unless it relates directly to working with us. For example, “The skin around that ink/piercing looks red. Is that an area to avoid today?”
On the other hand, I take it kindly, with thanks, when clients compliment my ink. I’m not the client here, and our clients need not uphold the professional boundaries we operate within.

Clients see us to relax. Feeling self-conscious is the opposite of relaxation; wondering whether someone is thinking about another’s appearance is a recipe for tension.

Consciousness That Is Not Self-Consciousness

We encourage clients to use interoceptive awareness—what clients feel from the inside. We ask clients to tune in to all sensations that arise, pleasant or unpleasant, and communicate with us about them.

We pay close attention to clients in these ways: How are you feeling? What do we offer that can help meet your goals for seeing us? Are there sensations distracting you from relaxing Is there anything about the room, being on the massage table, and the techniques we’re using that we can adjust toward helping you feel more comfortable?

Responding to these kinds of sensations is a key part of helping bodywork be effective. Only together can we make it so.