How does bodywork work best for you?

July 9, 2016  |  no comments yet

Millions of people receive massage therapy to help them feel better.

Massage therapy and other forms of bodywork such as craniosacral therapy help relieve muscle tension, reduce symptoms of stress, deepen respiration, enhance general relaxation, increase range of motion, and bolster one’s sense of well-being. (The last is an elusive term that I’m guessing you understand.)

But what formula do bodyworkers use to ensure people leave feeling better?

You probably know there isn’t one. Still, many massage clients come in with thoughts such as that their deep tension calls for deep pressure.

In 1995, my massage school techniques teacher told me:  “Forget ‘No pain, no gain.’  If you want to help people, it’s ‘No pain, no pain.'”

The “formula” for successful bodywork outcomes involves listening closely to your wants, needs, and goals and then creating treatment sessions that address them. If you leaves feeling better and the feeling lasts, the therapeutic partnership is on the right track. If not, then I am responsible for listening to you again and adjusting the treatment plan to better suit you.

Adjustments may include:

  • Utilizing different techniques (e.g., general relaxation instead of specific work on the tightest areas only)
  • A different modality (e.g., foot reflexology instead of general massage)
  • Applying gentler or deeper pressure
  • Working more slowly
  • Asking the client to attend to breathing regularly and deeply enough
  • Shortening or lengthening the treatment time
  • Scheduling treatments more or less frequently
  • Assessing whether the client-therapist relationship is a good fit overall, or perhaps indicates referral to another bodyworker

Bodywork clients learn over time what works and what doesn’t. As a bodyworker, I respect each client’s wisdom about themselves.

As people change, their wants, needs, and goals for bodywork change. It’s up to us bodyworkers to continue listening.