When You’re the Client, It’s about You
A massage client felt cold for more than fifteen minutes before telling me. She said she hadn’t wanted to break my rhythm.
I thanked her and explained that her care is my rhythm. And I turned up the heat.
I am always ready to adjust the table, temperature, or music, or even step out so you can cover yourself and go use the bathroom. All fall within the rhythm of my work.
My job is to provide a soothing treatment in an environment that’s safe and comfortable for you. It’s what allows you to relax and feel better, which is the point of massage.
What comfort and safety mean varies for each person on the table. For some, it’s a heated table and blankets. For others, feeling cool enough allows tension to begin releasing its hold. Some relax with music, others with silence.
Your job as the massage client is to let me know what you need. My job is to provide it, and to tell you if I cannot.
Taking care of myself is part of my job, too, but it’s not part of yours. I dress in layers for working comfortably in whatever temperature you prefer. The broad range of music I offer is pleasing to me, as is working with just the fountain’s cascading water-on-rock sound. Working in silence, with no music and no fountain, works just as well for me.
I’ve discovered that sometimes a client requests an earlier appointment time than they really want because they’re concerned about my working too late. That is kind but unnecessary. I set my own hours; I offer only the appointment times that are agreeable to me.
Creating the conditions for your comfort and mine is what you’re paying me for. Requesting what you want lets me do my job. You can relax in the knowledge that I’ll be honest about whether I can fulfill your requests.
Your nervous system is the one in charge. I need to know of injuries or medical conditions to keep you safe. But no particular injury or condition tells us what I should provide because massage is not curative, but palliative. That is, bodywork provides relief without addressing causes.
The optimal pressure, techniques, pacing, and conditions of the room depend entirely on what your nervous system finds delicious in that moment. That’s how massage helps relieve the effects of stress. Massage can increase your comfort and resilience, whatever condition you find yourself in.