Massage Therapy and Trust.
It all boils down to trust. My client tonight came it with acute neck pain. The kind that required two muscle relaxers followed by a shot of whiskey just to allow her to sleep. Emergency appointment.
She was trusting me based on the results of 11 years of deep tissue massage. This time was different. The pain was acute, and so sensitive to the touch. Feather light pressure felt like a hammer to her. The pain was centered in a congested clump of tissue in the center of her neck. It felt more like salt water taffy than normal muscle tissue. Standard deep tissue is “off the table”. Any strong pressure I planned to apply would be met with resistance. Even if she was able to tolerate it, the risk of escalating pain for her later was too risky.
For 25 minutes, I just held her head.
It occurs to me during those 25 minutes:
This is what is beautiful about a long term relationship with a massage client. If I had simply held the head of a first time client seeking deep tissue work from me without some in depth explanation, they would be thinking “What is this chick doing?”. It probably wouldn’t be very easy for them to relax and pain relief would be delayed. Instead the trust built from many years of allowed both of us to sink into the session from a more intuitive and trusting space.
It required almost a half hour of the most gentle of work for her body to be receptive to the kind of therapy that she was used to. The extended head holding allowed the neck, scalp and face to soften without application of intense pressure, and only when that happened were we were able to commence with more standard massage techniques.
The lesson, insight and joy that I got from that experience is this:
A long term relationship between Massage Therapist and client builds a trust that allows magic to happen when someone needs it the most.
What do you think? Have you had a similar experience?