Integrating The Four Agreements into my Massage Practice: Part 1

This is the first of a four part series on how integrating principles from the book The Four Agreements helped my massage practice. Read parts 2, 3, and 4 for further insights.

My mom’s caretaker is surrounded by bubbles. Not real ones of course, but a lovely light effervescence that seems to envelope and exude from her. It is remarkable that she remains aloft while surrounded by people under duress and their emotionally overtaxed families.

One day as we were bonding over a cup of coffee, she confessed that it is her spiritual practice which provides the foundation for her tranquility. Reading  The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz changed her perspective on care taking.  This conversation inspired me to revisit some of the gems of wisdom I learned from this book back in the 1990’s.

Read this series to learn about The Four Agreements and how I integrated it into my massage practice to help me be a better practitioner.

Number one of the four agreements: Applied to my massage practice

#1 “Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

How it helped me be a better massage therapist:

“Being impeccable with your word” seems obvious at face value.  Making appointments, keeping them and being on time are the first things that come to mind.  But there are two other, less obvious, applications that transformed my massage practice.

Complete the session as agreed.

I have gotten massages from practitioners who take their hands off my body the second the timer goes off, thus skipping major body parts. It is a disruptive way to do business, and the client’s disappointment will taint the entire experience. I believe that it is the responsibility of a bodyworker to complete what the client signed up for. So, to be impeccable with my word, I pace myself and do what I’ve promised the client.

On the rare occasion that there are too many body issues for me to complete everything on time, I discuss and prioritize with my client. This conversation must happen long before the session is over, or else it is unfair to the person on the table. The dialogue  affords the client the opportunity to modify their expectations or to add on some time.

Don’t gossip.

Being impeccable with my word means that what a client reveals to me stays private.  I am honored when they send friends and loved ones to me, but sometimes group familiarity encourages people to ask about each other. It’s not always easy, but keeping these conversations confidential is non-negotiable in my practice.  What a client tells me stays private and is never to be revealed between husbands, wives, friends nor lovers.

Watch the video below as I silently relieve my client’s shoulder tension.