Massage therapy is a funny profession in that it covers such broad and different practices under one title. There are many different types of practices, some of which I might question the validity of. The topic of my blog post today is to discuss the concept of getting a massage and what that means and doesn't mean in my practice.Honestly, one of my most disliked turns of phrase is "full body massage." I find it frustratingly vague and unhelpful. People sometimes, albeit rarely, request of me to give them a full body massage. My first issue is that of ambiguity. What counts as part of one's full body which I am to massage? Unavoidably some things get left out. Some body parts must simply get left out for the sake of time. Or worse, everything is "worked" on so briefly that I am essentially putting oil onto a body part before moving to the next. Asking for a full body massage, a back massage, foot massage, neck massage, etc, misunderstands my role as a professional.

I think most successfully, people present me with a problem and together we agree on a way of approaching that problem. Their problem may be a specific issue, such as recurring head aches, which leads us to do work on muscles of the neck and upper back. Or their problem may be of lower back discomfort which may lead to working on the lower back, glutes, hip flexors, or elsewhere depending on what they are presenting with. Or they may be under stress and wanting to relax, in which case we may work on any number of things depending on the content of our discussion before we work. In the most successful cases, I work with my clients to determine what our treatment should consist in.

In working with my clients to determine the treatment and not having either me or them dictate the course of our work, I think we succeed in taking advantage of both our strengths. I have expertise, experience and knowledge which I think profoundly advances my client's goals. And my client's have insight, experience and knowledge of their body that I don't have access to. The combination of my client's story with my insights produces really expressive results.

When clients arrive in my office with small ideas of what my profession and, in particular, what me as a professional can accomplish then we end up with small results. I think meaningful long lasting results come about from working together with my clients to recognize through mutual understanding what we really ought to do to both achieve their goals and meet my standards of practice.