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TABLE LESSONS best practices If Touch is Communication By Douglas Nelson "You just seem to know where to press," my client Ms. Z. exclaimed, as she uttered a laugh. "That's amazing." "Thank you, but honestly it's not that amazing, just good communication," I explained. "What did I communicate?" she asked. "I didn't tell you where to put your finger, but you went right to the spot. How did you do that?" "Some of it was what you said, some of it was how you moved, and some of it was what I felt," I replied. "There are many forms of communication." "I never thought about massage as communication," she replied. "I kind of perceived it as a commodity; something you purchase. This seems very different, much more dynamic and tailored to me personally." "My hope is that each person feels that the session they receive is designed specifically to address their needs, rather than a routine or protocol." "Is that really possible?" she asked. "Aren't people's issues pretty similar?" "On the surface, but underneath is a world of variation. That's where the richness and real connection lies." "I'm still thinking about massage as communication and trying to process that. Help me understand how you think about it in that way." "If touch is actually a form of communication, then all the rules of communication apply. Think about what those rules actually are. What would you think?" "Well, the first rule would be to listen before speaking." "Absolutely—everyone enjoys a conversation with someone who listens well. It is also possible to be a good, or poor, listener through touch. May I show you? I will demonstrate two different approaches, and let's see if you can tell which one involved better listening skills." I picked an area of Ms. Z.'s back and massaged it, varying several strokes. Switching to a different area, I did similar strokes, but paid close attention to her tissue and responded appropriately. I made a conscious effort to keep the speed the same in both approaches. Yo u r M & B i s w o r t h 2 C E s ! G o t o w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e t o l e a r n m o r e . 37

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