Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2019

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MIND OF AN MT Before the Work Providing a Loving, Compassionate, and Nurturing Environment By Herbert Gooden One familiar thought that drives me to show up 100 percent for my clients is: you can't give what you don't have. Massage therapy is an intuitive work, and I honor that and believe my ability to facilitate relaxation for a client starts with me before they arrive. Regardless of the reason a client allows me to serve them, the state of my body, mind, and spirit will be impactful during the session toward the desired positive outcome we seek. It's important for me to start my day in a spirit of gratitude and thank God for a new day. I also thank Him for being alive, for my family, and for all those who will enter my personal space. I perform this act before getting out of bed, before checking my cell phone, before any other morning activity, including drinking coffee or having breakfast. Once out of bed, I read some uplifting literature, pray, meditate, and contemplate realizing my purpose for today. The answer is always to serve. I constantly check in with myself throughout the day. I am mindful as I pay attention to how my body feels and how my mind approaches each situation I encounter. I set myself up for acceptance and am receptive to whatever occurs and enters my personal space. I use the following acronyms to be aware and open, knowing that no matter what happens in any situation, I am connected to the other human being in my space and I must honor that. A.W.A.R.E. A—Accept the event taking place (don't fight a stressful, challenging, or adverse situation) W—Watch the event from an observer position (don't take it personally) A—Act in an attentive and accepting manner R—Repeat the first three steps E—Expect the best; feel it start to work H.A.L.T. H—Am I hungry? A—Am I angry? L—Am I lonely? T—Am I tired? I must believe on a level deep inside me, outside of consciousness, that this client, this individual, is truly my sister or brother. I consider wherever I am to be sacred space and believe that those who enter it are in the presence of a loving, compassionate, and nurturing field. An old Biblical saying states, "Bitter and sweet waters do not flow from the same stream." I cannot suddenly feel I am connected to a client when I am about to provide a therapeutic massage. My feeling of connection is a way of life that I take into the massage room with me. One of my favorite mantras is: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease. My ease transfers ease to my clients. My touch is just a vehicle used to transmit to my clients that they are safe and loved. I truly believe that is why I am booked out at least two months. Techniques have their place, but love and compassion are good for all. Herbert Gooden is a clinical and neuromuscular massage therapist (CNMT). His focus is relieving pain caused by mental stress or repetitive muscle use. His practice is at the local Children's Hospital. He lives in Hoover, Alabama, where he and his wife, Tanya, are in the health-care field. Mind of an MT provides a space for your voice in the pages of Massage & Bodywork magazine. Have your own insights or inspiration to share? We'd like to hear from you. Email editor@abmp.com. Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 15

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