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have a much harder time admitting that!) This not-knowing seems like a disadvantage, but in fact it is a source of strength. Because in our not-knowing lies the capacity to empower the client toward their own self-discovery. When we know less, we deepen our partnership with the client, and enable the client to learn more. When we tell the client we don't know what is happening, we create a dialogue. When we tell them we know what is wrong with them, we are telling them they don't know what's happening inside their body. We're telling them they need to rely on an outside expert—that they can't be an expert of themselves. (And also important: We are telling them something is wrong with them. That's a problem in and of itself—more on that to come.) Instead, when we involve them in the process, we are telling them they are a part of their own healing. Furthermore, I don't want to tell my clients there is something wrong with them, because on some deeper level, I don't believe that. The trouble with the realm of diagnosis is that it is geared toward uncovering disease. No one gets a diagnosis of being a mostly content person who is making their way in a diffi cult world and mostly doing OK. Instead, we get diagnoses of cancer and gout and arthritis and diabetes. Therefore, it is especially important we engage with all medical conditions as necessary, but we also keep our focus on the larger picture. We don't want to perpetuate the all-too-frequent feeling our clients can have that they are broken or that something is fundamentally wrong. Instead, we want to further a deeper truth: Life is hard; the body hurts sometimes; there is always something we can do to feel a bit better. Helping Clients Feel The advantage of massage is we can't tell the client exactly what is happening in their body. We can't—or rather, we shouldn't—declaim and declare. We can only give the client our impressions, our sense of what is happening in their body at this very moment. (And if we are doing our job right, when we do tell the client these things, we are making clear what we are telling them is just our opinion. It is not The Truth, and it is not The Only Answer.) The result? We give the client our own limited understanding, as a way of encouraging them to further develop their own much greater understanding. We help the client become a part of the process of inhabiting their body. Or to put it a bit differently: We can help the client feel something, rather than to know something. And then once they feel it, hopefully they have a better chance of incorporating it into their life. Because when we feel something, rather than just being told something, we have far more capacity to make it our own, to integrate it into our lives. And that's one of the many reasons why we as massage therapists are valuable—there is little we can tell the client, but much we can help them feel. Notes 1. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, "Massage Therapy State Licensing Requirements," accessed November 2021, www.abmp. com/practitioners/state-requirements; National Certifi cation Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, "Standards of Practice," accessed November 2021, www. 2. Diana Thompson, "The Case for Case Reports: Writing and Sharing Your Research," Massage & Bodywork 26, no. 1 (January/February 2011): 114, www.massageandbodyworkdigital. com/i/77424-january-february-2011/116. David M. Lobenstine, LMT, BCTMB, has been massaging, teaching, writing, and editing for over 15 years in New York City, with a focus on clients at all stages of childbearing. He is an authorized instructor of the Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy workshops, and also designs and teaches his own continuing education workshops, both across the US and online at Body Brain Breath. For more information about the author, visit L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 55 We as a profession do too much defi ning and declaring, and not enough exploring and allowing. VIDEO: "LEAVE DIAGNOSING TO THE DOCTORS" 1. Open your camera 2. Scan the code 3. Tap on notification 4. Watch! SUSAN WILKINSON/UNSPL ASH

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