Massage & Bodywork


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not feeling very motivated today and that's why I didn't give you a good massage"), sulking, feeling angry, or withdrawing into silence, it's a safe bet you are shielding yourself with defensiveness. Let the defensiveness go, because it doesn't support your improvement. Instead, with the help of your partner, make a list of three things to focus on during the next massage. 2. Take a Time-Out Sometimes even good constructive feedback causes feelings of sadness, humiliation, or a loss of self-esteem. Separate the feedback from yourself. This is information about a particular skill—a skill you can learn and will learn to do better in the future—not about your ability to succeed, inherent traits, personality, or values. 3. Ask For More When you get feedback from someone who knows how to articulate an experience and provide suggestions for improvements, it can be thrilling. Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn. Instead, ask for more! Get into the nitty-gritty of a technique. Try it multiple ways while the feedback giver responds, "Yes," "Almost," "No, not quite," "Try this," or "Perfect!" 4. Implement the Feedback Feedback on the depth, speed, positioning, and flow of strokes may be easy to adjust during the massage while you receive the input, but will you remember it for the next massage? When you get feedback, you want to have a plan in place so you can capture it and review it later. It works well to write down three things that really worked and three things you want to change on an index card. Ask your partner to help you prioritize your goals for improvement and list specific suggestions for the next massage. On one side of the card, write what you did well. On the other side of the card write what you want to improve. Create one card from each practice session and review your cards directly before you give a massage. As you master skills, place a big check mark on the card to celebrate your improvements! Share these guidelines with your exchange partner so you're both working from the same safe, informed space, and practice, practice, practice. Anne Williams is the director of education for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals and author of Massage Mastery: from Student to Professional (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012) and Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014). She can be reached at CL ASSROOM TO CLIENT C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 41 When you get feedback from someone who knows how to articulate an experience and provide suggestions for improvements, it can be thrilling. 9. Welcome Feedback After you give your partner feedback on his massage, allow him some time to absorb it and write it down. Then, ask for feedback on the usefulness of the suggestions you gave him. Through this type of back-and- forth communication, you can build trust in each other and improve your skills. GUIDELINES FOR RECEIVING CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK Receiving feedback can be even more unnerving than giving it. When you know how to evaluate, interpret, and learn from feedback, the process becomes easy and welcomed. These guidelines can help: 1. Avoid Defensiveness It can be difficult to accept good constructive feedback without defensiveness. If you find yourself justifying your position (e.g., telling your partner, "Your skin is really dry and it's hard to massage, even with lubricant"), making excuses (e.g., "I'm

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