Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2012

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best practices BUSINESS SIDE | Q & ART | TABLE LESSONS | SAVVY SELF-CARE Evolution in Practice Communication Key to Bringing New Skills to the Table By Art Riggs Q A DEAR ART, My clients love my established relaxation- based practice, but I want to move to more therapeutic and structural integration work that I've learned with recent continuing education. Do you have some suggestions on how to smoothly transition to more "fix-it" work? —STUCK IN MY SUCCESS DEAR STUCK, Segueing to any new direction in your work can indeed be daunting when you are already successful, with a happy base of clientele who have grown to expect a certain kind of work from you. However, I feel that bodywork is an art rather than a routine. Artistic expression often evolves with experience, and any evolution in your work can be incremental. Regular clients need to be assured that they will continue to receive the caring and relaxing massage they are accustomed to, and that new skills are an added benefit rather than a totally different direction in your work. As in any relationship, there is a need for growth on both sides or the relationship can fall into stagnation. Just as you assume that your clients prefer the kind of massage they've grown accustomed to, they may be assuming that you only perform that kind of massage. Communication from both sides about what your clients expect and what you offer can help evolve your practice. Your office ambiance is also important to conveying the type of work you perform. We've come a long way from the days of lava lamps, colored drip candles, and sitar music, but a warm and comforting mood is still important. While we don't want to present an appearance of an inhospitable medical setting, a few anatomical charts, models, and medical/therapeutic books can suggest a broader expertise. My Celebrate ABMP's 25th anniversary and you may win a refund on your membership. 31

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