Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2012

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CLASSROOM TO CLIENT techniques, and the client eventually relaxes deeply when Jay works on the posterior legs and back. The client is calmly drifting when Jay abruptly replaces the drape and says, "OK, time's up. I'll meet you in the reception area when you're dressed." He pulls out the bolster and leaves the room. The client gets up quickly from the massage table and gets dressed. The client has less muscle soreness, but feels irritated. OPENING AND CLOSING ROUTINES These case studies demonstrate that two important routines are the series of activities you perform to open the massage and the series of activities you perform to close the massage. These frame the entire massage experience because they are formal moments that recognize the importance of what is coming or what has happened. In many ways, a massage starts the minute a therapist enters the treatment room and approaches the client. Even if the client is in a prone position and cannot see the therapist, root hair receptors in the skin will recognize changes in air movement and heat. This may trigger instinctive survival responses that cause the client naturally to be tense during the initial contact. It is better to look at the client, offer a verbal greeting, and approach slowly with therapeutic intent. Have everything ready before the client enters the treatment room so your entrance can be calm and relaxed. You shouldn't have to fumble around looking for bolsters or massage lubricant. The closing of the massage is just as important and should leave a client feeling balanced, complete, and peaceful. You want the client to know the massage is ending before it actually ends and to start to return to normal waking consciousness without being jarred awake. Avoid abrupt closings that leave a client feeling rushed or disturbed. Therapists use a variety of techniques to formally open and close the massage, including aromatherapy, auditory cues, breathwork, and resting and holding strokes. Massage is an opportunity for the body to change in a positive way, to release long-held tension, to rest, to recover, and to have a healthy experience of touch. Therapists who plan ahead and carefully orchestrate these moments honor this experience for their clients. 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, 2006). She can be reached at anne@abmp.com. Visit the newly designed ABMP.com. Log in. Explore. Enjoy. 105

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