Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2017

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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 . 75 The Best Medicine I've always been fond of the old Irish proverb that says, "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." And I joke with my massage clients that if that long sleep takes place on a massage table, then that's even better! I'm the artist behind the massage therapy-themed comic "A Touch of Humor," so it probably comes as no surprise that I'm a vocal advocate of incorporating humor into one's massage practice. I believe that one of the most important anatomy lessons is familiarizing ourselves with the funny bone. But while it may seem intuitive that humor can be an effective tool for enriching our practice, it can be difficult to understand exactly how to introduce humor into a therapeutic environment without offending, patronizing, or insulting clients and coworkers. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about to how to implement humor appropriately in a health- care setting (and some of us are more comfortable with employing humor than others). But considering some general guidelines can be helpful. INHERENT OPTIMISM The use of humor, or being known as a person who exhibits good humor, is inextricably intertwined with optimism. And it certainly seems reasonable to assume that the presence of optimism in a health-care setting has the potential to contribute to a positive and beneficial therapeutic outcome. Craig E. Matthews, LMT, a massage therapy instructor in Austin, Texas, agrees that humor and optimism go hand-in-hand, and shares that they contribute to success in both his personal and professional life. "Noticing humor contributes considerably to an optimistic outlook, and I choose to be an optimist because it is so much more enjoyable than pessimism. I don't like being unhappy all the time; there are enough tribulations already in our lives," he says. "Besides, others don't like being around unhappy people and nobody wants to be massaged by a grump." But if we can use humor, does that necessarily mean that we should? And if so, why? In a Southern Medical Journal article, Howard J. Bennett, MD, advises that, "Some patients do not appreciate humor, and it can be counterproductive to use it in their presence." 1 The piece goes on to caution By Susan B. Epperly Laughter:

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