Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 117

A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 35 3. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling. Essentially, put yourself in their shoes. This is the cornerstone of empathy, and it will go a long way in helping a client feel heard and connected with. The information you gather through active listening will help you plan the session, as well as negotiate the time you spend on each part of the body. If your client complains of neck pain, you might suggest 15 minutes of the hour be spent there. It's essential to tell a client what your plan is so they can tell you if they prefer a different plan. They might prefer you spend the entire session on their upper body only. As previously mentioned, when I conducted the consumer interviews and asked about their not-so-positive massage experiences, many individuals reported that they didn't feel the massage therapist listened to them. One consumer summed it up by saying, "She just did what she did." In other words, the session was a routine rather than a response. Stagnant routines do not create connection. Request Feedback Even though requesting feedback is taught as an entry-level skill, some therapists don't practice it. Excellent therapists check in both during and after the session to ensure clients feel comfortable and safe, and needs are addressed. You aren't required to constantly engage your client in feedback during a session (they probably also want to quietly relax). You do, however, create a greater sense of connection when you are applying the right amount of depth and spending the right amount of time based on your client's response. One of my favorite questions occurs directly after working on an area of concern. "Does this area feel complete, or would you like for me to spend more time here?" This is one simple example of how to truly customize a session. Follow Up Lastly, make a follow-up call. Even if you only leave a message, a brief call asking how your client feels the next day will show you care. Another idea is to send an email a week or two after the session that links to an article offering education specific to their challenge. You can find many article ideas for clients at WHY CONNECT? People like to talk about what matters to them. Even folks who are quiet and shy still want to tell their story to an From the first moment with a new client, to the massage session and beyond, creating and maintaining connection is simple when a few basic communication skills are applied. authentically curious and caring person, especially when pain and stress is the problem. If they believe you are willing and able to offer support, they will likely feel safety and comfort, and be more receptive to your hands-on work. Our work as massage therapists is as much about relationship building as it is about applying the appropriate techniques. I received wise words from a teacher many years ago that stuck with me. He said, "Treat each client as if what they are saying to you is the most important thing you will hear all day." It goes a long way. Your clients will keep coming back, and you will find that you are more effective when you've been present enough to hear them. Then, the common goal can be reached. Notes 1. Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary, accessed September 2017, www. 2. Dianne Schilling, "10 Steps to Effective Listening," Forbes, November 9, 2012, accessed September 2017, steps-to-effective-listening/#d15a1cb38918. Since 2000, Cindy Williams, LMT, has been actively involved in the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. She maintains a private practice as a massage and yoga instructor. Contact her at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2017