Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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best practices business side | Q & art | table lessons | savvy self-care the language of touch 9 Communication Skills to Improve Therapeutic Outcomes A By art Riggs dear eaGer, Q dear art, i continue to take continuing education classes and learn new techniques, but my work remains essentially the same. do you have any suggestions to help me find a new level of expertise? —eaGer to elevate I'm a great advocate of taking classes to expand our skills. And although learning specific, quantifiable techniques may give a temporary boost to our confidence, it may not necessarily transform our work at a deep level in the nonquantifiable aspects of touch. It can be like a golfer who continues to buy new clubs in hopes of transforming his game, instead of focusing on the basics of his swing. The most important breakthroughs in my bodywork have not come from learning new techniques, but from a constant internal quest to communicate my therapeutic goals through a conversation between my hands and the client. Let's analyze our touch by comparing it to speech: 1. Therapeutic Goals The goals of our session, be they relaxation and enjoyment, better function, alleviation of pain, etc., are the subject that we attempt to communicate to our clients. What do we want to happen in the body? We need to have a clear intention of the message we want to convey and a realistic plan for achieving our goals. Even when using new techniques, rote strokes or routines can seem as insincere as the scripted spiel of a used car salesman. 2. Strokes and Techniques This language of our touch is the basic and all-important vocabulary we use to convey our therapeutic goals. The skill is to choose the simplest, most effective, and most pleasing strokes and techniques to clearly get our point across. Just as every word in speech or poetry should have a precise purpose, every stroke should have the same. www.abmp.com. See what benefits await you. 31

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