Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 140

tell me … How do you deal with the embarrassing stuff? By Abram Herman ABMP Social Media Coordinator | ABMP Facebook Favorite I sat down on a stool to do some neck work on a client, and one of the legs completely snapped. I went down hard! As I sat there stunned, the client turned over underneath her sheet and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! Are you OK?" Without a pause, I replied, "Boy, do I sure feel fat right now!" She burst out laughing, and we just sat and laughed together for the remainder of the session. Briana Plumb, Washington Avoid or Acknowledge? There are many embarrassing situations that can occur during a bodywork session—draping disasters, passing gas, and more—and while it can be uncomfortable to talk about them, knowing how to deal with these issues professionally is essential. Unfortunately, the potential awkwardness of such discussions can often cause educators to rush through or, at worst, avoid these conversations. "I asked the flatulence question as a student," says Alice VanderHorst, of Michigan. "I was looked at with disdain, and the instructor actually said she'd never had that problem arise." Despite what the instructor may have said in Alice's class, everyone in our profession will probably have to face an awkward or uncomfortable situation at some point in their careers. Fortunately, the fact that these situations are so common means that there are good suggestions for appropriate responses to be gleaned from your colleagues. Some therapists, like Kelli Burke, of Illinois, opt for an up-front approach: "One of the items [on my sign-in sheet] reads, 'Bodily noises happen. Don't sweat it.'" Others choose to deal with embarrassment after it happens, using a professional and understanding approach. Charlyn Bauer, of Missouri, aims to put her clients at ease by acknowledging the situation and letting the client know that it's normal. "I always want clients to know we are professionals, and the situation will be handled appropriately," she says. If you know your client well and have a good working relationship, you could even choose to handle the situation with a little bit of humor (in an appropriate manner, of course). When Jeffrey Ruiter, of Hawaii, has particularly gaseous clients, he often tells them, "It's just your own personal aromatherapy."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - May/June 2013