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Second, confirm that you addressed the area to the degree they were hoping for. Using the example of the client with neck pain, after working the neck region you can ask: • "Did I spend enough time here or would you like for me to work a bit longer?" • "Is there a specifi c part of, or point on, your neck that you want more attention or depth to?" • "I'm going to move on, but I will return to this area briefl y before the end of the session to be sure we gave it enough attention." Third, if spending extra time in their area of concern means you have to skim over something else, ask, "I know you asked for work on all areas of your body, so if I spend more time on your neck, are you OK with me spending only a minute or two on each leg?" Not only will this ensure your client feels heard and their needs addressed, but it puts them in the driver's seat of their experience rather than at the whim of the therapist. Post-Session After the session is over and the client is dressed, ask if their neck feels different, if they feel less pain, if the tissues are softer, if they feel a change in range of motion, etc. Then, note it in your session documentation. At the start of the next session, you can say, "I recall this technique produced positive results last time. Would you like to try it again and see if we get another positive outcome?" This is especially important when a client comments during or after the session on techniques they loved. If a client says, "That feels/felt so good," don't forget to do it again. The same goes for areas of the client's body they don't want worked on or techniques they don't like. Between Sessions Based on the areas of client concern, send educational pieces that will support them between sessions. Send them an article, blog post, or video link that provides more information and supportive measures to take to manage and heal their focal points. Also, prepare yourself for the next session by researching root causes and alternate approaches to their concerns. Again, it will show you listened, you care, you recall, and you want to support them. Subsequent Sessions Always ask the client about their progress since the last session and if they want the same/similar focus. I can't count how many times I've had to remind the therapist of what we worked on previously. Session documentation isn't just about covering yourself in the event of a liability claim or sharing your findings and actions when working with a team of health-care professionals. It's also about really knowing your client and showing them you've taken the time to remember their needs so they don't have to repeat themselves over and over. HEAR THE WHOLE PERSON If you are truly listening, you will hear that your client is reporting more than just a physical ailment. When a client reports tension and/or pain, it's likely their life is affected by it, possibly causing frustration, anxiety, sadness, and/ or thoughts of limitation, doubt, dread, or hopelessness. This isn't always the case, of course. But the more you observe and ref lect, the more accurately you will read their overall state of being and respond to them in ways that make them feel significant. Sometimes, this engagement is more powerful than your hands-on techniques. Healing requires connection, and you are in a unique position to offer it by making your client feel like what they have to say is the most important part of your day. Since 2000, Cindy Williams, LMT, has been actively involved in the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. In addition to maintaining a part-time massage and bodywork practice and teaching yoga, she is a freelance content writer and educational consultant. Contact her at VIDEO: "ENSURE YOUR CLIENT FEELS HEARD" 1. Open your camera 2. Scan the code 3. Tap on notification 4. Watch! 90 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 3 BACK TO BASICS

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