Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2009

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reader forum WHAT YOU ARE SAYING nurturing body, mind & spirit march/april 2009 Honoring the Body PRESERVE WONDER IN YOUR WORK OBESE CLIENTS MEET THEIR NEEDS Practitioner and Parent TAX-TIME TIPS Balance Your Roles as Volunteers Share Hearts, Hands Cover1_D_MNB_MA_09.indd 1 1/30/09 1:39:31 PM Honoring Our Clients I just switched my eight-year membership with AMTA to ABMP this month. I read the article "Working with Obese Clients" [by Liz Prato, March/April 2009, page 40]. This article was written with compassion and professionalism. I liked the information given for client care and also for the overweight/obese therapist. (Like many others, I fall into this category of "obese." Yes, I fi nd the term offensive, albeit clinical.) About three years ago, there was an article written on obesity in another professional massage journal that was quite judgmental and offensive. I had the opportunity to meet the editor. I told her that I cancelled my subscription immediately. Any professional publication that cannot embrace our differences, whether they be weight issues, emotional issues, race issues, etc., does not deserve my hard-earned money and support. I am thrilled to see ABMP address this sensitive issue. Yes, I have made the correct decision in lining up with a more open-minded team. LUCY GONZALES-ROMERO AUGUSTA, GEORGIA I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful article "Working With Obese Clients." The author, Liz Prato, is all too right to say that obese clients know that they are obese and that we should not bring it up unless absolutely necessary. I had a profound experience in this regard early in my career after working with an obese client. She had a lot of body issues and had only had a few massages prior to coming to see me. It was her fi rst hot stone massage and she was nervous. I told her that she was in charge of the session, that she only needed to get undressed as far as she was comfortable, and that if the stones were ever too warm to simply let me know and I would take care to cool them down more before using them on her body. (The same thing I tell all my clients.) The massage was uneventful—no major emotional releases, just tight tissue letting go under the weight and heat of the stones. Whenever I checked in she said that both the temperature and pressure were fi ne. She took a while getting dressed afterward and I assumed it was because she was in "la la land" after the massage. I was wrong. She emerged from the room with tears running down her face. I was mortifi ed. What had I done or not done and why didn't she tell me during my check-ins? I gently asked her what was wrong and she said, "Nothing." I asked why she was crying and she said, "Because that was the fi rst time in my life that I didn't feel fat. Thank you." Well that brought tears to my eyes. I was simply following the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. I had not realized what a powerful effect that little rule can have on someone else until that wonderful client entered my life. Thank you again for such a wonderful article. MICHELLE DOETSCH GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN Working with Obese Clients Taking Size in Stride By Liz PraTo G 14 massage & bodywork may/june 2009 eorge was candid about his weight and concerned that I was up to the task. "I should let you know," George said when he called to set his first appointment, "I'm a big guy." "Oh, that's not a problem," I said. "I've worked with plenty of big people." It's true. I had a weekly client who was under 5 feet tall and weighed more than 300 pounds. In massage school, I practiced on a friend who was also around 300 pounds. But when George walked into my office, I was surprised to find a man who was 6'4" and well over 400 pounds. 40 massage & bodywork march/april 2009 visit to access your digital magazine 41 Massage & Bodywork March/april 2009 honoring the Body

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