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The client, The massage, Therapist and client

Client, speak up and be empowered

There is a very common misconception among people that the massage therapist always knows how deep to massage and what is best. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only the client can fully know if a massage is too painful, a stone too hot or a stretch too intense.

This is why it is very important that you as a client speak up. You have a responsibility to inform your therapist of anything which bothers you. If you feel a massage goes too deep and the pain becomes too much, inform the therapist and ask her to ease off. If during a stone massage a stone burns you or feels too hot, inform the therapist immediately so they can adjust the temperature and avoid burning you. If the work is too superficial and not deep enough, do tell.

There have unfortunately been incidents where poorly educated or inattentive stone therapists have burnt their clients. Laying them on too hot stones without any protective layer in between, massaging with stones which burn, or using stones chilled in the deep freezer.

It is my responsibility as a therapist to remind you about your control over the session. Before the massage begins, it is my duty to discover what type of massage you want. While you fill the intake form, we discuss the session ahead and what your intention with the massage is. If you enjoy deep work or would rather have a gentle massage and if we should focus on the physical or energetic work, or a combination thereof.

During the massage I ask you if the temperature of the stones is all right, how you liked the cold stone, and how specific techniques feel for you. This is in particular important during your first massage where I do not yet know you. As I get to know you better, I also know your responses and how you like your massages.

I can read a lot from how your body reacts to various techniques. Generally if I go too deep some muscles will tighten, either where I’m working or elsewhere. If a stone is too hot, you might shift or react. If a stone isn’t cold enough, you very likely will show discomfort.

But I am not in your skin. I can only estimate how a given technique or temperature affects you, and that is why it is very important that you speak up the moment something doesn’t feel good.

You are in charge of the session. You decide if something is too much or too little. The therapist might explain why a technique is done in that way, and you can then evaluate if that is acceptable. But in the end, you decide. You are in power.

So please speak up, you are empowered.

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


5 Responses to “Client, speak up and be empowered”

  1. I second that.

    If you go to the restaurant, and the soup is too cold… If you don't speak up, you'll leave unsatisfied and the restaurant will lose a customer.

    This is even more important with body therapy; Coming up with the right mix of pressure or temperature during a massage is way harder than coming up with a bowl of soup at an OK temperature. Everyone responds differently to pressure and temperature.

    If something does not feel right and you don't speak up, the therapist will keep on doing it, you'll end the session feeling unsatisfied and probably not come back. Both you and the therapist lose in such a scenario.

    Give some feedback to the therapist! Give him/her a chance to adapt to your needs and provide you with a massage that fills your need.

    Posted by MasterBaker | Wednesday 9 March, 2011, 17:13
  2. I had a massage therapist tell me that she would not be offended if I spoke up to say “xyz” and I found that helpful since I often debate (internally) about what is tactful and what is not.

    There was one point in the massage when the pressure was too deep and I might have tried to endure the deep pressure but, because of what she said and maybe the way she said it, I immediately spoke up.

    Posted by 'Drea | Thursday 10 March, 2011, 05:17
  3. Dear MasterBaker and 'Drea,

    Thank you so much for your comments. By you sharing your thoughts and experiences, you help educate the “general public” about the importance of speaking up.

    Keep on telling others about it 🙂


    Posted by Pia | Thursday 10 March, 2011, 07:53
  4. I always ask the client before and during the massage to speak up and let me know if anything is uncomfortable or not right with what I am doing. Massage is an intuitive profession but the therapist also needs to be guided by the client so that they get the maximum benefit during their treatment.

    Posted by Lynda | Monday 21 March, 2011, 23:19
  5. Dear Lynda,

    Thank you for your feedback. Unfortunately not everybody remember to remind the clients to speak up.


    Posted by Pia | Tuesday 22 March, 2011, 07:16