As described in earlier articles, massage is a form of communication. It is a state where client and therapist connect not only physically, but also on an emotional level. Each therapist has their own philosophies and values in their work, and their own unique approach to it.
To me massage is:
- a means to help people on all levels. Physically, emotionally and mentally. Massage isn’t just limited to fixing some muscular problem and ease a physical pain. It can also help people to get into contact with their deeper emotions, feel their true feelings and even become a spiritual journey for those open.
- a form of communication, deep and profound and can convey so many things. Touch can tell so much more than words since a touch really can’t lie. Either it’s gentle, nourishing and caring, or it’s not. The recipient of the touch will always be able to tell what sort of person gives the touch and their intentions.
- giving part of ourselves to help another. When giving a massage it’s almost impossible to distance yourself and disconnect from the person getting the massage. When I massage people, I connect closely and give of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I in the moment just want to give all I can to make the recipient feel better and help heal the hurts.
- expressing unconditional love. Those are grand words, but to me giving a massage without giving love is like eating old mouldy bread for breakfast. It might sustain my body at a level, but is far from satisfying and who knows how the mould might harm me. When I massage a person I care about the person, I’m concerned and have a strong desire to heal. Giving love while I massage to be brings the best results and the happiest clients. Though granted, I don’t think I’d be able to give a massage without the care, compassion and love.
As a massage therapist, I also feel I hold responsibilities towards my clients. They do literally place themselves in my hands, trusting that I know what I do and won’t harm them or exploit them at any level.
To me my responsibilities are:
- to give the best possible we can. To help and aid. I owe my clients that I give them the best I can, that they get my full attention and the full range of my skills to address their specific needs. I feel obliged to provide the best service and quality that’s possible. Anything less and I feel I’m showing disrespect.
- to keep our personal lives and problems out of the treatment room. We are there for the clients and not the other way around. This goes without saying. I’m here for the client, they have requested a service and I provide it. If I need care and treatment, then I go ask someone for it. The clients coming to me have asked for my care and I by accepting them, have accepted to give it.
- to advise and guide a client to the best treatment, even when it goes against our own interests and advantages. In practicality this means to refer or refuse a client as appropriate. Another point that goes without saying. It’s my responsibility that a client gets the best treatment possible, even if it means referring her to someone more skilled than myself.
- to set limits where appropriate and never cross either our own nor the client’s limits. This goes for all aspects in life really. Respect the limits of others and know and enforce our own.
- to keep everything confidential and never break the trust they give us. Actually, this should also go for all aspects of life, but even more so for clients. What happens or is said in the therapy room stays there, unless the client expressively has permitted otherwise.
- to never take advantage of a client in any manner. This is common sense again, but especially relevant since the client is rather vulnerable when lying on the table and they let go in trust that I’ll treat them properly and not exploit them.
- to never discriminate a client for any reason, we do not judge, we treat and massage. It is not my place to decide what is right or wrong when it comes to other people’s beliefs. All people are equal and should be treated equally, without exception. It’s a basic human right and one to follow.
The above are my takes on massage and my values, morals and philosophy behind it. Some of the points are also what various organisations require their members to follow in order to provide the best treatments and therapies. Some points are my own and things I feel are very important as well. This is far from a conclusive list, as being a massage therapist is a journey of personal growth and experiences.
I hope it’s been useful to you. Feel free to discuss the matter with me and contact me for further elaboration. If you’re a therapist, you’re most welcome to share your own thoughts and values on the matter. I’d love to hear other people’s view.