Holistic body massage has many benefits for our overall wellbeing including offering a safe sense of touch to help clients enjoy relaxation of mind and body.
The thought and sense of being touched through massage is one of the main reasons or excuses individuals claim they don’t like having massage. Being touched can feel invasive to personal space, feel ticklish or generally irritating. Here I’m sharing my first experience of having a massage ten years ago and how it influenced my training and experiences I create as a holistic massage therapist.
As a client
I had my first massage at 30 years old. A friend bought me a voucher for my 30th birthday for a local hotel spa when I was living in Cyprus. I knew I wanted to have a massage as I’d had back pain and earlier in the year had two weeks off work with lumbago (muscle spams and stiffness of the lower (lumbar) back. When I arrived I went to the dressing room. Aesthetically it looked lovely, inside I felt a wreck. Was I to leave my bra on or not?
I was asked to leave the dressing gown on the door and lay on the massage couch. The room smelt lovely and relaxing, and I was going to do my best to relax. It didn’t help when the therapist told me how tense my shoulders and upper back was, what she also didn’t know what how stressed I was with work and I didn’t like walking from the door to the couch in just my knickers.
I decided after the first massage experience to give it another go and if I still could’t relax then I would look for another way to help my back pain. Needless to say for the rest of the year I had regular 4 to 6 weekly massages.
As a massage therapist
Jumping forward to 2009 during my ITEC holistic massage training, we would practice on each other. We had a mixed class of 14, different sizes, shapes, skin and body hair. After my first day on practical I walked home thinking about what I had learned about the different pressures and touch and how did I want my clients to feel? I want my clients to have a massage that I want.
The initial consultation I have with clients helps me establish key information about their lifestyle, interests, diet, exercise and general wellbeing. This insight allows me to work with my clients much better as I understand what they want from the massage. Whether the primary need is physical due to posture, back pain, or exercise; or because they are busy mums or business owners and want some ‘me time.’ The massage can be adjusted to suit the best outcomes and support for clients individually.
Space is provided where clients can undress towel screened or on their own and be able to transfer onto the couch without feeling exposed in any way. Also clients have complete 1-1 time and this means appointments are scheduled to allow time for each client to arrive and leave their appointment without feeling rushed. If a client requires more time this can be arranged in advance.
From the moment the session starts hand contact is through the heavy grade towel for the therapist to ground and relax with deep breathing together with the client. The therapists hands then glide to the starting area of the massage. The client will then be able to unconsciously follow the therapists movements throughout the session, helping to feel more relaxed.
Whether it’s the first time having a massage or the first time with a new therapist, it can be daunting. Be assured the therapist’s priority is to make sure you are feeling safe and relaxed.
Sense of touch and pressure
Also keeping safe during the session is equally important. When we feel unsafe our sense of touch is irritated; we feel tense and our limbs twitch, our skin feels itchy or we feel ticklish. A firm flowing pressure without being painful, and providing constant touch throughout the session helps reassure clients of where the therapist is at all times.
Through regular massage sessions clients can experience improvements in their ability to relax, enjoy their personal space and feel greater self confidence.
Trust with your therapist is a very big part of enjoying regular touch therapy. All therapists are trained differently and will have different outcomes and reasons for being a massage therapist. If you didn’t enjoy a massage with one therapist then do find another or ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues.
To overcome any fear or anxiety of the sense of touch experienced during massage belifehappy Wellbeing offers introductory sessions for individuals to experience the treatment room, talk with Emma and experience what the massage oils feel like and smell like. There is a small fee of £15 for approximately 30 minutes taster session. During the 30 minute session you can choose to have either both your hands, or arms or legs massaged. Contact Emma directly to book or browse the fee menu here.
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