I was reminded today, of how far I’ve come in my openness to treating the body, as my intern, Jordan, helped with a massage where we used “unwinding” of the neck. This slow, gentle technique is amazing…and took years to learn for my ADD type personality.
During massage school and for the first 500-1000 massages, I didn’t believe certain modalities (types of massage) really worked or mattered to learn. A few of the modalities I’m referring to are: Polarity, Reflexology, Cranio Sacral Therapy, etc. Anything I considered “non-sports massage” or “non-deep tissue” were dead to me. I would sleep during these classes. Phew on you, “non-massage” techniques!”
These modalities are often referred to as “Energy Work”.
I was a muscle person; I only wanted to learn about the muscles and how to help or manipulate muscle tissue with a firm grip. “Energy Work” was boring, useless and Woo-Woo. Massage Therapy has a stigma of having irresponsible, “Woo-woo” type people involved, and I was trying to fly very straight and narrow.
The clients I attracted and attract today are of similar thinking, and we understand each other when we discuss pain and problems in the body.
But, interesting “coincidence” started happening in my first year as a Massage Therapist: Deep Tissue work and Sports Massage were not helping all the issues coming into my office.
It turned out that muscles were sometimes responding to a lighter touch, a slight stretch or just being still. I was shocked with the results that came from presenting something “Calm” to tight muscles. Soon, I realized how naive I had been in school and arrogant to assume so much about the amazing machine our bodies are.
I went back to my school and sat in every “Energy Work” class I could fit into my schedule and received treatments from many therapists across Albuquerque, Santa Fe and San Diego (where my family lives)
Through the years, I have incorporated many “Energy Work” techniques into all of my Sports Massage or Deep Tissue work. The conversations with my clients changed to be more open to stillness, less pressure, slow movements and deep breathing. It turned out that some of my most type “A” clients, top athletes, real “go-getters” benefited the most from adding these techniques into their treatments…and they were also the most resistant. I walked them through the uncomfortable feeling of “stillness”, even when they were about to blow up at me. Each time, it turned out great, and we learned to communicate better…calmly.
I still feel like a kindergarten-er, learning new ways to help each different body feel better, run faster, punch harder, recover quicker. But mostly, I realize the importance of Calm…