Ok, so now that I’ve clarified that I no longer provide general deep tissue massages using cream and my forearms, you’re probably wondering what I do.
Massage therapy is a growing field with a long history. It’s bursting with hundreds of different modalities (i.e., types of therapies with their own techniques and philosophies) and within those modalities there are different schools of thought depending on who is teaching the material. It can be overwhelming to navigate as a massage therapist and as the client, it can be confusing.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter the label of the therapy. What’s most important is that you find a practitioner that you feel comfortable with and that does work that you love. This is absolutely possible to find, but it takes some trial and error work as well as a little research to know what you’re looking for.
To see if I might be a good fit for you, I will describe my ideal client in this post. As part of that, I will do my best to articulate what I actually do in sessions.
My ideal client understands that I use a core set of tools or primary modalities I’ve been trained in, but I also mix in other techniques I’ve learned in the past. Basically, if you are open minded and are open to change, we will get along just fine. I dislike monotony and I’m constantly evolving my practice. I’m not a good match if you like to receive the same, exact massage every time you have a session.
Every client is unique, but my process of assessment has a typical way of unfolding. A client usually comes to see me because they are in pain or have a specific discomfort that has been bothering them. I ask clients to describe the pain in detail, point to where is it, and I like to know if movement makes it feel better or worse. Everything you say and how you speak about your pain are helpful insights that weigh into my clinical decisions.
Most times I begin with a standing visual and palpatory assessment where I look at your body noting any asymmetries or holding patterns and I also palpate (i.e., touch) bony landmarks to further assess and observe your body that day. Some times I skip this part and get you right on the table. It all depends on the sense I get from talking to you at the beginning of the session.
I love using Precision Neuromuscular Therapy assessment tools and treatments because it gives my work a solid foundation and framework. This allows me the freedom to use my artistry (aka intuition) in a meaningful way. It’s been a challenge for me to find the balance of sharing just enough information about what I’m doing and knowing when I’ve said too much. Because sometimes, knowing less is best. Clients often overthink their pain and become very attached to it.
Ultimately, I would like you to be a very active participant in this process of healing. I need your feedback during sessions. I need you to observe your body after sessions. My work is most useful when a client is 100% committed to good self-care, which isn’t about being perfect, but it’s about knowing yourself and taking the time to figure that out.
I chose the marketing label of “clinical massage” to weed out the clients looking for general relaxation and zero participation in their healing. I want you to know that my intentions are to help you and support you in your wellness journey. Wellness isn’t about “getting rid of” your pain. I understand that you just want it gone immediately and never to be felt again, but the body doesn’t necessarily work that way.
My plans of incorporating more and more John F. Barnes Myofascial Release (JFB-MFR) are part of a greater vision for my practice that I once did not have a pathway of bringing to fruition. I’ve always been drawn to helping people come to terms with past emotional trauma (big and small). Since my days of art therapy grad school, I’ve felt that talking wasn’t going to be the key. There had to be something relating to the body.
Initially, the techniques I use in sessions are intended to make structural changes in your body. We are looking to create balance in muscle tissue, fascia, and joints. I believe in using techniques that do not cause harm or purposefully incite sensation. We want to calm the nervous system. We are finding hypersensitive areas in the body that when touched don’t need a lot of pressure to be discovered.
As we’re sorting through the structural work and assessing, treating, and then reassessing, emotional and mental stuff comes up. Self-limiting beliefs about our healing, our role in feeling better, and the process of letting go of past physical and mental hurts pop up. There comes a moment when clients accept things as they are and from there, they start the process of healing their whole body.
You only have one body and it feels physically for sure, but don’t forget that it is the vehicle for experiencing your emotions and thoughts. JFB-MFR understands this completely. I love how it gets to the heart of your pain and does it in the most natural, self-correcting way. You possess an innate wisdom for self-healing. I am here to guide you on that path.