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How To Be With Your Massage Therapist

The relationship between massage therapist and recipient is a special one. Giving a good massage requires careful listening and constant attention to a client's reactions, however subtle they may be. Receiving a good massage is just as active - it requires exposing your body to and communicating honestly with someone who may be a virtual stranger. I feel honored every time a new client trusts me with her care, especially if that someone is new to massage. Here are a few thoughts about how to act or Be in order to receive the best possible massage.

One of the things I find myself saying over and over is, "Relax your...." If your therapist is gently shaking your arm or your leg, pay attention to that area – are you holding it stiff? If your therapist is moving your arm or leg around, pay attention to that area – are you trying to help move it somewhere? Are you holding your fingers straight for the therapist’s convenience? We are trained to work with a limp body and can separate your fingers myself! If your muscles are actively engaged, they cannot also be relaxed.

Try this right now: hold one hand flat, fingers spread apart from one another like you are showing a child how to count to five. Using your other thumb, try to massage your palm. Now, allow the fingers to go limp, even if they curl up. Now try massaging. Notice the difference?

Most times, clients are unconscious that they are doing any of this. I invite you to notice how each part of your body feels as your therapist works on it and to relax your muscles if you are holding them tight. Your body will thank you!

Please see my article, "How to Talk to Your Massage Therapist," for my thoughts on effective communication for great massage.