Massage Tales, Modalities, Thoughts on the profession

Presence over Pressing

Yesterday I had one of the best days in my massage career in Louisville.

The day started with a visit to a hospice client*.  I spent a half hour moving slowly around her as she rested in bed, breathing deeply and slowly falling asleep.  Her skin was pale and papery thin.  I could see the round outline of her knee through her sheets.  This person, this frail body, needed nothing so much as my focused attention.  I softened my hands and laid them gently on her arms, shoulders, knees.  I held her hands in mine and gently moved her fingers.  I held her head while she breathed and relaxed her arms.  the thought came to me slowly, in the way that you might realize light has come into your bedroom in the morning.  The thought was:  how wonderful it feels to be exactly where I ought to be.

Later in the day, I worked with a few clients at my office, “healthy” clients who did not require the same kinds of adaptations as the morning client.  Even so, some part of the stillness from the morning stayed with me, as did the sense of peaceful presence.  With the people I had worked with before, I noticed a new layer of quiet reverence.  The stillness in me brings forth and honors the stillness in you.

As I am reflecting on this good day, I am remembering something a friend told me.  She came to visit for a weekend, and scheduled a massage with me during her visit.  We used to trade on a regular basis when I lived in Chicago, so she has received numerous massages from me.  After her massage, she hugged me and she said,”Your hands feel different.  It feels like your touch has come into its own here.  This place suits you.”

And she is right.  This place suits me.  Not just this physical place, but the place that holds the kind of work I did yesterday.  The place of calm ease and stillness.  The place where presence is so much more important than pressing.

*–any names and identifying details have been changed

Massage Tales, Modalities, Thoughts on the profession

Tired Hands

I arrived at my friend’s house after a full day of clients.  As I made the short drive from my office, I felt my hands grow more and more heavy on the steering wheel.  I felt the muscles in my forearms tingle with weakness and the tips of my fingers throbbed as if they were bruised.

  “Please,” I said, when I walked in the door, “could you just massage my hands for a minute?”

The day that led to that state of manual exhaustion (pun intended) was the kind of day I consciously tried to build my career to avoid.  A one-after-the-other stack of new clients unlikely to schedule repeat visits.  Lovely human beings who were perfectly healthy and who only got massages when someone else bought them a gift certificate, or when they were on vacation at a warm, tropical resort.  Deep in the muscles of my hands and arms, I felt the weariness of spending hours doing the kind of work I did not want.  My hands were tired, and I could not imagine massaging another human that day.

I suppose if I were a better businesslady, I could have found and mustered a way to talk to each of these people about the way I work (not aggressively), about the value of regular massage for all people, and about building a relationship with one massage therapist over time.  I suppose if I were more focused on filling my practice, I could have done all those things the brilliant people at Massage Business Blueprint suggest you do to retain clients.

Maybe I am fundamentally, constitutionally, and semi-aggressively a slacker when it comes to standard business building.  I would rather live simpler and with fewer new things so that I can have time and leisure to walk in the woods, or sit and write, or sit and think about writing.  I would rather end the day with calm, relaxed hands.  The better to capture ideas with, my dear.

As my friend massaged my hands, I felt the weariness drain out like water.  In its place, surrounding every filament, fiber and fascicle, I felt a sparkling readiness.  Rest would come soon, and when it did come, it would be deep and restorative.  It wasn’t the work that made me weary, it was the chaos.  I have dropped my marketing efforts and forgotten the niche I identified for myself.  Time to sit quietly again, and  put the business where my heart is.

heart-mussels-harmony-love-161002.jpegDear Ones, I am your resource in Louisville for manual lymphatic drainage.  This is a gentle, profoundly relaxing, medical massage technique that is used as part of the treatment for lymphedema, but also has many beneficial applications.  My clients have found relief from allergy-related sinus headaches, post-workout swelling and soreness, post-surgical swelling and general tension headaches.  Come in and talk to me about it, and experience it for yourself.