Tag Archives: psychology

So Your Massage Client Has an Anxiety Disorder

Clients have many different goals when it comes to bodywork, and a perfectly valid one is the management of their stress/anxiety. What are the different types of psychological disorders you might encounter? What do you need to know about anxiety as a massage therapist?

Credit: Jon Rawlinson, CC BY 2.0
Credit: Jon Rawlinson, CC BY 2.0

This article, “Worrying About Worrying” by¬†Ruth Werner, is a good primer on anxiety disorders and how they affect clients. (If you’re an ABMP member, you can see the full magazine version here).

It addresses what you can do as a massage therapist. You’re not a psychologist, but you can create a supportive, nonjudgmental space for your client to finally just unwind. Massage has pretty robust support in the scientific literature for reducing anxiety in the short- and long-term!

Anxiety vs. Stress

Something interesting about anxiety is that it’s very difficult to disentangle from a concept that we’re all familiar with: stress. “I’m so stressed out from work/school. I’m so stressed I can’t sleep. I’m so stressed that it seems like I can’t ever relax.” “Stress” is just a word that we use as a proxy for that fluttery, clenching feeling in our chest that pops up whenever we expect something to require a lot of mental or emotional resources. ... continue reading.