Today I share with you my weirdest massage technique: The Sacrum Shaker.
The technique itself isn’t hard, and there’s really no wrong way to do it; when I was contemplating making a video about this, I realized that the most important aspect would be demonstrating how to communicate it. How can we work near the tailbone while being certain that the client is on board? How can we introduce big dynamic movements while being sure that we’re not disrupting the client’s state of zen?
As always, the answer is open communication within the context of a therapeutic relationship. This starts from the very first moment you meet a client, or even before (for instance, does your website answer some of their questions and allay their fears?). By the time I’m talking to the client about implementing specific moves, I want to have already opened highway-wide lanes of communication.
My strategy for asking about work in potentially sensitive areas is multi-layered. First, I’ll describe the area along with its importance: “I’d like to do some work along your sacrum, which is this triangle of bone. I’ve found it to be really important for low back pain. Would that be okay?”
Second, I’ll explicitly give the client permission to revoke that informed consent: “Let me know if these moves are ever too rapid, or if I’m ever too far into your personal space, okay?”
Third, I’ll check in as I implement the techniques, which can be as simple as, “so far so good?”
Finally, even if a client has given you informed consent, keep an eye on their body language. If the client starts to tense up, or if their responses seem unusually reserved or guarded, take a moment to ask about that: “I’m thinking you might have some reservations about work on your hips, is that true for you?” Ask in such a way that prompts more than just a one-syllable answer, and give your client time to respond.
Let me know what you think! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the technique itself (anything else you’d add or do differently?), and on the communication approach. How do you word things? Do you have trouble getting certain concepts across? If so, let’s troubleshoot!