Category Archives: Massage Communication

Dealing with Self-Doubt as a Massage Therapist

Do you deal with self-doubt as a massage therapist? When you work with a new client, do you spend the whole time convinced that it’s the worst massage ever? Then this video is for you:

This is an edited version of a previous livestream, now with 75% fewer tangents and pauses. There’s also a nice guided meditation at the end, now with soothing music 🙂

I give tips on getting out of negative head loops in this video, but there’s something that I don’t really address: “What if my massage actually sucks? Like, what if I’m a legitimately bad massage therapist?” You know why I don’t address that? Because it’s not true. In fact, it’s damn near impossible.

Massage can be exceptional for a lot of reasons, many of them having to do with experience and intuition. But for a massage to just be “really good,” all you need are a few simple ingredients: ... continue reading.

Video: Massage for Fibromyalgia (With Interview and Demonstration!)

If you’ve worked on more than one client with fibromyalgia, you know that this isn’t a matter of saying, “if the client has X symptom, do Y technique.” It’s more a matter of knowing what questions to ask, which alterations might help, and knowing when to err on the side of caution.

The most important question, in my opinion, is “have you ever been hurt by a massage?” This is something that I ask anyone who is medically vulnerable or who has pervasive pain, and the answer is often “yes.” From there I want to find out more about how and why. While it’s often a matter of too much pressure or too much digging, it can also have to do with improper positioning, or even quirks of the client’s unique body. The only way to avoid repeating these past mistakes is to ask! ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: The Sacrum Shaker (SI Joint Mobilization)

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. ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Talking to Clients On the Table

New video! This week we’re talking about talking. More specifically, what can you do to maximize your time with a client on the table? Especially in a time-crunch environment, finding little nooks and crannies to fit client education into can be invaluable.

I find this especially useful when I’m dealing with areas of heightened sensitivity. If a client comes in with a painful sacroiliac area and sciatica symptoms, for instance, I try to talk them through the treatment as I deliver it. I want them to know what I’m trying to achieve with my slow steamrolling, and I ask them to let me know their experience. Does it feel like we’re in a relevant area? Do you feel this referring pain anywhere else? As I gather information, I can also deliver some, telling them about their posterior pelvis and where relevant muscles attach. When you live with chronic pain, learning more about it can be a relief in itself! ... continue reading.

How I Interview New Massage Clients

The first ever intake you have with a massage client can set the tone for your entire therapeutic relationship. How can you open up lines of communication and get plenty of useful information to boot? Here’s how I go about it:

One thing you’ll notice is that I’m… really thorough. My initial interview can take about 5-10 minutes, and that’s completely on purpose. I want that client to get on the table with no questions about whether its okay for them to speak up, or whether they can ask for changes to be made. I want them to feel like they had a chance to really explain what their unique needs are, and to know that I heard them.

And, I want them to feel like the expert in the room. Sure, I know a lot about bodies in general, but they’ve known their body for their whole life! What can I do to let them know that I value them as a source of information? That I don’t have psychic hands, and that I need their feedback? I’ll talk more about this in a future video about communication on the table, but I’d love to hear how you go about it. How do you empower your clients and let them know that they’re in the driver’s seat?

P.S. I’ll have two new shirt designs for sale tomorrow! Check out my Twitter or Instagram if you’d like a preview 🙂