a community of practitioners
Being an educator, my main goal is to teach up and coming Massage Therapists proper warm up and molding their hands into the bodies of their clients. The main complaint of clientele these days is how much it hurts. They are amazed when they come to me for their massage, that there is a equal balance. One client recently said, " The reason I like your massages is it isn't what my daughter would give me or a "surgical massage." We recently had a client come in complaining of pain. When we looked at her back there was brusing all over to the point in one area, black. She couldn't move her neck. The massage therapist that did this has had very little work in the 4 yrs that she has been practicing. I will make it my mission to teach proper technique. My vast 27 yrs in this field enables me to palpaite gently, effectively, and progressively deeper as needed.
Just a quick part reply to this....I have in the past treated a patient with a Harrington Rod who had been previously treated by a therapist who 'hurt'!
I dont know what the therapist must have been doing as this patient was taking so many anelgesics he shouldnt really have felt it if he was struck by a bus!!!...Just a thought :)
This is an issue that comes up in my practice, time and time again. I am known for doing deep tissue work, and love it's capacity to change tissue. Lots of new clients are attracted to me assuming that deep tissue means very deep pressure.
To me, deep tissue is a methodology of tissue manipulation, and has very little to do with the pressure used. I feel that massage should feel effective, but never hurt. I educate my clients as best I can, with many of the same points that other therapists have mentioned here. The clients who are die-hard "no pain, no gain" people self select to another massage therapist. However, the vast majority stick around because their issue got resolved.
I find that the general public, and even die hard massage fans, don't understand one type of massage from another, regardless of how well massage types are explained. People honestly don't know what deep tissue means, and yes, there are lots of therapists out there who spread "no pain, no gain" misinformation. Because the playing field is so muddied, I feel that being a massage therapist means that I also must be a client educator.
And here's another factor: Most clients lack body awareness, and because of that, they have a hard time discerning between pain and the presence of sensation (in an area that they weren't previously aware of). The words "good hurt" are two that I try not to use... it can so easily be mistaken to mean that I expect a massage to be painful in some way. Instead I try to train clients to let me know when the massage "feels effective".
Communication is the number one tool we have for avoiding injuring our clients and avoiding dissatisfaction. I like to solicit feedback from clients during a massage using a 1-10 scale. (10 being more pressure than they can stand.) I tell them that I generally want to be working at a 7. And in follow ups, I ask clients about pressure in a way where they feel comfortable giving feedback: Instead of "How's the pressure?" where a "Fine" response is the expected norm for the client, I ask, "How are we doing on pressure: would more or less be good anywhere?" This leaves the client with the expectation that it's ok to say they want more or especially, less.
Thanks for bringing up this topic!