Listening vs. Telling
Massage is about listening to the body. What is going on? Are the muscles tight, are they twisted or stuck? First, you must listen by touch. Quiet the mind and relax your breath. Ground, center, and balance your Chi. Feel your feet rooted into the Earth. Connect your crown chakra with Spirit, Source Energy, or whatever you would like to call a healing and benevolent energy. Feel this energy pouring down through your crown, into your heart, and channel it out through your hands. We must also connect to the person we are working on. Tune in to their energy. Notice if the speak loudly or quietly, fast or slow. Use visual and nonverbal cues, as well as your intuition to get a feel for the vibe of the person, and what they might need. Someone who is loud and excited, speaks fast and seems agitated might need more energy work to quiet their mind and release pent up energy. Someone who seems angry might need more heart chakra work. Someone who seems quiet, meek, or stuck in their head might need more energy work in the head area and breath work. The point is that you listen first, and instead of telling them what they need, you ask them what they need. Sometimes a person might not know consciously what they need, so in addition to asking verbally and listening to their response, we must also ask energetically.
Coaxing vs. Forcing
When we begin a bodywork session, after listening to verbal, non-verbal and energetic ques, we begin to determine what the client may need. This part is highly subjective, and we must use our knowledge and skill to begin an effective session. Instead of forcing the body to relax, we encourage relaxation by making the client feel comfortable and intuitively asking what it is they need. If they are jittery or nervous, a deep and calming pressure may be applied and a shiatsu technique may be used to start out with. A gentle stretch of the head and neck in combination with the soothing smell of an essential oil may be just what they need to relax. Starting at the head is recommended if they appear to be “in their head”, i.e. worried, anxious, overly chatty, etc. Ideally, we want the brain waves to slow from the fast paced beta brain wave state to the resting state of alpha, theta and even delta brain wave states. We may choose to use one word answers in response to their conversation so as to discourage talking and brain activity. The idea is that we listen, use our intuition, and then gently guide the client where we want them to go. They are coming to us for help, although sometimes they don’t know or can’t put into words exactly what they need. When we gently coax the body to relax, we use long strokes and measured pressure, instead of digging right away at a knot or applying brute force.