I always like to check in with new clients on their goals for massage. Do they want to improve sleep, performance, reduce aches, release stress, etc.
I like to give people a few choices on my intake, plus the opportunity to mark “all of the above.” Lots of “aota’s” later, I have come to see what it truly means to some clients. One such new client put it so well:
“I would like to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.”
I have to admit that massage cannot deliver that goal.
“When I get to that place myself, I’ll let you know,” I said.
Meanwhile, it made me think about what am I really selling as a massage therapist. When I find, treat and track dysfunction I am perhaps vending exactly the opposite: Allowing people the opportunity to choose after careful consideration of their abilities and consequences.
We all have choices, and we make them sometimes a bit too quickly. Choosing to stay at a job that is no longer fair or fun is a choice: people make those decisions for other kinds of rewards. When they come in for massages, I try to help them survive and feel better about that choice.
Massage can’t fix a lot but it can set the mood for people to adapt and make better choices when it comes to stretching, exercise, foods or sleep.
If I think back to my sandbox days, it was all about trying to have things my way – and I was guided to make a better choice for myself and for the future. Human nature, in deed.
Perhaps I would suggest this goal instead:
I would like to be able to do what is good for me, I would like to enjoy doing good for me, and I would like to do it when it is best for me to do it.