Sometimes you are exactly where you need to be
Massage therapy is a tough job. It is very physical, and the longer the treatment the harder it is on you. 2 hour massages can be awful if it’s the last one in the day. This was one of those….
Last thing in the day a 2-hour massage on a fella. I pleaded with another therapist to take it, but she as busy. I pleaded with the universe that he would forget the treatment, but he didn’t…
I feel like I have a deal with the universe. There are days (not many thankfully) that you just don’t want people to turn up. But the deal is that if the person’s need for treatment outweighs my need not to do the treatment then send them in. This was one of those days.
Suffering from random panic attacks he was getting discomfort in his shoulders and neck. His girlfriend’s mother thought this would be an excellent treat for him.
He hadn’t had a massage before he and was anxious, unsure of what to expect.
When someone is in this state it is important for massage therapists to respond effectively. How I spoke to him, how I explained things to him, using some humor to help him feel more comfortable. This reminded me of the value of tone and communication in this line of work. Asking someone with anxiety to remove clothing will add to their vulnerability. Requiring more trust than many people recognize. We don’t just work with physical health, mental health is just as complicated as to which muscle group will unlock a frozen shoulder.
Like many people with anxiety, he would try and help me during the treatment, e.g. lifting his arms, shoulders to let me work easier. So I explained that his only job for the next two hours was to just exist.
This time when I was working his arm he held my hand. I could tell he was trying not to panic. So I stood beside him, just holding his hand and talked him through relaxing his breathing. Slowly talking him through a grounding technique he can use at home when he feels this way. Once he had visibly relaxed I continued the treatment.
He floated out of that room a different person. Even when he spoke, it was slower, less anxious. And now he has a tool he has seen work with him to use at home. I really feel like I made a difference that day.
As I said, I really really didn’t want to do that treatment. But I am really really glad I did.