Being an active participant in your client’s wellness extends beyond the treatments you offer. Whether clients are seeking pain relief from an injury or chronic condition or looking to reduce anxiety or stress, by being an advocate for your client’s well-being, you can provide them with instruction and information to help them manage and mitigate the effects of their condition in between visits.
Self-care begins with self-awareness. Exactly what is self-awareness? It has to do with both your thoughts and feeling and how well they align with your beliefs and values. But self-awareness also can involve what someone is doing that may be getting in the way of their physical health and wellness. That’s why you may need to work with your clients to help them understand the source of their problems, why they feel the way they do and/or what they are doing to undermine feeling good.
For example, many clients are unaware where they store stress and tension in their bodies. In that situation, have a client stand in front of a mirror before undressing for a session. While the client is looking at themselves, point out distortions in their posture --- this shoulder is high or this hip rotated – and then ask the client to close their eyes feel the distortion. When the client is on the table, build upon the self-awareness by pointing out tension related to the postural distortion.
When you help clients understand the source of their problem, your massage treatment becomes a collaborative process that ultimately is more effective for postural improvement, stretching, strengthening, relaxation or treating whatever other problem they have.
Helping your clients become self-aware depends on your ability to connect and ‘be present’ with them. Even with the best of intentions, it’s sometimes difficult to give every one of your spa or massage practice clients your undivided attention. You may have too much on your mind to give your client your absolute best. While it’s natural to check out from time to time, you don’t want your personal issues to get in the way of maintaining a connection with your clients throughout a session.
One way to stay present is to make sure to focus. If your mind is beginning to wander, bring yourself back to the present. Paying special attention to the physical movements and motions you are performing on the client helps to ground you in the present. Also take deep breaths and focus on your breathing whenever you find it difficult to stay in the now. Your breathing is actually a powerful and yet simple way to keep yourself rooted in the moment and it helps balance and center your body and aid in the ease and fluidity of movement during sessions.
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) a few ways you can bring yourself back to center through before or during a session:
Close your eyes and focus on your breath
Take a few deep breaths
Focus on feeling your feet firmly on the ground
Breathe throughout the massage session
When you feel tension or pain in your body, take a deep breath and adjust your position
Teaching your clients about their bodies has lasting positive effects – for them and for your ongoing relationship.
 Braun, Mary Beth, “Putting Self-Care Into Practice,” American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), September 14, 2010. https://www.amtamassage.org/publications/massage-therapy-journal/putting-self-care-into-practice/