The Problem With Massage

“I feel sorry for your husband,” said my client.  “You’re strong!”  A smile spread across my face and we both laughed.  I miss this part, building relationships, connecting in this quiet space, but I don’t miss my massage practice.  I closed that over a year ago.  My license expires at the end of the year and I’ve chosen not to renew it.  That being said I decided to see a few clients until it does.

I knew it was time to close my practice.  My thumbs and wrists were always tender and painful. My neck was like a block of cement. I was feeling resentful too. I felt underutilized. Nobody seemed to care what I could really do. I felt used. Rub my back while I fiddle with my cell phone.

I hate cell phones in the treatment room. I get it. If you have small children who are with your eighty year old grandmother and you won’t relax if she can’t reach you, fine. But I wholeheartedly resent texting, Facebooking, e-mailing, and chatting with a friend. It’s one hour, maybe 90 minutes of your life. Can you live without your phone? I also find it insulting. It takes away from what I am doing which is to give the client my full attention. Mindfulness please.

I love a good massage as much as the next person.  I found an awesome therapist while visiting Portland and I was sad that it would be a one-time visit.  She was good.  I appreciated her skill level, intuition, and presence.  It made me remember what I love about a good treatment.  I also remembered the problem with massage, and that’s where expectation comes in.

I understand that people want the most bang for their buck, but it’s helpful to remember that the therapist has a very short period of time to accomplish the sometimes long list of expectations:  My feet are killing me, my back too.  I must have slept funny because my neck hurts.  I would like a full-body, but spend extra time on the worst parts and if you can do some energy work that would be nice too. Oh, and I’m going to hold my cell phone or keep it under my shoulder or hip so it can be in your way the whole time.

I can’t tell you how many times I said, “I’m not Jesus, but I will do my best.”  And about the cell phone; I’ve tried.  I’ve asked people to silence their phone, leave it in their vehicle, or shut it off.  I even posted a sign for awhile, but to no avail.  I gave up. If you want to ruin your treatment, and frustrate your therapist that’s up to you. When I’m on the table I want to be fully present in that blissful moment, soaking up healing like nobody’s business.

Please don’t burn up your therapist with expectations and rude behavior. Respect their time and energy before they quit because of the problems with massage.



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