To Glute Or Not To Glute?

When it comes to the gluteal muscles, or “glutes” as they’re commonly referred to, there is a surprising amount of debate among bodyworkers and clients alike as to whether this area of the body should be included in a regular massage session or not. The buttocks have long been an area that, especially in the U.S., have been seen as potentially erotic in nature, with many people growing up knowing that someone touching their behind is an inappropriate gesture unless that person has express consent to do so. Even when entering massage school, many students fill out paperwork that asks them both if they are comfortable having their gluteals worked on as well as whether they are comfortable working on the gluteals of their fellow students. So should the gluteals have a regular place in your massage sessions, or is it best left out?

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Handling Challenging Situations & Misunderstandings as a Massage Therapist -- Part 1

I once had an unusual case occur in my treatment room. A very nice professional gentleman, whom I will refer to as R for this post, had called me one evening after I had finished up my last client, said that his former therapist had moved away and that he was looking for a new one, and asked if I had availability for one more client. After I told him that I could accommodate him, he informed me that he was a cyclist and proceeded to give me very specific details for what he liked in a massage – preferences accumulated over seventeen or eighteen years of receiving professional work from other licensed therapists. Fortunately for me, I was able to fulfill most of his requests, as they were already part of my usual technique or not too far from it. We agreed to start with a 30-minute session to see if he was satisfied with my work, and we would go from there if he wanted more time.

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The Vocabulary of Massage Therapy

When I had to “fire” my first client, it was due to a unique set of circumstances, largely centered around the language used in text communications with me. He spoke of feeling the “love through my touch” and that he wanted me to “engulf and envelope” him with my “soft and sweet sexy hands.” To his credit, he had been a complete gentleman while in his very first session, and may, in fact, have meant nothing but honest and sincere, if awkward, compliments by the words. But the fact that I had been made uncomfortable, even if unintentionally, by that and other text messages he sent, was enough to cause me to refuse to rebook him. The brand new and still fragile relationship of trust and safety between us had been broken.

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Music in the Massage Room

Okay. I admit it. I really detest most "music" that you will hear in a massage and spa setting. I find that the nearly nonexistent beat, the notes just sort of flowing wherever they will, the instruments coming in and out at random times, and the apparent rule that you must use a flute and/or chanting at some point drives me up the walls, especially when I'm receiving a massage. 

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Letting it Out

Last night, I had two dear friends over for dinner whom I hadn't seen in some time. One is about to start another year of college and the other is starting a new job. Both stressful things, to be sure. So, with all of our busy schedules, it was a welcome respite to enjoy each other's company and wile away the evening in conversation and laughter. An interesting thing happened, however, which I did not anticipate. 

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No Pain, No Gain?

On occasion in my practice, I run into a client who thinks that the more pain they experience during a massage, especially during a deep tissue session, the better it is for them.  In their minds, it's "no pain, no gain" when it comes to getting all their knots and muscle soreness worked out, and I'll even have clients tell me, "Go as deep as you can.  I know it's going to be really painful, but I know that it's a good pain, so just get those knots out!"  But does a massage – even a deep tissue session – have to be extremely painful to be beneficial?  Let's examine the issue further.

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Tell Me How to Do My Job

In the United States, we seem to have a unique conundrum regarding customer service.  The phrase "the customer is always right" seems to be the motto of many businesses, yet the majority of customers are afraid of being considered a nuisance if they express their specific wants and needs to a company.  This is especially a problem in the field of massage therapy, where clients come in, receive a massage, and walk out the door without telling their therapist whether they liked or disliked particular aspects of their massage, even if the therapist asks them whether or not they enjoyed the massage.  In fact many times, clients are extremely uncomfortable asking the therapist to adjust something so that they are more comfortable.

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