First off, there are quite a bit of known misconceptions about how the treatment plan of Massage Therapy works. Today we are going to be discussing the concept of session length, and why massage is not a one-session cure all like many people think. As massage therapy continues to grow in the Healthcare industry, more and more people are beginning to learn and understand the physiological benefits, on top of the relaxation factor; which is a big deal in the US, considering we have the longest work hour week and lowest amount of paid days off than any other country. Needless to say, getting a soothing massage to relax is just as important as any other medical necessity. It’s been the main reputation maker of massage in North America for the last forty years, but slowly breaking out of the ‘luxury’ word association and giving people more of a reason to get on the table instead of seeing massage as just a luxury.
Note: MASSAGE IS NOT JUST A LUXURY
Massage should be seen as a regular upkeep on one’s health preventative maintenance. Our goal is to help you stay out of the doctor’s office for reasons other than broken bones or serious illnesses, etc. Massage and everything it comes with, is a lifestyle.
For those of you who get your one massage a year, or leap year, and always ask to get bone-deep work on your x, y, and/or z knot….. stop doing that to yourself! Please! You are only worsening the issue.
Contrary to the common uneducated and more importantly, uncorrected belief, a therapist should not sit back and start digging into your muscle compartments, just because they want you as a client and because you sound adamant about what you want. They should not let you tell them that you believe the more painful it is the better it will be, even though you don’t get regular bodywork, and they should not be determined to fix your problems.
1.WE DO NOT FIX, we facilitate the body’s innate abilities to heal itself. We provide for you, tools and resources you will need in order to maintain your good health-standing in between sessions in order to get you on comfortable and effective habitual journey to living a pain-free life.
2.YOUR THERAPIST SHOULD BE EDUCATING YOU when you have that first session with them. When you request for them to go in so deep and to make it painful because you think that pain is the only way you have formed to believe change will be created, you are wrong on multiple levels.
I don’t want you to be wrong. I don’t want to be right. I want you to be educated and I want to share my knowledge with you. You deserve to know what we know. You aren’t just a client, you are a human being with an obligation to take care of your body in every way you possibly can and you have only been taught that massage makes you feel better. Nobody ever expects to leave a session with homework, but they come in expecting to be fixed. But how will you grow and become more aware and have your issues fixed if you are not doing your part? We want you to grow. We aren’t here to be a crutch, but instead, to be a helping guide. Our duty is to work with you. We help you during sessions, we enlighten you on what our observations and insights are, and we ask you intuitive questions that we believe will further help us get to the root cause and continue building a healthy and productive protocol that properly outlines a treatment program.
The key word here is program. Think of this like an exercise regimen. We do not go to the gym or buy the P90X home videos and workout one time and gain the results we are looking for. We have to make a commitment to the workout program. We have to discipline ourselves and make time in our busy lives to dedicate to our health every. single. day.
When you make massage a part of your life, you adopt a mindset of optimal healthy living throughout every day. You vow to become more aware of your lifestyle habits – like eating better and developing a more creative, colorful, and nourishable diet; taking care of your posture by allowing your body to be comfortable in ergonomic positions (like the positions it was made to be comfortable in); and lastly, your mental habits of thoughts! When you are living a healthy lifestyle and getting professional massage relief from your injuries, dysfunctions, and ailments, you are taking back command of your life!
Homework is another super important part to this whole thing: you should be having more than one session, because your therapist should be clearly outlining a perspective with you, while giving you resources and tools (like stretches and exercises to research, re-patterning techniques, postural awareness tools, and even some fun facts about the body) to use at home in between sessions. Homework is what keeps you accountable and motivated to get out of pain. Homework given and homework done is a body more able, more flexible, and more durable than it was a session before.
One massage therapy session will never be a cure-all to your injuries or dysfunctions or stress, but you can make a positive difference towards your health journey by making the most of the information your therapist gives you, and applying it to the fullest.