How clarifying intention in a massage session enhances the overall experience

Lydia is a regular client who comes in for massage to alleviate problem areas that bother her from working out. These sessions are typically slow, deep and focusing on areas of concern. One day, she came in and requested, "Can we go lighter this time? I would like to fall asleep."

Of course, we can! During that session, I applied more oil, naturally making the pressure lighter and the movements more fluid. Instead of going deep on the tension areas, I approached it differently with SMRT position releaseas the application is much gentler while still effectively relieving tension. And, yes! She did fall asleep and was very happy with her session :)

I was grateful for her request because it clarified her intention for that session. Since she's a regular client, I would have approached it similarly to her previous sessions if she had only shared about her tension areas.

That got me thinking that maybe other clients can benefit from reading about different scenarios and how the massage can be customized for each intention.

Here are some examples:

"I'm feeling great today, not much complaint. I would like to relax."
This would be similar approach to the story above.

"I'm feeling tight all over, can you iron me out?" 
This would be an overall slow, deep session with SMRT sprinkled in throughout, specially along the problem areas. Massage oil/shea butter would be applied minimally to ensure that the grip provides a slow and sustained pressure. 90 to 120 minutes session would be best suited for this approach for a full body.

"My neck has been bothering me, it's painful when I turn to the left and it feels tight when I turn to the right. Can we problem solve that?"
I'll be assessing the state of the neck and other areas that may be contributing to the issue such as, the head, shoulders, chest, ribs and back. The pressure applied would be dependent on the state of the tissue and the pain level of the client. If the tissues are generally tight all over, a slow and deep approach may be helpful. If the tissues are tender and painful, the touch may be minimal for palpation purposes and SMRT will be the best approach in that situation. Either way, the session may feel technical with the application of more SMRT position release, which is helpful for assessing holding patterns of the body and bringing that to balance. A concentrated session for the upper body will be the best approach unless the session is longer.

"My low back has been tight, I would like relief from that and at the same time, be able to feel relaxed."
This would be a combination of both worlds and techniques. Much attention will be placed on the low back with techniques that would best alleviate the issue. For the rest of the body, the movements would be more fluid which can help the body and nervous system be in the state of relaxation.

If the examples above have helped clarified your massage goal and intention, let me know!


P.S. I intentionally didn't name the modalities and techniques (except for SMRT) to keep the description in simple words that may be easier to understand.

If you're wondering what an SMRT positional release is, it's under the modalities/techniques from this page and describes more in detail here

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