When you come in for a treatment, changes are you’ll be given a form that has a bunch of questions for massage clients on there. You might be tempted to give short answers…but I encourage you to elaborate whenever you can. The more information we have as practitioners, the better your treatment is going to be.
1. How are you?
It might seem like an innocuous question, and is no doubt one that we encounter many times throughout the day. But this time I actually want a real answer. Are you “good”? If you truly are, that’s great. But if you’re stressed, if you’re feeling anxious, if you’re sad or if you’re elated – I’d love to know about it. Not in order to pry, but because that information is actually really valuable for the treatment that is about to start.
To give you an example of how this might influence my approach, if you’re feeling anxious, I probably won’t be using the prone position with you today. When face-down and without much light and sometimes with a little less air available, prone is really not a great choice for someone who is feeling anxious.
You don’t need to tell me WHY you’re feeling what you’re feeling, but I’d love to know honestly how you’re doing.
2. How’s your body feeling?
Yes, it’s a question I ask every time you come in. Take a moment and actually think about it for a minute. I’d like to know about any areas of tension you’re experiencing discomfort in, any changes in physical activity that you’re making, even the littlest thing that maybe hurt for a day a few days ago but is fine now. If you’re body is just generally feeling zapped, let me know – it’s not complaining, it’s giving me a full picture of what we’re working with today.
Noting any bruises or cuts/scrapes is also useful so that I don’t press on them!
How does all this help me, help you? It can easily either narrow or broaden my focus. It can help me hone the work down to one area of the body and the immediately attached structures, or it could open the doors for more widespread exploration.
3. Any Injuries?
This always relates to any history of injury – not only the injuries you have right now, but all of them in the past. Believe it or not, an injury you sustained 30 years ago in your ankle could easily be related to the hip and low-back pain you’re currently experiencing. Don’t rule anything out – it’s all really valuable information. Not only does it effect the treatment itself, it also informs the home exercises I give you at the end of a session.
Letting me know this in detail is going to help me work with you over the long-term, as sometimes we’ll need to work on very old injuries first before any current discomforts can be worked with. It’s also often a great learning opportunity for you as well – to understand how different structures are connected and influenced by one another.
A common example with runners is experiencing lateral knee pain – not from any acute injury but it just generally hurts. Knowing this takes my attention directly to muscles both proximal and distal to the knee, including vastus lateralis, biceps femoris and the fibularis muscles. (NOT the IT Band…more on this here). So it directs my focus quite specifically. Fun fact about the knee: non-acute pain here is almost always the result of something closer to either the hip or the ankle, the poor knee gets caught in the middle of those arguments.
Going through these answers in detail is not complaining. Please don’t feel as though it is – I prefer more information than less, as it helps me give you the best possible experience! I don’t need to know anything you’re not comfortable with sharing, but the more you can share happily, the better for everyone.