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  • No, Your Massage Therapist Doesn’t Want to Play “Hide and Seek”

    detective with magnifying glassAs a kid, I used to love to play hide and seek. I thrilled to find the perfect hiding spot, which was different depending on who was searching. I also loved being able to figure out each person’s favorite type of hiding spot and finding them with relative ease afterward. Truth be told, I still love a good game of hide and seek, just not in the massage room.

    Every massage therapist has had at least one client who has tried to play some version of hide and seek with them. The type of hide and seek that people play in the massage room isn’t the fun game of my childhood.

    There are 2 ways to play hide and seek during a massage and most massage therapists have very little patience for either. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m certain that you have never played the first type, but you may have inadvertently played the second type.

    Creepy Hide and Seek

    The pervs play all sorts of games (both subtle and overt) that result in them uncovering part of all of their junk in the hopes that we’ll “massage it.” All that’ll get them in the office of a legitimate massage therapist is a lecture, a session that ends immediately, and/or a ban from ever returning to that therapist.

    This Is Not A Test

    The testers either refuse to tell us what’s wrong, saying “You’re the professional. You’ll find it,” or they fail to fill in their health history forms completely. We ask questions before your session to help us devise a treatment plan so you can have the maximum benefit possible from your massage. If you only tell us you have back pain (for example) but won’t narrow down where you’re feeling discomfort you aren’t helping us help you feel better. If you won’t tell us what movements or positions make it better or worse, again, you’re simply complicating and possibly delaying your own pain relief. If you don’t tell us that you’ve had a spinal fusion or a bulging disc, we won’t know that we need to modify the massage to account for that. The back is a large area and the muscles that cause upper back pain probably won’t have much, if any, effect on low back pain. When you *hide* the answers we might spend all session *seeking* the problem you came to see us for. That means you won’t get nearly the amount of relief you could have, had we known what we were actually looking for in the first place and started there instead of ending there.

    I understand that you want to get on the table as soon as possible. Really I do. I also understand that you respect our knowledge and skill, but being able to put our knowledge and skill to its best use for you is dependent on knowing the particulars of what’s going on with *your* body.

    So the takeaway for today is this: You’ll get a much better massage with greater results if you are willing to take a couple extra minutes to answer a few questions before getting on the massage table.