Recently I massaged a massage therapist and she wanted to know if I ever taught because she enjoyed my technique so much. It had me think about what would I teach other massage therapists?
I also have Redding massage therapists and massage therapists in other cities who read my blog for massage tips and tools for deepening their own massage skills.
This post is for her and other massage therapists, although it also applies to perspective massage clients and can also apply to anyone who believes their career is an art form as I do.
In almost 15 years of practicing massage full time I can say that massage therapy is an art form. In general, mastering an art form takes years and years of practice, contemplation, more practice, contemplation, deeper education, more contemplation, more education, more practice and repeat...:)
Just like a painter takes years to have a keen eye and hands to be able to paint with precision and skill, so too does a massage therapist take years to have keen eyes(inner and outer) and keen hands to be able to massage a client's body with precision and skill to master the art of pain relief, relaxation, stress relief or deeper mental/emotional relief and cleansing on all levels too.
Skilled massage therapists hone their craft by deepening their ability to see and feel into the body/mind/spirit of their client to be able to offer whatever is needed in the massage.
This kind of massage mastery does not happen overnight with new massage therapists as much as many new massage therapists wish to believe(as I did starting out) that having lots of gusto and energy is enough for giving a great massage.
While some people are gifted with this ability to see and feel early on in their massage career it still takes practice and presence to deepen one's gifts. Gifts that are not taught in a massage book or class.
There is depth to the massage industry that takes giving of yourself for years before one may truly understand the blessed role we massage therapists play in people's lives. Sometimes we are the only one a person a feels comfortable sharing with. So, giving of yourself for hours and hours on end means having a life outside of massage that replenishes and recharges you so that you can continue to give of yourself for hours on end
Massage is an exchange of energy pure and simple. To be a masterful massage therapist one has to practice keeping their own channel of energy clean and clear.
Here are some tips for new massage therapists(and seasoned one's too) for self care if you truly want to be in the massage industry for the long haul and master your art.
- Eat healthy
- Drink lots of water
- Exercise, exercise and then more exercise.
- Get regular massage and body work yourself from other massage therapists who are taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
- Tools for cleansing and clearing your energy like sage, earthing(barefoot on the grass or dirt), sea salt and epsom salt baths.
- Continuing education for new techniques
- Learn now to feel into yourself deeply, live deeply
- Have a stillness practice. Sit still and meditate regularly
- Learn to listen to truly listen deeper within yourself. This helps you be able to listen deeper into your massage client. The art of listening is a skill in and of itself.
- Yoga, yoga, yoga, stretch, stretch, stretch
- Write in a journal about your massage sessions regularly, what did you learn from them? How did the client feel after the massage? Did you have any insights or did your massage client have any insights?
- Discover deeper layers in yourself and you will discover deeper layers in your massage clients.
- Develop your own style, your own voice. Don't try to imitate or copy other massage therapists. Find your own voice and confidence in your work.
Learning new massage techniques is wonderful for expanding a tool set of what to offer massage clients. Yet it takes years of focused presence, massage sessions, and sometimes trial and error to feel deeply into what is going on in someone's body.
Muscles are tight for many reasons, and mastering the understanding of that is based upon feeling into a client on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. This level of seeing can somewhat be taught but the true teaching is experience, lots of massage experience.
Many people come into the massage industry because it's good money, that's why I did it in the beginning. Plus I had a boyfriend then who was a massage therapist himself and he encouraged me to go to massage school because he felt that I had excellent touch and extraordinary intuition. I did not know what intuition meant then and it has taken me many years to hone it and further fine tune my therapeutic touch.
I came to find out that God works in mysterious ways. And although I initially went to massage school to make 'good money' as a massage therapist I eventually came to realize that my higher calling had been to do massage. I felt at home massaging people and still do. God spoke through my boyfriend to get me to massage school, so blessed that I listened.
Then came another very difficult few years of my life where I was not being responsible for my role as a healer and touching people and exchanging energy with them.
Deepening the depth of your heart and your ability to understand on all levels who is on your massage table and how to help with their pain and/or relaxation takes practice and presence, which is the advanced art form of what massage therapy truly is. This is why massage therapy is an art form because practice makes perfect or rather in massage therapists case practice makes mastering the art of massaging someone on all levels.
The above tips and techniques apply not only to massage therapists but to anyone that wants to continue to master a craft, a skill and continue to be inspired by it. This can also apply to yoga teachers too who also give of themselves and to mothers and fathers and to anyone basically.
Peace and Blessings,
Advanced Massage Solutions and Yoga
1918 West St.
Redding, Ca 96001