“Fix me” is a common theme. “Fix me!” With a smile, I patiently explain that I don’t “fix”. What massage therapy does do, is enable a body to heal more efficiently, hopefully more quickly.
As massage therapists we can’t take responsibility for another person’s healing. Yet many clients expect us to do just that.
When I first began working in the field of massage therapy, I felt absolutely heartbroken when someone didn’t jump off the massage table with complete relief from whatever symptom had brought them to me.
It took me years to change this reaction. People-pleasing became something at which I’ve always been good. I mean really good. And in my practice, I perfected that aspect of myself.
I also became really good at putting my clients ahead of my own needs. I would cancel my own appointment to receive a massage or to get a haircut or even to eat lunch, so that I could accommodate a person with a difficult schedule. I would work later or earlier than my advertised time, if pressured by a client to do so — and I would fit more people in my day than was comfortable for me physically.
I rationalized it by telling myself that the extra money was justification.
It wasn’t until I heard a speaker at a massage therapy conference talk about gaining control of our businesses, that I understood the extent that I was letting my clients’ behavior control my own sense of well being.
It’s an easy trap, I suspect because many of us who become therapists are so service-oriented.
It’s important to take care of ourselves so we have the energy to take care of others.
A group of involved people, who come together to learn in a space of acceptance and caring, can begin to change the world — one massage at a time. I believe it.