It is often said that the best result of a massage is when the client falls asleep. This comment has made me upset that this is such a huge general misconception. I have always viewed massage therapy as a chance to solve puzzles. Every session begins with the client revealing areas of their body that need attention. What follows is a brief discussion in which leading questions allow me to solve the puzzle …. What is the cause of the client’s pain or discomfort?
There have been times that I get stumped on the puzzle. I can recall an instance where I could not find the right technique to alleviate my client’s issues. The person I was working with had a lot of discomfort the entire length of his spine. My usual “go to” technique was to go with Lomilomi and work the deep muscles of the back. The client was able to tolerate the pressure, so I kept pounding away at a depth that tired me out. This first session did not produce any results as he called me the next day to say there had been no relief. At the next treatment, I did a combination of Shiatsu and Kiate. Again, I went after those pressure points with a lot of force and again, no relief. I was really down on myself because I usually get the puzzle solutions started by that point. After going through old notes, textbooks, and magazines, I stumbled on to an article written in Massage & Bodywork titled Scar Tissue Release for Tattoos. It spoke of using skin rolling along the edges of the tattoos to break up adhesions and scar tissue in between the fascia and epidermal layers of the printed skin. My client had body art all over his back, Yakuza – style. For our next session, I used the skin rolling techniques that were not pleasant as the client was squirming and wincing throughout the treatment, but I started to make progress as the tissues began to be much easier to work with and I could finally get to the deeper muscles.
The lesson I learned from this experience was to never limit my repertoire and to change my approach that deep pressure is not always the best course of action. Sometimes the lightest techniques can provide deep changes. I enjoy learning new ways to solve the puzzles presented to me in massage.