Monday, November 5, 2012


Table chair or floor,
Use the right tool for the job
To get best results.
Massage is not a hardware intensive kind of job. Unlike, say, technical writing (my former profession), massage is something that should be doable anywhere with anyone who is willing. And that is certainly true to an extent. At home with my love, when she needs some massage on her shoulders and neck, it's not necessarily worth the time to get out the massage table, sheets, oils etc. She sits down on the floor in front of me, and I get to work. Or she lies down on the bed and I rub her feet. The skills I have are far more important than the tools I use.
Which is not to say that my tools are irrelevant. All the skill in the world is for naught if there is no way to bring it to bear on the problem at hand. So, what are the "tools" that make for a great massage? <br>
First and foremost, obviously, my hands. My hands are where I make contact, though I actually do not really use my hands in the way many people seem to expect; I am frequently asked, don't your hands get tired from doing this all day. And the true answer is, no. Not at all. I learned techniques and styles of massage that emphasize proper body mechanics and the application of leverage. This, combined with a knowledge of anatomy, the ability to listen and respond to subtle responses, and an awareness of the flow of energy through the body has far more to do with the giving of a good massage than how large or strong my hands are. Of course, having big, strong hands is not a disadvantage.
Then there is the studio. Having a separate, unique space just for massage does a lot to enhance the experience. It is my way of creating a professional and respectful space where people feel safe and comfortable relaxing. Having it clean, well lit, and in a good accessible location (with free parking) is all a part of making the process of getting a massage as stress free and enjoyable an experience as possible. Having it furnished and decorated in a way that reflects what I do and how I practice is all a part of demonstrating my commitment to providing the best massage possible.
Finally, there is the table. Which is heated, and set low enough to the ground as to be to easy to get on and off of, as well as providing me the leverage I need to bring the appropriate pressure to bear.
For those times when there's less time for a massage, I have my massage chair. Two and a half plus years of practice have taught me to be able to do more in ten minutes of chair massage than some people can do in sixty. Sometimes, a ten minute snack sized massage is all that there is time to do. That does not mean it should be done with anything less than my fullest attention to detail. I believe in making every minute count, no matter how many minutes there are in the massage session. People should not pay for time their massage therapist wastes. Most recently, I have brought in a floor mat. There are some techniques and styles of massage that are simply better done on the floor than on the table; Shiatsu, myofascial release, and many others. Having a simple futon is a vast improvement over the hardwood floor, while at the same time providing better leverage for massage than the table.

It is as Scotty once said, You have to have the right tool for the job.

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