A blog about massage, meaning and healing.
A blog about massage, meaning and healing.
Yesterday, I met Henry* and Elise, a self-proclaimed risk taker with a "Capital R". There was Scott, Thelma, Tony whom I coined "Ol' Blue Eyes", and Hattie, it was her first day there, and I listened as she told me how "thrilled" she was to be living there. Then there was Sarah and Anna, CNA's whose caring concern was evident in every interaction they had with their patients, who encouraged several of them to receive a hand massage. I spent four hours giving massages and getting to know some of the residents and employees at a local senior living residence. I can't think of a better way to spend my afternoon. More than that, though, they taught me about the importance of being a healing presence.
Earlier, as I was lugging my massage chair and things from the parking lot I caught the eyes of a sweet soul whose voice chirped like a meadowlark asking me if I could help her. Her car door was stuck after sitting still for several weeks. Not thinking much of it, I said absolutely and set my things down. It took me all of a second to pull just a little to unstick her door. She thanked me profusely for such a small gesture--eyes bright and blue--and I might have just left it at that when I noticed her disfigured hands. Crippled from "years of rheumatoid arthritis," she said.
I knew those hands. Those were my Busia's hands. The same purplish-red inflamed joints, fingers bent toward the "pinkie", nobbed knuckles stair-stepped. Those were the hands of a beautiful maiden who had raised her babies and loved cooking for my Dzizdzia, who wiped the tears from my face as a little girl. Slowly, over seemingly tortuous decades I watched as her hands and joints abandoned her and she became wracked with pain. But like this sweet woman in the parking lot, her spirit remained full and as joyful as she could muster depending on the pain that day. We helped her maintain her independence with the help of specialized door handles, knobs, and steering wheel so she could go and get her hair done, maybe meet my Uncle Jim for lunch or pick up a few sundries at the local market. And she continued...until she couldn't.
This amiable woman, Maurine, whose door I had opened four hours prior ended up being my last client of the afternoon. I was massaging the hands of another client when she sat down next to him and chirped how "heavenly" it looked to have his hands touched so nurturingly; obviously longing to feel the same. Although I couldn't massage her hands I could hold them with intention and love. I could provide massage in other areas which provided comfort. Her deep sighs and shoulders releasing signaled comfort and calm. What she may not have known, is how sacred that moment was for me too.
"The compassionate touch," says Dawn Nelson, "emanates not from the hands but from the heart...In reaching out to another, the touch that originates in the heart of the giver has the potential to connect with more than the physical form of the receiver. It has the power to connect two souls in a mutual recognition of their shared humanity and their yearning to be healed."
I'm thankful for all these beautiful people that blessed me yesterday. My continued prayer is that I'll be able to give my authentic self in the present moment and to give up "knowing" in favor of simply "being".
With a heart full of gratitude,
*All names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.
What’s the difference between a good and a fantastic massage therapist?
If you’ve decided that now is the time to make a real commitment to your well-being, and you’re
thinking of including regular massage in your schedule, congratulations! You’ve made a great
With so many massage centers and therapists to choose from, how will you know if you’re booking
in with a great therapist or just a mediocre one? Here are a few tips on choosing the very best
therapist for you.
1. A fantastic massage therapist will go out of his or her way to make you feel relaxed and welcome when
you attend for your first massage. They will ask you lots of questions and let you ask any questions
that you need to, making sure that you’re put at ease right from the start.
2. Fantastic therapists maintain their energy throughout the day. It takes a strong person with great
stamina to give many treatments in a row, and if you’re lucky enough to find a fantastic massage
therapist, you’ll be able to trust that even if you book the very last appointment of the day, the
pressure will be as strong as it needs to be and they’ll be as enthusiastic as they were when they started
3. Fantastic therapists know when to chat and when you just need some peace and quiet. A top
quality therapist is experienced or well-trained enough to be able to spot the client who is shy and
not interested in talking through a treatment, and can also accommodate the talkative client who
might also be nervous but deals with their nerves by talking a lot. In that case, they might try to calm
the talkative client down so that they enjoy their massage a little more!
4. Fantastic therapists always offer you a glass of water after a massage. No exceptions. While some
massage therapists will advise you to go home and drink lots of water, if a therapist is really
excellent they will already have a cool glass of water on hand for after your massage.
5. Fantastic massage therapists know all about great customer service. You’ll be treated like the
important person you are when you work with a fantastic therapist. You’ll feel that your time and
needs are respected and you’ll never feel as if you’re an inconvenience. There are always times
when a therapist might run over, have to cancel or there could be another issue. The mark of a great
therapist is how they deal with this. If they apologize, don't try to shift responsibility and sort out
any problems with good grace, you’ve got a good one. If they blame other staff, won’t accept any
responsibility and don't give you confidence in their ability to deal with any issues you raise, it could
be time to find a new therapist.
If your massage therapist is awesome, comment below what makes them so good.