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Massage Client Behaviour
– What Bugs Us

Although massage therapists always try to give the best experience they can to all clients, they are only human. Some client behaviour can impact on the mood and general psyche of the therapist and you may be surprised at some of the things that may annoy your therapist. Most of these apply whether you are visiting a massage clinic or having a Sydney mobile massage.

Recently an online massage discussion talked about client behaviour that winds up therapists.

Open Eyes
Lying on your back with your eyes open is kind of freaky for us. It gives the impression that you are not relaxing and/or enjoying the massage. Some therapists commented that they were a little unnerved and felt like they were being watched.

“Helping Us”
When we move a particular part of your body such as a limb or leg, then we like to have the muscles relaxed and loose. If you are helping us by holding your arm or your head up then muscles will be contracting which we don’t want contracted.
However, some people can be too loose. To quote from one therapist:

what I refer to as “bobble heads”, there is a difference between relaxing your neck for me to work on it and letting it go completely limp so every time I touch it, you just bobble around.

Try to relax and switch off. Let the therapist do the work – that’s what your paying them for.

massage behaviourCutting it fine
Some people will arrive right on the designated appointment time (or a few minutes late) but then trundle off to the loo and spend 5-10 minutes there whilst the therapist paces up and down waiting for them. Massage therapy is a business so time is money and many therapists operate a tight schedule and cannot afford to run behind time.

However, there is one thing worse than going to the loo when you should be on the massage table and that is
….not going to the loo.

Some therapists describe situations when the client left it too late before using the bathroom……….

Not talking to us
If you are lying on the massage table and not enjoying aspects of the massage then talk to us and let us know. If you want more or less pressure, if you don’t particularly enjoy a stroke or technique, if the room is too warm or cold, if the music is bugging you then please tell us. Whilst some things may be outside of our control, we will endeavour to change what we can so that your massage can be as enjoyable and effective as possible for you.

Talking to us
This can vary from therapist to therapist but some therapists find it distracting if you are constantly talking. It can give the impression that you are not relaxing and not overly enjoying the bodywork.
However, it may be the case that you use your time on the table to wind down and you do this by talking and unloading.
If you want to talk and your therapist doesn’t then maybe it might be time for you to find a therapist who is more open to chatting and conversation during the massage.

Unreasonable expectations
A common theme amongst the discussion was that sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations about what we can do within the one session. If you expect me to release your calf muscles, increase your hamstring flexibility, cure your tennis elbow, address that nagging pain in your lower back, free up your shoulders, loosen a tight neck and get rid of the thumping headache you are suffering from, in one 60 minute session then, sorry, but you will be disappointed.
I’ll do what I can but if you require remedial or medical massages, I can generally only work on a couple of areas effectively with one hour.

Not letting us know what is happening with your health
If anything has happened with your health since we saw you last, please let us know. To quote from one response:

Another time an elderly lady said, while on the table and after saying, “no, no changes this week”, “oh yeah, I had a small stroke the other day”. Yeah…….the MT about had a small stroke…..

  
Other (irritating) behaviours described included:

  • Leaving phones on and talking during a session.
    Cracking knuckles during an entire session.
    Playing games on a phone.
  • ==========

    Please be aware that these are personal comments from individual therapists and ultimately you are the paying customer. However, it might be worthwhile to have an appreciation of the massage from the therapists point of view.

    Want Great Massage
    – Then Speak Up!

    If you regularly experience massage then you know the type of touch you like. Some people like point pressure, some people like flowing strokes. Some people like strong pressure (which they may refer to as deep tissue massage), others like a more gentle nurturing approach. Some people like different techniques and pressures for different muscle groups. Some people like different massages at different times depending on their mood and how their body is feeling on a particular day. Some people like a full body massage including massage to the glutes, abdomen and pecs, others prefer the session to concentrate on specific problem areas such as the neck, shoulders or back for example.

    massageNow whilst many massage therapists may consider that they have a degree of intuition and may modify a particular session based on what they are feeling both physically and intuitively, unfortunately none of us are mind readers. We are only guessing how the massage feels for you.

    To optimise the benefit you receive from your massage then there is an onus on you to communicate your requirements and preferences.

    If there are techniques, strokes and styles that you particularly enjoy (or particularly dislike) then let your therapist know before the session. If there are parts of your body that you want included in the massage then please communicate that to your therapist (similarly if you don’t want particular areas included).

       
    For me personally, I dislike being jabbed or prodded with point pressure with a sudden motion. It does nothing for me (and to be honest I cannot understand how it is supposed to improve the function of the soft tissue). But it is up to me to tell is to the therapist.

    Once the session begins again if there is anything that is bugging you with the way the therapist is working, don’t just lie there but speak up. Tell your therapist that you want more or less pressure. Let them know that you would prefer more gliding/stretching strokes rather than acupressure style or whatever the case may be.

    Although you may not wish to talk too much during your treatment, just a couple of comments to direct the therapist will go a long way to providing you with the bodywork you are after.

    By Richard Lane

    Subscapularis Massage

    I recently posed an online question to other therapists about what muscles they believe do not receive sufficient attention from bodyworkers. My suggestions was the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle at the front of the neck. Other suggestions included the gluteal muscles, the pecs and abs which didn’t surprise me too much. However, a few therapists included the subscapularis muscle in their lists which I have to admit, is not a muscle I would normally spend a great deal of time on.

    Their comments inspired me to have a look at subscapularis, what it does and why it may be important for some shoulder conditions.

    Now the subscapularis muscle is part of the rotator cuff group, along with the teres minor, infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles. These muscles work together to stabilise the humerus in the glenoid fossa of the shoulder. From a massage therapists terminology it attaches to the anterior surface of the scapula at the subscapular fossa and the lesser tubercle of the humerus. It’s action is to internally rotating and adducting the humerus (along with it’s stabilisation role).

    Pain and dysfunction in the subscapularis muscle often manifests as an inability to lift the arm above the shoulder (although it should be mentioned that not being able to lift the arm above the shoulder does not necessarily indicate that there is an injury to the muscle as there are other conditions which have the same impact on lack of shoulder mobility). It is often the case that someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer may very well have some dysfunction of the subscapularis, such as trigger points (this applies to anyone who works with their arms out in front of them including massage therapists!).

    Pain that is due to dysfunction of the subscapularis can manifest in a number of different ways, it can be sharp and located in the shoulder, deeper or at the top of the shoulder. It can refer down the arm. There can be impingement of the brachial nerve which can lead to numblike sensations or tingling down the arm. The pain can gradually appear over time or, in the case of an acute incident, it can happen at an instant (throwing or pitching a ball is commonly cited as a major contributer to subscapularis injuries). Subscapularis therapy is often indicated when a client is recovering from frozen shoulder.

    Massage for the Subscapularis
    Access to the subscapularis is limited particularly when a client is lying prone and most therapists prefer to do their subscapularis bodywork with the client either supine or in a side-lying position. Examples of supine and sidelying subscapularis massages are shown in the videos below.

    Supine Massage

    Sidelying Massage

    Dr Ben Benjamin advocates using friction treatments to address subscapularis tendon injuries and claims that it can be a remarkably effective treatment for most muscle, tendon and ligament injuries. Friction massage for the subscapularis can be mildly unpleasant and should be performed from 5 to 15 minutes and is demonstrated on the video below.

      


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