I saw a client today using my hands. She was pregnant. She was referred to me because someone recommended that I’m not afraid to touch pregnant people. (This is a whole mood blog post, am I right?) She wanted a deep pressure massage. I’m in the exploration stage of barefoot pregnancy massage so if it’s a new client who I’ve never worked with before, I use my hands first. I’m very clear about this in the beginning of our session.
A few strokes in, I check in about pressure. She tells me then (not before) that she likes it to hurt. Phew. Already, I’m set up to fail at this because I’m not here to hurt people. But I start to settle into what I’m feeling and perceiving. She says she wants deep pressure but I’m actually wondering if she’s seeking sensory input. I’m already giving her a lot of pressure so I start to use less oil and bring in hot pillows. I also start moving more of her limbs around. I check in again. And now she says we are at the right depth.
Here’s what to take away:
Most people don’t have a lot of language around what they are experiencing. Most people don’t have a working understanding of their body or a great connection to it. Yes, even those who say they do.
When your client asks for “deep tissue,” ask them this:
Do you want your pressure to be:
- Deep or light
- Friction or smooth
- Hot or cold
- Movement or stillness
And be prepared for them not to know the answer.
And be prepared to show them an example of all of those. Often clients are not seeking depth, they are seeking sensation. So save your body and create sensation for them. If you want to know more ways to create sensation, contact me.