I received a really neat compliment the other day from Jim*, a long-term client and competitive athlete. Every two weeks he brings a variety of issues to the massage table for me tend to. And because he’s a true North Eastern Man, he switches sports with the seasons, bringing a new variety of treatment issues with each season. We joke that he likes to keep me on my toes and give me a good work out. It’s true though. Sometimes it’s a matter of tending to the tension and (over)use issues he mentioned in our pre-session discussion, sometimes it’s something I come across that he wasn’t even aware of yet.
On his last visit when I asked what his needs were, he took a breath to tell me then stopped and grinned. “I’m not gonna tell you,” he said. “Those Radar Hands of yours will find everything. They always do.” And a few minutes into the session he said, “See! I was right. Radar Hands. You zeroed right in on the pain.”
We had a good laugh about that. But I liked the image. Clients are always asking how I seem to know exactly where they’re hurting. Like it’s some kind of magic or esoteric “knowing”. I kind of wish that were so. But it’s nothing nearly so romantic. It’s really just about having a through understanding of the musculo-skeletal system, and knowing the pathways and patterns of healthy muscle fibers. By following those patterns, my hands can discover the inconsistencies in the system. That’s were the problems lie that cause you pain and discomfort. Once my hands zero in on those places of insurrection within the muscle fibers, they do the work of coaxing those fibers back into healthy alignment. And that’s what make you feel so much better. Radar Hands.
*My client anecdotes are true, but I change the name and other characteristics of my clients to ensure their privacy.
quote and photo compliments of Pinterest
I mowed my lawn yesterday. Each year I forget that the season’s first mowing always takes much longer than the mowings to follow. Early in the Spring I can’t help but hack into the wooded areas surrounding my acre of yard. Always whacking away at the brambled borders, wielding my push mower as part weed-whacker, part chain saw. Enlarging my little country acre. Out here we have a pesky, parasitic vine which loves to wrap its way into all the trees. Left unchecked, it thickens into rubbery, boaconstrictor-like bands. They crawl across the ground and climb the tree trunks then wrap around the branches in a strangle-hold. They create ugly nests in the canopies. When I encounter them, I stop the mower and yank them down. They’re tough, insidious creatures and fight me every step of the way. But there’s a real joy in pulling the vines down, and it often takes my full body weight, hanging from them to do this. When the tree branches bounce up in a quick dance of freedom, I always sense an accompanying sigh of relief. As though the trees are taking in a breath of air, stretching with their recovered liberty and flexibility.
It’s like that when I work out the painful tension in muscles during a therapeutic massage. The tension and knots in a muscle often feel like thick bands or ropes under the skin. Insidious vines. These adhesions inhibit circulation, which means the tissues aren’t getting their adequate nutrition, nor are they being properly cleansed and flushed. They inhibit movement and range of motion. When the tension and adhesions are worked-out and circulation is restored, there’s always a sigh of relief from the person on the massage table. Flexibility, movement, and freedom are restored. What a feeling.
NYS Licensed Massage Therapist
Stairway Healing Arts Center
1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY 12816