Thanks for coming out tonight! I appreciate your patience with my public speaking, as somebody who spends her workday in a quiet room with one person at a time, I'm a little out of my normal state here. I'm excited to introduce my work and I'm even more excited to answer any questions after I'm done.
I've been doing massage professionally for 13 years, and I've been a birth doula for 10. Most of the clients I see are experiencing something new or alarming in their health. You wake up and your neck doesn't turn as much as it should, or you have a difficult month and develop a headache that doesn't go away, or some tingling in your hands. Maybe you are pregnant and somewhere in your 5th month, you and your low back are no longer on speaking terms. Massage is super-helpful with all of these problems.
Massage can be stressful. It can be healing when you have pain, anxiety, tension, but it usually involves going to a stranger, who may or may not be able to help you, who you may or may not feel comfortable with, and then you get undressed and they touch you. A good massage can feel like a miracle, and a bad one can feel like paying $90 to feel uncomfortable for an hour.
My first massage was both helpful and super-stressful. I thought I was being considerate and groovy and urban in some way by acting like I knew what was happening and not needing anything from the massage therapist, but actually I was just cold and awkward and anxious. After my massage, some of my muscles had relaxed enough that I felt like a bad-ass athlete biking through town later that night. Moving felt easier, and my mind was clearer, but it wasn't one of those healing-miracle hours.
Some clients come in very familiar with massage, knowing what they want and talking to me about it in specific knowledgeable terms, but what I really like to do is give people a great first massage, teaching them what they can expect from me and how massage should feel and what it can do. I love telling people that massage shouldn't hurt, and that I have a lot of different techniques that I can use to accomplish basically the same thing, so if my technique feels annoying or irrelevant, just let me know you'd like me to switch it up. I love sharing my terrible crayon-drawn pictures of draped for massage on my website, so clients know how they'll be covered during their massage.
All of us massage therapists are required to do continuing education, so by the time someone is a few years out of school, we all have a lot of different techniques that we can use. Some people get really into one type of massage or energy work, but I've chosen to mix it up so that I can work with a wider variety of clients with different needs. It's important to me to be fully trained to work with my clients through pregnancy and postpartum, or to be able to do orthopedic work with clients who only feel comfortable fully dressed.
Some clients have a lot of anxiety about getting massage because of their size or gender or some other aspect of themselves that they worry I'll judge them for. A lot of men think their feet are ugly, but in 14 years of doing massage with a very diverse client base, I have never seen ugly on a table in any person, except for the one time early in my career a client tried to bully me. Some clients are afraid of breaking my table or being too big for it, and I love that it is engineered to hold 1000 lbs.
Every day I go to work I have my regular agenda and my secret agenda.
MY NOT-SECRET AGENDA
To use massage technique that is evidence-based and kind to help people with their pain that is caused by chronic tension or postural imbalance and give them information and support that is appropriate to their lives at any life stage or state of health where massage can benefit them.
MY SECRET AGENDA
To help my clients whose bodies have not been safe or comfortable places find their way home, in a slow, safe way that they are 100% in control of. To help my clients practice experiencing touch that feels good and learn language skills for communicating about touch. I do this in the context of evidence-based, orthopedically-educated massage that respects the mystery and miraculousness of healing. I truly believe this is world-changing.