By Sandy Levy
When you praise one of our massage therapists for her miraculous healing powers, in addition to feeling gratified, she is probably also thinking, “if you only knew that it’s not me, it’s you!”
Clients tend to be somewhat incredulous if we tell them that in the healing equation, they are much more important than we are. Perhaps they think that we are being self-deprecating, but no, we do have an appreciation for our work. It’s just that when people improve, we know that it is largely because of what they have brought to the session.
We don’t know all the factors that go into some of the amazing responses to massage therapy that we see–we wish we did–but it should not be a surprise that clients who pay attention to matters such as nutrition and sleep and their emotional well-being will do better. I once heard the late Dr. Janet Travell, famous for being President Kennedy’s physician and for her seminal work on muscular pain, tell of the study of two groups of people, one consisting of people who had never smoked, and one consisting of those who had quit smoking. She asked the audience, “Which group do you think lived longer?” The surprising answer was, “the group that had quit.” Why? Because, she believed, they were seriously interested in doing something to improve their health.
Then what of those who, despite their own and their therapist’s best efforts, continue to struggle? It could just be that it is time to consider whether the problem is not they, but the therapist or the type of therapy, and that is one reason that we encourage our clients to feel free to see any of our staff, each of whom has a somewhat different set of skills. It is also why we refer clients to trusted healthcare providers outside of our areas of expertise, either to supplement massage therapy or as an alternate method. If you find yourself thinking, “Maybe it’s not me,” it might be time for a change.