It is true that occasionally we get men phoning thinking Willow is not the type or massage centre that it is. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the business. Thankfully we have not had too many incidents. (They don’t ask twice, my dad taught me where to kick…) But it is something that occasionally we need to be aware of.
Any who, I had a man book online. He seemed like a nice fella when he came in, nothing suspicious. He wanted a full body massage treatment, had nothing specific he wanted working on. But when he was on the table, face down, he would not stop squirming. Lifting his groin off the table. I asked was he ok? He said he was although he continued lifting his pelvis up.
I was terrified that when I turned him over, I was going to see things I DID NOT want to see. Asked him again if he was alright, he said he was. So, for the bulk of the massage I kept him face down. Trying to spend as much time on his back as possible. But the squirming continued, mostly from the pelvis.
At this point I had spent as much time on his back and the back of his legs as I could so I had to ask him to turn over.
So I turned the client over and I saw….
Nothing out of the ordinary, or anything to cause alarm. Relieved I uncovered his leg, and it was so warm it was unreal!
Turns out the electric blanket underneath was overheating this poor man and he was trying to protect himself from the heat. If he had said I could have switched it off!?
Moral of the story guys, if you are too hot or too cold please tell us as it makes everyone uncomfortable.
Sometimes you are exactly where you need to be
Massage therapy is a tough job. It is very physical, and the longer the treatment the harder it is on you. 2 hour massages can be awful if it’s the last one in the day. This was one of those….
Last thing in the day a 2 hour massage on a fella. I pleaded with another therapist to take it, but she as busy. I pleaded with the universe that he would forget the treatment, but he didn’t...
I feel like I have a deal with the universe. There are days (not many thankfully) that you just don’t want people to turn up. But the deal is that if the persons need for a treatment outweighs my need not to do the treatment then send them in. This was one of those days.
Suffering from random panic attacks he was getting discomfort in his shoulders and neck. His girlfriends mother thought this would be an excellent treat for him.
He hadn’t had a massage before he and was anxious, unsure of what to expect.
When someone is in this state it is important for massage therapists respond effectively. How I spoke to him, how I explained things to him, using some humor to help him feel more comfortable. This reminded me of the value of tone and communication in this line of work. Asking someone with anxiety to remove clothing will add to their vulnerability. Requiring more trust than many people recognise. We don’t just work with physical health, mental health is just as complicated as to which muscle group will unlock a frozen shoulder.
Like many people with anxiety he would try and help me during the treatment, e.g. lifting his arms, shoulders to let me work easier. So I explained that his only job for the next two hours was to just exist.
This time when I was working his arm he held my hand. I could tell he was trying not to panic. So I stood beside him, just holding his hand and talked him through relaxing his breathing. Slowly talking him through a grounding technique he can use at home when he feels this way. Once he had visibly relaxed I continued the treatment.
He floated out of that room a different person. Even when he spoke, it was slower, less anxious. And now he has a tool he has seen work with him to use at home. I really feel like I made a difference that day.
Like I said, I really really didn’t want to do that treatment. But I am really really glad I did.
During my years at Willow Massage Centre I have kept a reflective diary. This has helped me to learn more about the way I work, what type of work people prefer the best and also to give me the occasional giggle. No two treatments are the same, and by reflecting on this it will allow us to grow with the work that we do. In this diary I have written stories of treatments that remind me why I do this work, stories of why it is a difficult job to do and some stories of days I clearly should have stayed in bed. As Willow has been open for five years now I feel like this would be a good time to share some of them. All stories will be written anonymously.
Severed Hand Syndrome
A friend of the family referred a client to Willow, her main complaint being severed hand syndrome. After suffering for years with Carpel Tunnel she bit the bullet and went for the corrective surgery. Unfortunately this was a total failure and she ended up with severed hand syndrome. This means that the brain thinks that her hand has been amputated. The result is a numb, painful forearm and hand all day, everyday. There is little movement, strength or flexibility in the wrist or hand. It requires a full wrist brace.
However, as she had been holding her arm to protect it a frozen shoulder had set in.
Doctors, physios and surgeons had been unable to solve either problem. During the treatment I was working round her shoulder and came to a point for the arm release with the Emmett technique, the client gave a little jump and said she could feel that all the way down her arm. So I asked if we could swap to this technique instead? She agreed.
As I was working with this the client said she was aware of a tingling sensation all the way to her finger tips. Amazing! (I say that as she had little to no sensation in the arm, so any sensation is fantastic!)
Before the treatment the client was unable to do anything with her hand. So I brought a glass of water to her and asked her to use the hand we had been working on. She took the glass of water, and drank using that hand, and burst into tears. So happy!
To add a bit of personal achievement to this my mum had popped in to help me sort some stuff whilst I was doing this treatment. It was great for her to see and hear the reactions from this client. I loved her seeing the work that I do and the impact it can have on people.
Your friendly Aromatherapist and holistic therapy enthusiast