If I were granted a single wish, it would be to get clients and therapists alike to understand the importance of communication in therapeutic bodywork.
I can’t tell you how many stories about poor experiences with bodywork I’ve heard from clients that could have been easily avoided by skilled communication from the therapist. My own work over the last 20 years is not excluded either! I’ve certainly had instances of not doing an adequate job of educating my client on how to interpret and communicate what was happening in their body in response to the work we were doing. The result of this is almost always a lack of results or worse, agitating the condition that was already present.
One of the things that I emphasize with the Loosen Up staff is how to train their clients to communicate well. I always tell my clients “I know the techniques and the body systems, but what I don’t know is what it’s like to be in your body so please fill me in on how things are feeling as we go.” This empowers the client to know that they are in charge of the session and are not expected to tolerate techniques that are painful or uncomfortable.
Occasionally we do explore techniques that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable in the beginning. But when clients are given the parameters of what to expect and what we need to avoid, the confidence that they gain from beginning to listen to their own body is where the most profound therapeutic benefit resides.
If you’re a client, always remember that you are in charge of your session. If anything ever feels like it isn’t helping or is aggravating what is already going on, communicate with your therapist. They should be able to adjust their technique or switch techniques altogether to get you results without agitation.