Yesterday I mentioned that I went downtown for a massage. I’ve been complaining about a knot that I believe is growing in my shoulder. I had a voucher for a free student therapist massage at my school. Why not? I got there early to fill out my intake form and I specifically wrote that I did NOT want my feet, face or abs worked on. I have nothing against these areas, but I wanted as much time spent on my shoulder as possible. I could live without those areas worked.
I’m welcomed by my student therapist and begin walking back. While working at the clinic, as the therapist we would tell the client which room we would be working in and let them lead the way. We would then look at their intake forms, talk to them about the reason they were here today and discuss a treatment plan for the next 60 minutes. After that, we would instruct them how to lay and tell them we’ll leave the room to let them get ready.
Upon return, we would check in about comfort and the heat on the table. We do this regardless if they’re a repeat client. We treat every client as if it’s their first time. My therapist didn’t tell me the room we were in at first so we both stood there until I began walking and she called out the number. We discussed briefly my issues and she told me she knew I just graduated from the school because her instructor was talking about me prior to my session. We chit chatted a bit and she left the room. How was I supposed to lay? I assumed I would be on my stomach because that’s how I would instruct someone if they had the same complaints as I did.
She comes back into the room, doesn’t ask about my comfort or the level of the heat on the table. I chalked this up to being nervous because I had graduated. Whenever I worked on somebody who knew what I was doing, I was terrified. I felt as if they were critiquing everything I did. And if she felt this way, she was right. I had the hardest time relaxing. I could let me limbs relax and she was able to do with them as she pleased. I didn’t try to hold anything, move anything unless instructed. But as for mental relaxation, I just couldn’t achieve it. I kept thinking about the massage and wondering when she was going to address the area of pain. Was she just going to glide her hands over it? Where was the myofascial work? Does she know what muscle stripping is? Oh I should remember to tell her about this or that. She did address my knot and was pretty good at poking and proding it. As for progress, I don’t know if we made any. She probably spent about 20 minutes on the area. I thank her for that. But she moved to my legs afterwards. I told her that if she didn’t have time to, don’t bother. But she had a good 20 left. Why couldn’t she work on my shoulder some more? It was just warmed up….no progress was made.
But she continued to work on my legs, my feet, my neck and my face. Two out of those four are areas I specifically said do NOT work on. Sure I enjoyed the work, but it made me feel like didn’t read my intake form. That’s a big no no. What if I had just sprained my ankle or broken a toe? I guess I’d be obligated to tell her that, but I shouldn’t have to. She should check the form I filled out.
As the massage was ending, she took out the bolster from under my knees and told me she would step out of the room. Well is that it? Are you stepping out and never coming back? What do I do when I’m dressed? Just because I used to work here doesn’t mean you should assume I know what to do. Be pleasant, ask how I am feeling, thank me for allowing you to practice on my body, remind me to open the door when I’m ready for you to come back in. Her bedside manner was iffy.
I asked about some self care I could do to help relieve some of the pain I’ve been feeling. She suggested wall angels, which is typical for someone at this clinic. The school didn’t really prepare us with many self-care exercises. Wall angels are probably most commonly suggested. I don’t know why I was disappointed with that. I guess because I was coming there as a client, not a therapist and I expected a bit more because I usually gave more than that. She was nice enough to run back to the break room and ask the instructor for a few suggestions for me.
I wonder if she is like that with every client or just ones who happened to have graduated from the school? Was I being over analytical because I liked that I intimidated her? Or was my teaching-instincts shining through? Would I be like this at any clinic or just student clinics? Probably student clinics. They are there to learn and I’m not going to fake happy for their benefit. They don’t learn from that and why should I send out a half-assed massage therapist? She wasn’t half-assed for the record. There were some aspects of her massage that I absolutely loved. If she considers my feedback, I bet she’ll continue to improve. I did tip her and thanked her for her work. I was very pleasant and polite. I didn’t attack her on her feedback form. I did criticize a bit, but I made sure to highlight the great parts. I’m all about balance.
As for my shoulder and neck…well, they’re in more pain than they were prior to the massage haha! It was a fun experience being on the receiving end for a change.