Massage. More hassle than it’s worth?

By Ben Elliott

Getting a massage, no need to worry. There are many people that book in for a massage, women, men, OAPs, you name it. The demand for massage is high to help combat muscular aches and pains caused by everyday life. I mean, think about it, it’s a stranger touching another stranger in different aspects of the body (not selling myself well here!), but what I mean is if I tried to massage somebody’s leg at a bus stop, you’d get struck off and arrested for sure! Feeling nervous before treatment? It is natural to be a little apprehensive about getting sports massage treatment, ESPECIALLY if you haven’t had said treatment. There’s that sense of unknowingly going into a treatment that you have little to no knowledge on.

A lot of therapists fail to establish that it is a big deal for some people and that some people may actually be nervous? Granted, some people feel comfortable with anybody and just want a deep tissue massage, but some people feel intimidated in “stripping down” for a massage. A few therapists do miss out on this vital element that could be a make or break for the customer getting the most of their treatment. Get the basics right The key thing for therapists to consider before treatment is how the customer feels. Even messaging the therapist is a big deal to them (they may not know you), so it’s essential that they feel comfortable. I say that with massive importance, simply because, if you’re nervous, your bodies immediate reaction is to “tense up” as your body is ultimately defending itself. If you’re being attacked, your body will automatically tense up to prevent further damage to the body, same applies to deep tissue massage. If you’re tensing up and I’m trying to release a tight calf muscle, short story- ain’t happening!

So as a client seeking massage what can you do to get the best treatment for you? You can find my treatments by clicking on my Facebook page or clicking here. Be rational about choosing your treatment When you book yourself a treatment you will find that each therapist is qualified (they better be anyway!), and make the choice you feel that helps deal with your issue.

Does that happen though? Absolutely not.

What happens is (I find) either one of a few: The customer is in agony/feeling stiff/been recommended from friend or PT or physio and book in with a therapist and book in with relevant practitioner because they’ve been told They have a pain in a certain area and Google the symptoms which gives a completely false diagnosis, meaning my inbox gets rammed with people with slipped discs, neuromuscular complaints when really, they just have a tight lumbar region from sitting at a desk all day Then there’s my favourite: those that book with a massage therapist who swear by the treatment and literally go to it with ALL injuries. Sprained ankle? Massage! Broken leg? Massage! Cars broken down? Massage will do! What can a therapist do to combat this? Listen!!! For gods sake you have a client that could either get better or worse from booking in with you and you’re missing out on the key feature that turns the massage from being “alright” to being “oh my god, that was amazing”.

A good way to make the client comfortable is to ask every so often see if they are comfortable, screen the customer from the moment they walk in (in a non creepy way) – this way you can see how comfortable they seem. Body language is a key indicator. If you’re nervous, they will be too Take home message Only thing to take home is that I’m great at what I do! Just kidding, when looking for a massage therapist, the best thing you can do is look at somebody you trust and that gives you the best value for money. I am not trying to paint all therapists with the same brush majority of them are very good at making the client feel comfortable, but there are some that do slip through the ranks that do fail to make the client feel at ease making it difficult for therapists like myself to do our work properly.

Ben is a Sports Massage Therapist based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. He has vast experience working with elite athletes including working as a Soft Tissue Therapist for Doncaster Rugby League and several Team GB athletes. Say hello to him by clicking here

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