Friday Fives: What not to say!

Welcome to the first Friday Fives.
Each Friday I will be bringing you a "Top Five" of something Massage Therapy or Health related so if you have any topics you would like to have covered by the Friday Fives then please let me know.

Top five things you should never say to a client!

The Therapist/Client relationship is a sacred, and very personal one. With the right client we become their friend and confident.
Massage sessions can often create a gateway for an out pouring of secrets, thoughts and emotions so it is important that we conduct ourselves in a friendly, safe and polite manner.
As I attend class each week, I often hear myself and other students spit out knee jerk words or phrases as we massage our partners. Some we laugh at but there are often times when I think to myself, WOW you would not want to say that to a client.
So here is my list of the five things we definitely should not say!

5. OOPS!

This, along with other reactionary phrases like "uh oh" and "sorry" should never be heard by a client. Could you imagine laying there on the table, entrusting your therapist with your body and health and out of the silence you hear "OOPS!" ?
The best thing you can do if you can catch yourself thinking that you have had an "OOPS" moment is to take a deep breath in instead, and if you cant do that, try biting your tongue until the urge goes away.

4. Girl, You've got some junk up in there!

This was the comment I overheard in class that got me thinking about this topic. I was mortified when I heard it. Looking up I understood what the Therapist was talking about, as she worked some static friction into the Rhomboids and Trapezius muscle of their partner. I know i've thought something similar myself when feeling knots and taut bands in muscle but it's just not something you say. Particularly when massaging a female, prone, because the word "junk" just screams "Big Butt" to me and thats not really polite or comforting to the client now is it?

3. Excuse you / Pardon you.

We all know that as our bodies relax there are certain gaseous releases from both ends of the body that tend to be unavoidable.  If you are massaging a client and this happens the worst thing you can do is acknowledge that it did. Your client is probably laying there in the face cradle praying that you didn't notice it.

If they acknowledge the act you can smile, and maybe say something like "dont worry about it" and continue on with your routine. You certainly dont want to laugh at it and say to your client "Phew that was a good one" or some such similar jest, if you do, it may be the last time you jest with them.

2. Talking about yourself.
Some clients like to talk through their massage, personally when Im having a massage the last thing I want to do is waste my 60 or 90 minutes yammering away, and there are plenty clients who agree. If it is your first or second, maybe even a third session with your client it can often be difficult to gauge how they are, so let them take the lead. Respond politely when spoken to, and try to avoid the normal "no go" topics such as Religion, Politics or Money. Just dont talk to them at length unless asked to, and try to use as much of the session to ensure that the client is relaxed and comfortable and NEVER burden your client with the drama llama that lives in your back yard.

1. Did you bathe today?

I asked around my friends and family to try to find out what was the WORST thing they felt a massage therapist could ever say to them in the therapy room and everyone answered the same thing. They would HATE for a therapist to mention something about their hygiene or cleanliness.
This was one of the items on my "con" list when considering signing up for school, the thought of having to massage someone with poor hygiene but Im not really sure that its such an issue any more. A friend and fellow therapist let me into her secret of dealing with clients who may not have the prettiest smelling feet, and she uses warm moist towels as a way to "wipe down" the feet as a part of her routine so that the client didnt feel uncomfortable or embarrased.

Try to remember the saying our Mums, or our Grannies used to say to us:

"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"