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Boundaries & Feedback with Bodywork

My long career as a really picky client is part of what makes me a better massage therapist now. More importantly, it’s what makes me very receptive to your feedback. I know how annoying it is to put your money and time into a massage and not feel satisfied with the experience. I know what it is like to leave a massage office feeling like the therapist missed that ‘one spot’ between my shoulder blades that I really wanted worked on.

When you tell me the pressure is too much, I won’t ask you to breathe through it. I’ll back off and find a better way to treat the area. If you’re cold, or warm, or hate the music, I’ll make it better. When you tell me, I won’t be annoyed or put out. I will not think you are high-maintenance. If you make a short conversation and I get too chatty, I will not be offended if you cue me to hush up by saying, “Okay, I’m gonna be quiet now so I can enjoy this massage.”

I want to empower you to speak up for your boundaries and give feedback so you have the best experience possible. When you make a request, I will be utterly pleased that you are speaking up, so I can make the best possible experience for you.

Here are some example statements you can think about or use to alleviate social discomfort as well set some safe boundaries for yourself:

During the intake process, if the therapist does not go over how to communicate preferences during the massage - you can ask! Try, “How would you like me to communicate my pressure preferences during the massage?”

If the therapist is too chatty, or to be preventative upfront, you can say “I’m probably not going to keep talking as I want to rest and enjoy the massage”

“Will you be working on my _____(body part) with lotion today?”

At the end of the day, I also realize that many, many of my own disappointing massage appointments could have been resolved quickly if I had spoken up. Sometimes I do speak up. Other times I feel like it’s futile. That’s on me. Kinda. It’s also up to the therapist to create an environment where I feel comfortable speaking up. That hasn’t always happened and I would like to provide a safe environment for you to feel like you can set healthy boundaries and give feedback.

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