I am a shy person. It was a shock to everyone, myself included when I decided to train as a massage therapist. After all, it is a job that requires a high level of human contact, and naturally being introverted, human contact is something us shy people shirk away from. During my training, I quickly learned that shyness was in fact going to play a little in my favour. The intimacy of the course naturally aided me to gain some confidence but not to the point of becoming overbearing to the customer. Clients generally seek massage for relaxation and calm so a relaxed and calming therapist is welcoming. Always one to look on the bright side, I feel that my quiet nature is a contributing factor to the fantastically stress relieving massages that I can administer. Massage is a wonderful portable skill to have. I do not hail from South Africa so when I arrived on its sunny shores two years ago it was reassuring to bring with me my world recognised massage qualification. Massage can of course be hemmed into a couple of sectors but the most prominent are the health and wellness industries. In an age where a holistic approach to health is ever growing, massage is very much in demand. People don’t simply use massage for tension release but for body, mind and spirit. From healing physical ailments and assisting with the release of mental stress to balancing the bodies’ chakras, massage is a technique that can be tailored to help with almost anything.
Never ending learning and responsibility
The super thing about a career in the massage sector is that it is a job that sets you on a never ending educational journey. There is literally so many paths that a massage therapist can take from opting to go down the medicinal track and becoming a remedial therapist to specialising in aromatherapy massage. It must be noted that it is a career not without great responsibility. Before qualifying, amongst many tests and practicals, a pivotal part of the examination process was recalling contra indications; that is the different health issues that might restrict a client from having a massage. As a therapist and to ensure the highest duty of care, it is imperative to know and understand these contra indications. You are liable if you administer a massage treatment on someone that is contra indicated.
Not just your average day
I have had some wow moments in my career. A client once broke down into tears during the treatment. Naturally I thought maybe I was a bit heavy handed and she was, well a bit overly sensitive. The lady proceeded to pour her heart out to me about some family issues. Yes sometimes, being a massage therapist is like being a counsellor. All that tension releasing from the treatment ebbs away mental tension so it can actually melt out physically. It is important as a therapist to have the ability to demonstrate your nurturing caring side in such instances but refrain from playing psychologist. Phrases such as “It might be helpful if you speak to a family member” are ok but giving actual solid advice on someone’s personal issues should be avoided. On the lighter side, a belly full of food and a great massage therapist can sometimes lead to a windy bum. Yes do not be surprised if you encounter the odd fart. Always important to maintain your professional face, assure the client that this happens all the time and have your giggle when they leave.
From crusty old toenails, to hairy backs to third nipples, I have seen it all. Nothing about the human body surprises or disgusts me anymore. Rubbing the smelliest feet in the world is worth it when the nervous old man who came in, leaves your salon looking relaxed, rejuvenated and happy.
Do you work as a massage therapist? Feel free to share about your experiences below in the comments!