In the quest to increase mindfulness in my practice, breathwork turned out to be a much more comprehensive assignment then I had anticipated. It is funny how once you have awareness, there are lessons everywhere. This whole month I have noticed mindfulness being mentioned in the news, in articles and there is even legislation being proposed that will promote mindfulness as a required part of curriculum. Luckily, with this much media exposure it is even easier for my clients to understand and fully participate in this journey.

It is now February and I am adding the skill of “scanning” to my quest. Body scanning is something most of us already utilize in the treatment room since awareness of how the body feels is an incredibly useful tool. I like to have clients scan an area just worked (i.e. an arm), noting how it compares to the untouched limb (i.e. the other arm) – this is a simple way to concretely demonstrate the value of the work you are providing. It is also a simple way to develop our clients’ feedback skills. Since my NMT sessions’ success is highly dependent on the quality of clients’ feedback – this is always a priority.

This month I am committed to expanding how I use scanning in the following ways:

  • I am beginning all my sessions by having clients perform a quick full body scan. I note their responses, and then I repeat the process at the end of the session. We can then discuss the changes that occurred during our time together.

  • For my clients who deal with chronic areas of tension and systemic discomfort issues – I am also incorporating contraction and release exercises, using their scanning as an assessment tool. In addition, I have been reprioritizing rhythmic massage and stretching as primary modalities. Having clients scan after each of these exercises, is teaching us a lot about their bodies.

  • A more creative and fun exercise we have been doing this month is testing different massage mediums. I received some samples of products at a show and some more on request. With some of my more experienced clients’ participation, I apply different mediums on different areas and work with them. The client focuses on how the medium feels as we proceed thru the treatment protocols and techniques. My clients have been very cooperative and actually enthusiastic about influencing my decisions on product. This process also sharpens feedback skills and heightens their awareness of the sensory components of the massage session.

So far we have played with the Biotone Pure Touch Organics Massage Gel and Controlled-Glide Massage Creme. Both feel different and the amount of slip is diverse enough to make the differences apparent. I am also asking clients to notice how the skin feels later. This may seem like “one more thing to do” but the benefits far outweigh the effort. For one thing you are getting useful information when deciding on one of your most important tools. Second and equally important is that you are reinforcing to clients the level of “your attention to detail” on their behalf. And last but not least, you are recruiting your clients to be part of your advisory board, thus becoming invested in your success. That my friends, is the best retention tool I know of.

The effort you take to insure that all the components of your practice are appealing; effective and professional….. is always time well spent.

Be well, do good work, and share with us which are your favorite mediums - oil, creme, or gel?