I experienced three serendipitous occurrences this week that once again reminded me why I am so grateful to be a massage therapist. These are experiences that I would not have been able to fully appreciate had it not been for the time and energy I have spent researching and learning beyond the education I received in massage school.
While out and about on Monday afternoon I saw a middle aged woman sitting on a bench looking uncomfortable. She kept repositioning her body and wincing, I assumed from pain. Unable to help myself, I approached her, asked if I could sit and after a few minutes of small talk asked if she was okay. She commenced to tell me that she could only walk short distances without experiencing foot and leg pain and no one seemed to be able to help her. She had no hip or back pain, but was clearly caved forward and tended to rest her weight on her right side. I asked if she had ever had a massage, which she had not. We had a conversation about the benefits of massage and postural therapy. We talked gravity and the effects it can have. She didn’t live near my office, but I was able to refer her to someone in her neck of the woods. I was thrilled to get a call from that therapist a few days later telling me she had already had a therapy. I also received a call from the client expressing her gratitude that I had taken the time to talk with her. She said she had not felt “this able” in years as demonstrated by her ability to walk to her mailbox and back without any pain.
On Thursday, on a plane headed back to San Diego from Washington DC, I struck up a conversation with the lovely lady sitting beside me. During our flight we spoke about our lives, family and work. At some point in the conversation the topic turned to a massage therapist she had received treatment from in years past. She said that therapist was different from others because she worked on the front of her chest and her abdomen. She was curious if I did that type of work because she had found helpful and was disappointed that in the many massages she had experienced since no one had ever touched these areas. I told her that it was actually one of my specialties! I feel no therapy is complete without anterior neck, chest and abdominal work. With permission, I did a few gentle movements to the area visible above her shirt collar as I named the muscles and discussed the importance of releasing these areas. Within few seconds she experienced a full on emotional release. It was certainly a little odd to have this occur at 30,000 feet, but she seemed fine with it and it didn’t bother me, so I went with it.The release only lasted a few minutes and we managed not to cause a scene. As we parted ways I was gifted with a loving hug and a smile. By time I got home I had a beautiful email expressing gratitude and a promise to visit San Diego for some therapy!
Then on Friday, I had to contact a new customer who had ordered product online regarding a processing issue. She apologized for being hard to get in touch with as a result of a medical emergency. After dealing with her product issues, I asked if she was doing okay and politely asked what had happened. She told me that she had always had digestive tract issues. A few years ago she had almost died as a result of a blockage. Doctors had to remove much of her septic large intestines to save her life! She then had an issue with scar tissue from the surgery and has to go in annually to have them grind off the scar tissue to keep it from thickening to the point of creating new blockages. The most recent event had landed her in a medically induced coma. I asked if she had tried abdominal massage. She said yes, but that she had to stop because it was so painful. Many years ago I had a friend with a similar issue that resulted in me consulting with doctors, researching the digestive tract and taking CE class on scar tissue treatments. My friend and I had tried many techniques before we found one she could tolerate. I was able to share what I knew and encouraged this young lady to keep exploring her options. Moments later I received a heartwarming email thanking me for the generosity of my time and knowledge. She stated that she had been having a down day and I had lifted her up!
In each other these situations a number of things came into play. I, after assessing the situation for comfort, safety and appropriateness, reached out to a stranger who seemed in need. My outreach was accepted and a conversation ensued (not always the case and that is okay too) which allowed me to bring some knowledge and comfort to someone who needed it. All these situations enriched my life and I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of each of these women’s lives - if even for just a moment. The thing is, I don’t think I would have been able to bring as much to theirs had I not expanded my basic massage education with continuing education, research and a general willingness to deepen my knowledge of healing arts. Basically, by specializing my practice I expanded my life and the blessings it brings to me and others. I know I am not the only therapist out there who has experienced this! Please, tell us your stories of inspiration and blessing. We would love to hear them!