After a massage session today, my client commented that she had never had a therapist help her become aware of the tension in her body or how to use her breathing to relax.
My response was, "really?"
Maybe a session with me is not your typical massage therapy session. I start out by gently running my hand up your arm to get you comfortable with my touch. From there we chat a little bit while I begin the massage. Sometimes we chat a lot if that's what you need.
Usually at some point during the session - it might be right away; it might be later - I suggest a breathing pattern that will take you into deeper relaxation. If I can still feel your mind racing, I will have you silently recite a mantra while you breathe.
Almost every client with whom I work cannot tell the difference between relaxation and tension. I begin teaching you what it feels like to have a relaxed arm, shoulder, leg . . . In today's session, my client had no idea her arm was tense and her shoulder was up by her ear! She was used to it!
Probably the most useful thing I teach during a session is to have an awareness of the tension in your jaw and TMJ area. It is the first place in your body where mental stress will appear. If you jawline is tense, your thoughts are tense. Tension then runs down into your neck, across your shoulders and down into the middle of your back.
The homework after a massage therapy session with me is usually the same: 1) make big arm movements frequently to get oxygen rich blood pumping through your shoulder girdle to relieve and prevent tension; and 2) B-R-E-A-T-H-E