I think about what it is to be a massage therapist a lot. You’d almost think it’s a crazy amount. I LOVE what I do. To the point of when I go to the pub with friends of friends and the inevitable work conversation comes up, when they say “What do you do?”, I say “I’m a Myofascial Release therapist”, then they look blank, and I then say “It’s kind of like massage, I work with the connective tissue system as much as the muscles to help ease out restrictions and injuries, then I do some stuff that resynchronises your brain with your muscles…” And 9 times out of 10, the blank look turns into a slightly excited one and the next line is usually “Oh! Really? Well, I have this niggle going on with my shoulder/knee/back/hip etc etc” Then we talk about that niggle for a while.
Now for a lot of therapists that’s where the conversation ends and everyone goes back to drinking their pints….but with me, by this point I am in my zone- there will be muscle testing, shape throwing, and activations happening and usually a step towards resolving whatever niggle was troubling them.
Some would say that I should probably just carry my business cards more often….
Any ways, so the other day I was thinking to myself…if I could tell other therapists all the things that have made me a better therapist, what would they be?
This became a little list of 55 ways to become a more awesome therapist!
1. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon when you wake- the lemon, although acidic, creates alkaline conditions in the body
2. Diaphragmatic breathing – learn to do it for yourself, teach it to your clients.
3. Get really clear about who you would like to work with all day, every day. Once you have clarity and start putting it out there they will come, and they will pay you lovingly and loyally (even if you’d work with these people for free!)
4. When you wake up, list three things that excite you about your day ahead
5. Learn to meditate
6. Trust your gut, not sure why you feel like you want to work on some ones feet even though they came about neck pain? Trust your gut and work there.
7. Keep it in mind that low back pain often starts at the front of the body in the hip flexors
8. Read Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine
9. Read What’s in your Web by Phil Travolocci
10. Read Psychocybernetics
11. Journal. What are your dreams? Take time to feel into them
12. Develop your sense of feel. Place a hair under a sheet of paper (even better get someone else to do it) then use the subtleties of your finger tips to find it. Then try two sheets of paper, three sheets of paper and so on.
13. Read Happy pocket full of money- yes, it’s a book about money, but it’s also a book about quantum, manifesting and abundance.
14. Drink more water! And tell your clients to do so too
15. The psoas is a beautiful muscle. Learn how to palpate it, how to release it and how your clients can do the same
16. Learn about the fascia and how this amazing web can torsion and pull through the whole body
17. Take a workshop on posture assessment
18. Learn about the pterygoid muscle and how to release it – you can change a clients life, from headaches, to head forward posture, to teeth grinding g at night
19. The acetabulum the femur sits in to form the hip joint is positioned toward the front of the pelvis. This means that as the pelvis torsions, one acetabulum will look lower than the other. Most times this is the reason for a client to have “one leg longer than the other”. Very rarely is it due to the length of the long femur bone.
20. The pelvis acts as two halves of three bones. These two sides can rotate together, shear against each other, tilt anteriorly together, tilt posteriorly together, and rotate against each other- this last one can lead to a long leg and a short leg
21. At the end of a day make a habit of listing three things about the day that you are thank you for. Gratitude is a great way of raising your personal vibration
22. At the end of every treatment ask your client to take three deep breaths in and out. Invite them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. At the same time, place your hands on their feet, in your head say “I bless you, I bless you, I bless you. I release you, I release you, I release you”. On the third in breath lighten your hold on the feet, and remove your hands entirely on the third out breath. Swipe your hand in front of your belly to cut the energetic cord before stepping out of your clients energy field. Flick fingers once you have left their space
23. If your client is feeling light headed on standing, ask them to place the palms of both hands on the floor for a moment and take three deep breaths.
24. Before walking into the treatment room, take a moment to breathe in deeply through your nose. At the same time visualise the breath pouring into you through the top of your head. As you breathe out through your mouth, visualise the breath flowing out through the soles of your feet connecting you from Universe all the way through to earth.
25. Before you start each day of treatments, light a candle and ask the Ascended masters, highest of high, spirit guides and spirit beings to join you and offer you Devine guidance and help so that you can work in a more beautiful graceful loving way.
26. It’s not about the money! Shift your attention away from the numbers on your bank balance and instead create positive focus on ways you can serve your clients better. When you add more love, and more value, those digits on your statements take care of themselves.
27. Low days and dark moods can be brightened considerably by listing all the things you can possibly think of to be grateful for. Whether it’s a sunny day, a beautiful leaf, the breath in your lungs and the blood pumping around your body – there is always some little thing to be grateful for.
28. It’s ok to say no to a client. If you don’t feel like you are the right therapist for the , let them down gently, and offer them alternatives/names of therapists who may be a better fit. You don’t have to be all things to all people.
29. Recognise when chatting in the treatment room is keeping your client away from their healing. Quite often a chatty client is distracting themselves and you from the work they really need. Guide them to feel into their body and/or to focus on their breathing.
30. Teach your clients how to treat the soles of their feet with a tennis ball. It will help soften the fascial web all the way up the back line of the body, right over the top of their head and up to their eyebrow!
31. Over tight hamstrings can be lengthened by massaging the jaw- start at your masseters and rub up to the brows
32. You can demonstrate the power of positive thought to a client by asking them to rotate their upper body without moving their legs. Do this with arm extended in both directions to get a base line of their rotational flexibility. Now ask them to do the same whilst thinking about things that make them really happy. Then repeat whilst thinking about things that really stress them out. How much further around can they rotate with happy thoughts in their mind?
33. If you are looking at a client with elbow pain- check their latissimus dorsi, as well as their forearms and bicep longus attachments.
34. Read Healing Ancient Wounds by John F Barnes
35. Learn how to myofascially self treat with a foam roller- teach your clients.
36. A soft rubber 4″ ball can be one of the most helpful self treatment tools ever.
37. Antibiotics strip the gut of good bacteria. Recommend that clients take a good probiotic (not something sugary like actimel), cut down on sugar and processed foods.
38. Also, try Prebiotics these are generally, fermented, live foods such as sour kraut or kombucha, all of which keep the gut in tip top condition.
39. Ask clients “What would be a more positive and healthy way for you to act, believe and feel about this right now?” when they find themselves in stuck patterns of thinking and repetitive behaviour.
40. Don’t be afraid to write your clients letters. Actual proper ones, with stamps and envelopes. It’s lovely to receive mail and a carefully thought out letter which doesn’t reek of selling is a lovely way to reconnect and say Hi, how are you?
41. Make this your mantra “I am positively expecting great results, no matter what I see in front of me. The Universe is rearranging itself, in my best interest right now”
42. Ask. Believe. Receive.
43. Ask your clients for testimonials on a regular basis. Prospective clients will believe actual clients far quicker than they will believe you- even if you are saying exactly the same thing!
44. Keep learning. Take courses, read books, stay curious. A expert is someone who knows a lot about an increasingly small range of things. Mastery is about deepening your knowledge and your knowing, without sacrificing your curiosity.
45. Learn to discern the difference between your clients truth and your clients story. It’s a thin line sometimes, but an important one- their story will be the one they peddle to anyone that will listen. Watch for its self limiting beliefs – they’ll be woven in so tightly that sometimes even your client won’t be able to spot them. But when you gently coax them into the light, real healing can take place.
46. When looking at posture, don’t forget to assess at how they look stood up and how it differs when they lie down. Gravity plays a big difference in the torsioning patterns of the body.
47. Read How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger
48. Play, pretend and fill your life with magic
49. Tell people you love them, and hug them with every cell in your body
50. Learn about Ho’oponopono
51. Tell Yourself that you love you every single day- even when the day is getting messy, in fact especially when it’s all going wrong! Believe it and treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you’d like others to treat you with
52 Get treated on a regular basis
53 Take a Be Activated course with Douglas Heel
54 Learn, love and explore the wonderful world of Fascia. There are so many ways to learn, but http://www.myofascialrelease.co.uk is a great place to start
55 ahem, Facebook like and follow Thrive Clinic & Studio, and specifically for therapists take a look at my Facebook page Treatment Unicorn for more entertaining insights into how to know, grow and love what makes you uniquely awesome as a therapist.
It is by no means an exhaustive list, although potentially exhausting, and if you’ve gotten to the bottom of it, well…bless you.
Until next time!