This week a student asked how could we avoid those clients who feel that one massage treatment should resolve their problem, and when this does not happen, they opt for spreading malicious rumors about the Therapist? I don’t know. People are good, up until they aren’t. We do our best and trust that the words of those who benefit from our services continue to have the greater impact on our potential clients. I recall one male therapist being upset because a female client had spread the word that he touched her inappropriately. She needed post-surgical lymph drainage, which included working the anterior axillo-axillary anastomosis. She told a few folks that he fondled her breasts and how disturbed she was about it (word got back to him), yet she returned for further treatments maybe because she knew no other therapist or the fondling effectively drained the area.
During class last Saturday morning I answered my phone and the man on the other end was communicating his need to urgently have a massage. He was walking in the rain somewhere in Trincity, but ready to come to Cunupia for a massage should I say so. I inquired what he needed treated so urgently. Instead of responding to that, he advised that he got my number from a friend who recommended me highly. Okay, but I still want to know what is to be treated. He then asked: I could get sex with the massage right? I asked if his friend told him so. Yes. Should I try to learn who is this friend, or insist that the caller is bluffing? Hmmmm. I said: Well sure! Come, you will get what you want, but you have to bring your friend as well so he can watch us do what he and I did. Silence. End of call. Sometimes it is worth going with that Scripture that says: answer a fool according to his folly.
The word ‘massage’ continues to evoke different images for different people…sex tops the list for some, rehabilitation for others, and then the other images in between. Dissatisfaction anywhere on the scale could start a rumor. Some clients may visit several therapists and settle with the one they most resonate with, while some feel it is their duty to lie on your massage table and criticize all the therapists they met before you and expect you to feel good that they rate your services highly. Really? The dog who came with a bone, intends to leave with one. A young lady comes to mind for whom the first massage session proved beneficial to the extent that those who knew her with the swollen limb were remarking about the obvious reduction. She called about a week later to say that she was still receiving compliments and in the same breath started taking her previous therapist apart. There might be some merit to her opinion, but I told her don’t do that. The therapists I know are hardworking people doing the best they can. Let’s stay focused on you continuing to do your part in order to maintain the results.
Maybe she did not follow the recommendation given by the other therapist and things fell apart, but instead of returning to that therapist and being chided, she opted for a new experience with me. The recommendation may simply be to keep your next appointment. I experience that. One client who had a mastectomy was so relieved after one treatment that she did not keep the next appointment. Six weeks later I got a call from her. She urgently needed lymph drainage. She came. The arm was swollen to the max with all the pores expanded and it was heavy as lead. Abduction was at best about 30 degrees. She said she was trying to manage the swelling on her own at home. Taking painkillers and watching your arm turn into an ugly duckling says a lot. Maybe if she had kept the treatment schedule it would have made me rich. I worked with her in silence. When I was through she watched me eyeball to eyeball and committed to returning today. You don’t need a cancellation policy for these folk. Just book another client for their time. If they show up, someone will wait. She did not show up. I worked with a Muslim gentleman just off his fast who definitely needed the session.
A lady called hot and sweaty, talking everything almost in one breath. She has abdominal pain and wanted a ‘rub.’ I asked what is causing the pain. She said her womb dropped and she is tired going to doctors for it. Is years now, she said. I could get a ultrasound too? We don’t do ultrasounds. Oh, but is what exactly you going do, just a rub? How long now you rubbing and wuh machine you does use? There were about five questions in row. I asked what diagnosis the doctors had given. She said she has to do MRI, but she had CT scan, endoscopy, and a few other things done. The doctors said she ‘might’ have a hernia somewhere in the abdominal cavity. Well, that is specific. They also said that she has ‘lymph nodes around the stomach.’ What did they say of the womb? Nothing. She decided it is prolapsed. Okay. If ah do de rub it will fix it right? Here we go, expectation of the one massage fixing all ills. I told her we can schedule a few sessions and monitor her improvement after each. Should I book you? Nah now, when ah ready I’ll call back. I’m not losing anything. God knows what she would say of me had she come and not derive the desired benefits. Therapists need to get it all right on the first try while doctors are alleged to be diagnosing patients with lymph nodes around the stomach. Ain’t that something? I thought we all had that.
So I say: power to the client. They know what ails them, what service the therapist should administer to resolve the ailment, and how often that service should be provided. Another young man had called from the East requesting treatment. Said he recently got into a gym routine and he hopes for the pain relief massage brings. Fine, but this is quite a distance to come for such. Said he works in South and can easily stop in. I told him to give me reasonable notice and was about to disconnect when he said there is something he wanted to explain to me. Listening. He thinks he has a nervous condition. Did a doctor confirm this? No. It was then told to me that he never had a massage, and hopes I would be patient with him, for while he wants pain relief his body is sensitive to touch. Do brides talk like that to their grooms? I told him I don’t understand point he is making. He said ‘things’ happen when he is touched. He wanted to know if in my experience this is normal with men, and based on what I have to say, he could rate the degree to which he has a problem. Whaaaat? Is this massage virgin asking me to tell him about the reaction of male clients to my touch? While he does what, masturbate? I said: you are right in believing that a massage would affect your nervous system. A lot happens…the lacrimal glands produce tears, and saliva and digestive enzymes increase. So you can book an appointment and we’ll see if you cry during the session, or dribble, or feel hungry. No booking made.