Why I Love Massage (4)

I used to work so much with kids – as a figure skating instructor, babysitter, and all-around friend/big sister – that people (parents, onlookers) always assumed I would be a teacher when I grew up. I guess it’s the natural progression when working with the younger generation, going from after-school jobs and volunteering to an actual profession in the same general field.

But teaching isn’t really much like babysitting, and I never saw myself ending up in a classroom. Coming up with lesson plans or enforcing discipline was not what I dreamed of. I loved working with kids, but a room full of them wasn’t where I saw my future.

As anyone can tell you, though, teaching doesn’t just take place in a designated classroom. You don’t just learn English in a room with the cursive alphabet lining the walls; you won’t only learn science in a room with a microscope. Teaching happens wherever there’s knowledge to be passed on and discussed.

It just so happens that, as a massage therapist, I know a lot about a subject that many people don’t know about. The body – their bodies. Their muscles. And this is something that people definitely want to learn.

A client comes in and fretfully tells me about her pain, how she doesn’t understand it, doesn’t know what’s going on. Whether it’s muscular or nervous or psychosomatic she couldn’t say, she just knows she hurts and maybe I can help.

As it turns out, I usually can. I can help by massaging (relieving the pain) and I can also help by teaching (understanding the pain). I love explaining to my clients how muscle pain arises (going into specifics about trigger points and knots, stress and bad posture), and how they can take care of themselves so that the pain doesn’t return.

One of the best things about this sort of teaching is that it extends to all ages. Anyone, it doesn’t matter how old, can benefit from knowing more about their body. Indeed, the self-awareness that comes from getting older may even make these muscle lessons more effective – people can apply what I teach them to their own experiences. They can start to see the connections between high stress or an unsupportive pillow to the neck pain they feel at the end of the day, and then do what it takes to help themselves.

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