Intro to Massage
Massage School Notes
Anatomy & Kinesiology
Deep Tissue Massage
EMOTIONAL RESPONSE CONSIDERATIONS
As a massage professional you are taught that you should be aware some
clients might suffer strong emotional release during massage. You need to be
able to recognize signs of such sublimated emotions and to know how deal
with such issues when they arise in your massage practice.
First for some background...
Unresolved emotions can become anchored in the body as a result of physical
and emotional traumas. Think of the body as maintaining `physical memories'
of such emotions in the tension of muscles. The condition is especially
common with those who suffered physical or sexual abuse as children. It can
be that over time, the body becomes habituated to the unbalanced muscle
tensions. Eventually, patterns of body usage and posture are changed in an
unconscious attempt to compensate.
Massage can bring anchored emotions and associated memories back to
conscious awareness. Not surprisingly some psychotherapies involve forms of
bodywork intended to focus the patients attention on tension in their body.
While the re-awakening of emotions is a process that can contribute greatly
to re-integration and healing, it is important as a massage practitioner not
to assume the role of emotional therapist or become caught up in listening
to verbal stories.
It is equally important, however, to bring focus and awareness to
bodywork sessions. A massage professional should be aware of their client's
overall way of inhabiting their body. I often watch how my clients hold
themselves, walk and gesture. Projections of being overly rigid, collapsed,
or inanimate / dissociated can be indications of past abuse.
Abuse survivors can have trouble `owning' their bodies. They may feel
loss of breath or voice. If their physical memories are triggered, such
clients may remove all of their conscious awareness from their body. An
example could be saying yes while shaking their head or retreating slightly
from your hand. Such incongruence in presentation is a subtle indicator of
the incongruence between their conscious and unconscious thoughts and
I have found it is important to remember that my goal is neither to `fix'
the problem nor to add my own emotional reaction to the client's process.
Instead I assume a role of offering the quiet acceptance and support that
will enable the client to reach an acceptable level of equilibrium by the
end of the session. Often this will include gentle grounding work around the
head, neck, shoulders, or feet and ankles. Reminding the client to breathe.
The most important thing you can do is to quietly convey to the client a
sense of connectedness and support.
General Principles of Ethics
Starting a practice • Professional Boundaries • Projection and Transference • Self Care Tips • Grounding Exercises • Regulation
Massage as in any other profession is a contract
between the practitioners and the public so that the public can get a reliable,
trustworthy service we must consider ethics.
There are two possible relationships
between the massage therapist and the
- Where the therapist simply carries out the client's wishes, with no
significant decisions, providing the treatment as requested.
- Where the client transfers all decisions to the therapist, so that
the therapist determines and carries out the treatment in consultation with
The primary responsibility of the therapist is
ensuring the health and safety of the client. Work must be carried out with due
care and diligence.
is defined by Webster as the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment; this system or code of morals of a particular person, religion, group, profession, etc.
As a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, I have pledged to abide by the ABMP Code of Ethics as outlined
- I shall endeavor to serve the best interests of
my clients at all
times and to provide the highest quality service possible.
- I shall maintain clear and honest communications
with my clients
and shall keep client communications confidential.
- I shall acknowledge the limitations of my skills
necessary, refer clients to the appropriate qualified health care
- I shall in no way instigate or tolerate any kind
of sexual advance
while acting in the capacity of a massage, bodywork, somatic therapy or
- I shall maintain the highest standards of
professional conduct, providing services in an ethical and professional
manner in relation to my clientele, business associates, health care
professionals, and the general public.
- I shall respect the rights of all ethical
practitioners and will cooperate with all health care professionals in a
friendly and professional manner.
- I shall refrain from the use of any mind-altering
drugs, alcohol, or intoxicants prior to or during professional sessions.
- I shall always dress in a professional manner,
proper dress being defined as attire suitable and consistent with accepted
business and professional practice.
- I shall not be affiliated with or employed by any
business that utilizes any form of sexual suggestiveness or explicit
sexuality in its advertising or promotion of services, or in the actual
practice of its services.
Scope of Practice / Appropriate Techniques
- I shall provide services within the scope of the
ABMP definition of massage, bodywork, somatic therapies and skin care, and
the limits of my training. I will not employ those massage, bodywork or skin
care techniques for which I have not had adequate training and shall
represent my education,
training, qualifications and abilities honestly.
- I shall be conscious of the intent of the
services that I am providing and shall be aware of and practice good
judgment regarding the application of massage, bodywork or somatic
- I shall not perform manipulations or adjustments
of the human skeletal structure, diagnose, prescribe or provide any other
service, procedure or therapy which requires a license to practice
chiropractic, osteopathy, physical therapy, podiatry, orthopedics,
psychotherapy, acupuncture, dermatology, cosmetology, or any other
profession or branch of medicine unless specifically licensed to do so.
- I shall be thoroughly educated and understand the
physiological effects of the specific massage, bodywork, somatic or skin
care techniques utilized in order to determine whether such application is
contraindicated and/or to determine the most beneficial techniques to apply
to a given individual.
- I shall not apply massage, bodywork, somatic or
skin care techniques in those cases where they may be contraindicated
without a written referral from the client's primary care provider.
Image / Advertising Claims
- I shall strive to project a professional image
for myself, my business or place of employment, and the profession in
- I shall actively participate in educating the
public regarding the actual benefits of massage, bodywork, somatic therapies
and skin care.
- I shall practice honesty in advertising, promote
my services ethically and in good taste, and practice and/or advertise only
those techniques for which I have received adequate training and/or
- I shall not make false claims regarding the
potential benefits of the techniques rendered.
Professional Boundaries -
Projection and Transference
Pictures of my old office (a good example of how a treatment room should be set
notice there is a separate reception area to do general business, a changing
area, the table is clean with freshly pressed sheets and there are extra towels
to provide additional covering for modesty and warmth.
I highly recommend visiting
www.thebodyworker.com for more information about ethics.