Communication is Key

Now that it’s spring, I thought that it’s the perfect time to work on Sol’s first ever blog post! My name is Julie and I’m the owner of Sol Impressions Massage & Facials in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’ve been toiling away in this industry for over 10 years now and with all of that experience, comes knowledge! In these blog posts to come, I’d like to share what I know, explore interests and keep it local. It will be a smorgasbord of posts that will hopefully interest & delight you!

I’ve decided that it would be apt for my first blog post to talk about communication. Communication is key and it is the the number one thing that we tell clients to do when they ask about what treatment to get. We have a wide range of modalities that you can choose, but often times, clients aren’t sure what’s best for them. In this case, we say, we will book you for a basic Swedish or Deep Tissue massage and once you meet your therapist, be sure to tell them what your expectations/ issues are and they will customize the session. Easy enough, right? Well, maybe not, I’ve found that when communicating about a massage, using the right language really helps.

Use the following terms to help you get your point across from the start and don’t be afraid to continue communicating throughout the session. I’ve found that massage can be broken down into two main categories: Relaxing and Therapeutic.

Relaxing:
Are you looking to space out on the table, relax your whole body and not think? That is a perfectly great treatment goal! Many people are overwhelmed with anxiety, depression, the constant demands of every day life… and just want to let go. In this case, tell your therapist that you would like a relaxing massage. Relaxing massages can be a wide range of things, but the most famous one is Swedish Massage. It is well known for long sweeping stokes and light to firm pressure. Another very relaxing massage is hot stone massage. In hot stone massage, the therapist uses warm stones and glides them over your body. Heat often helps muscles release, so this is a great treatment if you are feeling particularly tense. If you don’t want to get caught up in names, just say, “I’d like a relaxing massage” and tell them how you like the pressure.

Therapeutic:
Do you have pain? Tight muscles? Can you feel knots that won’t go away? If this is the case, you may want a therapeutic massage, which is often called Deep Tissue or Sports. Don’t be fooled by the names. Deep Tissue doesn’t necessarily mean deep pain and railing on the body. Sports doesn’t mean that you need to be training for a marathon. What it means is that the therapist is working out the kinks…. and therapists have a wide variety of tools in their tool box to help get at those issues. It might be certain stretches, fascial release, movement, working out trigger points, etc. Tell your therapist what feels tight, what hurts. Tell them what type of pressure you like and update them throughout the session. Do you want them to just work on specific issues or do you want a full body massage? Communicating these things key.

Talk or Don’t Talk:
I personally enjoy not talking during a massage unless I have something to tell the therapist. Many people feel uncomfortable saying this. Please don’t! It’s critical to the enjoyment of your session. Tell the therapist from the beginning: “I don’t want to talk unless there is something that I need to say.” On the other hand, if you like to chat, chat away! Many people find talking relaxing.

The number one complaint that we get if you look at our negative reviews online is that the therapist didn’t give enough pressure, didn’t work on the areas that needed the most work, didn’t do the type of massage that was expected. These are all communication issues! When I speak to the therapists about the online feedback, they often say that the client didn’t say anything during the massage, why didn’t they speak up? The bottom line is that the therapists aren’t mind readers and they won’t be offended by your comments. No feelings will be hurt because it is a professional transaction. The therapist wants to help, so speak up.

I read an article about happiness once that made a lot of sense. It said that happiness is when expectations are met or exceeded. It’s such a simple concept and completely applicable to massage. If you communicate what your expectations are, then your massage therapist has a chance at making you happy with your session.

Did you communicate and still didn’t get the treatment you wanted? This is where you need to check your expectations. If you think that every massage therapist is going to be perfect for your specific needs, then you are being unrealistic. Some therapists will be a good fit and some won’t. This is why you should try a few before going agro at my lovely little business on an online review site. The therapist that is perfect for me, may not be perfect for you. It is completely subjective. Our massage therapists aren’t robots. They don’t do the same thing on everybody. They may not be willing to give you the deepest of deep pressure if they don’t think that’s good for your tissue. Plus, their training isn’t standardized, they’ve gone to a variety of massage schools, have differing experience and use a variety of techniques. This is why it is best to keep an open mind, communicate the best that you can and try out different therapists till you find the one that meets your needs best.

Thanks for reading!
-Jules

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