Friday, December 6, 2013

15 Things a Massage Therapist had to Learn by Himself

"Where there is perfection,
there is no story to tell."

- Ben Okri      

Great Things I Learned From What I do...

There are times that my schedule do get crazy packed and I pause and wonder how I managed to last this long in these stressful two fields with all that  craziness. Yes, my work and schedule are sometimes crazy, and there are days that I had to deal with even crazier coworkers and clients!

As I shuffle myself between nursing and massage, between patients and clients, if I am not working for someone, with someone or on someone, I spend hours with my private practice and updating my websites and blog. So yes, I guess you can say I chose the crazies.

Truth is they are all part-times, and many things that happen are merely part of the job! The many clients and patients, the many friends and coworkers, the many scenarios and episodes of each separate workplace or field and the awesome variety and similarities of it all are what make it all exciting and worth doing all over again, over again.

It's happy the way they are in spite of the craziness and the crazies. The old adage about time flying most certainly ring true in my opinion if you are doing what makes you happy! And as I looked back to my schedule one more time before I head out my way, I am certain that today, in one way or the other, at least one of my nursing patient will get better and at least one of my massage client will feel better. And at the end of this day, so will I!

As appreciative as I am for having been able to have come this far, hopefully, years from now I will again write something relating to what I have learned all throughout those years that you just cannot learn from the books or any school. So here are the 15  lessons the "craziness" and the "crazies" (massage and bodywork) have taught me...

1. Nobody teaches you in Massage school how you are going to act and how you are going to feel when you have to deal with difficult clients, with challenging situations or with any crisis pertaining to your practice.

2. Keep up with continuing education or else you will have a mad dash in November to finish what you didn’t do.

3. Join a professional organization or club. Read modern researches and articles regularly specific to your area of specialty (or bodywork). Massage Therapy is in the fast lane of going back to the field of healthcare. Keeping up with the latest updates will make you a more competent, more informed therapist!

4. You don’t need to know every modality or discipline out there. Sometimes your sincere intention done with details, depth, rhythm and focus is all you need.

5. Massage Therapists do not have to rely on hands alone. The forearms, elbow, knuckles, knees and feet are your massage tools as well! Done right, they are just as effective!


6. Although your goal is to attend to your clients' needs and expectations so they will feel better after you treatment, a technique is not worth doing now matter how awesome it is, if it will hurt you in the long run. Those fancy-schmancy techniques are just that - fancy-schmancy! It is not about making yourself feel better by impressing your client. It is about making a positive change to your clients!

7. Downplaying  Relaxation (fluff) massage, believing that Swedish massage is dead is a common mistake. Many times circulatory massage is all your client needs. It does not have to hurt for a massage to be effective - it's a myth! Some of the most effective massage discipline does not involve pressure or pain. Pain does not necessarily cure pain and sometimes pressure can cause further pain.

8. Be your client’s advocate, they need you. Clients trust you, do everything in your power to respect and build that trust. Your business (your clientele) will grow through trust.

9. No  two clients are alike, even if they have the same health condition. How they perceive your approach or feel your touch will always differ, one way or the other in varying degrees! Just because one client responded or reacted a certain way to your treatment, doesn’t mean the next one will.

10. You do not have to have to physical contact with a client to "touch" them. The most caring Massage Therapist can touch a client just by their charm alone. Add that to a great massage session and you got a loyal following!

11. Invest in good work uniforms & shoes, good emollients, good athletic trainer, good nutrition and all those good stuff for yourself! Your body will thank you, you and your client will feel the difference. A healthy body, mind and soul means practice longevity - (and life expectancy too!).

12. Make a conscious effort to drink water while at work and between clients. 5-6 hours back to back sessions with little or no water quickly leads to dehydration.

13. Keeping your workplace (your clinic) clean and your table well maintained and your paraphernalia well organized is looked at highly by your clients! No matter how awesome your massage is, if you are surrounded by mess, and if you are just as messy, your clients will notice them - in a negative light.

14. Forgetting self-care is your practice's (and your body's) worst nightmare. Forget them and break-down or burnout.

15. Nobody is perfect, especially you (me, him, her)... You will make mistakes, owning up to them is safer than the alternative. There will always be someone out there better than you (me, him, her). Accept it.

So there, the awesome things I have learned so far that I can think of. Fellow Massage Therapist out there... Any other words of wisdom?

- Leo Feraer-Oporto     


  1. I've definitely learned a lot of these throughout my career.

    1. Hey Q! This post is actually the 8th on my countdown to my last post! I am moving my blog next year and ending this one! I also am thinking of changing the theme and topics, maybe I'll inject some nursing into it! Watch out for it!

      Thanks for dropping by!