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Massaging with Intention:: Part 1

What does massaging with intention mean & why is important?

Massaging with intention, as opposed to just applying massage techniques, can mean the difference between a client relaxing and a client truly letting go and trusting their massage therapist. It can mean the difference between softening muscles and loosening muscle adhesions, and tension/stress/tightness just melting away. Intention within massage has the potential to bring with it a more positive energy and outlook for the session and the client. It means being totally present, aware, and focused, and it can bring a heightened level of client-centeredness to your sessions.

Many a massage therapy student – especially those who are learning new skills and seeing clinic clients for the first time – have sought out the best “tricks” and techniques available to them to learn and to incorporate into their “tool box.” These seekers may have a desire to be the best they can be as a future massage practitioner, and they hope to acquire as much knowledge as they can to execute the best massage practices. These are the students who are looking to build the most confidence and the greatest talents possible to offer to their clients. For them, it isn’t just about “doing it right.” When it comes to applying relaxing and therapeutic strokes, it is about doing it the best way they can, and if possible, “being the best.”

At Cohutta Healing Arts School of Massage, students learn that the best massage, isn’t only about applying the deepest and firmest pressure, applying the most continuous and fluid strokes, using the widest range of techniques and modalities as you can cram into one session. While all of these are certainly of some importance, one of the greatest things a massage therapy practitioner or student can bring with them is a high level of intention for their session and toward their clients.

Massaging with intention resembles a focused meditation for the massage therapist. Any thoughts aside from the current session and the client fall away, and sole attention is concentrated on even breathing, consistent pressure, flowing transitions, positive energy and communication, the palpation of specific muscles and muscle regions, and the goal(s) of the session and the client.

Sometimes just believing that what you are doing will help, can be beneficial to the client. As this article from MassageToday suggests. Everything spoken, thought, felt and executed by the massage therapist during the entirety of a massage session has the potential of being intentionally, and also unintentionally, transferred onto the client. It has been said that “when you touch a body, you touch the whole person: the intellect, the spirit, and the emotions.”

Massaging with intention increases the capacity and probability of the client receiving the specific treatment they need. It also increases the probability of the client walking away from their session feeling satisfied that their session goals were appropriately attended to.

This is a 2 part series by by Leslie Byrd LMT, CHAI graduate and contributing author to the CHAI Massage Blog.  Click here to read Part 2.

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