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Massaging with Intention:: Part 2

How Can a Massage Therapist provide Massage with Intention?

This is a 2 part series by Leslie Byrd LMT, CHAI graduate and contributing author to the CHAI Massage Blog. Click here to read Part 1.

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You’ve set your intentions for your massage session. Now how do you apply it?

Grounding – Grounding (also sometimes referred to as “Earthing”) is a type of meditation, often in which the person stands barefoot or lays directly on the ground. Other aspects of grounding simply refer to centering or “mindfulness” in which a person focuses on nothing but their immediate surroundings. Grounding before or during a massage session may include taking a few deep breaths, finding your feet beneath you, focusing on your body mechanics, staying “present” in the massage session, and being hyper-aware of the feel of the client’s muscles & tissues. Grounding includes keeping all attention focused in the moment and on the client.

Prayers, Affirmations and Mantras – Depending on your own personal and spiritual beliefs (and occasionally, your client’s), as well as the types of massage therapies you provide, you may find that prayers, affirmations, and/or mantras are helpful. These are words or phrases that you may think and focus on before and/or during a massage, and may include such words as “healing,” “helping,” “relaxing,” “peaceful;” and such phrases as “do no harm,” or “may only positive energy flow.” You may have different words or phrases you use depending on the client or the type of session you are going into, or you may use the same thoughts and words for every client you encounter. These words help you to momentarily pause, reflect, and set your intention before a massage, or to draw your focus and intention back on to the client during a massage.

Positive Energy and Concentration – Letting go of any stress you may be carrying, any difficulties you have recently encountered, any troubles you are facing, and dropping them until well after your session is complete. Trusting that all exchanges and interactions between you & your client will be beneficial and informative. Utilizing all your strengths with the conviction and certainty that you have the skills available to you to assist your client in meeting their session goals. Having the confidence that whatever outcomes present themselves during and following a session, that you did all you could do, and that you helped in facilitating therapeutic change and positive results for your client(s). Utilizing positive energy and concentration isn’t just about being “upbeat;” it is about carrying a peace and calmness into your session, a serenity from deep within yourself, that allows you to operate within and by the trust that you have within you, all the ability you need for your clients.

Meditation During the Massage – Similar to grounding, meditation during the massage session is all about focused and purposeful attention, along with deep breathing. All your energy is concentrated on the client and the techniques you are providing, as well as how you are providing the techniques – meditating on the pressure and techniques given, and the desired outcome(s), and your own positioning during massage application.

Flowing with the Massage Music – As the melody plays, your breathing slows. With each soft beat, you find a steady rhythm between the composition playing and the massage strokes you are providing. Application becomes surer, more focused, and you effortlessly flow from one muscle region to the next. Especially useful for Swedish Relaxation Massage, flowing with the music can help provide continuity and attentiveness. Finding a connection between yourself and the music can assist in slowing down your speed and in deepening your pressure. Proper body mechanics can more easily be utilized when you are slowly swaying to the harmonies.

Focusing on Client-Centeredness – Directing all thoughts, questions, statements, and actions towards the client’s needs and goals. Utilizing empathy and compassion, while also empowering and informing the client. Providing the client with the information and ability to assist them in their own relaxation and/or healing. Client-Centeredness is all about just that: centering the session and session goals on the client, and on their desired outcomes.

All of these methods of focusing intention for a massage session may be used alone or together, and aspects of one technique often will overflow into other techniques. Often you will find that massaging with intention not only heightens your massage practice, but also the way in which you approach massage, and the way clients respond to the massage they receive from you.

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