A massage session is a very unique experience for both the recipient and the practitioner. For both parties there are moments where you are getting to know each other for the first time and possibly over the course of many sessions. Alongside that is the space that is simultaneously being created to promote a therapeutic outcome at the end of the session. Not only for the recipient but also for the practitioner.
There are various forms of dialogue and they all support a therapeutic outcome but at different stages within the massage/body work session. Let’s take a look at these stages.
1. The initial meet and greet: This stage is when both the practitioner and the recipient are meeting each other for the first time or after more than one session together. Dialogue in regards to catching up and small talk is very appropriate here and expected.
2. Consultation regarding the session: This stage is when the recipient and practitioner are dialoguing about what the recipient wants to work on during the session and anything else they want to express in regards to the session.
3. The body: This is the meat and potatoes of the session. The decision to come together as practitioner and recipient is solely because of this stage. Where the body work and massage takes place. Dialoguing during this stage is only necessary when the practitioner or recipient wants to communicate something in regards to the session itself in a given moment. This is not a great time to discuss anything else. What is the reasoning for this?
For massage therapy and body work to produce the most therapeutic outcome possible the nervous system of the recipient and practitioner have to come together. For that to happen the sympathetic division of the recipient’s nervous system needs to be able to go into a place of dormancy in order to awaken and activate the parasympathetic division.
Accessing the parasympathetic nervous system during a massage session gives the body an intentional chance to induce healing, recalibration, and deep restoration to take place. If talking and dialoguing is happening the sympathetic system is maintained and engaged inadvertently creating a stress response from the body not letting it completely go deep and to relax.
This is important also for the practitioner because if they are trying to pay attention to a discussion during the session they are not dropping in deep as well thereby resulting in not providing their best work.
4. Wrapping it up: This stage of the session is between the time the practitioner finishes the session and when they depart the recipient. Dialoguing about how the session went, along with any general discussion is welcome.
If you are someone who is a recipient of massage usually and you are reading this and you come across a practitioner who wants to dialogue throughout “The Body” of the session you can always express to them that you really want to drop deep into yourself to experience profound healing. Chances are the practitioner will drop in as well.
Massage and body work is a sacred space that needs to be respected. There is no need to talk over it. It doesn’t do what it is designed to do when it gets interrupted. Enjoy your massage and body work sessions!