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Being a beauty/spa therapist and RMT (Registered Massage Therapist), you see all kinds of people, conditions and concerns.

From routine, to severe, to weird, to even funny. At Cinergee, I’ve started to see some common reoccurrences emerge. Common concerns, incidents and what your therapist is really thinking! Here are 13 things we want you to know:

1. That’s probably normal. 

Is this normal? My ____ does this. My ______ has that. Outside of orthopaedic concerns, you would be surprised what guests ask their therapists. Do other people have hair there? My skin has cellulite there, is that normal? As regulated health care professionals, we do our best to answer your questions within our scope of practice, and if you are really concerned, go to see your Doctor (we will probably refer you if we are concerned, too). But, more than likely, it’s normal.

2. It really doesn’t matter that you haven’t shaved.

When we are doing spa treatments or massages, we truthfully don’t even notice, up until you mention it! It has no effect on our treatment, if it does, that’s what creams, oils and clays are for. We also work with male clients so we adjust accordingly and don’t give it a thought, seriously, I mean it.

3. Do your stretches. 

And your exercises, watch your diet, drink your water and use your prescribed home care, and……you see where I am going here…….? Although it would be fun to follow you around, give you treatment and remind you of your therapeutic recommendations all day long, we can’t. Our time together is like the blink of an eye in the scheme of things, its short. So when our heart really sings, it’s when you return to usand there is significant change because you have followed our advice.

 The homework we recommend you, is designed along with your treatment plan to help you resolve your issues and concerns. Your health is in your hands for the rest of those minutes, days, weeks, and months we are apart. If you want to improve, you need to do your homework.

4. Your body is beautiful, too.

We treat hundreds of guests. That means seeing, and touching them in progressive stages of nakedness. Guess what? They are all different. But with all the ones we see, not one looks anything like the airbrushed bodies in the media. Male or female. A few have come close, but no-one is perfect .

It breaks our hearts when we see and hear clients being insecure about their bodies, we know you are not happy with the language you use . It’s not often the media shows the stretch marks, scars, deformities, muscles, moles, dry skin or cellulite. that we so often see on…everyone. TAirbrushed images aren’t what we see on a daily basis. There is only one condition your body should be in, male or female, young or old: and that is…….healthy. And that looks a little different for everyone. Your therapist is here as a vessel for health. We are not here to judge. And we want to tell you: Your body is beautiful, just how it is, as long as you are on your journey to health.

5. When you “re-make” the table, I smile inside.

Post treatment, when we come back into the room for cleaning up, and we see that the linen has been straightened, tidied and re-made, it warms our hearts. I mean, it’s silly really, they all go off to be sterilized and sanitized. It’s completely unnecessary, but it’s also really sweet for some funny reason.

6. Don’t be shy about your butt.

 In our world, it’s a large muscle, actually it’s three. We call your bum, gluteals or glutes. It’s not a booty or ass and we don’t see it as fat, tiny, jiggly or bony. We observe your body in a clinical sense, and if you have pain associated with your low back, legs, hips or glutes, don’t be shy. We’re here to help, let us know!

7 …But, please, don’t undrape yourself.

Massage & Spa therapists leave their clients to disrobe and assemble themselves on the table. We don’t want/need to watch clients undress. We may offer assistance to clients with mobility issues or who have difficulties with dressing/undressing. Quite often we’ll hear, “you don’t need to leave” or “I’ll only be 10 seconds”, or a client will start peeling off clothing while we’re still talking. It makes no difference, we’ll leave the room anyway. We have to do other things – get a drink of water, wash our hands, use the bathroom, organise the oil – so we really need those couple of minutes. The length of your treatment isn’t affected.

Once on the table, some clients want to help by undraping themselves i.e. pulling the towel lower. Please don’t do this. Especially if your massage therapist is a bit of a control freak (ahem, that would be me). We’ve been doing this job for a while and have our own way of draping. We undrape the area that we’re working on and cover you again before we move on to another area. That doesn’t mean that you can’t tell your massage therapist if you’re uncomfortable about the draping/undraping. We’re happy to discuss your needs and work together to find a solution.

8. Body Function Noises Are Normal

Noisy noses, tummies and bottoms are normal.

Most massage therapy treatments have some component of relaxation. Your parasympathetic nervous system starts to shine, meaning the rest-and-digest functions are in gear. I reckon around 90% of my clients’ stomachs will rumble when they roll from their front to their back. No need to apologise and no, it doesn’t mean that you’re hungry. It’s simply your stomach resettling (or maybe your Vagus Nerve relaxing). If, however, my tummy rumbles, it’s likely that I am hungry.

The accidental fart happens. It may shock people to know that everyone farts. If one is set free during a massage treatment, you won’t be sent immediately from the room. It’s healthy.

Snoring happens, we specialise in relaxation. Most people are surprised that anyone could fall asleep in a remedial massage, but it does happen. We are professionals, it doesn’t faze us. We don’t judge you, we’re here to help you……… so well done.

9. Does massage hurt my hands?

“Don’t your hands get sore?” is possible THE most commonly asked question. Sometimes, but usually when I’m doing the vacuuming or gardening. Although a non-massage therapist would get sore hands quickly from rubbing someone’s shoulders, us massage therapists build up our strength along with our experience. I have to take care of my hands because they’re quite literally the tools of my trade. I hate paper cuts, climbing over boulder fields on a bush walk, and run-ins with sharp knives.”

10. We care.

Yes, we actually care if you do your home care. Yes, it really matters what you tell us and how you are feeling. And yes, even though we shouldn’t, we worry about you when you’re struggling. Your success is our success.

We hope we can make it better, that’s the goal, that’s why we do what we do. That’s also why we may refer you to other practitioners, because we truly think they could help and their tools may also help in your recovery. Because your recovery is our priority and you matter to us. And most importantly, because we really care about you and your health.

11. The Blocked Nose

Lying face down for half an hour plus into a face hole on a massage table will result in blocked sinuses. We’re happy to give you a tissue but don’t be surprised if all you blow is air out your nose. It’s a bit unpleasant, but once you’re face up or upright, the sinuses drain and the nose will feel clear in around 5 minutes.

12. Colds and Flus and Other Bugs

If you’re sick, please cancel your massage. Your massage therapist doesn’t want what you’ve got. That would mean we’d have to cancel treatments and lose income.

When you have a cold – runny nose, sneezing, coughing, general feeling of blah! – it’s unpleasant to lie with your face squeezed into the face hole. You’ll be repeatedly interrupting the massage to blow your nose, to cough, to sneeze, to breathe. It’s best for everyone if you reschedule to a time when you’re well.

Viruses, such as the flu virus, are highly contagious and potentially life threatening. You’ll already be achy and fatigued so massage isn’t recommended. Also, I don’t want your virus.

Other conditions where you shouldn’t have a massage are things like Shingles. It contagious and causes pain sensations that have nothing to do with muscular pain that massage would normally help with.

13. This is a safe space

Inside the massage room you are safe. Need to have a rant about how crappy your day/week/month has been? Go ahead. Everything too much and you just want to cry? Go ahead (although we are human and may break down and cry with you). There is no judgement in the massage room. If you’d prefer a silent treatment or the music turned off/up, let your massage therapist know.

Next time you see your therapist, keep these 13 points in mind.

Know that we love what we do, helping people is the best job in the world. We truly feel just as good as you do after a rockstar treatment! We are genuinely grateful when you consider trusting us with your health, and we consider it a privilege to share that time with you!

Taken from a mixture of Sharon Livingstone’s blog and a blog from Taylor Oomen from Elephant Journal.