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From the Mind of a Massage Therapist
When I think of the massage profession and the spa industry as a whole, a quote comes to mind:
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia
And it makes sense, doesn’t it? We are in a position where we have the potential to touch the lives of so many on a daily basis. People come to us for so many reasons, some because they need an escape from their busy lives, others because they have an ailment that they are seeking relief from, or because they are celebrating a special occasion and sometimes it’s because they just need that human connection. When you stop and think about it we are lucky in a sense, because they trust us enough to share their lives with us, sometimes in their most vulnerable moments.
That is why most of us do what we do. Yes, with our knowledge and experience we affect them in a physical way, by working out their muscles, relieving their pain, making them beautiful, etc., but our presence and compassion are what affects them on a mental and emotional level. That compassion and presence is what makes the experience stand out.
This thought was validated for me after reading a book, Life as a Daymaker by David Wagner. His inspirational story is about how he saved the life of a client that was contemplating suicide just by going the extra mile to make her experience a good one, he had no idea at the time that she was that distressed. It wasn’t until he received a letter from her weeks later thanking him that he knew the impact that he had made. He makes a good point by saying What if he would have just rushed through the service, or had he chosen not to joke and laugh with her or had he not spent that extra 15 minutes making her hair look great, what would the outcome have been then? This made me think. What if the next client on my table is going through some battle we know nothing about and the experience she has with me could be the determining factor for her to give up or be the thing that turns her life around. Seems like a lot of pressure to put on giving a massage or any other service, but is it really? Shouldn’t we be giving our best anyway? Shouldn’t our clients have our complete presence and attention for the hour or so that they scheduled with us? Within his book he includes several quotes, two of those quotes stood out to me:
“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.” – Sister Mary Laurette
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for someone else.” – Charles Dickens
It is no secret that I love what I do, my biggest reward is not the monetary compensation, but the response and gratitude from the clients that I’ve helped. Making a difference for them in a way is healing for me and also gives me a sense of purpose. While we should do our best to make their day, there are times that in fact without even knowing it, they make our day. That’s not to say that is the case with every client, but if I can touch the life of at least one person in a day, then I have done my job. There is no doubt that this is what I was meant to do.
As massage therapists and spa technicians most of us lead busy lives, but in that treatment room time slows down. In that time, lies an opportunity to make a connection, to make a difference and sometimes even change a life. In achieving that, we ourselves push our bodies to the limit and usually end the day exhausted, but it is the thought of how what we do potentially having a profound impact on someone’s life that inspires us to get up and keep doing it day after day. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Laura L. Collins, LMT - Daymaker
Nicky Stansbury is the owner of La Palmera Spa & Nicholyn Coaching. She loves motivating people and helping them manage their stress appropriately.