I’m Checking You Out


A couple of years ago, my husband and I were at the mall. (I hate the mall, but we’ll save that for another day.) As we’re strolling along, my dear husband leaned in and whispered, “Are you checking out that guy’s butt?”

I did a head-shake-quick-blink and snapped back to awareness. It took me a second to process the question. “AM I checking out that guy’s butt?”

Yes. I was.

Except it wasn’t his butt I was checking out; it was the way this left hip dipped forward and his right shoulder was higher than the left. “Is it higher, or is the left lower?” I was lost in thought about which muscles must be tight or weak to cause a pelvic tilt and an elevated shoulder.

I learned that day to curb my enthusiasm for posture and gait while in public.

MY OFFICE is a different story. The moment you show up for your appointment, I’m watching you. I’m looking at your head alignment. I’m noticing if a foot is tipped out or a shoulder is rolled in. I’m waiting to see which leg you cross when you sit down.

Every movement is a clue. Body parts don’t act independently from one another. The body adapts to accommodate tension, weakness and strength. Asking what hurts isn’t enough. Reading an intake form isn’t enough. To address only a painful shoulder without considering the neck, back, hips and feet is short-sighted.

So, I watch you. I might ask you to move around or stand still. I do this because I want to be as effective and concise as possible. You’ve trusted me with your muscles and I owe you a few minutes to develop a theory…or at least an educated guess.

Being an effective massage therapist requires curiosity, confidence and humility. A good massage therapist works on what hurts. A great massage therapist is curious enough to ask why; confident enough to test their theory and humble enough to ask for help.

I want to be a great massage therapist.

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