Some clients give relevant information during the consultation process much more readily than others. Having spent over 30 years in nursing this is not a great surprise to me. However, there are times when I am a little surprised by information that comes out during a session or sometimes in response to a later question in the consultation process that I would have expected to hear about earlier.
During the consultation, I usually once I have ascertained what the client’s main goals from the session are, ask about any major medical issues. On one occasion recently a client told me they had type 1 diabetes. But didn’t volunteer any other information about medical conditions. About four questions later I asked if there were any other medication apart from the insulin and was told daily asprin due to a heart attack nineteen years ago.
In my book, a heart attack constitutes a major medical issue. Clearly for this client it did not given that it was all this time ago and there hadn’t been problems since.
Incidents like this remind me how important it is to do a thorough consultation and give multiple chances for information to be shared. I always comment on scars from operations and regularly see scars from major operations that have not been mentioned during the consultation. The client I referred to above had had an appendectomy as a child when the scars left afterwards were a lot bigger than when I last worked on a surgical ward as a student. Usually, they are smaller still now and the ones I remember from those times will be seen as large by practitioners who see them in twenty years time and are used to those left by keyhole surgery!
I am reminded how important it is for myself to keep observing and learning during the whole of the massage process. Assessment does not stop with the consultation but continues throughout the time I spend with the client. Sometimes I learn more as the client learns to trust me more, other times I learn through what I observe with my hands, eyes and ears. I pay attention to the client’s rate of breathing a lot, sometimes synchronising my movements with this for added effect but also learning from this about the affect my massage is having.