When I see a client, I am always looking for patterns. These patterns are sometimes obvious but sometimes less so. Different elements in a pattern may include the client’s weight or more usefully the amount of fat they are carrying,their musculature, posture, gait, skin texture, tongue colouration, pulse and of course the answers to the questions I ask.

Often, especially though not only when I am seeing a client who has come for primarily psychological reasons, I will ask a very specific question and they will ask, “How did you know that?” This is because I think I have spotted a pattern and want to be sure I am right.

This ability to recognise patterns is something most of us do all the time in our every day lives. When cooking, we might use a combination of sounds, sight and smell to tell us something is ready and then prod it with a knife or skewer to see if we were correct. Not that I am suggesting massage therapists should prod their clients with skewers!

Just as I or a doctor will look for patterns rather than relying on just one symptom to tell us what is wrong, so we can learn to spot patterns in our own lives and bodies that tell us when something is wrong. A single night’s poor sleep may just mean there has been an alarm going off on a nearby building site. If this happens once a year it is annoying but not something that we need to worry about. If it happens every Sunday night there is a pattern that we can address with those involved, either directly or through the services local councils provide for this. It could be especially important if we usually have important meetings on Monday mornings!

If we are sleeping poorly every night, the pattern is more worrying and it is time to look for other elements. Are we worried about anything? Are we depressed? Are we in pain? The additional factors could be any or none of these three.Here in Cambridge for some it could be related to fewer but brighter street lights having been installed or for some it could just be that they are sleeping in a different bed that isn’t comfortable! I need to be aware that not everything that a client comes to me with is going to be illness!

So like any detective, I need to look for patterns and when I think I have found one check out the accuracy of my guesses. Only then can I start to think about which essential oils, massage techniques etc might be used to help my client change those patterns into ones which in the example above give them a good night’s sleep.