Diverse Cambridge

Last week, I added another country to the list of those my clients have come from. – Kazakhstan, and this prompted me to think about all the countries in the list.

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern and Southern Ireland, Though only England would come in the top five as regards numbers. Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, and Greece are the top European countries but Norway, Denmark and France are also well represented.Latvia and Poland have yielded one each.

China, Peru, Brazil, Kenya and Colombia and Japan have also yielded a few.

Perhaps the largest group outside  of UK as a whole is probably India where two of my longer term clients come from as well as a number  who have been just the once. I have also had two clients from Yemen.

What I have to be aware of with this diverse group is that I am going to come across a lot of different attitudes towards massage and in particular, massage from a man. From the UK, many men are worried that men doing massage may be gay. Many women from not just UK but also some parts of India, and many other countries are not comfortable with massage from a man and yet, many of those I have seen have been surprised, especially if I was their first experience of massage.

I also find that, experiences of massage are very different. Some schools of massage in China expect to leave bruises on the client! I have had one client who was used to that sort of massage. Other clients are quite knowledgeable about the oils or aspects of massage having experienced Ayurveda or having been trained themselves in sports massage or another discipline. I had one client who was a perfumer and so had extensive knowledge of the oils. This all means the level at which I pitch my explanations of my rationale  for choosing particular oils etc is constantly changing.

I stick to the rule that it is up to the client if there is a part of the body they do not wish me to see or a part they do not wish me to massage. (Actually the most common request for a body part to be missed out is the head because people don’t want oil on their hair.) This is balanced by the fact that the head, followed by the back is the area I am told most often that someone would like more time spent on if they were having a longer session!

I have had one request not to massage the face because of make up and a few requests not to massage the belly, though lots of my clients who have not had the belly massaged before have said they really enjoy it.

Having written this from memory, I am sure there are some countries that I have missed out. I have also had a couple of people who have lived in Cambridge all their lives. And thinking of Japan where two clients have come from, the cherry tree in the street outside is covered in white blossom today. I don’t remember noticing it yesterday sitting here in the morning but that may be just my having an off day!