However the client reaches me, the massage is always for them, in their control and it is for them to decide which body parts are massaged and which are not. The only exception to this is if I were to be asked to massage in a sexual manner. (So far these have all been weeded out at the telephone call stage.)
Yet most weeks I see a client who is worried that their request is unreasonable, sometimes having been told as much by a previous therapist. While I have said it before, it bears repeating. If you are the client, you are in charge. Anything else smacks of what one psychiatrist I worked with during my mental health nursing training said, “I don’t treat clients, I treat patients.” His approach was that he should decide what is best for them and they had to accept it or go somewhere else.
As a massage and aromatherapy practitioner in Cambridge, my view is that I should be more flexible than that. Yes I do massage and don’t manipulate the spine or make it perform a series of cracks as I am not trained as an osteopath or chiropractor. I don’t prescribe herbal medicines but within the limits of what my training has equipped me to do I will go with what the client wishes rather than follow a prescriptive model.
With some conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Myalgic ecephalitis and others, this becomes even more important as a therapist who blindly follows their own prescriptive model can at best exacerbate pain and at worst actually be dangerous in their actions. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want from a massage be that in terms of your physical or psychological needs. And you don’t need to tell the therapist why. If you have bad scarring on your stomach and don’t want them to see it, it is fine to say, “not the belly” as one client did with me recently. There wasn’t anything in the medical history I took to explain it so I can only guess.
I am on 07939273569 or firstname.lastname@example.org but whoever you see as a therapist communicate with them and ditch them if they are not prepared to listen.