When you come to me for your first massage, one of the first things I shall do is a thorough assessment. I shall ask questions about your health and lifestyle, especially aspects which may be relevant to your current pain or tension. I shall also have a look at you, firstly while you are standing and then when you are lying down. I may ask you to try certain movements or positions and I may move or gently rock your body.
While I am doing all this, I am looking for all sorts of things: What are the curves in your spine like? Are you standing straight or are you leaning forward, back, to the side, twisting, or a combination of the above? Are the two sides of your body level and if not, how are they different? Where does your body move smoothly and where do things feel a bit stuck?
I am aware that assessments may make you feel a bit self-conscious about the parts of you which are not as straight or which do not move as well. There is no right or wrong answer here though. There is no such thing as the perfect body and we are all unique. All our bodies are a story of our lives, our experiences, our work and our interests. I just want to find out a bit about your story. Once I know how your body is, then I can start to ask why there is pain, tension, weakness or stiffness and what we can do to make changes.
This assessment can take a few minutes and I may switch between working with you and taking down a few notes. I often feel conscious that you may be thinking, “Come on! Stop faffing about! Where’s my massage?” It is worth our while to spend time on assessing you thoroughly though, because we can then come up with a treatment plan which will better meet your needs and help you get to where you want to be.
If you have any questions about what I am doing, observing, wondering or writing about, then do feel free to ask. It is your body and I am happy to tell you as much about it as you want to know. The more you understand your body and what it needs in order to change, the more your treatment will involve teamwork between you and me. I believe that, as in so many walks of life, teamwork in massage and bodywork is the key to success.