Clear communication in the treatment room
Clear communication often starts with speaking. In the treatment room, communicating our needs can be a challenge. From a lack of technical knowledge to worries about our RMTs taking things personally - or ourselves being judged - there can be a few hurdles to getting that clear message across. The following quick tips may help you out the next time you see your RMT and find yourself at a loss for words.
A picture is worth a thousand It can help to talk about pain locations by using a diagram. Sometimes you can’t reach the spot yourself, but you can easily draw it on a model or picture. There are also resources available that show common pain patterns and possible sources of origin. This can make communication even easier as you can both see the areas affected and possible sources of that discomfort. Likely your RMT will have a poster, some hand outs or even an old text book laying around that you can refer to for assistance. By all means, ask us for these resources! We are here to help you.
You are NOT whining Many of my clients come in and before they even start, interrupt themselves with “but you don’t want to hear me whine.” First? Let that GO! We need to hear the story so we can sort out what is going on, and get a clear picture of how these things are affecting you. If you haven’t been able to walk your beloved dog because of your back pain and find yourself really missing that bonding time, this is important information! It helps us identify what good goals might be as well as find the check points for your progress. It also puts your pain in context, giving us an overall picture of your life. It may also be that there are things weighing heavily on you that may be barriers to your progress. Stress, grief, depression and anxiety are all part of your health and knowing about the other parts of your life in the context of how they may be affecting your body informs how we may need to adapt our treatments to your needs. It may also alert us to the possibility of needing a referral to another health care provider who can better serve you where our scopes of practice and skill sets end.
You are not responsible for how others feel Many people hesitate to speak up about how a Massage feels. We don’t want to overstep our place, we don't want to offend someone, hurt their feelings or make them angry. A good RMT will be able to maintain their own personal boundaries, removing their "self identity" from the feedback they get from their clients. If my client says "that hurts" or "I don't like that" I have to put my feelings about how amazing a healer I think I am and instead inquire with my client how I can change what I am doing to make the experience better for them because your massage is not about me. It's about you and as I said in my last post, YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOUR BODY. When your RMT asks, “how is this feeling?” we genuinely want to know the answer. It will help us serve you better, or find those who can.
Fear of being judged This may be the hardest hurdle to overcome and is the other side of number 3. But I think Anthony Hopkins may have put it best, what other people think of me is none of my business. Social anxiety is a real thing and it makes self advocacy very difficult. Doing some research on RMTs in your area and finding those who will be willing to work with you is a worthy endeavour and can help you do your own boundaries some respect before needing to defend them. And reminding yourself that if someone else is making a judgement about you, it really doesn't have to mean that much to you and, thankfully, you can choose to take your business elsewhere.