This week a client who moved to Oregon a few months ago to live with her boyfriend came back, I’ll call her Beth. Beth is a chiropractor who I have been seeing for about a year. She takes care of her mother who has had dementia for 7 or so years, and came back to do some clean up on her mother’s house so it can be sold. She was only here a week and I worked on her for three hours. Beth tells me that she has not been able to find a “decent” massage therapist in her area. Now, I know that they are out there, but I have to admit that I have the same problem in my area. Many of the therapists I meet came from a school that taught basic spa massage, have gone no further in their education, and are bored doing the same thing every day.Beth does not just want a therapist for herself; she also wants to refer clients to someone. But finding someone she can trust, and whose education and skill level she can feel comfortable with, will be difficult, according to her. She tells me that when she moved to Denver, she tried out almost two dozen therapists and did not refer to anyone until she found me, which was almost three years after she began to practice here.
Last October, Stephanie and I were in Phoenix doing a women’s expo to promote SMRT. The first day, I opened the schedule up to everyone. I was swamped. I didn’t have a chance to drink water, go to the bathroom, and I could only get a few bites of food in. We had a sign-up sheet and people were signing up hours in advance. Normally, this means they have left or forgotten and do not come back. Every person on our list came back. And 85% of them asked me where I worked. One woman said, “I’ve had massage and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t going to pay for it. But I would pay you, can I come to you?” And I had to tell her that my practice was in Colorado. The second day I decided we should only work on massage therapists. That morning I worked on the continuing education director for a school in Phoenix. She, apparently, went back and told the students and therapists working the school’s booth that they should come to our booth. I saw eight of them that day, and was told by half of them that, although it was terrible to say, they couldn’t get a good massage anywhere.
My husband’s boss (he works in a physical therapy clinic) just let go of the other massage therapist in the office. She told my husband that when they hire someone new she’s hoping I will come in and train them in this technique, because, although she doesn’t understand what it is, most of their clients say it really works for them. This may sound to you like I am simply tooting my own horn, but that is not true. I believe that anyone can do massage at a therapeutic level, and it does not have to be with Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique (although, I would love to meet all of you in a class!). I just don’t know that, after paying for basic training and going through school, most therapists want to put in the money and time to get further training. And rather than telling you all of this to say anything about me, I say it because I want massage client to want nothing more than to return to that therapist over and over, and to refer everyone they know.
There is so much we can do for people, so many ways we help with people’s pain, and I am sure I am not the only one who has been told, “Oh, I’ve had massage, it didn’t work, and she hurt me.” I have had that experience myself. The last girl I went to, about a month and a half ago, left me bruised, but feeling about the same as when I went in. At the beginning of the week another client said to me, “I’m trying to describe what you do so I can get everyone I know to come to you. But I don’t know how to put it into words.” He went on to say that when he tells people they should come to me, they say, “Oh, I’ve had massage and it didn’t work for me.”
I have tried to describe SMRT in many different ways and I too am always at a loss for words. It comes out sounding fantastical, which turns people off. But it is fantastical, and impossible to understand without experiencing it, both as a client and as a therapist. It is not perfect, it is forever mutating (as it should be for each client), it is absolutely influenced by the therapist doing it, and for all those reasons it defies verbal explanation. Yet, most people, whether a massage therapists or not, that I use it on feel less pain and want more of it. That speaks volumes.