Within the first 5 years of my career as a licensed massage therapist, I was asked to be a presenter at a Mom’s Morning Out meeting; a group of young moms who got together monthly to socialize while their children played. The subject I was asked to present was ‘massage for children’. At that time, I did not have children of my own, but I gathered information on the benefits of massage for children; easy techniques to provide and best times to apply massage. I presented it to moms eager to learn something new that may help their children sleep better, reduce constipation and overall increase their bond. It was a simple 30-minute presentation that included hands-on demonstration and the moms loved it because this became a tool in their tool box of ways to help their child. I loved that these moms were willing to learn how to do techniques to help aid in the day-to-day wellness of their children and I loved that I had the opportunity to teach them.
The need to want to help did not discriminate; men, women, young and the more mature clients were all interested in knowing more about utilizing massage at home. I could have given self-care techniques or just as easily asked them to set an appointment with me. However, these were people that were interested in wanting to help someone they loved on a daily basis with their own hands. How could I not want to encourage them? In those appointments I would usually demonstrate a technique or two on them, techniques that they could hopefully understand enough to make a difference for the one in need. During subsequent appointments we would talk about how those techniques were working or if coming in for therapy with a licensed massage therapist would be of greater assistance. But the true gain was giving the spouse or the caregiver a chance to do something to help in a way they really wanted to.
This year, the opportunity arose to teach a class with the opening of the Wellness Center at Back to Basics. With more field experience in massage and teaching in the classroom I was ready and confident to utilize the new space to teach partners how to provide massage for each other. In order to adequately teach not just one technique but several and to actually demonstrate, modify and correct all techniques for each person’s physical abilities, I created a series that included a total of four classes.
The full series divides the body into 4 parts:
1. The head, neck and shoulders
2. The shoulder, arm and hands
3. The back and hips
4. The hips, legs and feet
Although they were created in hopes that the entire series is completed, the classes can be taken independently as well.
To say I enjoy teaching this class would be an understatement! It is so much more than just massage. It is taking time to breathe and set intentions for wellness, focusing on verbal and non-verbal communication, meeting new people and laughing together at mistakes and working to correct them. It is learning about pressure control, slowing down and limiting fatigue. It is envisioning practicing these techniques without the tv on or other distractions and being present for each other. It’s date night!
These classes aren’t intended to replace regular massage appointments but they give the chance to manage discomforts that arise between sessions. Most importantly, putting to use the 15-20 minute protocols acquired in the class becomes a time to build bonds and enjoy each other’s company.
The summer session schedule is 1pm on June 13, July 11, August 15 and September 12. I hope you can join me in this incredibly unique way to spend a Sunday afternoon together!
Leigh Beining, LMT