Massaging Mark at SBBE2016

As part of Salisbury Big Business Event this year, there was a large marquee on the market square housing Wiltshire Expo. There were lots of different businesses from all over Wiltshire, and I was one of them!

I brought my massage dummy, Mark with me and challenged people to give Mark a massage as entry to a competition. Originally it started out as something I thought would be a more fun way to enter a competition instead of putting names into a hat; but actually it was really interesting to see how people approached massaging Mark.

Firstly, everyone who gave Mark a massage performed movements that they would like themselves. Some of them concentrated more on effleurage, which is a stroking movement. This introduces the therapist’s hands to the client’s body and can be deeply relaxing. We also use it to locate muscle tension and knots - but the client doesn’t necessarily know that, they just enjoy the feeling of the massage!

Some people practiced a bit of petrisarge, which is that deep, kneading movement. Sometimes it can look like you’re kneading dough to make bread, and it’s done with the heel of the hand or sometimes the fist. We use this to work out the muscle tension or knots.

Some people chatted to Mark - though being a dummy, he was fairly quiet! Others stayed silent, presumably because they felt a bit silly talking to a dummy. This is the same when massaging a real person though; some people prefer to talk while others don’t.

Everyone performed the type of massage they would like to receive. It was interesting to watch, not because they were doing something right or wrong but because it’s interesting to see what different people like. But how often has a friend offered to give you a massage, and you’ve not enjoyed it? It was too hard, too soft, or just didn’t feel right? And yet your other friends rave about how great this person is at giving massages!

When I speak to other therapists I find that often we radiate towards those who are more likely to work on the same principle as ourselves, or even people who’ve trained at the same school, as that’s what we recognise. It’s the same for clients; you might receive a massage from a perfectly competent therapist, but you just don’t click with them - perhaps they talk to you when you’d rather they didn’t, or you just don’t warm to their personality. Either way, as people we all radiate towards what we recognise and like.

I often meet people who tell me they don’t like to have massages and I wonder whether that’s because they’ve just experienced a massage from someone they just don’t fit very well with. I would always suggest talking to a therapist before booking a treatment whenever you can. See how you feel with them, whether you like them, whether they make you feel at ease. The whole point of having a massage is to feel relaxed, so it’s important that the person performing that massage makes you feel at ease!

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