I recently attended a massage technique workshop, where, as in all learning experiences, some participants were afraid of “doing it wrong”. The instructor, a snappy Japanese man who did NOT look anywhere close to being in his mid-60’s, simply said “as long as you move forward with love, you will never do it wrong”.
I have been teaching massage therapy for over a decade, and while I have tried teaching this principle, I have never heard it stated so succinctly. Most new massage therapists enter the profession because they want to take care of people, and then quickly transition to “I don’t want to hurt you!” mode as they learn more specific technique, precautions, and contraindications. They start to get lost in all of decisions they need to make to ensure a safe, productive session, and lose sight of the whole person sitting in front of them.
When someone in your life is upset or stressed, do you ever think twice about putting your hands on their shoulders, or going in for a hug? Of course not. This is the principle of metta, which is a Thai/Buddhist term that translates to “loving kindness”. It can also mean “a strong wish for the happiness of others”. Isn’t that lovely?? I think we can all get behind this idea, no matter if it’s about bodywork, driving down the Beltline, or just making breakfast for your family.
The last time Anne and I taught our Thai Massage and Partner Yoga workshop (for regular people--not massage or yoga professionals), it started off with pairings being unsure--not wanting to “screw up”, fall over, or hurt each other. As we moved through poses and worked with compressions, partners became very focused on taking care of each other, and helping each other to figure it all out. The room was bursting with living metta! It was so much fun!!
Sunday, June 28th, we will be teaching again! This is a great opportunity to pair up with a partner or friend for an afternoon of stretchy-pants fun. You don’t need to be good at yoga or good at massage--we will guide you through each step, and as long as you approach your work with metta, you will never do it wrong. Hope to see you there!
WI Licensed Massage Therapist #3099-143
papercrane massage therapy, LLC