The Other Side of Massage, Where This Therapist Shines
Published on May 29, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman
By Deserae Wilcox, a student in the massage therapy program at Broadview University.
When you walk into a facility expecting to get a massage you may be looking forward to relaxing and—most importantly—ready to mentally check out for 60-90 minutes. While most everyone looks forward to a massage, there are those of us who have grown to love it. By “those of us,” I mean massage therapists.
In a traditional massage setting, clients check in, fill out the intake form, take a seat, and wait. While they are drinking chilled water and helping themselves to a mint or a chocolate, we (massage therapists) are in the back—simultaneously getting a drink, swapping sheets, sanitizing, taking a quick bathroom break, and mentally preparing for another client. Whether it’s for Swedish or deep tissue, we stretch our arms and hands, take a few deep breaths, and prepare to heal. For most of us, this is our moment. This is where we shine. This is why we come to work in the morning. This is the dream. It’s positive and exciting, fast paced, and full of relaxation.
Now picture a different setting. This one is anything but traditional. It is outside. The sun is low in the sky, but rising quickly. The brisk morning air brings anxiety and anticipation. It’s been a long night, and a long trip. Everyone is quiet at the beginning. It’s as if, as a group, we all eagerly hold our breath as we anticipate the day. Within a matter of time, we will feel the track beneath our feet. We wait for it to speak to us—all of us. Welcome to the world of sports massage.
Off to the side, there is a tent with predictable shade. This is my office, my room, my passion. My clients don’t wait in a chair and listen to calming music. They wear sunglasses, spandex, and spikes in their shoes. My table sees sweat, tears, and passion. It doesn’t matter what event these athletes compete in, they all look forward to the familiar beating of tapotement on their muscles. Vigorous petrissage and the pin and stretch as their muscles are warmed and excited. This is my job. This is where I shine.
Each athlete is unique, and so are their bodies. There seems to be a predictable pattern of aches and pains, but each feels so different. The anticipation and excitement I feel when they get on my table is unsurpassed by anything. They may be the ones competing on the track, but this is my event and I aim to win, every time. Massage for me is more than just a technique, it’s a way of life. Every day I look forward to what I do. It’s my way of life and my passion. This is my dream. Where some may see a body, I see a problem waiting to be fixed. To that problem I say, “challenge accepted.”
This is one of the many sides to massage. It’s more than a relaxing spa. It’s competitive and fast. It’s difficult, exhausting, and amazing. The best part: instant gratification. Not only do you get to work on your clients, but you get to watch them perform. You get to see them clear that hurdle, cross that finish line, or explode off the blocks into a full sprint. You can see the dysfunction and then see the improvements. It is eye opening. Massage is great, but it’s not all relaxation and soft music. Some days, it’s so much more. Some days, it’s blood, sweat and tears. Welcome to the other side of massage.
To learn more about how you can pursue your passion for massage therapy at Broadview University, click here.