Tell Us About The Best Massage You've Ever Given.
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, March/April 2011. Copyright 2011. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
A young girl was brought into a day spa where I was working and she was in a wheelchair and suffering from brain cancer. With each massage, I tried to make [the session] very special for her in some way, whether it be decorations, aromatherapy, flowery girly sheets, or even a stuffed, furry animal. I will remember these massages above all others. It was heartbreaking and so heartwarming all at the same time. What a brave and upbeat little girl.Carol Schaefer
Las Vegas, Nevada
My brother was dying of esophageal cancer. During the last six months, he was not getting a lot of relief from the medications he was prescribed. I visited him several times (he lived on the West Coast, I lived on the East Coast) and each time I saw him, he would sit on the living room ottoman and take off his shirt. I could count his ribs from across the room. I had some massage cream with me and I was awarded the privilege of offering the only relief he could get from the constant pain.Kenn Howard
My most rewarding massage was given during my internship at the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville, Kentucky. One of my clients was a 16-year-old boy who had been injured in a football accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. In the short amount of time I had with him, he was always positive, outgoing, and truly inspiring. He never doubted that he would learn to drive or play football again and experience all the world had to offer. By the time I left the Ronald McDonald House, the young boy was learning to walk again. I'll never forget the smile on his face and the excitement he had when he showed me how he could use the walker. Those massages I was able to give him were very special to me and hold no comparison to any other massage I've ever given. It made my love for my career that much stronger. Casey Scherzinger
The client was in her 80s, living in a rest home for the previous three years. Her daughter said she had been unresponsive for days. She had suffered a stroke two years earlier and her right arm was paralyzed and held tightly to her chest, with her hand knotted up in a ball. Her vacant eyes said she was not present. I simply held the back of her neck, set my intention for her highest good, and waited for some acknowledgement and recognition. It came after a few minutes with a big breath and she relaxed her right arm as she smiled back at me with her eyes. Then as she sat in her wheelchair, I massaged her back for 20 minutes. I used the technique and the gift of love to connect us, and the rest just flowed. Linda Grace Lundy
I was contracted to do massage therapy in the home for a client who was in the advanced stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She was extremely present in her environment and all that went on within that space. However, she could not speak.
After several sessions of trusting I was bringing some comfort to her, I said to her, "I hope that I am bringing you a little bit of comfort." She looked at me and with great effort said, "Yes!" It was the last word she spoke before she died a couple of weeks later. How great is that?Mary Justice
There are two "best massages" that I have given in my career:
1.) My heart is wide open, my hands move slowly and surely, giving warmth and flow. I'm giving my instructor a massage for the final exam. Afterward, she says I've given her the best massage she's ever received, and that I know how to make time stand still.
2.) I'm grieving. A beloved has died. The pain comes in deep waves. My hands move slowly and carefully, and I re-ground every few minutes, staying exquisitely present, flowing the heartache down through my feet and breathing lightly. I hope my client doesn't feel what I am feeling. Afterward, she exclaims what an amazing massage that was. "You give so much of yourself!" She tipped me $20.
Whenever the heart is opened, by love or by pain, the quality of touch and presence can be extraordinary.Pamela Morgan
Silver City, New Mexico
The best massage I ever gave would be one of the last ones I gave to a client I'd been seeing every week for three years, and less regularly for some years before that, just before she moved out of the state.
The last few treatments I gave her, I knew her body very well indeed, and was able to help her deal with difficult issues in her life (including the situations, both personal and professional, that led to her moving away). It was difficult to remember that she was there to see me as her massage therapist, not as a counselor or a friend (though she certainly was my friend by then), and I think I learned a good deal about professionalism by keeping myself within my scope of practice.
I was very gratified that she gave both me and her psychotherapist a credit in her master's thesis "for keeping me together in (respectively) body and mind." John M. Burt
Five years ago, when I was in massage therapy school, I was able to give the gift of massage to my father. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and was dying. All of his life he gave to so many people. This was my gift to him to help him with the pain he experienced, the stress he was holding onto with knowing he had limited time left, and to just let him know I loved him. With each stroke of my hand, I could feel the energy between father and daughter, client and therapist. I was the first and last massage therapist to give him a massage. It helped me to connect the mind, body, and soul of my father.Denise Sample
South Elgin, Illinois