The Lost Art of Educated Hands

Thoughts from a deep tissue manual therapist…

Educated Hands

Do you have educated hands?

For the longest time I was under the belief of no pain no gain to help improve muscle range of motion, regain local circulation and improve joint mobility .

Time and time again clients would book with me for me to “legally” hurt them so that they could get better and many of them would leave the treatment worse off than when they first came in. Yes some of them would get better and be eager to come for more “punishment”.

But deep inside I was hurting. I did not like what I was doing because almost every time I increased my pressure I would hear choice words, a scream or see tears trickle from my client’s eyes. While some therapist may revel in dishing out pain to their clients I do not.

I have had a reputation for deep work or was “affectionately” known as Dr. Pain. Perhaps I was looking to prove something, to gain a reputation… “Send him or her to Mike then they will understand what deep tissue massage is or better yet go to Mike and see how tough you really are…”

Who actually enjoys inflicting pain on another? Is it tough love? And as therapist am I actually causing more harm than good?
Furthermore, most of what I was treating were the symptoms. And yes sometimes we do a lot of that.

I thought there had to be another gateway to treating and getting to core of the issue.
In the last three years I have come across two new methods of assessing and treating the body differently. Both are non –invasive, non – aggressive and gentle in their approach. Both approaches take a  unique way of assessing the body for restrictions. These methods are somewhat osteopathic but are not osteopathy. These methods assess the body as whole; however are very different in their approach to treating.

Matrix Repatterning is a unique form of treatment that focuses on areas of impact in the body and searches for restrictions through changes in the electromagnetic field of the skeletal framework (bone) and the dense fibrous tissues (fascia) associated with the internal core structures.

Matrix Manual Therapy is a unique hands on therapy that assesses the fluid dynamic of fascial tissue. Areas of the body where there is little or low levels fluid are considered to be areas of restriction.

Both methods of assessing and treating challenge you to listen with your hands.

Learning, exploring and growing professionally and personally is a lifelong process and when you find something you are passionate about that has provided life changing results for both you and your client you want to share this with everyone.

I think one of the biggest things as therapists we forget is that our work influences not only the person we are working on but those they live with and work with.

Traditional massage therapy still has its place for a number of my clients; however I continue to introduce these non-aggressive, non-invasive and more gentle ways of treating.

As always we are the biggest stumbling block to moving forward: what more is there for me to learn? can I do this? and will it make a difference?

Many of you may already be there and others of you may be similar to me enjoying the process of developing educated hands.

I believe for each of us it is different as we all have our own ideas of how to help others get better.d

Finally, ask yourself ” do I have educated hands?”