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Working Collaboratively and Confidently With Injured Clients

11 Jan 2013

It is often difficult to understand the extent of a client injuries.  They have to tell what they are feeling and describe the injury as they understand it. They may have heard from a doctor what is wrong, but were stressed at the time and not fully comprehending what they were told. If what they are saying is confusing and not altogether clear, it can be helpful for the therapist to carefully ask questions to get understanding and clarification. The information the client provides then can be helpful in determining how work with the injury and choose the right massage techniques and therapies.

Developing helpful strategies to work with injured clients may require that you do some additional planning. Sometimes clients come to a session thinking that the massage therapist is going to be able to provide the ultimate fix for their injuries. The therapist should communicate that massage and bodywork can offer relief and stimulate healing, but that it usually is not an immediate solution to the problem.  Continued massage therapy treatments to aid in recovery can be suggested. Also, recommendations  for shorter massage increments such as 30-minute massages scheduled  on a regular basis may be presented as an option. A schedule such as this will allow the therapist and the client to work more comfortably together on the injured area without overworking it. Letting the client know that effective massage starts by working on spots other than the injured areas can foster trust and relax clients (and their nervous systems) while working up to the problem area. Plus, when clients move frequently, the painful injured areas can benefit from the movement and don’t stay immobile for long.

Gently working the injured area is key. Clients naturally tense as their fear of more pain rises when they know a therapist is approaching an injury or a painful area. Starting with gentle touch massage therapy can help the client to relax and release their fears, making the opportunity to work deeper and more deliberately easier.

For massage to be effective, a therapist needs to approach the needs of each client as unique, and handle those needs specifically.  Adapting techniques and approaches to provide the most appropriate care for an injury is what will ultimately be the most beneficial for an injured client.

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