I often get this question from my clients and colleagues. The answer is “the kind of massage I give to my clients”…i.e., a massage perfectly tailored to my needs at that moment. This is a weighty goal and quite an ambition to achieve perfection in a massage session, but it is quite often achievable. As a therapist, my goal is to achieve this in every session or at least address the client’s most emergent issues to their satisfaction. To establish clear rules for communication early during the consultation and during the session and after the session, I ask for client’s goals for the session, I tell the client exactly what I’m going to do, the massage tools I’ll be using such as hot towels and any specialty oils, and that I’ll check in with them from time to time during the session. I set goals for the session and the client’s expectation in order to determine whether or not I have achieved those goals and the client’s expectations have been met at the end of the session. Clients will tell me right away if they prefer little conversation during their massage in which case, I’d check in a couple of times about pressure and keep all chatting to a minimum. I’d make sure to let the client know that they can tell me if they need me to adjust the amount of pressure, areas on their body to be cautious of due to a prior injury, room or table temperature, body cushioning to make them more comfortable or to better address their issues. These things are simple yet crucial to the success of the session and go a long way in establishing a trust relationship with my clients. The time I spend with a client is very valuable to me as a therapist in that it’s an opportunity to practice my craft and honing my skills through learning from the client’s body and client’s feedback, and most importantly, facilitate healing in the client. For me, the time I spend with another human being should be enjoyable and productive in a sense that some objective is achieved whether it be towards learning a new skill or as simple as passing the time relaxing, enjoying nature, or just letting the body and mind rest. Yes, resting the body and mind is productive because only after your batteries are recharged can you do a better job in your daily work. Getting a massage is currently a weekly ritual for healing my body and it’s something I look forward to more than anything else at this point in my life. If my budget allows it, I’d get a massage every day but it’s a goal to work towards. As a therapist, each session with a client is an opportunity to be thankful for the work and the benefits of being paid for doing what I love to do, and for my client’s generosity in sharing their time with me. A great part of living is sharing my life with those around me and caring for them as if they’re my family. This is why my clients are considered part of my family. I also feel like I’m a part of their family when I work in their house. This aspect of the work is a perk. It feels nice to be part of a family, the feeling of belonging to a circle of people who cares whether you live or die, how well you’re doing, when you’re coming to see them and sharing your latest adventures. Come to think of it, this is the chitchatting that often goes on in my massage sessions with those clients or therapists who like to talk of course. In the end, it’s therapeutic, whether you’re the kind of person who likes to get on the massage table and take an hour-long nap or get talk therapy along with bodywork. Either way, it’s all therapeutic for me and hopefully for you, too.