I am a Massage Therapist and I love it! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! I have been doing this for the last 15 years and my work is my passion. I find that people have all sorts of ideas about what a massage should or shouldn’t be and but in very simple terms, it is the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain. Just that………. and yes I am often trying to get people’s minds away from where they stray to when I talk about what I do for a living. smiliesmiliesmilie
Pregnancy MassageI have met very many clients, and one of the biggest fears I find mostly experienced by clients coming in for the first time, is that one’s body is their most sacred space, and the thought of having a stranger touch it, makes one very uneasy. I also experienced the same while I was in training during practice. It was quite difficult for me to let other people touch me, but with time I found I relaxed into it. And that is what I advise – that one should relax into it.
Another fear I have found is experienced by clients who are in pain. When one is in pain and in need of some relief, it would be really good to go for a massage. But I find that many clients are afraid that they may get further injured. And not to down play it, there have been instances where people have had a massage, only to end up in more pain than before. This is why I insist and really really insist that it is very important to use a Professional Therapist. One who has studied the body system well, who can answer all your questions, is knowledgeable of their scope of operation and only practices within these limitations.
“But a massage when I am pregnant will make me lose my baby! I will have a miscarriage and I am afraid” I have heard this myth so often that I always remind myself to take a deep breath and explain to the client very slowly and very deliberately that this is not the case. Others believe: that massages induce labour and that the baby will come out prematurely; that feet should not be massaged during pregnancy; that it should only be done during the first trimester; or that a massage may cause nausea and vomiting.
I’d like to confirm that it is safe to receive a massage at any time during the pregnancy journey. From the time of our ancestors and across several different cultures, pregnant women are known to have received massages, with fellow women massaging their bellies throughout the period of pregnancy to childbirth. Many women don’t even know they are pregnant in the first weeks of their pregnancy and go for massages, so it is quite harmless. However, it is always important to take pre caution, and those with high risk pregnancies or experiencing any medical issues during their pregnancy, should always get clearance from the doctor first.
RED LIGHT!!!!!! “24hr Massage Spa” Yeah Right!!!!!!
The issue of massage being a cover up for paid intimacy is still going on. Having moved back to Nairobi recently, I have noted that the word ‘Spa’ is really being abused. Any facility offering services that are not booked by appointment or late into the night should raise a red flag. I really long for a time when these so called ‘massage parlours’ can be busted, like they do in the US and other Western Countries. There have been some efforts locally to close them down in the past, but the problem still exists. They are still advertising but have since changed names, and are not using the word massage as this is already an open secret. It’s a tough nut to crack. However we should not be too hard on ourselves, for even the West is still struggling to completely eradicate such places.
I have had many highs in my career as a massage therapist. Just being able to relieve people’s pain in the form of touch and see a new person walk out of my massage room looking revived is very gratifying. That phone call I get the next day that with the client very excited about being able to sleep without their sleeping pills or pain killers keeps me going. But the one that stands out is when this lady called me because she had not had a good night’s sleep for five months, since she lost her husband who had been ill for the last three years and died of cancer. She became a regular client and reported sleeping like a baby.
Likewise, I have had some low moments but the lowest one that still brings tears to my eyes was the loss of one of my older patients who was terminally ill. I had weekly appointments with her for almost a year and we had such a special connection. Her care giver always told me how much she looked forward to our massage appointments. I became part of their family. That was really hard for me and I have not yet quite recovered.
The landscape is changing though and Africa is slowly embracing massage. It is however much slower because of lack of proper institutions that teach Massage Therapy. There are a few schools in Kenya that teach well while the rest just teach students only the basics. If we Massage Therapists can talk to other Medical practioners like Chiropractors, Gynaecologists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists and work hand in hand to have holistic healing for our clients or patients, I believe more people would embrace massage and think of it more in medical and recuperative terms. But whichever way you want to think about it, whether for healing, for relaxation or for pain relief, a massage is the best gift you can ever give yourself or your loved one. Go on…………… just do it!
Isabelle Abwao is a practicing professional massage therapist. She has had continuing education on Massage Therapy at the San Francisco School of Massage in the U.S.A. She has worked in this field for the past 15 years and is currently practicing in Nairobi. 0722810131/0737810131