Feeling Hands For Massage Therapists

Feeling Hands For Massage Therapists

Can You Feel It Yet?

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain….Carl Jung

Don’t be nervous about what you can’t feel…..yet.  I can’t tell you how many massage classes I sat in and listened to instructors talk through demonstrations about what he or she was feeling in the tissue during the massage.  Then when it was our turn as students, we seemed to have no idea what we were palpating for within the tissues.

Remember, those amazingly gifted instructors were once students as well.  They will be the first folks to tell you that you may not feel “it” today or even during the course of the class, but in time, you will.

Learning massage therapy is like learning any other skills.  There are those who will be naturally proficient immediately and those who will have to work for their expertise over time.  For many people, Shiatsu and Neuromuscular Therapy (Trigger Point Therapy) are areas that require some additional time to settle in.

When Some Forms of Massage Don’t Come Naturally

When we think about this (and I am one of those for whom these two specific modalities did not come naturally) we need to remember that these are more than just ways to touch others.  Specifically in regard to Shiatsu, it was important for me to remember that this modality was a completely different culture and thought process.

When I began to look closely at Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I started to truly understand the concepts of Shiatsu.  But that doesn’t mean the touch component came naturally.

Your coursework and hands on massage experience in various modalities is designed to be a fairly comprehensive introduction.  But unless you are only seeking instruction in one modality (Shiatsu for example) you are not getting the big picture.  The big picture takes time, additional coursework specific to the modality with individuals who have specialized in and practiced for years.

I mentioned that I struggled with Shiatsu.  I have bilateral knee injuries that made it difficult for me to practice Shiatsu on the traditional floor mat.  I was able to work on a table and because of that I feel confident that I can incorporate components of Shiatsu into a massage and bodywork session.

Practice and Patience

In other modalities, I got “it” on the first try.  It was amazing and magical and those modalities are my favorite.  But for me and for most people, those are the minority.  Massage therapy, like any other healing art requires practice and patience, continuing education and time.

Be patient with yourself and take the time to understand and experience it all.  But don’t push yourself to understand the mythical  “it.”  In this field it isn’t just training your brain with rote memorization; but also training your hands and forearms…the muscles, tendons, and ligaments….the individual bones and nerve cells….”It” is different to every practitioner.

My “it”….your  “it”… they’re individual.  Just like your personal style of massage.  It’s similar to your fingerprint.  Honestly, it is your fingerprint.  I can’t give a massage just like someone else.  I’m putting a little part of myself on the table each time….and that counts for a lot in finding the “it.”

Take your time, let yourself and fingers and hands learn.  Every piece of becoming a massage therapist is a process of learning.  That process is an opportunity to learn about the body and your body and all the ways that we can move together to provide therapeutic massage.  Until next time…breathe.



1 Enlightened Reply

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  1. Suzanne says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Wondering if you have a preference of what school of message you think has s better program. Cortiva or Everest?

    I’m located in Florida near the Tampa area. I’m currently looking to enroll soon.

    Thank you,

    Suzanne Sampson