Scour the internet long enough and you’ll find a plethora of massage related horror stories from both sides, the clients and ourselves. We like to think we run a pretty tight and fun ship around here, but it’s always fun to imagine some of the wackier things that happen when life starts to resemble a romantic comedy or an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Here’s a story we found amusing, courtesy of these fine folks:
When I first started my massage career I was definitely a “green, not knowing what I’m doing” massage therapist. In fact, I only did a style called Swedish Massage. I had no passion with this style and quickly became bored with my new career in the massage industry. I’m glad that’s not the case anymore as I’ve changed my massage modality over time.
Anyway, it was in my first 8 months of my new massage career when this happened. A client called me up and asked if I could come to her house to give her a massage. She had been in a bad car accident about a month ago. During the accident she had hit her head on the steering wheel, side window, top of the roof, and against the back window of her small pick up truck. It wasn’t pretty and she was out of commission for a while, having a hard time walking around, sleeping, cleaning up, and anything else any normal human being does on a given day.
So, as I walked into her house I could see that there were flies swarming around some food in her kitchen. The food had obviously been there for a while and needed to be taken outside. In hindsight, I should have been a gentleman, taking it outside for her, but I blame the lack of gentlemanly quality on my “green, insecure with massage” self. Truly, at that time in my life I was nervous every time I gave a massage.
She had me set up the table in the only area of her small house that could fit a table – in the living room that was adjoined by the kitchen. In other words, next to the swarming flies. It didn’t bother me that I was next to the flies as I knew this was a wonderful woman having a hard time doing anything in life after the accident. She could barely hold her head up.
After I set up the table, I went into her bedroom, away from view, so she could get on the table and under the covers. After she was fully covered I entered the room and gave her a full body massage. As I ended on her neck, I did one of the most green, novice like massage therapist things: I was bored and I took my focus completely off of her and onto a certain fly. My eyes followed the fly as it zig zagged above us, directly in between the massage table and the ceiling. I became so fixated with that fly that I started noticing the patterns that the fly was creating. It would go left, sudden turn right, up, sudden turn left, down, etc., etc., etc. In my boredom I wondered if this was some type of special message the fly was conveying to me, “Massage her suprahyoid!” it was saying, or, “Massage left, sudden massage right, massage up, sudden massage left, massage down, etc., etc., etc…”
In my fascination with the fly, I noticed it was getting closer and closer to me. I also noticed my head was following it along with my eyes. My head would zig this way and zag that way. I looked down for a moment at my client and saw that she was fast asleep as I held her occiput in my hands. It was my attempt at a relaxing and finishing stroke. As I looked up, the fly had come even closer. It seemed to be only a foot from my face. And then, it happened.
In a matter of what seemed to be a second, and what also seemed to be a slowing down of time coupled with a thousand seconds, the fly did a dive toward my chin and then straight up into my nose. My reaction was the worst reaction possible. Without thinking, I pushed that fly right out of my nose with a sneeze. A sneeze that landed, in my embarrassment, right on the face of my client.
I saw the look on her face and wiped her off as fast as I could.
The moral of the story?
Always trust a fly to give you excellent advice when giving a massage. A fly, when flying above you, reminds you to be present with your client. If you don’t, he’ll fly right up your nose as a reminder.
It’s a moral that I, to this day, live up to. I’m “almost” always present with my clients. The moment I’m not, I imagine a fly wanting to do a quick inspection of my nose, me sneezing on my client, and the look on my client’s face. That brings me back to the moment.
Be present with your clients.