As a bodyworker, you’re never quite ready for the unique sounds a body can make. Unexpected farts that squeak through or loud snores that wake your client mid-snort catch you and your client off guard. The other day, it did so in three consecutive sessions with me.
These potentially embarrassing client scenarios occur all the time, and over the years I’ve learned that ignoring them leaves an air of unspoken tension for a client who knows you probably heard it and would rather you hadn’t.
The first stymieing moment occurred early in my first session of the evening. My client’s stomach let out an audible gurgle that was one part dishwasher two parts squishy putty. Before she could react, I said “It sounds like freeing your hip flexors is releasing your intestinal muscles, too. Good!”
”Oh, I’m glad you’re getting to those,” she responded quickly, seeming to evade embarrassment. My saying something instead of staying silent served as a real lifeline for her before she started to get self-conscious.
The next session involved the all-too-embarrassing fart that made its way through a client's defenses. Once she realized it squeaked through, I was there to immediately rescue her. “Sounds like your body is really doing a great job of letting go.”
“I apologize,” she said meeky.
“Don’t worry about it. It happens all the time when I’m massaging peoples glutes. It’s part of the letting go process,” I said in my most conciliatory voice.
Her body started relaxing again after we both let out a little giggle, and we were able to move on as if nothing had happened. I think it’s good for clients to hear that these are normal occurrences and that they’re no big deal. Recognizing them only reinforces the fact that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and that you’re not twelve years old anymore.
As a closing act to my chorus of sessions, a client startled themselves awake with a roaring snore that half the studio easily heard. He woke up mumbling, “Was that loud? I’m sorry.”
“Not at all. Just enjoy and don’t worry about it. You falling asleep is a compliment to the massage itself.” He laughed and went back to his slumber.
When bodies are relaxing, sounds happen. Red-faced reactions are not necessary, however. I enjoy coming up with creative excuses for clients who would otherwise choose to crawl under the table if given the chance. No matter what I say, they’re always appreciative of dodging a potentially stressful situation. Even if my client never says, “Thanks for not making me feel bad for farting,” I know it’s what they’re thinking.