Tending to muscles’ aches and pains creates a strong bond with their owners. A sense of responsibility for a comfortable existence grows for these neatly stacked bundles of tissue as we, the practitioner, get to know the person to whom they’re attached.
I can admit that my feelings of empathy for what a client's body goes through run deeper the more I familiarize myself with them. My current PR for longevity with a client stands at 17 years and counting. She’s an artist and we’ve been trading my massage for her artwork for that entire time.
She’d originally come to see me for arm numbness and pain back when she was still moonlighting as a bartender. Amazingly, our client/therapist relationship began as she was going through a major artistic technique change using a palette knife. The thousands of dots and scrapes she applied to canvases would come to define both her work and sources of constant tension.
The first session proved to be fruitful by preventing a follow up visit to her doctor for the explorative surgery he’d suggested a month back. Yikes and thank goodness!
Since then, I’ve seen her at her place near the Palace of Fine Arts, my previous wellness center, my house when I had a dedicated massage space and at the clinic I’ve been at for twelve years every three to five weeks. A dozen of her paintings add life to my home, work and the abodes of my best friends.
She’s been amazing at expressing how the bodywork helps to make her art possible at a comfortable level. Since we started our trade, she’s risen through the ranks of national recognition and her artwork hangs in some of the most respected galleries out there. I don’t mean to gloat, but her paintings could be a major part of my retirement plan, if I’d allow anyone to pry them from my clutches.
My quality of life improves as much by having her artwork in my life as hers does by receiving the massages. My wife and daughters simply adore her vision as much as I do and her husband has benefitted from sessions with me when he’s needed them.
There’s no substitution for how much a relationship that’s been years in the making can enrich your professional career as a practitioner because these muscles are attached to some pretty interesting folks.