06 Jun Jenn’s Massage Manifesto
How we approach our health is a loaded matter, and our lives depend on it. Most of us have been influenced by our upbringing and experiences. Then as we get older, science and politics, as well as more experiences and the experiences of those around us, weigh on us as well.
But even as science “proves” and “disproves” so many approaches to wellness, we are still responsible to sift through the information and misinformation to choose what is best for us. Sadly, not everyone takes the time to address these issues and make their own educated judgments. Further, not all health care professionals agree about what is best for their clients and patients, so we must stay educated about medicine, nutrition, and the like—and most importantly, get tuned in to our own bodies and minds—and assemble a set of trusted wellness professionals. Ultimately, the responsibility for our personal health and well being rests in our hands.
As a wellness professional, I see myself in a support role. I bring my training, experience, and intuition to the table to offer the best possible care to my clients. How can I support each person’s individual needs? My responsibility is to listen, synthesize information, and offer compassionate support to that person in that moment. What do I hear them saying, what do I see them doing? How will I tailor the session to their needs? Sometimes my responsibility is to recognize that their best interest might be served by referring them to one of my trusted colleagues for a complimentary service; maybe more bodywork isn’t what they need right then.
Taking the best, most attentive care of my clients means taking the best, most attentive care of myself first. I must admit that initially this was hard for me, because I perceived this as somehow selfish. But my teachers have shown me by example that this is the key to the fullest type of giving: care for the self, love the self, so that we are always a full vessel giving compassion and care to others without depleting our own stores. This holds true for every person, not just those in care-giving roles.
My commitment to my profession includes ever being honest, ever being present, and continuing forward with a student’s mind so that I am always open to new information and the opportunity to learn in order to educate and serve my clients.
I find myself in an amazing, humbling, fulfilling role as a teacher and wellness provider. I don’t always understand what I give to others, but I understand that in being both confident and giving in my service, I can hold space for others and be part of both their and my own wellness program.