Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RELAX (06/08/17)
TITLE: A Reluctant Client
By Holly Westefeld
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"Good morning. I'm Betty Brown. I have an 11:00 appointment."
"Hi, Betty. I'm Elaine. I just need you to fill out this brief health history, and sign the informed consent at the bottom of the page."
"Goodness! Just for a back rub?"
"Massage affects every system of the body, and may be contraindicated or need to be adapted for some injuries and health conditions. I am as responsible for protecting your information as any other health-care professional. Also, being a very personal service, knowing your right to modify pressure or discontinue the massage altogether is important."
"I see. ... Here you go. I'm blessed to be very healthy for my age."
"Yes, good health certainly is a blessing. Please follow me. ... So this is your first massage?"
"Yes. My daughter gave me a gift certificate as a retirement present, and keeps asking if I've used it. I won't lie to her, so I figured I'd best get it over with. ... I'm sorry. Nothing against you..."
"That's fine. Many people are often nervous about their first massage. Are there particular concerns I can address before we get started?"
"Not really. I'm just hesitant about new experiences, and I guess you are used to seeing old bodies."
"The only important thing is what's in the heart, and I find that that usually becomes more beautiful with age. ... I will step out while you get ready. What I need you to do is undress to your comfort level, lie on your back with your head at this end of the table, and pull the top sheet up to your shoulders. Any questions?"
"I guess the bra would be in the way?"
"I can work around it if it makes you feel more comfortable. I'll be back in a few minutes, and knock before coming in."
"I'm going to slide a bolster under your knees. It helps relieve stress on the low back."
"That sounds good. My back is always so tired. Sometimes it really aches, and I use a heating pad to help it relax."
"That's a great strategy, as long as you only use it for about fifteen minutes. After that, your body contracts the muscles to pull them away from the heat so they are not overheated. ... Do you like this scent?"
"Oh, yes! Lavender. My mother always wore lavender."
"Yes. This is organic lavender essential oil. I like to add a couple of drops to the organic massage oil. It helps relax both mind and muscles."
"How does it do that?"
"Take a nice deep breath through your nose. The sense of smell is the only sense that has unfiltered contact with the brain, allowing certain aromas to have a direct impact on the nervous system to relieve stress and anxiety. As for the muscles, the skin, our largest organ, absorbs the antispasmodic properties of the oil."
"Ah. I am feeling more relaxed already. The music is also really soothing."
"I always play music with less beats per minute than the average resting heart rate. When it is faster, the stimulation increases tension."
"Interesting. ... That feels so good! It's almost like getting my hair washed at the salon."
"There aren't a lot of muscles under the scalp, but if they are tight, they can contribute to headaches. Most people instinctively rub their heads when they have a headache."
"Yes, I do that."
"Your neck is really tight. Please place a hand just below your ribs, on your diaphragm. ... Now breathe in deeply through your nose, being intentional about the diaphragm inflating beneath your hand. Good. It is important to try to breathe this way, because shallow breathing tightens muscles in the chest and neck."
"Wow. I never knew relaxation was so involved."
"We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Babies do these things automatically, but as muscles tighten with ongoing use, and stress comes in to play, we must consciously implement strategies to relax. ... How's the pressure so far?"
"It's wonderful. I'm trying to remember why I never tried massage before."
"Well, massage has not always had a good, professional reputation, but that has really changed in recent years. ... Time to turn over."
"Oh. I think I almost fell asleep."
"That happens sometimes. Now the bolster goes under your ankles. ... Betty, I hope you have enjoyed your first massage."
"It's over already? That must have been the fastest hour of my life! I'll just have to make another appointment."
"Perhaps you would like to try ninety minutes next time?"
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